Thursday, June 20, 2013

Call and Response

I read this yesterday: .

In the middle of the day, at work, when I maybe shouldn't have.  And it made me want to read Ocean at the End of the Lane, but it also made me want to say things I hadn't said.  I'm not promoting this post- if you find it you do.  I'm not explaining this post- you'll understand it or you won't.  I need the words to come, and I need to release it like one of those paper lanterns and let it fade out into the night sky. 

It's quiet, my door is closed, the fan's blowing on me and drowning out the traffic noise, and it's time to speak.

"it all started to make sense. i cried a lot.
and even THEN, i didn’t get it.
it wasn’t until we were at TED, taking a walk up a little hill in long beach a day or two before my talk, that i finally understood.
we were chatting about the book, i asked him a question about some of the symbolism in the story….and he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and looked at me.
you twit,
he said.
and he filled in the blanks, and connected the dots for me.
i’d missed it completely.
i loved him so much in that moment.
and for a second, a split second, i was a neil gaiman fan.
and i was a fan because he’d tricked me, and he’d tricked me without me knowing, and i’d heard rumors that he does that, but i thought i was immune."
(Amanda Palmer)

These were the words that stuck out to me. It might never make sense to anyone but me, but I'm ok with it. 
The thing is, sometimes I miss the forest for the trees.  Sometimes I'm so deep into it that I've forgotten the big picture. 

Sometimes things overwhelm me. Too much interaction and I want to get somewhere like I am now- closed doors, blackout curtains, a cool breeze and nothing (and no one) else. As much as I love my friends and family, social interaction doesn't revive me.  I feel bad about it sometimes, because I don't want to ever sound ungrateful for the interaction or make people think I'd rather be alone, but I really value the time at the end of the day when it's dark, it's quiet, and I'm alone with my thoughts. 

Sometimes I wander off with my own thoughts and don't say what I intended to say, and that's what the last two paragraphs were.  

The thing is, there's exceptions.  There aren't many, but there's exceptions.  What claws at my guts from inside my rib-cage is that I'm missing an exception.  What makes my eyes well up with angry tears is that I can't seem to fight off the feeling.   

See, the exception for me was someone.  It's mayflies in a jar though, these exceptions, and there's only ever been two.  This last one though...maybe I thought it was a firefly, and it'd be in the field for more than a night casting a soft glow on the grass.  It occurs to me maybe the firefly was too dumb to know it was him lighting up the night because he couldn't see behind him.

I didn't know before this that a person could be a refuge.  I always assumed people would leave, and that's not the kind of place you could build your house.  I didn't know that as much as I gave could be given back in big and little things.  I didn't know that beautiful bright flowers grew out of hot sand, and that fire was a proving ground.  I didn't know a scarred hand and a heavy heart could hold ME and take away pain.  

I never thought there'd be a time when I'd be ok with not having that wind-down time by myself, to turn on some show, or surf through some sites, or write.  Better than ok, I would start to feel the sigh of relief I felt flopping onto the couch by myself in opening someone else's door.  I didn't know what it was like to laugh when the whole world is nothing but fucked up and pain.  

But the exception.  The exception turned back and said "you twit."
And I understood, FINALLY.
And yes, I did love him in that moment. 
And yes, that moment's gone, and it's possible it passed by unnoticed by anyone but me. 
And I'm a fan.  
I'm a fan waiting in line for five hours with a book to say "You changed my life, did you know that?"
And if I could just get that message into those hands...
I thought I was immune too, but I wasn't.  I didn't know about those exceptions, but there they are, and here they aren't.  I've learned so much but nothing at all.  I've been waiting in line to say "you're the exception. If nothing else, I need you to know that. I need you to know that you changed my life." and I could maybe walk away a little better.  But the truth is, sometimes the store closes, and your idols go home, and you have to move along to something else, and your heart will break, but you'll still be better.  And that's still love.

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