Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Last evening, I saw the pink sunset reflected on the white breast of a bird on a wire.

David Bowie has been singing Golden Years in my head since I got up about 45 minutes ago. That’s likely because I have been contemplating life and death.

Is there a crucible that crushes things? What would that device be called? The stresses and omnipresent sadness of the illness of my friend, the usual financial buffeting and fancydancing, the (semi-arid) desert heat, and then my mom, these things do not make for a light heart and a positive outlook.

For those of us who did not have children, it may be that our aging parents give us a chance to experience a version of it. My mother is like a bird or a baby as food is very often on her mind. Whereas I almost never eat regular meals being primarily of the grazing kind, my mother is concerned about it repeatedly during the course of the day. And sometimes she wants me to take responsibility for feeding her, or rather, making sure she eats. Like a famished teenager, she nearly wails “but there’s no food in the house.” And like a parent, I list off the things available.

It’s also difficult, for both us, to accept aspects of her age-related limitations. Really, I think it is harder for me. Although things have calmed down considerably, last night, while I was preparing dinner (grilled balsamic chicken breasts with rosemary and garlic, roasted potatoes, sun-dried tomato-almond pesto linguine, green salad with pea shoots and home grown tomatoes), she confessed that she was depressed. And one thing she is depressed about is our relationship. She said she was too depressed to want to talk about it. That one is straight out of my playbook.

Now that was several days ago. 

Yesterday, I thought I was slipping into another depression, and maybe I am. I decided to skip the sleeping medication last night to see if I could just sleep without it. I woke up many times. I don't feel rested this morning at 6:45. There was a lot of tossing and turning and worrying, but the dementors are at bay, although they made a surprise sortie yesterday afternoon. 

Every time I check my email, I wonder if there will be more dispiriting news about my friend. 

It has been a good year for reading; I have read some amazing books. Just before I heard the news about my friend, I finished a whopper (although short), highly recommended (Roberto Bolaño is also fan), by Andrés Neuman, an Argentinian/Spanish writer , Talking to Ourselves (Hablar Solos for any of you who are accomplished enough to read Spanish). This central theme of the book is death, but it is about so many other things : love, sex, literature, road trips. Here's a little section (the husband leaves an audio recording for son, his wife listens):

Confronted by death, our emotions tense up, stretch, almost snap. They veer from paralyzing pain to hyperactive euphoria. The other's death throes are more or less fleeting. Not these conflicting emotions. As though the survivors' inner arc had collapsed, leaving them capable of either extreme. Of the greatest empathy and the greatest cruelty. Animal loyalties and wartime treason.

In his recording, I can't stop thinking about this, Mario said debts of love also exist, and that we are fooling ourselves if we deny it. He said these debts can't be repaid, but they can be silenced. And that I, if I understood correctly, did I? had hushed up his debts, so he was going to hush up mine.

I lock myself in the bathroom to listen to this passage, I hear his voice again, his voice talking to himself, and I can't believe this voice has no person, a first person without anybody there, that my son is being spoken to by his father and yet Lito doesn't have a father, that my husband talks about me and yet in the bedroom there is no one but me.

What did Mario know? This doubt weighs on me.

Doubt, debt.

1 comment:

  1. There are many devices for crushing things, technology for crushing things is a big part of the history of technology. Quern for grain in the neolithic, a mortar and pestle used in alchemy and pharmacy, and a mill is basically a device for the assisted crushing of things. Also, presses for squeezing the juice out of things. Your friend. MW