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A Wild Imagination

October 2, 2009


**I wrote this piece months and months ago, posted it, felt a bit bad about it – perhaps I was sharing too much. Removed it, but felt like I was abusing the second-chance-ishness of “blogging”; the fact that you can, in effect, sorta take it back. It was an angry post, but a frank one, too. Expressed with little more restraint than a fuck-you voice mail recorded late at night on someone’s machine, the blipping red-light bomb waiting to detonate. It’s a piece about curbing the flow from a draining situation. But, instead, I continued to drag around that “angry” and continued to invest. I found this post in my draft folder this morning, and gave it a good, solid chop. Tidied up and made it a prettier around the edges. More generous (to both of us). And now, I repost it, then put my foot down again, and stick to that gesture this time.**

Tonight, I walked out of my old life, the one that fit like a laundry-shrunken shirt, too tight through the shoulders with seams chafing under the arms. Tonight, I did every cliché:

Put my foot down.
Stopped the presses.
Turned the other cheek.
Took the high road.
Brought an end to the madness.
Looked to springtime for a fresh, new start…
…to name just a few.

Tonight, I tiptoed through an uncharted maze of landmines, little bombs buried by a lover so long ago that even he doesn’t remember their locations and has put the map through the laundry in the pocket of some pants. It takes a wild imagination to believe that one person deserves to pay for another’s lack of impulse control. Likewise, one does not deserve to lug around the blame for another’s lack of self-preservation.

It’s my job to look after my own heart; to have brains enough to give things a good think, guts enough to be tough.

Tonight, I made a list in my head and it balanced perfectly. It didn’t come up short. I laid it out like a chart of sorts: sweet gestures in one column, occasions prompting apology in the other.

Tonight, I let it all go.

Tonight, I walked away.

Tonight, my kitten Birdie paddled in the sink while my back was turned, coating herself in dish soap, pasta carbonara and slippery skins of peas. While the pasta boiled and the pancetta sputtered in a smaller pan, I considered this:

For months, we paused before taking a sip or bite, my head dipping to a funny sort of grace while he froze each private moment in a digital flash. The last piece of art he created while we were together documents everything we fed ourselves for an entire year of life. Well, most of it, at any rate. Part of its beauty lies in its failure to literally capture everything. Part of  the beauty in the time we shared lies in its failures, too.

I wonder if anyone knows whose kitchen that eggplant fried in? Who put the funny label on the corkscrew that juts into the upper frame an inch or so? Whose arm owns that elbow propped on the table? Does anyone wonder who picked up that second fork after the picture was shot?

Tonight, I walked out of my old life, the one that fit like a laundry-shrunken shirt, too tight through the shoulders and seams chafing under the arms. I decided I am full. I have had enough.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Becca permalink
    March 11, 2009 12:58 am

    Wow. I’m so sorry, but so glad for you that you’ve put your foot down. I’ve been thinking I need to do the same myself…but I’m not sure I’m quite ready. I think we all reach that point that we finally say ENOUGH. I can’t wait to get there.

    Best of luck in your new life. I hope it fits much better! 🙂

  2. looka permalink
    March 11, 2009 11:41 am

    Each paragraph sums up what you say so clearly… I love how you’re able to tell those bad chlichés to buzz off once and for all, without having them over again.
    A great piece.

  3. Carrie permalink
    March 11, 2009 3:57 pm

    Lists are helpful, aren’t they?

    And when everybody knew and nobody told, its hard to know where the next sticky surprise is going to come from.

    I am thinking of you.

  4. October 3, 2009 12:06 pm

    I agree with looka, a great piece. Your writing is penetrating, welltailored. And more than that, the exposure of your process of writing – the working out, the working through, giving form to feeling – is insightful and totally inspiring. Thanks, in other words 🙂

  5. October 6, 2009 7:55 pm

    Interesting, complementary imagery. Besides the deconstruction of cliches, I like how you disrupt “objective” frames: I imagine you overturning the balanced list like a poker table in a saloon, and walking straight out of the digitally-frozen moments of intimacy.

    And you know, this may not have been intended, but the ill-fitting shirt totally makes me think of “The Incredible Hulk”.

    “Don’t make me angry … You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry …”

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