November 3rd, 2021
Three Fourths Is Not A Whole, But It’s A Whole Lot
Nine months. That’s how long it’s been. That’s how long I’ve been here on Fowler Avenue. Between these walls. Sitting in this room. Staring out the window at the bare limbs of the Ash tree, at the snow and the green things and now the fallen leaves covering the earth, the tree bare once more.
It is strange the way life twists and bends. How in a matter of moments our worlds shift, flip, go from this to that and then something entirely different. Something new. Experiences hold no shape. Their containers change from face to face. Cada cabeza es un mundo. And I’d argue that every second is much the same. Our hands cannot grasp at the wind in much the same way Time slips past our vision. That healer. That conjurer of happenings. One moment this page could be as expressionless as a blank face and in the next a schizophrenic symposium from a solipsistic wordsmith . . . It’s true! . . . And much more can happen in the expanse of 273 days.
The constellations change and with them so, too, do our lives.
Our temperaments. Our outfits. In nine months a population can percolate to an uproar and then dissipate without so much as a whisper. In nine months we could be sipping cold suds on the red surface of Mars. In nine months a life develops in the womb, all the little nuances of growth that go unnoticed, and be birthed into being, joining the rest of us in our becoming . . . In nine months our fingernails grow an entire inch.
In nine months I have made a space for new memories. New instances. In nine months I’ve watched the inside of our home grow into a garden. Each room blooming to life with color and warmth. Guff’s green thumb going to work. I’ve watched the way the sun shifts, reflects off her mirrorballs and splashes the walls with little balls of white light. I’ve watched the way the pictures change as she continues to play with their placement. Her constant reminder that nothing stays the same, that she too is an evolution. A process. Preparation.
In nine months I’ve collected the sound of the church bells from down the street on a cool day with sun bright. I’ve sat with Tom, our neighbor, and listened to his stories about the FBI knocking on his door because his ex-wife embezzled funds from the bank that employed her, or when he used to fly planes and how he crashed in a corn field and walked away without a scratch.
In nine months I’ve watched the same young man walk past my office window in his own syncopated way. Each step off-beat.
One then two then a tap of his shoe on the sidewalk before moving on, cautious not to step on any crack for fear it may break his mother’s back.
For months I saw him coming and going always with a water bottle in his back pocket, a bottle of hand sanitizer in his front right, phone in hand, staring at it as he walked, listening to the Nebraska game or whatever else he played on the thing, but always staring at it as he walked with dark glasses and frazzled curly hair, sometimes with his two round dogs. And sometimes Guff and I would see him as we drove down Military by the park there or sometimes near Benson or clear down Keystone near Cass. Always the same way. Always syncopated. Head bent. One arm behind his back.
In nine months many other strange things have occurred on Fowler, like the time there was that violent storm that woke me up in the middle of the night with things clashing and crashing and clamoring about outside hitting the roof and me, alone, jumping out of bed to see the Siberian elm in our backyard bending like a palm tree and I not knowing what to do, never living in the midwest before, pacing around the house as light flashed outside the windows, saying SHIT SHIT SHIT thinking it could be a tornado and wondering if I should run to the basement and before completely panicking checking the weather on my phone only to find out it was a severe thunderstorm that left a large gash in the siding of our house and the rest of Omaha without power for at least a week and so resolved went back to bed.
Or the time I couldn’t sleep and saw a flash of light slash across the ceiling as I laid there with Guff sleeping peacefully beside me and in my curiosity got up to look out the window and not being able to see going to the back deck to get a better look in my boxers, finding out it was a cop searching through the back window of a car on the street below and then how the scene quickly escalated with more patrol units arriving and blocking off the street and a helicopter circling overhead.
I woke Guff up and we stood in the sun room and watched the whole thing unfold with officers circling the place, standing watch in the bushes just beyond our back fence with their night vision goggles on in case someone made a break for the back door. And then our roommate joined us drunk with a beer in hand, as if to make the thing feel more like we were watching Cops, all of us speculating, thinking it could be a hostage situation or domestic violence and then hearing over the loudspeaker a voice say,
“COME ON OUT SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT THIS.”
and then another voice yell out,
“I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!”
As more and more patrol units arrived the whole thing becoming a spectacle and I wondered if we were the only ones who were watching the whole thing going down and if it would end in a bloodbath or an arrest and in the meantime listening to our roommate tell us about his crush on his cousin and his grandmother giving him her blessing on the matter and after two and a half hours of standing around waiting, watching, wondering the thing dissolved and slowly the cars peeled away, the whole matter over leaving the street as silent as it had been before and us not knowing if they got him out of the house or he’d finally given himself up.
In nine months a lot can happen. Nothing is what it was and there’s no going back. In nine months we either carry the things that have come to pass, or leave them dead in the dirt and move on. In nine months we might even come to love the thing we hated, accept what we haven’t, and so grow closer to the person we can possibly be.
November 24th, 2021
Before I woke I was in it. I had come out of delirium and into dream, going through the deep recesses of my unconscious…
November 17th, 2021
The world is garbage. That’s what she said to me over the metallic tones of rage and syncopation ringing in my ears…
November 10th, 2021
It starts slow . . . It starts with nothing, really. Nothing at all. Just the chair and being in it. Sitting. Waiting. Nothing else. Just waiting, or not waiting because nothing else matters. That’s all there is to it.