It's a lost day, a nothing day. I won't bother to search for meaning, as I watch the colors of my hours blend and fade into beige, blend and fade into no meaning at all. It's the phone that doesn't ring, the changes between me and you. It's the hours I spend on the internet searching for something, anything, to make me feel connected. I am searching for anything meaningful, anything I can sink my teeth into. I'm looking in the wrong place. I'm arm wrestling desperate and I'm not sure who will win.
Lately I can't figure out how to put that into any conversation.
And I don't know how to tell you as much.
It snagged right here. I looked back on the past. Foolishly, on a dare I pitched to my heart, I'm writing my Mother's story. It begins with taking everything from this site and copying it over to Word. It will continue through the journals, the diaries she gave to me. The diaries I didn't read until it was too late to ask questions.
But the thing is, the thing is... before I copy the words, I read the words. I read my interpretation of what our last five years were like, what she and I experienced together as we travelled a strange journey, one in which we switched roles. I read the words of a terrified and loving me, a terrified and loving her.
I copy the words, paragraph by paragraph, year by year. I copy five years of her life, my words about her life. I unzip what I've kept shut for years, ignite a spotlight on her demise, on my watching. I step into our secret past and the warm waters of our curves, our mystery, our being mother and daughter together.
It always happens when I get this close. I stumble over my aching heart, slip on the top stair, and fall into the darkness of my being without her.
Reading the words I wrote but don't remember, I see each letter lift from the screen into a color, a smoky color, a color like the shadow of green falling on green. Before I know it, we are back there, my mother and I. I see the memories and I feel the words. I feel her arms scoop me up to the sky and bring me back to her chest, to her heart. I see the past and I wonder what happened to us, the little girl and her young mother.
I shake my fist at the clouds that carry us away.
We grew older together.
We made mistakes together.
We lost each other.
We found each other.
I grew up and she lost me all over again.
She grew older and we lost each other.
I drive to my neighborhood convenience store, just around the corner. It's not until I put the car in park that I notice the man. He's an hispanic man. He's an obviously drunk man. He's a man who leans against the building, lurches forward towards the lights of my car. This man's shirt is yellow, with "Keep Austin Weird" in faded print on the back. This man watches me, says to me, "See what I mean lady? Oh wait, no, how are you? No, that's what I mean."
He stumbles and recovers.
He asks me to buy him a beer.
I look at him for a fraction of a second, then quickly put my eyes to the sidewalk for safety. I'm afraid to smile. I was told not to smile. Protect yourself. Look up. Look forward. Look strong.
Always I smile.
Always I look up, look forward.
Always I'm strong.
Today is like being 20 again, like being bored and colorless. Like not knowing I'll one day ask to forgive myself for believing that always being brave could even come close to meaning most of the time.