Tonight I sit in silence, inhaling the night, a splintered moon casting pieces of shadow onto a slab of cracked, graying cement resting beneath my feet – a reminder that years of wear and tear, underground tremors still reside inside these flesh and bones. A faint invisible aroma – lavender is my guess, dances toward me from the neighbor’s patio. Reminiscent of another lifetime, intoxicating to the senses, it prompts, then seduces me to open the ancient journal resting patiently on my lap: a lifetime of memories, recorded in ink, impossible to erase, some fictionalized to keep me sane.
On the cusp of a milestone birthday, life unfurls before me. Bruised and battered stories yearn for white space, room to breathe, time to be digested. Some beg to be read out loud. A few congregate in margins knowing they are on the verge of being discarded, maybe even forgotten. The year two thousand four hangs in limbo on a blank page near the back, secluded. My year of solitary confinement. A life sentence still hoping to be overturned.
This is my life. Later in the evening, I excuse myself, moving inside to cut and paste, one last-ditch effort to rearrange, reformat the nuances. Returning to my desk, I stumble to find the dusty curser, a keeper of dreams, the tool I often resort to in order to deconstruct – then reconstruct my life.
Flipping through pages, frayed memories, I wonder if there is anything left to salvage of the gypsy once residing deep inside me. Falling from the spine is a card dusted with glitter holding promise that the best is yet to come. Watching it drop to the ground, it lays in the company of discarded pages impulsively ripped to shreds after a second glass of Chardonnay.
Paper cuts. Disturbed, disjointed life edits made for neatness. Economy. Brevity. I have followed the rules of professors. Obediently “killed the little darlings.” At midnight, I contemplate lighting a match, watching them burn.
A bonfire of my life.
The hour is late. Fearful I am running out of time, I transfer the accumulation of words onto the screen, consoling myself that this is only the first draft. A shitty, first draft. What I turn in later will be much better.