Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
-Derek Walcott, "Love After Love"
For the first time in the longest time I can remember, I actually slept *in* my bed last night. The few nights I’ve been home these past two or so months, I usually end up either falling asleep on the couch thing downstairs or falling asleep *on* my bed. We keep the house at 80 degrees, so there’s really no need for a blanket.
But I had enough presence of mind this time to pull back the covers and try to do the sleep thing the normal person way, and that’s when I realized just how much shit I pile on top of my bed. I’m not the widest person in the world, but only 90% of me fit on the mattress.
It’s a queen.
Approximately 1/3 of the bed is taken up by pillows. The rest of it is covered with various items: this laptop, the animals (bear, rabbit, snake, sock zombie), one of my bookbags for school, textbooks, notebooks, engineering pad, pens and pencils, random books pulled from my bookshelves, my purse, a box of cereal and a 5-lb. bag of gummi bears. Oh, and a baseball glove.
In case you couldn’t tell, my bed is where I do homework, where I read, where I use my laptop. I have a fantastic reading chair (that is currently covered with laundry that hasn’t been put away for– yeah, two or so months) and a fantastic writing desk (that is currently covered with non-urgent mail from the past– yup! two or so months), but the bed is where all my work gets done. And people wonder why I have so many erratic bouts of quasi-insomnia. Man, if that one ex saw this going on, I wouldn’t hear the end of it for weeks.
Okay, look here, you. I don’t "think" that the desert has some of the best sunsets. It’s just FACT. In a recent poll of scientists and engineers on campus, both practicing and aspiring, 100% of those surveyed agreed that our desert has some of the best sunsets (and sunrises, but who’s ever really awake early enough to catch a sunrise?) in the world. Scientists and engineers! These are people who live and breathe and die by facts! Facts and hard, cold data!
From Lulda Casadaga:
From yankee artillerst:
And boy howdy, you should see the desert in a lightning storm.
One thing I realized yesterday which made me really happy is, I still love Chicago O’Hare. Despite the hellish nightmare I’d experienced there on Monday, it’s still an airport that makes me happy. It has a Corner Bakery, for one thing (two! actually), and that brachiosaurus still makes me smile every time.
That’s the last time I’ll mention airports for a while, I promise. Four weeks! Maybe even five! No airports for four (maybe five) whole weeks! No planes, no suitcases, no making sure I’m not carrying any liquids in containers exceeding three ounces that don’t collectively fit inside a one-quart clear plastic bag! Phew.
My life is slowly resuming some semblance of normalcy, and that fact alone makes me ecstatic. Hello, home. It’s nice to see you again! Mmm.
It was another day spent in airports. No weathers in Chicago, but there was a mechanical that resulted in over an hour’s delay and three gate changes (on the way to one of which I almost blacked out and probably would have had the man walking next to me not noticed something was up at my first wobble and steadied me until I was okay) for a flight I ended up not even being able to get on.
Finally made it out of Chicago on the second-to-last flight, landed in Vegas around 9 p.m. and promptly dissolved into tears again. I’d been wrapped in that missing and lonely feeling the entire flight back and that combined with the sudden delirious joy and relief of finally, oh finally being home– well, apparently it was too much.
And then I came home, home to my house, and the cat was missing.
This has happened once before, months ago: I was in the backyard replanting seedlings and she was out with me, and the next thing I knew, I looked up to find her gone. She’d slipped out through the gate, and I spent the next six hours alternately keeping vigil either at the window overlooking the front porch or on the balcony and running through the neighborhood streets, quietly but desperately calling for her. Six hours of making deals with God and the devil later, I found her at daybreak when I went back out on the balcony and called her, and she darted out from under a truck across the street.
It only took a half-hour this time to find her, but given the state I’ve been in these last two days, it may as well have been a lifetime. And I know it seems absurd, that so much of me could be wrapped up in a cat, but it is. I’ve just poured that much love into her for enough time that she is the heart of my heart.
