REPORT A PROBLEM
Sarah Rachel Egelman
I had a dream that my father had a son that we only vaguely knew about. In the dream this little boy was about five years old and I think his name was Matthew. I was torn between anger and disgust at my father and a longing to know my brother. He was a shadowy little figure at his mother's (not my mother's) side. As I woke up I was unsure whether this was really a dream or a memory. For a moment I almost wanted this son to exist; this piece of my father still living out there somewhere.
Yesterday at the grocery store I saw a little mouse scurry from one side of the aisle to the other; from the canned vegetables to a stack of Coke. He ran so quickly and so low to the ground. I am sure he usually waits until the store is closed before foraging his dinner. I am sure that most people would be really grossed out but I was actually excited to see this little bit of wildlife as I filled my cart with stuff I need and stuff I don't need. Plus, I would never buy a mouse chewed box…
In the magazine article they called El Malpais desolate. But I think that is an unfair description. The ground and trees are full of life, the caves full of bats. The three mile hike to the volcano's caldera was nice; we walked mostly in silence, absorbing the view and fighting the wind. We ate our lunch in the car during the hailstorm, then headed for the arch. And once we found the sandstone bluffs and La Ventana, I couldn't keep my mouth shut. The beauty there was extreme and solid but changeable; at the mercy of the wind and time.
I found out that Emily is not entering her 100 words; she never registered. Yes, that's right, she never even registered. I told her if she didn't do it this month that I would write a months worth of 100 words talking shit about her. This would be the first one. But, I have decided I will write about what I would normally write about and only if the mood strikes me, then I will write a bunch of smack about her. She is getting sick and hates her job so I don't want to send bad mojo her way.
When she was in sixth grade some boys made her take acid and molested her. She wore coke bottle glasses and her teeth were very very crooked. She was skinny. After that she transferred to my middle school. And although I didn't really get to know her until high school I still remember how awkward she was at 11 and 12. I only remember her telling me the story once. But, like most of her stories, once was enough and I have never forgotten the telling. Or the teller. She is still with me; meeting me sometimes in my dreams.
It seems like my routine has changed so many times in the past year. And, tomorrow it will change again. It seems like my hair has changed so many times in the past year. And, yesterday it changed again. It seems like my mind has changed so many times over the years. Someday it will change again. It seems that light changed so many times before I pulled to the intersection. It will change. It will change to green again. It seems like the sky changed, was never gray again. Someday it will be gray again. It will surely rain.
Okay, so today is my first day at this new part time job. Only 14 hours a week; not too bad. Plus, once I start teaching in the fall, I can re-arrange my schedule to keep both. But, this week I go in from 3 to 5 everyday. First of all, that is only 10 hours…second, well, that is just a crappy schedule. I am hoping they will soon see the brilliance in three longer afternoons a week. I would love to just work two full days this summer but I know they want me to come in every day.
"He was buried in a mass grave with the other four. He was lyricism…" My dreams last night were one long beautiful string of words. Grammatical nonsense and so very meaningful, pure emotion. I thought above the dreams (or below, or wherever thought resides in relation to dreaming) this makes no sense, but I want to remember it forever. I saw the pictures come together with the words, and knew that book affected me more sleeping than it had waking. I knew they were all dead. I knew the story to be perfect. He was lyricism. And he was lyricism.
After Dan collected and analyzed the spider he determined that it was not a brown recluse. I had my doubts as I thought the kitchen wall was not a very reclusive haunt for the little guy. Actually all the spider pictures looked the same to me; slightly dangerous. Either way, spider images stayed with me through the night and I dreamt of a huge black and white spider with little tusks and suctions cups. It walked backwards on its front legs when threatened. Then someone tossed it is a pot, boiled it, chopped it up and served it like octopus.
Wide Sargasso Sea is only like 110 pages, but the commentary could go on and on. And, it does. Certain things I read and say, yes, I thought that too! Other times I am astonished at the connections made (five houses each? I think I missed that one). In general, the books I have read in the past month have been really quite good. But, today is one of those days where by the end of it, I may have nothing to read. If I can find a couple bucks I can head to the used place up the street.
I am sure my sink seems like a good place for a cockroach to hang out. Perhaps he (or she) was caught there unawares as the sun came up and thought, wow, daytime is rather pleasant, I think I will sun myself on the porcelain for just bit longer. Okay, all that I can understand. I can understand the presence of cockroaches and spiders in here. It was the dead caterpillar in the sink (next to the suspiciously casual cockroach) that was a little weird. Did the cockroach drag the caterpillar in? Do cockroaches eat caterpillars? What happened last night???
