Thursday, January 29, 2009

I've Got Dreams to Remember

There really aren't any songs written from the girl's perspective. She listens to the stories her friends tell. She places stories in perspective thinking about her own life. Maybe this is makes her selfish? Maybe that is really who she is? But when she hears the stories, she realizes that in all these tales, she would be the "bad guy." Her mates don't call her that; they like her. But do they realize the disconnect? There's a right way and a wrong way to do things. She should choose the right way. The problem is that she's clouded in snow.

At night, dreams like she never had before. Swimming through a river, swimming and making it to the other side, but not finding what she was swimming toward. She goes into a locker room, stands underneath a heavy fall of water. And then she calls out and there's an answer, but she can't get to it. Echos reverberate off tile walls. She's wet and alone. Another one: she stands at a lake shore, imagines reading peacefully. Being happy with the sun beating down on her. They are so real that when she wakes up dry and cold, the girl is surprised. The duvet weighs down on her. She tries to snuggle back to the dream, but from another room an alarm clock. She sits up, looks at the clink of grey light coming through the curtains.

Another day. No more answers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Picture Window

The girl’s partner goes outside with their child. She asks for the window cleaner and the girl looks askance. The window cleaner is not going to work in this cold, she says. She is ignored, and she wants to say, like usual, but maybe that is too hard. Maybe it isn’t. But she is ignored. She puts the cleaner on the porch, paper towels. She sits down on the couch and watches the blue fluid splash onto the window, she watches her partner try to clean the window, and she watches it freezes across the pane. Streaks of white with each swipe. Usually this might make the girl smirk: she was right. Instead it makes her unbearably sad and angry. “It looks worse!” she calls out. She points hard at the streaks, but can’t see through them. “It’s worse! It’s worse!” she calls. She leaves the room. She can’t bear to look at the dirty icy streaks cutting across the window.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sitting in the Road

I'm sitting down to write. I can't decide if I need to write about myself or the girl. The girl is easier to write about in some ways; if I say it's me, then it's hard to know what direction to go into. If I write about this girl, I can lead her. If I write as "I", it's almost as if I sit down in the middle of the road, stubborn like a child, my legs crossed and my arms folded over my chest.

Once at a rugby tournament on an island with a winery, my friend Gabby sat down in the middle of the road. In fact, she went entirely down in the road, in a puddle, her arms akimbo and face looking up into the night sky. The asphalt gravelly under her blonde hair, she laughed. So did I. Almost the whole island was asleep, including most of the other ruggers. We were the last drunken stragglers out; we visited one more bar, and I can remember laughing the entire way back to our campsite. Laughing out loud. Walking like Laverne and Shirley. Trying to skip like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I fell into my tent and couldn't figure out how to get my flip-flops off my feet. I woke up the next morning, called out, "Who has my credit card?" since I had handed it off to Christie the night before ("Get another round in!" I said with cavalier, like a rugby millionaire in the bar). Around me people either groaned or laughed. We sat in the morning, grass on the back of legs, inspecting our bruises from playing a hard game and drinking even harder. The sun from the lake glinted in my eyes. I was happy hearing the sounds of women around me.

Now I am so wrapped in something inside me, some indecision, some something, that the woman in that story doesn't even seem like me. But I know that Katie is more of who I am than this one-- the one that feels slightly broken, scared, nervous, anxious. My mom sent me a text message this week that said, "You have the power 2 light a room." Once upon a time, I think I did. I'd like to try and get back there. I know there are those of you out there reading this blog and worrying about me. I am depressed, but the days are eventually going to get longer. I'm eventually going to be able to set down the fear. I'm going to see the lights on the hill.

Until then the girl might be back a little....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seizure: Retention within one's grasp or power

Some days she scans all day and then is caught, like a fish on a hook gasping when pulled out of the water when she sees what she was looking for coming towards her. The sun filling up the street.

Some days the things she sends into the world seemingly go into the abyss, to nowhere, and she thinks that is okay. It's making her find a peace within herself. Other things deleted make her nervous and she knows that is okay too. She puts her foot into the snow, one foot, then the other. She feels how sure her own feet can be, if she lets them.

A friend feels her spine, tells her she isn't drinking enough water: "It makes it all seize up, I can feel it" and her back spasms again. She fills a full pint glass when she returns home. Hopes (again, with hope) that if she drinks it all before bedtime, she will stop seizing up.


In the morning, the girl realizes there were no stars. It's merely deep snow on her lawn. Snow that seems it may never melt. It gets deeper every day. She can't remember a winter when it snowed so much, the constant white covering. A friend asks her on the phone why she cries so much. Even with the question, tears prick her eyes. Snap out of it. Look around and see how lucky you are. She'd like to see the stars again, think the heavens have come to down her.

