There are nights I lie on my living room floor and watch the moon rise over the three palm trees in my neighbor’s backyard, and I lie there until the moon is replaced by stars, and I lie there until the cold from the concrete has numbed my hands and feet, and I lie there until that cold drives me to brew a cup of tea and wrap myself in a blanket soft and warm as water. Two years ago, I sent myself an email, typed into the subject line For the hardest mile you ever walk and in that email is a link, and it's an article about break-ups but I still read it, and it tells me:
Even though sometimes the world seems about six sizes too small for our pain, the amazing shit is that no matter how deep purple the bruise is, no matter how dark and overwhelming and miserable and worthless it all seems, the world will get a fraction of an inch bigger every day.
It isn’t pain that floors me these days; it’s something more like gravity or breathing maybe. There’s something beautiful and necessary in the stillness, in the way my body presses into the ground and the ground presses back, and the sky unfolds, predictable and clear, the way the sky should unfold.
Last week I printed 48 pages of critical and creative writing and walked to my professors’ offices, and slipped my hours of caffeine and booze-fueled rhetoric under their doors. I turned in my key and my library books and I drove to Sunset Boulevard and parked in a dirt lot overlooking the ocean. I walked as close to those sheer and unstable cliffs as I dared, even though all those signs say Caution: Sheer and Unstable Cliffs, and to be honest, as close as I dared wasn’t even that close because I hate the way my fingers feel full of electricity when I stand too close to a long drop from a high place. It was sunny, and my eyes didn’t know how to handle the bright but my legs liked the way the ground felt underneath them after all of those hours of sitting in chairs and desks, on couches and floors, lying in bed with my back propped against the headboard and my feet falling asleep folded in front of me.
Last week it rained, the sound on the roof like homesick and nostalgia. Reminded me of why I left; reminded me why I would have stayed. Some part of me has been viewing this as temporary, like I’m just play-acting at school and life until I get to go home. But it’s the end of the semester, and I’m still here because this is where I live, and it will be where I live for probably three years, unless something goes terribly awry. I’m passing through the in-between, shedding one life while the other is still raw and pink underneath, all tender around the edges where I’ll eventually grow into it.
Last week we drove through a snowstorm like travelling at warp speed, snowflakes little galaxies blurring at the periphery and I remembered growing up, the cab of my dad’s pickup truck. Gordon Lightfoot through the speakers and the heater cranked so loud the snow practically evanesced as it touched the windshield, leaving just a kiss of moisture, somehow sticky like memory, and I’m thinking about the night before. How our aunt introduced us as You remember, my nieces from Montana that I talk about all the time? and how I am so far gone from that person and description that it took a few beats to realize she was talking about me.
Today I spread the cards out on my couch, asked them What have I learned, and what do I need to know next? They said the easiest way to arrive is to know where you’re going. They said embrace the stillness, there will always be more motion. They said just because you’ve never been on this road, doesn't make it any less traveled; you still have to open your eyes to see the signs. The world feels six sizes too small. The world feels boundless, and chaotic, and unmanageable. The world feels. I feel it. Sitting on this couch. Lying on that floor. Walking along the sheer and unstable edges. Caught up in this in-between where I’m both home and 1,000 miles from it.
My heart says it’s going to be ok. Even when the gravity is too heavy to pick up my head and the texture of my words is wet ashes, and everything feels like a flattened version of itself. The world still feels. I feel it.
All my love, babies.