Last night the neighbors across the street kept me up again. Usually they don't blast the music until four in the morning. (I am not sure what the deal is with four in the morning, but that is when it starts at least one night a week). But, last night it started at about 12:45 just after I had fallen asleep and it went on longer and louder than usual. I kept thinking I heard people telling them to shut the hell up but I think I was still half asleep. I think that people are too afraid of them.
It is difficult to explain the wonders and horrors of the Albuquerque Flea Market. We spent hours there and didn't see everything. But, believe me, we saw an eyeful. It is like another country there. Today's Flea Market Purchases: One ounce dried Jasmine flowers: $1.50. Two small paperback books on Diego Rivera and Joan Miro: $1.00 each. Three large books on a) African Religions b) Revolution and c) American Religion: $1.00 each. Three little plants (aloe, santa fe plant and hobbit jade): $5.00 for all three. Sunglasses: free. Small ceramic plate: 25 cents. Small plant plate: 25 cents. Lemonade: $1.50.
It was pretty hot yesterday. Sunny enough to get a forehead-sunburn from walking around the flea market. I couldn't believe how much makeup some women were wearing there, not to mention the high heels. I had on good shoes and my feet still hurt by the time we made our way back to the car. The flea market is a bit like a mall in hell. You see so much junk, and so much bad parenting. Did I mention everyone eating orange pork rinds drenched in hot sauce out of plastic baggies. At least I think they were pork rinds.
He finds waiting really difficult. Especially waiting by the phone. His stomach is in a knot, or maybe he has butterflies or some other cliché. He knows he should be but doesn't feel like he is in control quite yet. Sweaty palms, voice raised up an octave with nervousness. He know he can walk right in and say, listen, this is the way it is. But, he knows he won't. He knows this phone call is not that important. But, he waits impatiently anyway. His anxiety feels like hunger; perhaps he should have some breakfast. A cup of coffee, black.
In my dream we were a battalion of three. Me, him and her. We were launching huge missiles out of huge missile launchers, over the heads of our own marching army. We had R & R in the country side (some imaginary place, a cross between Syria and Spain). I dreamt I was walking down the dusty road, rolling green hills all around me and an occasional vehicle passed by. Some of my friends were there, too. But mostly my fellow soldiers were strangers. Then I was court-marshalled by Meredith Viera from "The View." She asked me about my mother…
Greetings from Texas! We left Albuquerque a little before five PM stopping only for a huge bean burrito and rolled into Austin around five thirty in the morning. There was a key under the doormat but we rang the bell anyway…On the road we say cattle (lots of calves), horses, deer, rabbits and possums, many still alive. The moon was full and came up huge and orange in the east and kept us company the whole way; lighting up the darkness. Dan kept turning off the headlights to see how bright the night really was. Our next mission was coffee…
I am covered in the shaken off water of many dogs. I am covered in the silt of the Colorado River. I am covered in the bug bites of the bugs who live by the creek, especially where the water is stiller and darker. I am covered in the smoke of the man with the rottweiler. He thinks stoned by the water is a good way to be and his dog couldn’t agree more. I am covered in the sweat from my pores and Emily’s vanilla oil. This Celis is covered in my skin and stomach. I am covered in Austin.
We should have set an alarm, gotten up earlier so that we could have a few more hours here awake. Instead it is almost 11 in the morning and we are heading for breakfast before we get back on the road. This time our drive through Texas will be in the daylight and so we can watch the rolling green hills turn back into the red clay and rocky peaks of New Mexico. We will sleep all day Sunday I am sure, tired from the drive and the rushed vacation. We will call Emily and Bryan to say thank you.
I think I am getting more comfortable with silence, learning to suppress my compulsion to feel all air with my voice or my presence. I feel less like I am going to explode with the noise, only that my seams are getting a little stretched. Bella has not yet learned what I have learned and demands my attention all the time. Her voice rings through the house, asking for what, I am not sure, except perhaps acknowledgment. On the way home, we drove many many miles in silence and I thought all this over. I tried living with my eyes.