All the same. I’m home, at last. I’m home and she’s home and tomorrow I start cleaning up the mess that my unanticipated absence -slash- greatly delayed return has created. I’m still listening to Owl City– "Maybe I’m Dreaming" has been keeping me company since last Thursday, and the more I listen to it, the fewer comparisons I make of it to The Postal Service (which is a good thing).
Lost in a silent ballet
I’m dreaming you’re out in the blue and I am right beside you
Awake to take in the view
Late nights and early parades
Still photos and noisy arcades
My darling, we’re both on the wing; look down and keep on singing
And we can go anywhere
It’s funny; I always expected "Give Up" to be my D.C. album, but instead, it’s turning out to be this one. But then, nothing tied to D.C. has been what I ever expected, so really, where’s the surprise? Quite.
I won’t go into the details because 1) I’m writing this on a phone and as nice as qwerty keypads are, I still don’t enjoy writing lengthy missives from them, and 2) I can’t handle the details right now, anymore. I’ve spent the entire morning– we’re talking the last seven hours, what with time zones– in tears. For once I’m grateful for the existence of Starbucks because I’ve been taking stashes upon stashes of napkins from their kiosks.
But the short version is, these past two months, I’ve been struggling with the idea of giving up dance, and the thought alone of walking away from this absolutely breaks my heart. Last weekend, I came so close to closing that door and locking it for good that I spent an hour at SFO sobbing either in solitary corners at the gates or in the bathrooms. The reasons I have for giving it up are both valid and not-quite-valid, but either way, they are reasons and they are mine and their mere existence hurts me more than I can put into words.
Very closely related to, or even tied to, this is my recently developed relationship with Washington D.C. I’ve written a little, or maybe a lot depending on what you’ve been reading, about how in love with D.C. I’ve been since the first moment I ever landed at Reagan National back in August. About how conflicted I’ve been over the sense of home that D.C. provides me when I already have a home, a happy home with a thriving home life, back in Vegas.
Again, I won’t detail pages of backstory, but the culmination is: I can’t get home today. And it could very well be an isolated crisis– I’ve gotten home with no issues all the other times– but as of this very moment, I’m stranded in Chicago thanks to weathers and mechanicals and canceled flights that have created a sudden and enormous flux of people trying to go west. I can’t even get to a city in my own time zone. It’s far from ideal, not being home today, possibly not being able to get home tomorrow (there are literally multiple hundreds of other stranded people also trying to get west on flights that are oversold to begin with), but it’s survivable– but this isn’t something I can chance happening again. So on top of being heartbroken this morning over leaving D.C. and probably not being able to go back there until November, if even then, now I’m suddenly facing the question of whether this is worth it, worth the consequences of not being home in time should I get stuck on the other side of the country again.
I love D.C. I never meant to, didn’t expect to; but what’s maybe even more surprising is that D.C. loves me back. I feel it every minute I’m there. It’s not a perfect city, but I’m not a perfect person, and I’ve said all along that I love Las Vegas for *its* imperfections anyway. Vegas loves me, too, but Vegas was a home that gradually and inconspicuously grew to be such for me, whereas with D.C., the recognition was startling and instantaneous. But the point is, there’s love and a sense of home in D.C. And the reason I’m making this point is because I want to clarify what it is I would be losing if I decided to stop making trips out there.
I’m attached enough as it is, and it’s only been three weekends total. On Saturday, I was thinking about all the parts of D.C. I still want to see and explore, all the surrounding areas I still want to visit, and the number of weekends it would take to do all those things is soberingly– not impossible, but certainly impractical. The more time I spend in D.C., the deeper my attachments to it grow, and the more I hate having to leave. And I just keep thinking, love isn’t supposed to be this hard. Yes, love is about work and compromise and sacrifice, but it shouldn’t be *this* hard. And I don’t believe in the idea of "one" love, one real and true and great love, so it’s not like I can make that excuse to myself, that I’m meant to be in D.C., that I will never find another place that appeals to and embraces me the way D.C. does. On top of which, if I’m going to go the "meant to be" route and throw in flighty ideas of fate and predestination, wouldn’t there be an argument to be made along the lines of, if it’s meant to be, in two years when I’m done with my civil program, D.C. will still be around, will still welcome me with open arms? Or in two years, the dance scene will still be going strong and I’ll fall back into it like I never left. If it’s meant to be.
