Thursday, August 19, 2010
Mike and Isaac drive me downtown to pick up the shuttle. And, as my ride departs, it first takes me through the same territory I just traveled to get to my starting point. I see this somehow as significant. But I am weary of metaphor, worn out by searching for signs within signs, really just glad at the moment not to be listening to anyone's cell phone conversation.
Here we are. Flying to get to the people we love and left. Or to where they used to be. The man across the aisle gets on his phone and my reprieve is broken. “Ron's plane is delayed,” he says into his cell. “I'm on my way. I'm on the bus.” And then, “How'd the night go?” I sense something right away. He continues: “How's the breathing? (pause) Vitals?” Ridiculous and apropo. Really, can't we just take a break from signs and synchronicity for a while? What to make of it all?
Here we all are, at the final moments, at the big transitions, relying on the same technology and futuristic inventions that allowed us to get this far apart to begin with to rush us back to see the people it separated us from. It either makes perfect sense or none at all.
Take a look at Sharon Old's poem called “The Race.”
In Marina, a girl gets one the shuttle – 20? 22? Her mother is there seeing her off, three big curls of hair just out of their forms sit on her head for bangs. Her daughter wears a pink baseball hat. She climbs aboard the bus and takes the free front seat, greeting her seatmate in the quick, jovial way of her age – heavy with optimism and expectation, vulnerable, not yet touched by too much grief. The girl promptly buckles her seatbelt and turns her head to catch the gaze of the mother, who is staring back. The two keep eye contact with each other for 30 seconds or more while I watch. Finally, a tiny, audible gasp trains my eyes away from the mom and back to the girl. She wipes her eyes and straightens her pink cap. She is late to take in the reality of the leaving, and I envy her. For my part, I have been long awash in tears.