I sleep with the windows open and it’s cold now, as wintry as Portland will get. In the mornings I come up as if from the bottom of a deep hot pit and the cold air bites the tip of my nose where it sticks out from my ten hundred blankets and my sleeping bag, underneath all of it. I open the blankets and eject my little knitted bear, which has been wrapped up in my arms like a cat. I turn on my cellphone to see what time it is. Usually I’ve got a text from you, because you wake up before I do. Sometimes you’ve left me some soup on the front steps. Sometimes it’s still warm. This morning I wake up right when you’re walking up the driveway so I pull you into my shack, try and drag you down into the watery depths of my bed like an octopus. But you keep your shoes on so you won’t be late for work.
After you leave I get up and shut the window and turn on the space heater. I could keep the window shut at night, but then there’s something I’m allergic to and I stay up all night coughing. Mold! The concrete floor of my shack floods when it rains hard, the whole thing threatens to float away like a ship. I can only imagine what’s happening in the walls. But as long as there’s air circulating at night it’s not too bad, and I’m only mildly expectorant during the day. But still it wears me down a little, at the edges, and I fantasize my way out of here, plan my Great Escape. Only there’s nowhere to go. I can only move horizontally, I cannot transcend gravity. I am the master of my own heart rate.
So I stare at the computer, and think about my audience. Am I writing for you, who I don’t even know? With the shining hair and the glamorous costumes? What is your life even like? I have come to suspect these last few days that life, for nearly everyone, follows the same subtle patterns, and there is no way to transcend it at all. I can only move horizontally. Still I wonder where you sleep, and if you drink out of mason jars like me. Are there people who don’t stare at computers? Are we all jealous, imagining each other living? Last night Peter Fran came over for dinner, and while the shepherd’s pie and zucchini bread were baking we talked about all the horrors of the world, and also all the beauty when things come easily, and the contradictory nature of those ideas, and how try as we might, it was impossible to reconcile the two. It was, and still is, seemingly impossible that we exist in a world that harbors both. It makes a spectrum so wide it won’t fit into my field of vision, and I cannot make heads of tails of any of it. I am, we are, will be, stumbling along, in the middle. I guess that’s why it’s called mystery.
(and this has nothing to do with anything, but it’s really, really funny.)