Now the snow is so deep and comes so often there is no path back, no trail of footprints (like the ones she deliberately tried to leave yesterday, in the driveway), no breadcrumbs. It's all snowed over. Maybe in spring, maybe in the summer, maybe if the sun shines, maybe she can find a way back. A small piece of green, a snowdrop, just a little white bud, pushing up. The bud open, but hung low. Still, that snowdrop pushed from beneath the cover, came up, even if the white leaves drop back to toward the frozen earth, it pushed once. It pushed through the deep deep stars.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Seeing Light

The night before her house fills up again, she stands at the picture window, looks at the cover of snow. No moon. The streetlight fills up a space on the street like a small window, extends to her yard, and thousands of snow flakes light up the suburban night, like small stars that have fallen onto her lawn. There's no moon. There's nothing but emptiness.

It's true that she has no idea what she wants right now, but she loves the gentle quiet of her home. A cat slips through the hole in the door, going to the basement. From one street over, she can hear the tread of a car on the snow. Once she travelled over continents, moved to new countries, alone. Her heart would rush with excitement. She would sit down with strangers, kick up conversations. Lifted pints to her lips all on her own. Now her victory is this first weekend alone: seeing stars in the snow.

Tonight she picks up a different book and reads "What did I know, what did I know/ of love's austere and lonely offices?" She puts the poem down and listens to push of heat from the vents. She decides she will be okay, for now, but knows that she will wake up at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 (now, now) and will change her mind all night long. In the morning she will change the sheets on her child's bed, try to imagine what holding him again will feel like. She wants him to come to her with wild abandon and dreads the way he will call, like a sheep, for his other mother. It doesn't matter. She will always hold him tight, knowing as she does now, about these lonely and austere offices.

The stars in the snow. The stars in the snow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Cocktail For One, Please.

This is what she reads on page 80, "Instead of after-work cocktails, they would make after-work love, sometimes on the bed and somtimes on the floor; somtimes it was ten o'clock before they even roused themselves and strolled into the gentle evening streets for dinner..."

She puts the book down and rolls over on to her side to cry into her pillow. And moves deeper under her covers. Her feet go back and forth, trying to decide how much she likes the room they have to be alone, and she thinks she likes it. But then cries again, remembering. She never liked to snuggle before, prefering to push away and have her own side of the bed, demarking the space by how many slats of the bedpost belonged to her side, counting with exasperation.

The weekend looms in front of her. The keys are in her hand. On the counter. In her hand. On. The. Counter.

Tomorrow, snow again. Not this clear sunlight piercing cold into her living room. Two bells on the tree in front her house, ringing clear: stay, leave, wait, pause, don't. She prefers driving in the snow for the first time in her life. Not being able to see the road far ahead of her, the snow misting the shapes of bridges, trucks, roads. The edges of everything blurred into each other.

When she pauses, she gasps. Press play. Watch the edges blur. 5:00 is not too early for cocktails, she supposes. Let the snow fall.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The snow, the blowing snow. From inside her truck, she feels safe. She drives faster than she ever drove before in snow like this, watches as the whiteness swirls in front of her, two little lines along the road for her tires, disappearing a little every time the wind blows. She can feel it hit her truck. She turns the radio up. In the backseat, an empty car seat. Earlier, before she dropped off the baby, his foot tapped on the back of her leg and he cheered for snowplows. When she opened the door of the truck to take him to school, she heard a plaintive siren coming from the street below. She looked up into the sky for a helicopter, watched the electric lines shaking the wind. The siren got louder. She looked at the footprints in the snow her child's shoes made, felt the warmness of his hand. Was it the only thing left warm in the world? His little hand?

She wonders about the upcoming days. -5 degrees Friday morning. If she walked out of her house that morning, would all the tears for that day freeze? How long until they thawed?

She knows her life is good. This child, perfect, she worked so hard for. A family that seemingly loves her no matter what, although she might be testing that premise soon, a partner ready to move forward, friends... so many friends who are ready to hold her up too. She drives the truck faster. She thinks about veering off and bouncing across the furrowed fields, how it would feel to drive off the road, the bumps jarring her. Maybe the bumps would jar her out of wherever she is. She is not the victim. She would drive across the frozen ground hard and fast. She would get out and try to push her hands into the earth, but it wouldn't move. The earth wouldn't give way. She would keep trying.

Later at lunch, the sun comes out behind her but she never turns to look at it. She looks at a couple, older, sitting in chairs, one reading and one on the computer. They say little to each other. At night, do they come together in bed and hold each other, bring their bodies together in a way they did with furious intensity at one point? An intensity that lifted away the weight. Or do they merely touch feet, content with corns and bunions and the heaviness of life, a stalwart to lean on. Or a kite in the sky. Which one? Which one?

