Now is life very solid or very shifting? I am haunted by the two contradictions. This has gone on forever; goes down to the bottom of the world—this moment I stand on. Also it is transitory, flying, diaphanous. I shall pass like a cloud on the waves.
I make a list of things I miss. It’s filled with people and it’s filled with my books and the majority of my clothes and shoes and jewelry and my old journals and my old spiral ring notebooks from high school and my record player and all the records stored in my brother’s basement and my guitar. I can’t remember where my guitar is but I remember when I used to be able to play and I remember the song we wrote together but I’ve forgotten how it goes.
I write a hundred word story about a woman who is dying. My friend writes back. Nice piece. Very sad. My mother sends me a video of my cat playing with her dog. It’s a minute long. I watch it three times in a row. She wants to talk about my book. We facetime and she asks me about it. I don’t have anything to say. It feels too far away, too distant. Somewhere in the future it will be a real thing but right now it is just a promise. I remember those weeks I wrote it and I remember floating from room to room in my house, drinking too much coffee and listening to the soundtrack from Mack and Mabel until the day I finished writing in the middle of the night and then just stood in my room and didn’t know what to do next.
I went to California. I spent two weeks on Amanda’s balcony and I think I proved to be the worst houseguest ever. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to move. I just wanted the balcony and more cups of French press coffee and the sun on my head and her dog on my lap. I turned twenty-seven in a hotel room. I can’t remember if we watched the ball drop. We must have. There were fireworks outside the window. In two months I will be in California again and I will turn twenty-eight and I can’t help but feel the cyclicality of everything. I can’t help but feel like he knew what he was talking about, my grandfather. Maybe right before we die everything starts to make some modicum of sense.
It’s endlessly fascinating the choices that we make, he writes, the timing of those choices and how they shape our world. I read the email at first in bed and then later at the kitchen table as the sun came up and the room filled with the white-blue light of early morning. It gets dark so early here but the rain doesn’t bother me anymore. You get used to it. You don’t even think about it. It’s just something else you wake up to. The emptiness of the apartment and the good coffee you bought at the shop around the corner and this beautiful light and the rain that comes in the early afternoons and sometimes just lasts all day.
But it’s fine, the rain. I’ve never liked it before. But now it’s a constant, a comfort. Now grey skies are something welcome and my umbrella never leaves my purse.
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quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary; photographs taken at Cammo Park with a Canon t1i.