Becoming the Water
October 8, 2012
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I Know This is Goodbye

On the outside I looked normal, but my heart was jagged and bleeding, and my days were one long continuous sigh. It was Tori Amos I listened to in 1996 to ease the ache of a heartbreaking separation. She sang words written in my chest, under the disguise of normal:

I go from day to day
I know where the cupboards are
I know where the car is parked
I know he isn’t you.

And here I am 16 years later sitting at a coffee shop cloaked in normal. Wake up. Take Izzy to the park. She reads the tree-mail and leaves her pee-mail. We drive over to the coffee shop so I can write and muse and think. I sip coffee. She sips water. We split a piece of gluten free coffee cake. She naps. And snores. I email and facebook.

And from the open lid of the laptop, I glance the little wavy tufts of fur around her ears blowing ever so slightly. Someone’s left a window open and there’s just the faintest breeze. I catch my breath as the ordinariness and exquisiteness of the moment snag my heart.

I go from day to day
I know where the cupboards are
I know where the car is parked…
I know this is goodbye.

A long goodbye, disguised as a series of normal days.

Deb walked into my studio the other day to tell me that scientists have conducted studies with chimps and human children, discovering that the one significant difference between the two was that the human child would ask why. Both chimp and child would complete the task in similar ways, but the human child was interested in why an object worked the way it did (or didn’t).

And that says it all, doesn’t it? Izzy naps and snores. I write and muse. And then I see tufts of fur quivering and turn to look out the window at Taos mountain and imagine being at this table–our table–alone. Why? I imagine writing and musing without a soundtrack of snore, without black freckles on a white face, without four paws in the air and a speckled belly on display.

I see myself, months from now, gazing out this same window, the trees pregnant with summer, remembering. Remembering a girl in love with a dog in love with her naps. And I feel for this girl, whose eyes leak questions of why. And I love this girl. And I love her questions. And I love the hope she carries in her heart like a torch, the heat of it like a whispered promise of a story that never ends.

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