Rattling bones, deep-falling diaphragm – through continuous sightings and encounters with “H” (“her”) these consistently occur – even over hours, days, and months.
I might say that what characterizes our particular version of intimacy are curiosity and wonder and the ecstasy of discovery and finding – imbuing apparently abandoned spaces with vitality and imagination.
A week later was a potluck for the visiting artist. Small-talking with “her” in the kitchen – I felt inadequate to be occupying her time and “let her go” to mingle with the many I was certain were desirous of her indomitable and imaginative company. I spoke with her partner, the farm-inhabiting-best-friend-artist-lady, and H sidled in. There was much laughter (their minds are contagious and entertaining – as if the structures of adulthood and professional culture never quite ‘took’ or corralled possibilities)…around “her” my breath dissipates. We’d both been hired as rural mail carrier associates with joint training to occur the week following; both commissioned to respond to this artist’s intimately relational performance work; both in love with abandoned places and their loss and decay – both committed to discovering lost or overlooked things.
There we were.
I in poverty.
Day one of training sat us next to one another, her length and beauty, doodles and read-alouds from the training manual enthralling. I worked to breathe and lived through my peripheral perception – registering her movements, hair, wrist, knee, hands, mouth pronouncing acronyms, quirky nervous habits, footwear, scent and clothing…
She suggested (did she?) lunch together. I’m quite certain that converged through a clumsy stumbling and fragmented semblance of conversation. I had planned only banana and peanut butter on my budget – yet each day we went – for that amazing hour – somewhere I’d never been before in a city I’d spent over three decades in and around. An abandoned hotel, a nature trail, small chain restaurants, of which one, perhaps, constituted a first “date,” as, after placing our orders, she removed to the restroom and I was left to pay the bill! (Delightful things like that).
Blessings. I was gaining practice in “soaking in the good” – a strategy instructed through my therapy, and H was much better than I ever imagined, a remarkable alchemy of behaviors and body parts – co-constituting an unknown ‘ideal’ to my mind, sensations, experience and history. I was dumbstruck, amazed, bewildered, befuddled – in other words – alive and in hope.
I’d been asking her coterie of creator-friends to visit my home for fire or food or an art-making party – to no response or avail. Everyone taking a read. She agreed, then doubted, then declared she thought she might appear via an internet message. Thus she arrived, of a Sunday afternoon in April, to my home.
We parlayed and exchanged – art, family, friends, lives, plans, hopes, strategies, likes and dislikes, ideas and tears, meanings and lies and other truths. I ached toward her – finding romance and desire and a periscope of loving peeking out, looking round, checking for safety. It isn’t safe. It’s unlikely, bizarre, fantastical : sixteen years between us and four marriages – her blossoming while I fade to grey, her popping with –larity, my struggling for place. She asked me to sit next to her.
The sides of our arms. Legs. Eventually fingers becoming entangled. We talked staring straight ahead, caught in some astronaut training module machine, no gravity, no reference, dizzied and desirous, disbelieving and desirous, frightened and desirous, with just the right amount of belonging and estrangement, novelty to craft courage and excitement throughout our neural nets.
We concocted funnel cakes of cinnamon and sugar, mustard, jalapenos and sausage. They flopped and sickened, we laughed and she left. I think perhaps we loved, even then, that day. She left behind a bevy of hands from a book she created, by extraction. Our hands were open, our minds and hearts, a letting-go, with patterns and a freeing, a dance: in common, in Kansas, in history, in hope, in commitments, in fears and neuroses.