Wednesday, June 01, 2011


So, I'm disappearing into this magnificent and treacherous, sad and phenomenally written book, yes a book, what books are for, and then the phone rings, I look over to see my mother's name, a burst of sadness and then I have to think again about whether I should get back in bed. I was supposed to get back in bed earlier, so that I could still be ready for 5:30 when people are coming over, if I decided it was still okay for people to come over. But now it's getting closer, should I just get into the shower instead? But I'm too tired. Okay, let's try the bed, the bed with this headache, maybe the bed will help, let's see.

There’s that magnificent moment right after the point when I think no, I'm never going to get out of this wired, but then a place between sinking and flying and when I wake up with a puddle of spit on the pillow, pulling away dark washcloth and eye mask from my face to reveal my room, oh so bright, and sure I don't take naps because they make me never want to take naps again, usually, but even this headache knotted more ferociously around that place between nose and forehead, that headache space, still I feel slightly better I think if better just means differently longing but not as desperate. Let's go outside, sit in the sun before a shower, hope for snow.

I don't want to move to Seattle, which brings me back to thinking about Montréal, although not as much as before, it just sounds too difficult to drag all my possessions across the border and then all the severe weather and dry dry dry overheated rooms in the winter plus that hideous humid summer and pollution and I'm not in the mood to put everything in storage and pretend, pretend what? Pretend that doesn't sound more exhausting than moving, everything, I mean everything sounds exhausting okay, let's step outside again, I mean we haven't gotten there yet, just to pull in the mail, I do like the mail although why does this new book smell so toxic? No no I do like new books, but why why so toxic? Okay, back outside, back outside for a moment, just to wake up, okay? Oh yes, the sun is lower, soft on my skin, sun hat reaching over to protect face, don't need sunglasses also, that necessary combination strategy but at this time of day just the hat, okay the light, that sun on my skin, maybe I'm awake, back inside to eat again.

And the shower doesn't feel as exhausting as usual, hooray! My hair only requires one conditioner instead of two. Okay, let me turn off the exhaust fan, put on aftershave no not aftershave, what is this called? Witch hazel. And then, more liniment on my arms for the pain. Food will come soon, but will it help – does it ever help? Conjugation: did you help, will you help, what will help? Good question, but first I better get ready for the sunset.

Oh, the sunset! Well, first we’re driving up Hyde Park Road, that part of Santa Fe in the sky that personally I find the most beautiful so far, the gorgeous red earth and knotted pinon trees, angles through hills and mountains everywhere and then suddenly the landscape changes as we go higher up, a tall pine tree forest almost like Oregon and at first I'm disappointed because this feels familiar, no longer desert weirdness, but when we stop at a rest area or campsite I walk a little into the woods and oh, no way, a small waterfall, I follow it a bit up the hill or mountain, this is really all I need, all I need for my birthday, water.

And then I notice the air isn’t as dry up here, now we’re at our destination, a lookout point near the top of the mountain, a grove of aspen trees right in front of us and then mountains stretching in all directions. Everyone was right – it's much colder here, windier too but it's that cool moist wind that feels comforting or maybe not that moist but just not dry and I'm glad I brought my scarf and mittens. The light is so soft up here and Wheels asks if there's anything I want from this year, which is funny because I never think about that I mean I do think about it on New Year's sometimes but not on my birthday and then Wheels says what about anything you want to leave behind and that's what I know, I want to leave behind all this exhaustion but maybe that's too much to wish for: I just want to start feeling better, not worse. I want to be rid of these parasites. I don't want to feel so lonely. Maybe that's too much to ask – I just don't want to feel this exhausted, that's the most and important part. Maybe I want to date someone.

Jessica says it's not too much to ask not to feel so lonely, and she wonders if that relates to dating someone. No, not necessarily – I mean I don't know. I guess my New Year's resolution for 2010 was to date someone, but that didn't exactly happen. When was the last time I was in a relationship? Somewhere between eight and 10 years ago, I'm trying to figure it out exactly, as if it matters. But anyway I like that Wheels asked the question, I wouldn't have thought of it and that's a good question too, I mean maybe these are the things I need to think about, not that I don't think about getting better all the time, but maybe way up here in the mountains a kind of feels like I can let something go and it will just fall away, right? At least in this moment.

Or no, the last time I was in a relationship was with Chris. We weren't dating, but it was definitely a relationship. And yes, it did make me feel less lonely. 16 years. Gone. No closure. Maybe that's something else I want for this year – closure about that relationship. He will never give it to me, and I've tried to find it myself, but still I find myself obsessing about some tiny thing about him or his betrayal – I mean I don't ever want to be friends again, but also I want him out of my head. But I don't think about this until after our mountain trip, the next day that is, now, and maybe that's significant too.

On our way down, Von spots a dear, and then I see two more, they're all right down by the road peering out at us, getting ready to turn around, so beautiful and then when we’re back in the desert we stop at the Cross of the Martyrs, another sunset spot and the air is so dry that my voice actually changes, hoarser. But wait – is that a rabbit right there or a rock – oh, it moves, yes it is a rabbit, a tiny one, hopping slowly into the bush, and Von says you didn't get to see sea lions this year, but we did see deer and a rabbit, and that makes me happy. And then, when we look at the view, this is the first time Santa Fe actually looks like a city, I guess because we were just looking at another view where there was nothing but trees and mountains and sky, and here the lights from the buildings are creating other kinds of red and yellows and pinks with the sky and when we get back to my house yes it’s still dry but I feel satisfied.


kayti said...

Happy Birthday!! I hope you stop feeling worse someday soon. I think lost missing helped you somewhat deal with your grief but Chris's 12 step program gave him everything he needed to avoid any level of honesty. He will never give you any closure that is for sure.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thank you, my dear! And, here's to feeling better…

And yes yes, you're right that Lostmissing helped me in some ways for sure, especially in terms of grief – but oh, Chris's narrow interpretation of the 12 step dogma (or his dogmatic interpretation of those narrow 12 steps) – yes, all he needed to avoid honesty or accountability and leave me stranded, no I will never look to him for anything again, I don't imagine…

Love –

the work of a common woman said...

I love this post. So many things resonate for me.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thank you – that's so great to hear!

Love –