The Italian was at my house Thursday afternoon. Bro and Sis Z brought him along for my parents’ bible study. About half an hour prior to their arrival, my mother receives a text message regarding this. It was like a message in a bottle— an urgent warning delivered in an oblique way.
I was vacuuming the living room when my father waves to get my attention.
My inner chagrin must have shown on my face as he gave me the news.
“Are you okay with this?” he asked.
“Sure!” I lied. A falsetto scream escaped my lips. “Okay, now I’m good.” My father laughed.
In reality, I was not all right with this, by any means. I quit cleaning my parents’ house after they hired help, but in my grieved, lovelorn daze, I cleaned furiously (and cooked too!). I wanted to leave, but I just… couldn’t. I felt caught somehow, trapped in a cyclical mire of attraction and resignation. My mind told me to leave the house and go somewhere else until he was gone, but my soulcried out in protest.
My feet, as much as I wanted to go, would not budge.
My mother answered the door. I couldn’t bear to. I heard her greet them. I shrouded myself in the abbreviated hallway between the kitchen and downstairs bathroom. As his voice floated into the next room, I felt the heat rise to my face. I closed my eyes and prayed not to say anything untoward or ignorant as I crossed the threshold.
No matter how many mental calisthenics I do, I’m never quite strong enough to be unmoved by his presence. The same was true yesterday. In my living room sat my father, my mother, my mentor, my mentor’s wife and my desideratum. Few people have actually been to my house. When they do, they get to see the root of my life’s aberrant path. He is the first man that I have loved to be here, for a certainty. It was never supposed to be.
Everybody sat down and asked me about my health. I briefly explained that the first half of this week was agony, but that I’m feeling more like myself. I went to work in the kitchen. My father and Bro Z. talked about Jehovah and told loud stories. The Italian, despite his powerful appearance, is an unassuming, soft-spoken man. He commented less than they did.
The study progressed. Every fifteen minutes or so they would say something to me; I would reply demurely. My voice felt choked in-between desire and bashfulness. I believe Bro. Z could feel how tense both The Italian and I felt, and he so kept everybody laughing. Every half an hour or so they would finish a page; and I would move on to a different task. They’d talk about obedience to God. I’d sweep the floor. They’d talk about unshakable faith. I’d wash the dishes. They’d talk about living a calm, clean life. I’d chop and sauté vegetables. The room languidly filled with the aroma of dinner and The Italian’s cologne.
I spent the two hours he was there trying not to stare at him, but I could not help it. I could not help but drink every minute detail of him in. He wore a grey sweater and a blue button-down shirt, both of which strained against his broad, sinewy arms. His skin glowed from the light coming through the windows. He rolled his ankles and I could see the shadow of his large black boots underneath the table. I’d close my eyes and listen as he’d read out of his textbook in a calm, slow, breathy voice. Our eyes would meet every few minutes or so; he bounced his knee and caressed the table thoughtfully. I stared at him, agape.
He approached me right before he left.
“Feel better.” he told me warmly as he shook my hand.
“Thanks.” I say, surprised. “I’ll… do my best.”
“Nice job on the kitchen.” he said, glancing over the room and then looking back at me.
“Thanks.” I felt like a little girl. I could hardly talk for the sound of my heart beating in my ears.
Perhaps he sensed this because he kept pressing me. “What are you making?”
“Um… I’ve got chicken and rice.”
I felt frustrated with myself. Why can’t I form a coherent sentence around you?
“You’re welcome to stay if you want. Or to come back.” I said the last bit questioningly and with a bit of quiet haste. I immediately regretted it and felt that familiar flush come back to my skin.
He smiled graciously. “I’ve got dinner at home. But thank you. See you later, Diane.”
“Bye! Have a good one.”
And in a flash of dark hair and a green jacket, he was gone.
I’ve spent the rest of the week in a daze.
That night, I dreamt that he and I were out together. Both of us were dressed to the nines at an unseen mutual friend’s dinner party. I came up to him, handed him a flute of champagne, whispered something sensual in his ear and ran my hand across the nape of his neck. He gasped, flushed red and gazed after me as I sashayed away. I woke up, still feeling the warmth of his ear against the curve my lips. The night afterward, I dreamt of us being poor but very happily married, living with our two wild children in a trailer parked in a clearing. We were all sort of feral, really—he spent the dream shirtless and I spent it in wearing torn cotton frocks and no shoes. Our children—a boy and a girl—would run around in the same manner, with dirty faces and wispy black hair. I was picking flowers and food in the garden when the children ran up to me. They had their father’s deep hazel eyes.
There is a conflict within me—the conflict of the reality of how he feels and the reality of how I feel. I feel like this love I feel for him- simple, quiet, deep, poignant—will never leave me. I feel like I could live a million lifetimes and will never stop loving him.
I feel like I could love him for a thousand years, and a thousand more.
