Sunday, January 24, 2010

hello

i see that she called a couple hours ago and left a voicemail
but i ignore it and continue watching the saints game
then it eats at me because she never calls especially not to chat or leave a message
something must have happened
the saints are in overtime and its 4th and inches and they are within field goal range
i check my voicemail
she is sobbing, barely able to catch her breath and she is grasping for me
and i don't know why and i don't think she knows why either
but she begs me to call him
i call her back,
it is three hours since she left that voicemail and she is considerably more put together
she tells me the situation
she tells me how scared she was, is
she asks me to call him because it would mean so much
it would lift his spirits she says
maybe it makes her feel good to feel like she is doing something positive for this family
that despite how her addiction ripped it apart
maybe in her most desperate moments she can try to assemble it
even though she doesn't know how to
i tell her i will call him
i call him
it rings and rings and rings and just before i hang up he answers.
"hello?"
i pause, i don't know whether to call him grandpa or ben
"ben?"
"yes."
"its lindsey...your granddaughter?"
i can hear him sigh
"its so good to hear your voice," he tells me
we talk a little bit and its nice
he tells me he is stable
he asks a little bit about me
i tell him i am hosting friends from germany
i tell him i like my job and that i'm trying to go back to school
i tell him that i love new york
he thanks me for my call and says he doesn't want to keep me on a long distance call
i confess that i was nervous to call him
i didn't know what to say but i wanted to call and just say hello
he tells me that everything i said was just perfect
he promises to keep me informed of his progress and i tell him good
we hang up and i feel sad, guilty, regretful
maybe i'm mad at myself
i don't know
the truth is i don't really know why things are the way they are
other than some uncomfortable feelings i don't like to face or feel
i don't like to forgive
i don't like to fix things because i don't really think that people change
but maybe they do for a little bit
like how my mom gets sober and then sometimes relapses and then gets sober
like how my dad goes to al-anon and climbs mountains and kicks ass and then falls for the same kind of woman-weak, needy, insecure, needing to be saved
like how my brother will send me really thoughtful christmas gifts and then not return my phone call for a month
or like how i cheated on and disrespected myself and every relationship i was ever in and then committed myself fully to a relationship i finally believe in
i guess if i think about it, people may not change entirely but maybe for certain moments or periods in time and perhaps it is worth keeping an open heart if only for those fleeting moments when we reveal ourselves as better than we actually are
i guess what i feel is sorry
a sorry i wondered if i would feel when this time or one of these scares would come
i always had it in the back of my head that one day i would get a phone call saying they were dead or in a hospital and i would finally be faced with a decision and with a feeling
i am glad that i decided to call
but i feel sick to my stomach over how it had to happen
at this point sorry seems trite to say
but maybe the best and only thing to say is hello...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

do i look like the kind of person who does yoga?

you can hear her heels from down the hall
she walks with purpose or perhaps an inflated sense of self
each heeling cracking over the linoleum floor like anvil on concrete
i know this girl, i think
they used to call me the enforcer
and two years ago i also said those same words
"do i look like a person who does yoga?"
when she says it to me, i laugh
no she does not
but neither did i and here i am
doing yoga
forcing myself to stop and really, really, really slow down
i have now been to five classes and i feel today i saw some improvement
i even had fun and laughed a little
i really listened to the teacher even though everything in my mind was telling him to shut up
they invite me to parties and environment activism parties but what really gets me is the supplies they are collecting for Haitians
it is not just money and it is not just in the hands of a blind charity
it is going to the hands of one of their students who has a non-profit in Haiti and will bring the supplies on Saturday
it might be small
the water i purchase or non-perishable foods,
but it feels better than money
even though i did that too
i want to go there but realize i would only be a nuisance, another body to feed, water, house-
it is nothing more than my own romanticized dreams of being a hero.
in class we learn a pose called "hero" and my legs feel good.
the next time she asks me if she looks like a person who does yoga,
i might just tell her, potentially.

Monday, January 11, 2010

quiet time

tonight i had the apartment to myself
i had a million things to do, like work on my Hunter application, organize my finances, put away my clean laundry...
but the quiet was deafening and i allowed myself to slip into a comfortable cozy position on the futon and indulge myself in the first book i have read for pleasure in months.
its a memoir and its good. sometimes too good and i slam it shut and walk away from it when i start to feel my saliva turn salty.
her depictions are gruesome and raw and too close to home.
but i pick it back up and continue reading when all of the sudden the smallest detail comes out and grabs me by my collar.
the obsessive counting, chanting, the superstitions, the obsession with being perfect.
millions of kids had mothers like mine and a millions more had worse childhoods than mine and there is something universal in this book that all of us can grab onto.
but finally, someone else had the chanting!
the right, left, right, left on doorknobs and the hot & cold knobs of the bathtub and faucets.
someone had the need to step on the cracks, every single one, once with the right foot, once with the left
someone else also had to repeat prayers, word for word in a chant until the tongue tired itself out and somewhere in their brain they had given the prayer permission to run continuously in their heads like a silent meditation...
or maybe just some stupid superstition
that if you did everything just perfectly, she might stop drinking.

Monday, January 4, 2010

who loves tacos

we drive home in a blizzard with new york plates leaving vermont like we always do
tired, hungover, and open
-wearing our guts on our sleeves-
i can't make a move without feeling like i might fall through the floor
my head is spinning and my stomach is angry
but my heart feels full for the first time in a long time.
we recap inside jokes and quotes of the weekend
speaking in rhythms and cycles and occasionally a song of truth
the chorus poking through at the moment when one of us says out loud something about themselves they are uncertain about
jess tells me to try to look at things more than just right and wrong, good and evil
i know life is not black and white
i just never lived in the gray area
i don't know how and it scares me which makes me think i really need to try it.
the week is intense
i drink more, i talk more, i get people to laugh and i'm reminded that i'm kind of funny
not as funny as zee but i have my own sense of humor.
we play a card game of words and i fall in love with it
and remember how much i just love making a word.
i am confronted once again by a friend who simply just wants me to talk to her
and i try to answer though in a completely shut off manner.
there's that light switch, i think.
our words weave in and out of our voices interrupting, running over and spilling out
the emotions all bubbling to the surface in this cacophony of footsteps on snow and polyester rubbing against polyester until finally the ice cracks and i feel like i'm sinking
trying to push all the water back in.
i admit things i didn't see
i apologize for things i did
and i try to move forward but the vermont air has penetrated me to my bones and all i can do is step back inside.
i no longer feel like drinking that night.
we dance at a wedding in honor of the groom and we all feel so pretty.
i try to take pictures, wanting to remember this moment for me
wanting to remember this moment for all of us
this moment that showed us all dancing like gypsies, laughing, loving and all in one place
but the pictures come out blurry as if to remind me that this is meant to be remembered in my heart and nowhere else,
that if i keep the tiny fractions of growth that happened over the course of seven days and keep them at the front, i can walk away from this trip and appreciate all the women i have in my life.
but saying goodbye makes me so sad.
it feels good to be home
in new york
with my friend back.