exiled. exiled is what i thought i was.
i love wednesdays. so funny how we rate our weeks. how certain days carry more weight than others. in elementary school it was whatever day we had art or music. in middle school every day sucked. in high school it was (naturally) fridays. in college it was (bellingham-style) thursdays (though really it depended on course-load, quarter, & time of year). in taiwan it was saturdays; saturdays seemed oh so far away come mondays, but when they finally arrived, they could not have been more sweet.
now it/s wednesdays. or rather, wednesday is my favourite day of the week besides thursdays, which is the only weekday i don/t work. even though it/s my earliest (i have to meet isabelle at the train station at 8am so she can drive me the half hour to busset), it is my favourite. the children at this tiny school nestled between castle & countryside are so eager to learn. you can see it in their eyes, their desperate searching, and when they/ve found the words they were wanting they keep them safely guarded, precious treasure to be caressed & fondled & oohed & aahed over until next week when they pull it from the pretty little boxes children put their most prized possessions in. they show me their words, mouths over - ee nunn seee ayy teee ing, lip & tongue & teeth caught in messy tango over th/s & f/s & r/s and the endearing inconsistency of their ever-changing vowels.
i never thought hearing numbing repetition of words such as "pumpkin" and "strawberry" could tickle me such a shade of pink.
suffice it to say, i/m in love with this job.
of course, today is wednesday. most of the other days of the week i/m grumbling about this or that. grumbling that my schedule was once again adjusted. grumbling that i (literally) have to walk 3 miles uphill in the snow (well, that one day it snowed last week) just to get to school in the morning. grumbling that i never have enough time to teach what i want to teach. grumbling that i/m not prepared enough. grumbling that they didn/t prepare me. grumbling that i/m not making enough of a difference. grumble grumble grumble.
not always. i don/t grumble to myself. it seems only to be to other people, but that/s mostly because other people only seem to grumble to me, and sometimes it only seems fair to return the favor.
this is love, she thought, isn/t it? when you notice someone/s absence & hate that absence more than anything? more, even, than you love his presence?
i/ve been writing letters, lately. many. and because of this, i/ve not written much for myself. here. there. in my journals. they/re mostly blank. or more blank than i/d like them to be. but the letter-writing does the job for me. i write & i write & i write in furies & then i seal the envelope & it/s all gone. all the anxiety or joy or numbness. it all dissipates, washed out like jeans that have hung too long on that thin line in the sun, it leaves me silent & still. with no more anxiety or joy or numbness i am free to just be. to just exist. to just breathe. one of those moments between thoughts or after fully exhaling where there doesn/t seem to be any more than everything, everything that is just hanging still, hanging there ready to be plucked like a plum on a pear tree for no apparent purpose other than its perceivable ripeness.
sometimes, while writing someone i may or may not love dearly, i imagine centuries ahead. i imagine my letters bound & published, read by the warmth of some great hearth. letters loved enough to don coffee stains & smudges, fingerprints & tears. i hear their lips take the shape of the words, speaking without speaking. i see their eyes, a window-seat passenger on an afternoon train, scanning the text too quickly, skipping over words they deem too short to merit their attention: the, and, end, i, why, me, you. the not-quite-four-letter-words. words omit get important parts. i hear them exhale much too heavily once-too-much & i know they are moved.
sometimes i wish i had a copy of every letter i/ve ever written. to know which pieces of me i/ve left behind & where. to know how to know myself intimately. but then again, that/s poetry. showing others what you can/t see yourself.
poetry. like the heavy smell of sex & sweat & body & breath, not at all beautiful, & so much so that it just might be the most beautiful scent you/ve ever known. like damp autumn earth or cement in july. honest.
exiled. exiled is what i thought i was. alone on a god-forsaken island. left to repeat the one joke i remembered, over & over & over & over. each time exaggerating & embellishing a little more. [remember when i was happy? (forced, nervous laughter.) remember when i had friends? (forced, nervous laughter.) remember when i knew who i was? (nervous, nervous laughter.) hah. hah hah. heh heh. (pause.) remember? (silence.)] wondering why i never laughed at the punch line. turns out i had never told that stupid joke right, not once. funny how telling yourself something over & over & over & over somehow makes it true. [you are not sad. you are not sad. you are not sad.] & while i can tell one helluvah story, i/ve never been so good with the truth.
honest. honest is what he makes me want to be. not so much to other people. i haven/t been a pathological liar since my freshman year of college. but then again, with so much open road ahead, so much on the line, who isn/t? no. no. not again. honest. honest this time. not so much to them. not so much to them, but to myself. honest to myself. not honest in the way that i haven/t been truthful to myself, but in the way that i/ve been holding out. that i/ve "forgotten". honest in the way that i/m slowly relaxing, letting all the "forgetting" slowly come undone, a half-finished scarf that was unevenly stitched & much-too-tight anyway, stitch work that needed to come undone if it wanted to ever breathe properly, that needed to be re-examined & re-worked & re-loved.
honest. i needed to be re-loved. honestly.
a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...
oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.
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