I may be numberless, I may be innocent I may know many things, I may be ignorant Or I could ride with kings and conquer many lands Or win this world at cards and let it slip my hands I could be cannon food, destroyed a thousand times Reborn as fortune’s child to judge another’s crimes Or wear this pilgrim’s cloak, or be a common thief I’ve kept this single faith, I have but one belief
I still love you I still want you A thousand times the mysteries unfold themselves Like galaxies in my head On and on the mysteries unwind themselves Eternities still unsaid ‘Til you love me—Sting, A Thousand Years (1999)
1. A night was spent tossing and turning, and going through a bottle of Anbesol. Every 90 minutes or so was spent in fretful dreams and then throbbing pain— hot agony from cheekbone to collarbone unassuaged by heat, cold, medicine or rest. The chills started at five in the morning.
2. My father drives like an Egyptian taxi driver, making U-turns and reversing the car for hundreds of feet at will. He accelerates to a stop when we get to the doctor’s office— a nondescript, grey, one-level building. The lobby looked like it was part of a time capsule— those ugly, boxy, neon-colored chairs and the wood panelling from the 1950s. My new dentist is foreign— dark hair, older, thick accent, Mediterranean features. Everything hurt even with the pain pill my mother gave me that morning.The dentist, with a terrific bedside manner, presented me with an X-ray of my face, a look of sympathy in his eyes.
"You have a horrible infection- two abscesses and a failed root canal. " he explained in a soft voice. "The tooth will have to come out. I’m going to prescribe you amoxicillin and Vicodin and you’re to come back and see me Monday morning."
Tears clouded my vision. He gave me two shots to numb the pain. The nurse brought me tissue paper and the doctor walked me out, with an admonition to get some sleep and to eat before taking the pills.
3. The last 48 hours has been spent sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating, hallucinating. My employer called, and I had to tell her to give my next assignment to someone else. Considering that I have less than 50 dollars left in the bank, that seriously hurt my pocketbook, but what other choice do I have?
The Vicodin makes me talk in my sleep and gives me the shakes. I had convulsions this afternoon during a mixed-up dream. I woke up, but my body seized with fear and pain. Needless to say, while I’m trying to heal, I certainly cannot drive, especially in my derelict car with the broken speedometer. The infection is clearing up, but I’m afraid to take anymore pain pills. I haven’t been eating much and you can see it in my coloring (my skin, normally a bright sepia hue, is ashen and kind of dry). I took a shower this evening, and it’s soothed me somewhat, but the shadow of this afternoon’s fear looms. I don’t want to go back to bed.
But it’s not the daytime that’s hard. It’s those lonely, late nights staring up at the ceiling. It’s those before-the-sunrise sojourns on my way to my job. It’s when I’m walking the 3.5 miles back to my house after getting off the city bus, all by street and star light.
He haunts me during the dark, velvety silence of night. His eyes reflect back to me in city lights; his voice hums within the cicadas; the blue-black sky is the same colour as his hair.
He’s lived in my mind for so long, and has gotten skilled at avoiding the lawyers. I have doubts that ponies and apples are gonna successfully deliver that eviction notice.
“Last night I had a dream about you
In this dream I’m dancing right beside you
And it looked like everyone was having fun
The kind of feeling I’ve waited so long”—Daft Punk, Digital Love (submitted by feelslikeenough)
The days lately have been quietly productive. Days spent in my pajamas are still spent doing things such as working out, finding employment (job interview tomorrow!), working on my novel (about 60% done), daydreaming, studying (spiritually and otherwise) and shopping for useful things (e.g. medical textbooks, pantyhose and recycled cell phones). It’s glorious, and I do not look forward to returning to the corporate grind.
I joined stickk.com the other week and made a commitment to work out at least four days a week. If I do not, 160 dollars gets donated to an organization I hate (I chose the NRA). Have I been feeling so insecure about my weight lately that I actually had to put money on it? In a word, yes. Is that ridiculous? Yes. But what works, works. And most of the food I’ve been eating lately has been battered and fried.
Plans for this summer include at least a week in New York serving the Lord at the JW branch office, a trip to visit Olivia, a week in Mexico and a month cross- country travelling before going back to school in September.
Race is a modern idea. Ancient societies, like the Greeks, did not divide people according to physical differences, but according to religion, status, class or even language. The English word “race” turns up for the first time in a 1508 poem by William Dunbar referring to a line of kings.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”—Kahlil Gibran (via justbesplendid)
I’ve been house-sitting for the past week or so. It’s been mostly uneventful— eating and sleeping when I feel like it, doing light housework and reading lots of books. I fixed my car Friday (it only needed a tune-up and had a bad tank of gas; can you believe it?!) so I’ve spent the last two nights driving around town. I drove out to the country and would have stayed longer but was afraid I was going to hit a deer.
The hardest deal about this house-sitting thing is the dog.
Not saying she’s not a good dog—13 years old, blind and with a sweet disposition. She’s old now, so she mostly lays around all day.
But let’s say this:
Babies at least learn how to use the toilet by age 3 or so. Having a dog is signing up for 10+ years of scraping crap off of sidewalks, out of your backyard or off of your carpet. I’ve always felt that beasts should be outside, even cute, toy-size beasts.
Nevertheless, I have no desire to come back home. This having the house to myself thing has really been nice, and it’d be awesome if I could have place like this of my own (well, not this big, but certainly this quiet). Coming back means more work than one dog will ever have for me.