*Over the past year, and especially these past few months working quite remotely in Maine, a small heap of writing has accumulated. Some of it relates to my hikes, some does not. I have not been using this blog much lately and will start sharing selections here as I type selections up.
We are driving home from the airport and not a thing seems the same. The city, the girl, the way the highway ramps sweep around in the night, it’s all changed. All is vaguely tilted as if compensating for some new ache that has appeared in my absence. Something is off with her and I overanalyze the pounding of my heartbeat in my head as I clutch the steering wheel and weave through orange and yellow lights. It is the middle of the night and in the passengers seat she is slipping through the consciousness that lines the perimeters of sleep, the realm where things often appear simple, where the sameness of two things like speeding down the highway at night and cooking a slice of bacon are clear, defined and easily understood. Upon waking the comprehension is always lost. Outside of the window a snow-scape is flying past; mountains, trees and houses hidden in white. She feels the engine humming deeply beneath her. Looking over at me she sees a blackness driving, my body a distant memory of hers and my eyes a ray of unfamiliar light. This is the car that took us out west for the first time, the car that cooked us potatoes and cracked open the sky, the junky old Saturn with white duck tape racing stripes and a massive black sack on the roof full of tattered clothes. She puts her cheek against the window and watches it all soar by through the slits of her tired eyes. The car turns and swerves winding through a forest. She is beginning to feel sick. The car bumps and jerks every which way as I accelerate down mountain roads. She puts her hands on her belly as if she is going to vomit; she is dizzy, the rotation of the world has slowed. I look over. She is gazing at me sideways and begins gagging and heaving. Her belly is undulating as if it were packed with eels. The car fills with a viscous terror. Something large is coming up her esophagus, and I am afraid of what it might be. She is in agony and like a queer birth the first one comes, fleshy and squirming and naked. It crawls out of her mouth and into the back seat. Another, and another. The car has become a nightmarish carnival, a hallway of warped mirrors between our desperate minds. Gazing into the rearview mirror I admire the creatures. They are her, each born from different parts of her. The car emerges from the forest and into the vastness of Texas. The sun is coming up, bitter with the coldness of the night and sets the sky ablaze. From the back seat they look at it all with crazed and fierce eyes, shimmering with bile, free at last to exist in the realms of this world as true individuals. They smile and throw themselves against the cold glass in awe. They are her parallel kin, the fruit and seed of her secrets and suppressed urges. These creatures are a part of her. They define her. They are what no one knows. They are her obsessions, her insecurities, soft spots, and hatreds. They are the things she wants to scream in the street; the things she wants to go out and do late at night but doesn’t, the antipodes of who she secretly is, birthed into physical form. What would be left of her without them? Kneeling backwards in the seat she opens her eyes wide, watching. She cannot part with them, these glorious molds of her potential personalities, potential lives. They are portals to parallel universes. It is setting in. The reality of being cut off from them, living without them and always simply being the person that her friends and family are so accustomed to. The whites of her eyes are consumed by a feverish hue of blood and she leaps into the back seat. She begins to wrestle the creatures, the selves. They fight back and plea in dumb alien tongues like savages kept in basements, so unknowing of the world, erupting with curiosity to the point of insanity. She swallows them one by one. Their berserk cries becoming muffled as they slip away back into her belly; driven mad with their brief taste of freedom. What a hell it must be to live inside someone’s body, only getting to maneuver it and make decisions, actions, for brief moments months and years apart, a mess of selves always futilely reaching to take the wheel, wondering if their time will ever come. She curls up in the back seat and clenches her jaw, shivering, the dirt highway becomes paved, the desert grows tall and thick with buildings and houses, the red and yellow lights return to drown the stars. I squeeze her thigh with a little shake, signaling that it is time that we step out of the car and make our way inside.