Except even then. Even in two years. I can’t leave Vegas. How can I leave? My life is there. I wanted a career there. I wanted to fix it, to save it. How could I abandon that desert, that place that has forgiven me time and time again all my failures and flaws and infidelities? I don’t enjoy not being there. Despite the happiness and fulfillment bracketed within the various destinations for which I’ve left Vegas weekend after weekend these past two months, I don’t enjoy leaving home.
I don’t know what I’ll end up deciding. I have four weeks to really think about things, to think about what I’m willing to sacrifice and to make charts and graphs detailing cost-benefit equations. Four weeks to think about the possible directions my life will go after my birthday passes at the end of December. Though of course all I really want is to make a decision now and be done with it– only, I know I would choose to give up. No more, I don’t want to go through this struggle anymore, I don’t want to feel this ache of missing and wanting anymore. I’d rather have nothing, have a peaceful life of calm neutrality. I spent ten years of my life– if not more– stuck on the roller coaster ride of following and living with wild and unmetered passion, experiencing the most thrilling of summits only to be hanging on for dear life through the plunges that inevitably followed. I’ve had more or less three years of peace since having lost that kind of passion, and admittedly, I’ve missed the euphoric moments, but my god, I’ve not missed the price at which they came one bit.
It all boils down to, is it worth the fight? And more importantly: do I even have the strength to keep fighting for it?
So the good news is, D.’s cats’ toy supply has been replenished and the floors in his apartment are a whole lot cleaner.
The un-good news is, I still haven’t found my ring and the front of my dress is really dusty.
Aw man. That was my last little piece of San Diego, too.
"It’s just been one thing after another, hasn’t it?"
"Well, you know what they say: when it rains, the groundwater system recharges."
"I feel like a homeless gypsy."
"Do… gypsies *have* homes?"
"YES. They have their caravans!"
"Uh, caravans don’t count, on account of… they move."
"It doesn’t matter. They have caravans and goats. Home is where the goat is."
"I don’t have any goats! I’m a goat-less gypsy."
"Now *that* sounds like the ultimate insult. Why, you goatless gypsy."
"I don’t even have a FIDDLE to earn MONEY to BUY a goat. I’m a fiddle-less, goat-less gypsy."
"And that indeed is pitiful."
I’ve retreated insanely far into myself, which means my brain is freaking out. I booked it to the gate even though I was early and there was absolutely no need to do so, which means I was a bit breathless and flushed and hot for 20 minutes after I sat down, which made me feel ridiculous. I’m wearing a semi-casual dress but with ballet flats instead of heels, which means I feel dowdy and frumpy.
And I know that things will be okay this weekend and will start looking up once I land at SFO and that everything I’m worried about will turn out to be irrelevant, but as of right now, I’m still at McCarran and am steeling myself to follow through, to not give in to this weird knot of anticipation and anxiety that’s formed in my stomach and to not throw in the towel right now and just go home.
Commit. Commit commit commit.
[Edit @ 4:30 p.m.: So Worry #1 actually happened and I won’t make it out of Las Vegas now until 6 p.m. And I’m still alive and the world didn’t implode and did I mention I’m still alive? Miracles, man. I’m recharging the laptop at the little Verizon-sponsored Recharge! Zone, or whatever this is called, and I just finished my online PoliSci quiz. AND I remembered I had lotion in my suitcase, so I’m no longer ashy. Still feeling a little frumpy from the no-heels thing, but whatever. (Also: not only are these new ballet flats, which means they haven’t been broken in, but they’re ballet flats bought specifically for the purpose of dancing, which means they’re currently a half-size too small. Because all the shoes I wear for dance get stretched out a half-size by the time they’re broken in, and loose ballet flats + Charleston = flying shoe missles. Point being, there is much metatarsal discontent right now.) Things are okay. It’s going to be a grand weekend, a gorgefest of dance in one of my favorite cities of all time. Yes.]