3.24.2005

Somebody Should

"The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do," said English journalist Walter Bagehot. I don't agree with that in general, but it could temporarily be true for you, Scorpio. There may be no other activity that will generate as much satisfaction as refuting the low expectations others have had of you. Even classic thrills like sex, drugs, and rock and roll may not generate feelings equal to the bliss you'll enjoy when you accomplish what some supposedly knowledgeable person said was impossible. (my horoscope for the week of 3.24-3.30)

So I'm guessing that it all started at our old house, north of Seattle, when we became us and not just our separate entities. That's when Clara drank enough canned beer and ate enough psilocybin mushrooms to put herself into a waking coma right in front of our eyes. We were right there, and none of us had any idea it was about to happen; that she would black out, unable to move, that she would die. Right on our sofa.
Most of the time I think that it was then then we realized that it would be us, all of us together without a traditional support system of family and wisdom that would have to find our own path. When we were all forced to figure out what to tell the authorities, what to explain to her parents, how to stay out of trouble and what to do with her body that we became a whole. My best friends and I, through the death of a young girl, became a family.
Maybe I want to take that back--maybe it was after that--at least for me, when I lived in Miami, barely making it through my first summer there; day after day of sweltering heat and humidity strethching into another. I used to live in North Beach, on Marseilles Drive, and it was there that my phone rang, a city comissioner or inspector or some sort of official from Seattle calling to tell me my father had died. I searched every facet of my knowledge of traditional loyalty for some kind of remorse and was not surprised when it never came. I always knew deep down that this time would come--this time that I would let the normalcy of real family go and forge one that was truly beautiful. And I have.
Maybe though, it was far before that, before any of that happened that I began to build a support system for myself. Maybe it was before all of this that I realized that essentially, it would come down to me against everyone--save who I chose to share my life with me.
I might have been sixteen, with only my two best girfriends and a few carefully placed north Ballard streetlamps. It might have been there, me dancing about in the calf deep snow, our laughter echoing off the deepest and lonliest parts of the nightime. We were alone and invincible, completely unaware of what our parents, our brothers and sisters might think having seen us running and chain smoking in the four-AM cascade of silvery thick snowflakes. None of the three of us had ever seen so much snow in Seattle, and in our priveledge we felt special. We felt solid and stoic, knowing that it was one of the last times we would laugh all together--the three of us.
Maybe I only think it was then, a very long time ago because of my attachment to snow--the still and quiet has the tendancy to break winters doldrums and reinvent the city into a landscape so desolate and foreign that it is beautiful in it's solace. This idea will never leave me, that Seattle is most beautiful, most poigniant in the snow. It's a special time that few--even this cities residents--are not always lucky enough to catch.
It was this past January, me alone in my apartment, that my cat woke me from a deep sleep, meowing over her food dish, needing me to refill it. It was four in the morning and I, clad in but my PJ's and socks, lifted my self from my bed and made the short trek to the kitchen where she twirlled about my legs, dependant on me for her basic needs and yet aloofishly uncaring, purring as if only to assert a fake sense of love and loyalty. I smiled none the less, filled her dish, and set it on the floor by the refrigerator. Then I glanced out the kitchen window.
Hundreds of thick quarter-sized white flakes fell from the ceiling of grey clouds that insulated the city. Every car, lawn and sidewalk in the valley unfolding from the edge of my deck to the crest of the next hill was dipped in a sparkling iridecsent white, and I was alone in it's splendor.
I wondered why I could be alone, in my hometown, and yet my family was spread all over the country. I thought of them in Brooklyn, D.C., Miami, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Chicago, then down to Portland, San Francisco, and San Diego. I even thought of the few remaining here in Seattle, on wondered if they, right then, were seeing the same thing I was. As much as I wanted just one of them to share in the spectacle, to witness the silence and translucent pale of the city in the middle of the night, I guess I knew that it was always all of us alone that made us--it was our independance that brought us together.
In the morning, the snow was all but gone.

I guess now is the time when I should explain that Clara, besides the mushroom incedent, was very influential to us in the brevity of our aquaintance. She once related us what she thought to be the import of our friendships with each other, all of us together.

"Really, you guys, all of us--all of this seems important. You know what I mean? It's like people should know what we know now. Somebody should write this all down, except, in the end, one of us should die; don't you think? To, like, make the story better."

I have always been the scribe of my circle of friends and family, taken it upon myself to document me and us and all of it honestly and accurately. I readily accepted the title that Clara proposed granting to one of us.

Maybe it should be now that I should explain that Clara never died at all, but rather took on that role in our histories as per her wish. I guess it was just as she chose to die, it was I that chose to write it down. We together through death and longing and love and lonliness and documentation--we together make our family real.

[i love you all and will miss dearly those who I am leaving here in seattle. come see me at my final farewell--all are invited. monday, march 28, the duck island alehouse on aurora + winona at 8:00 pm. i'll see you there. --M]

1 comment:

jon said...

horoscope compatability info is so cheesy but we were looking at it anyway...why i dont know. I guess it is fun to play around online. Anyway, I saw your horoscope compatability posts and though it was cool...Alright, well...have a great night, I am back to horoscope compatability surfing LOL : )

Jon