He had so much to do but had trouble dragging himself out of bed this morning. He blamed it on his work schedule: how can you function normally with a schedule like that? Even the mundane was fantastic that day—too large to handle. Too shiny to look at directly. He eased himself slowly into the day knowing that he would only get one thing done on his list before cooking himself the lunch he had decided on the day before. Plus, it was too windy out. It was the wind's fault. There was no coffee strong enough that day.
It is no use thinking about people you used to know, things you used to do, how you used to be. I construct elaborate scenarios, or try to capture the smallest details of "What It Was Like." It is no use at all, I tell you. Imagine everyone is in court, they testify about you, how you were, what you did, what they thought of you. Maybe you don't want to know. Not those people. Not the ones I am thinking of. Maybe deep down I am curious. Maybe my eyes scan crowds for a sign. Proof of the past.
I have read 4 Jean Rhys novels in a row; this is my last, the final one. At night I dream of smoky Paris cafes full of prostitutes, drunks, ether addicts, lonely lonely men and women. I dream the dream of the West Indies. The struggle to remember the sun, the warmth of the sun. The fruit and spices. Instead, there is only smoke and fog, Pernod, ripped dresses and self-hatred. When this last novel is done, I don't want to read anything this real again for a long time. I will only watch tv. I'll sit in the sun.
On my way from TVI to the Co-op today I saw a low-rider minivan. It was such an awesome thing. The body of the minivan was pretty crappy but the license plate holder thingy was chain, all the lights were very funky and it was lowered onto huge, wide tires. It, of course, had tinted window. It looked silly and majestic all at once and I was fascinated by whom might be driving it: a soccer mom nostalgic for her chola days? A teenager driving a hand-me-down vehicle? A dad who totes the family around but cannot give up low-riders…?
It is not like the past two days have been a whirlwind of excitement. It is not as if there is something going on today between two and four that I really need or want to do. It is just that, after two days off, with the weekend in front of me, getting dressed and going to work for two hours right smack in the middle of this Friday is really less than appealing. Plus, between my chewed up leg and this headache that won't go away, my energy feels sufficiently low right now. It seems like a good excuse.
In her hands the warm dirt is much more. She can almost feel it pulsating with potential life—a handful of pure nourishment. The roots reach out to her, asking for care and attention, a good and beautiful home, and she gladly obliges. The leaves smile with appreciation. She worries, though, about the sun, the wind, the pests. She worries that some of them may poison cats or critters who stray within her borders. She worries that the ones inside long for freedom and open air. She tends them with respect and caution; their little, fragile lives in her hands.
What is absolutely amazing to me is the irony of signs that plead "stop US terrorism" next to a huge Palestinian flag. I was with them all night; I agree with them about Iraq, george bush and the war-mongering, commerce driven (etc etc) administration. But pro-Palestinian propaganda? No, no, no. A Palestinian rap video comparing the Israelis to Nazis? No, no, NO! Please, please read some history, some unbiased honest reporting. Yes, there is violence and bad decisions on both sides, but terrorism is terrorism. Suicide bombers are terrorists. Israel has the right to defense. Even the "left" hates Jews.
Yesterday was almost too much for me. I really enjoyed the tour of sustainable housing. It gave me so many ideas and many of the houses were more than green, they were beautiful and wisely constructed. But, soon, my head was filled with images of our house; our next house. The house that will finally be our home. We have lived so many places, renting, even owning, and have yet to feel settled. I am anxious and I am ready. We said 6 months but I have a feeling we may take a little longer. I want our home now.
I couldn't sleep last night. It wasn't that I had trouble getting to sleep; I really could not sleep. There were several contributing factors, I'm sure. But at about quarter of two in the morning I decided, the hell with it, and wrapped only in my robe planted myself on the recliner in the living room. I thought I could be as fidgety as I wanted out there. After a while Bella kept me company as I watched the windows to the east for light. At 5:30 I came back to bed, and I think I did sleep a little.
Baby Face: The swooning waltz of the kangaroos against a fiery sunset, or maybe a sunrise. Necks arched, leaping in tandem, their dark eyes pooling with energy and effort. Faces like cows, like deer, like children. Monkey ribs. Surprisingly strong and also so tender. Lady whiskers are still in the breeze. Long lion face, too. What is this big rat? This big person? Soon enough the rain will come again. Soon enough the dance begins again. Dance of legs, flat feet, tail, and eyes. Dance of claws and sweet face. Dance of something hidden away: warm and safe and sleepy.
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