An epiphany of some sorts, rich layers of words that I want to peel apart slowly, submerging myself in their beauty. I’ve made it back home again, my first love never loses the ability to cloak me in a protective blanket, rainbow-hued, dense with images. I read with one hand and write with the other, inspired. There she is, the beacon I’ve been looking for.
I can now turn around and observe the past instances of Jade, each one donning a new layer, protecting the inner child, evolving. The quiet me, the anxious me, the one who traveled to a new country in search of home me, and who did it over and over again; the angry me, the one who tried to conform, and the one who stood out. The stomping me and the tiptoeing me, twirling en pointe around the potholes me, using caution tape as a blindfold. How can it be so easy to view life as a movie reel? A sequence of court métrages, credits disappearing into a past that will not let itself be forgotten.
This book I am reading has the artistic depth of a handmade Persian rug, each stitch exquisitely attached to the next, a story woven between other stories; a life infused into the wool, into the imagery. My mind starts to wander; I imagine my fingers tracing lines in the warm, damp sand: you are here, you are now. You are here, you are now, but you still keep tugging the strings of the past along behind you. Tin cans rattling along the shoreline, a “just married” trail, because yes, all instances of me are married together into one. Bang, bang, bang down the stairs they go behind me, the racket loud enough to send spiders scurrying to safety and for my brain to cloud. There is no more Stoli to clear the air, no more Powers to shush the noises. They are collecting dust in the corners, relegated to a shelf in my past, my fingers sometimes caressing their cool glass shell, the smell familiar in my nostrils, tantalizing, then gone. Away, I pushed you away.
The rain is pouring tonight, tapping on the floor of the balcony upstairs and dripping through the open roof by the stairwell. The ground is too dry to soak the water, I picture it running into the streets, overwhelming drains, soaking through to the tents. Haphazard creations of old sheets and tarps, our -homeless left alone out there in the dark; wet, and forgotten. Rain is my noise-cancelling savior, a more sane version of booze, but for those left behind it is damp, mold, and unfair. The bootstraps long since rotted away in the deserts far away, where rain rarely falls but rot happens anyway.
That is the me now, and the me of before, pulled in two directions, one of comfort and one of pain, my empathy for others always sleeping with one eye open, my protective barrier with eyes at half mast, alert and poised. I worry too much. My worries run deep, etched in those lines along my forehead, creased, fraught. Each element zaps the next, a ball of high current worry, a ball I carry on my back, protecting it from touching anyone else. Its static is sparkling, random cracks in the dry air. Maybe the rain will ease her for a while, dampen her spirits, let me let go. When did I become so goddamn serious? I miss my laughter, that deep sound from the belly, that giggle what won’t stop, that rolling around the floor I can’t breathe laughter. Why do I hide her, afraid if set her free I will discover that all of these strings I tie around everything are unnecessary? I miss her, so natural and spontaneous, I miss her.
As my thoughts wander, roam, the book falls from my hands, the pen stays poised in the air, a drip of black ink staining my fingers. The book is my own, the tapestry of words created inside my own mind, inspired I still doubt myself.
Tomorrow I will laugh. Tomorrow I will be spontaneous again.