She wants to go home, but she doesn't know where that is. The snow has blown over her tracks.

Friday, January 09, 2009

On the Wall

Think of that girl on the wall. She’s sitting there. Her hand is in the cold cold water. It’s trying hard to fracture the moon, that moon that has been full, never mind what we see, the full full moon for thousands of years. Millions really. And this girl, on the wall, is trying to fracture the moon in the cold water. That is maybe her problem. You can’t fracture the moon. She tries to remember real things. Like the feeling of her baby’s heft when she lifts him from the crib. The longness of relatively new legs. She thinks if these legs are so heavy and sturdy after two years, how does she think she could fracture the moon who has been here for millions of years.

When lying in bed, she curls herself up and stares at the wall in front of her. Not this wall she was sitting on, with the history of women coming to lean over it and gossip, but the nondescript green wall in her suburban bedroom. She is starting, not seeing anything and willing herself to not see anything. Especially herself. Someone whispers in her ear that she is good, a good person, and she shuts her eyes then, tightly, as if shutting her eyes will allow her not to hear as well. She hears her child call to her, “Mommy, mommy” as if love is a couplet. Is love a couplet? Can love be single? Can love come in ones? She wonders about this question all day long. She looks up at the gray sky. Why is the sky grey in the day so she can’t see the sun, but clear at night for the moon to come down and look at her with his insistent questions?

She looks at the pictures of people she knows on the computer. Are they are all as happy as their smiling faces seem? They are all thin and seemingly rich and content. No one posts as a status update: “I am depressed as fuck.” “John says, “This life is wearing down my further every day until I might just blow away.” Instead there are quips about birthday parties and children’s diapers. The girl looks especially hard at the photos of those who moved far away, who live in new places surrounded by new languages. Do they have something she didn’t?

When she was younger, and not that much younger, her parents friends made comments about her, she was special. Going places. One friend in college told her she knew she’d be famous. Now she can’t find a job and stares at the wall in the half darkness at night. Dreams of putting her hand into cold fountains and fracturing the moon. When is she even going to take out a bow and arrow and shoot at the damn moon? When is she going to stop being lost and get out the map. When is she going to open her eyes?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Watching the Moon

Watching moon slowly track across night sky, it’s face in the branches of my tree, reaching up to entangle it in, the moon tries to shine it’s light so bright, it won’t be tangled anymore, but instead it makes it sit deeper in the branches. It tracks across the winter night. My foot on the snowy sidewalk sinks deeper. A shovel abandoned at the edge of a driveway, its edge up, glinting in the moonlight that is stuck in the branches of my tree, the moon is half cocked, sitting up so that the night can fill it up with darkness. A light in the bush. The chrome of the car in the street. I want to write whatever comes into my head, but there is so much shit in my head right now getting in the way of good writing. The winter is cold and I hate it. I hate living here right now. Michigan. I want to be in another time or place, and I should pay attention to this, because this is a theme in my journals. When I have been unhappy in the past, I wish myself away someplace new.

Anywhere right now? Where would it be? Even though I hate the cold right now, cold seems appropriate. I could be in Scotland, in a big old castle. A small B&B, a fire in the hearth. A cup of warm tea. A book. Quiet music, the same moon, glowering outside my window, telling me to go to bed. That he will take over watching the night now. I don’t believe him so I stay up and compete and dream under my duvet in the Scottish bed of other places I’d like to be. Outside next to a fire in northern Finland, reindeer somewhere behind snorting, I can see their puffs of white air reflected by the moon, who is still telling me to go bed. That he wants night to himself, that my awakeness is bothering his solitary look at the night, I’m seeing things he doesn’t want to share, like the small white in the rabbit eye as she stands up tall in the snow. My Finnish self wants to be someplace else also, like in a small village in France, outside a small pub after drinking wine all night and now will be walking home. This self rubs her hands together to get warm, sits on a low stone wall in the middle of the square, the stone wall holding fountain together, and the moon is brightest here, refracted into 10,000 pieces and this girl on the stone wall thinks that is right, the moon like her many selves in many places. She can hear the staff in the pub, sweeping the floor, yelling at each in gallic ribbing, the moon whispers to her from the fountain, go home, go to bed, but the girl can’t get off the wall. Dips her hand into the fountain, to keep the moon separate, not together, but she looks up, and there is the half moon telling her, I am like you right now, in half, not ten thousand pieces, just go home. Get whole again. But the girl, she thinks of sleeping in her Michigan bed, flannel sheets safe and duvet and slippers and she can’t get off the wall. She can’t get off the wall. She can’t get off the wall.