Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sometimes Horses Die

"The thing is, Jennifer, you have become so terribly shallow." Her smile takes off some of the sting.

I lean back and exhale carefully, like it hurts. Because it does.

"Um, why do you say that?"

"Look there," she gestures to my dressing table. It is full of pots of goo that I just had to have because of this skin problem or that. I've spent thousands on trying to fade a few scars. Close some pores. That sort of thing.

"What have you written over the past year?"

I cringe again. I was hoping we wouldn't get around to this. I talked around things so we wouldn't.

But she is inexorable.

And I can't hide.

Although I've been hiding for close to two years now.

I sigh and shrug. "Um, nothing much, I have this job, you see..."

And she is not buying it. Anyone who works at Starbucks or D'lish as much as I do, has the time to write. Besides I think I wrote the least when I was freelancing and basically doing nothing for long swaths of time.

I trace a circle on the floor with my big toe and brace myself for the lecture. It doesn't come.

"Honey, don't look so guilty. It was always up to you."

I look up and she's gone. She never stays for long. I start to miss her all over again. I wish just this once I could have held on.

A woman like her is not a woman quite,
I have been her kind.

And I pick up Tony Curtis for comfort and he tells me:

There is a winter within me
a place so cold, so covered in snow,
I rarely go there. But sometimes,
when all I can imagine are hands,
when trees in the forest
look like they're made of wood,
then I know it's time
to take my photograph of Akhmatova
and sling it in a bag with socks and scarves.
My neighbours must think it strange
to see me strapping on my snowshoes,
to hear me roar at the huskies
as I untangle the harness.
But when all you can imagine are hands
it's best to give a little wave
and move out into the whiteness.

Maybe I should get a photo of Akhmatova. I have a sketch of Whitman. A postcard that Shelly sent me. She was a poet who was also a surgeon and she had this facility for knowing. She saw all those months ago, I would get obsessed.

I do it so it feels like hell
I do it so it feels real.

I wish it felt real.


Nessa said...

It's only been shadows for me lately.

Jenn said...

Hmmm...but you are red and blue and are not smoke and shadows...substantial.