I feel like I ought to be living in Texas again for everything, they say, is bigger in Texas and you don’t argue with a Texan.
So much in my life is bigger now a computer monitor that would pass for a moderate sized TV, with font so large a single page fills the screen, and the tablet the size of, but thank God not the weight of, a phone book, (for you under 30, look it up), to read books and news since libraries don’t carry large print books (look that up to, probably) at least not books of poetry.
But thanks to modern materials science the lenses in my glasses don’t yet look like Mr. Magoo’s (yup, one more thing to look up) at least not yet.
When I write the story of my life, it will not be me standing by the sea staff in hand, waiting for the waters to part. It will be sand, endless seas of sand, piled around my feet. I will not recount ten plagues for there is only one that matters at all and it was not terribly exciting, no generation perished, we weren’t overrun with frogs or vermin save the odd infestation of cockroaches and the passing rat that makes faces at the cat cowering in the corner. I could have climbed that damned mountain, but the thought of dragging two great tablets back down with the poor footing, it just wasn’t worth it. It has been over forty years wallowing around in the sand until it caked between my toes and not a cursed thing has happened, just sand and writing on the sand grows tiresome after the first breeze. Actually I don’t care if I never see this new land, just get me away from this godawful sand.
I’m guessing it was about 2 AM, I can’t be sure since the only clock in the bedroom was analog and unlighted, visible only by day.
I don’t know what woke me, it just seems to happen, but the moon was peering in between the slats of closed window blinds.
I don’t like being watched in my sleep, certainly not by some voyeuristic interloper but there she was and it was clear there wasn’t a damned thing I could do about it, and we both knew it.
On the mesa she might be accompanied by a coyote, but here she traveled solo always seeming to want to watch as my dreams unfurled across the screen, and Luna simply didn’t want to miss this night’s show.
The truth lives in the interstices, increasingly harder to see amid the morass of desire, lost in the tides of alternative truths as some prefer to call lies these days. If you look for it you will find it, for it burrows in, refusing to leave, to be dislodged, transmuted, forgotten. For most it cannot be seen but need only be assumed, but those who need to see it most clearly are those who wish it not so, who, if they cannot be rid of it because it blocks them, blocks the path of their urges and desires would bury it, or paint it over or surround it with lies until the casual observer could not begin to tell the truth and the lie apart.
No child, no youth wants to imagine the moment of his or her conception. Now, that is the moment of personhood in some places, a moment when two cells become one and is a life of its own, but it isn’t the convergence of sperm and ovum we avoid, but the act leading to it. When you are an adoptee and only later in life discover your now dead birthparents that moment, that scene is a small void in your life among larger voids you want to, but cannot ever, seem to fill, so it is left to your imagination of time, place, circumstances and ultimately action, but you ensure that scene ends moments before conception.
I cannot say for certain which day I became the familial isotope, but I know my parents began accreting neutrons not long after their marriage, bound to their mutual core, unbound from me, adopted into the family, and I then became the isotope of the family but remote, easily enough forgotten, when I was not present. That is, I suppose, one possible fate for an isotope, it’s familial half-life up and then forgotten.
But perhaps it was just that I was the family’s Schrödinger’s cat, finally put in a box into which no one chose to look.
How many times had they almost met over the years before that evening?
What if the Fates had allowed meetings, what would have changed? Likely everything, nothing, for when they might have met neither was available, he a student imagining himself already in love, or both married never thinking those relationships would possibly end in divorce.
And how many times had they been in the same place separated by moments or hours, so many missed connections.
And then the moment of convergence two lives forever changed, two worlds merged in an unanticipated joy.
Do us a favor hold back on your tired, your poor. We’re no longer real hot on those yearning to be free. We left it on the plaque but no one’s supposed to read them anyway. Take the hint, we closed the Island, made it a museum that ought to tell you something. Emma’s dead, get it, and Lazarus, well just read your Bible. We closed the sweatshops and shipped out all those menial jobs to Mexico and the Far East so you’re of little good to us now.
So stay home at least until you’re fluent and can speak at least one Scandinavian language.