Cherry blossoms are beautiful, my heart is ripped wide open. Everything goes back to beginnings, like a feedback loop of nostalgia, as if the middle never happened, the day-to-day, the text messages and the humming of electrical appliances. No, it was all explosions of flowers and sleepless, ecstatic mornings, time stopping and then slipping away, stopping and then slipping away, again and again and again.
“In the beginning,” says my acupuncturist, “love is like being on drugs. Around two years into it, that feeling wears away. You can quit, then, and start the process over with someone new, if you want, and live your life that way, or you can stick it out. If you stick it out, you might find that beyond the stagnancy there’s something new and unexpected and wonderful.”
My acupuncturist puts needles into my wrists, ankles and ribcage. She leaves me alone in the dim room and I feel my fears well up and wash over me, well up and wash over me. Afterward I pick dandelions and feel as though I cannot be dishonest.
The springtime, by definition, cannot be dishonest. The sandy, settled contents of the heart have been set loose, and they spill onto everything- the fragile pink flowers, the mud, the warm gray, clotted skies. It is impossible to be insincere. It is impossible to see anything but what exactly is happening. And it is impossible to think about the future.
And, for me, there is sadness. There is a heavy, cleansing sadness, like a sauna of feelings. Like a warm, soft exfoliant for the soul. It passes through me, taking with it anger and resentment, lifting them from my ribcage where they cling like small, incessant briars. It is only sadness that will remove them, a heavy, prolonged wash of sadness. The briars have been there for months and they are imbedded deeply in my tissue, and it is like a miracle that they will go at all.
Corinne and I go to the forest, weary and underslept, and we let Kinnikinnick run loose on the muddy path. There are trilliums, monumental firs, and in the distance the flat, polluted gorge. Waterfalls, swollen with rainwater, pound the earth. Kinnikinnick flirts with cliffs, runs sideways, and rolls in something foul. At the top we sit on a log and eat unsalted peanut butter on apples. The forest is epically quiet. All the snow has melted. In the distance, only water moves. I toss our apple cores deep into the forest (I know that you are not supposed to do this) and Nik-Nik fetches them back, dropping them in the fir needles next to the trail. On the way down, company increases, and we pass the Hall of Pit Bulls. Nik-Nik, off leash, emerges uneaten and triumphant. Company continues to increase until we are edging our way around strollers and gaggles of smoking teenagers, and finally we arrive at the ice-cream parlor and gift shop, where I shoplift a silver thimble.
“I needed a thimble.” I say to Corinne, as we walk to the car. On the way home we get pad-see-ew and eat it in my apartment, and then Corinne leaves to do homework in her brightly colored bedroom, with the cross-breeze and big table made from two-by-fours and her smell, like tea tree oil and coffee. It is no longer reliably rainy so I give Nik-Nik, who stinks, a bath in the kitchen sink with lavender shampoo. She tolerates the bath, the sloshes of warm water from a mason jar, on the condition that I feed her my leftover noodles. Afterward I wrap her in the only towel I own which she has not eaten a piece out of and rub the water from her fur. She then goes to sleep on the armchair beneath my sweater, contented, her small paws crossed in front of her.
Feelings, emotions, weather. I am a cloud of static electricity. I am the electromagnetic field of the heart. I am busting open the channels of my creativity and in the process I am loosening the tangles of twine that bind closed my sails. If there are winds, then I am sailing on them. The direction is unimportant, it is only the movement that matters.
Once, many years ago, I put my fingers in the ocean and asked the waves to show me home. I wrote “home” in the sand with my fingers. I imagined the deepness of the waters, the wisdom of the great and sensitive sea-beasts. I wished for direction, specificity, fixed coordinates.
You are home. Said the ocean. This planet is your home.