My arms are sore. My chest is heavy. I'm pretty sure I'm about to get a cold and my eyes are drinking fire. It's the time of year when I'm awake all of the time. It's when mid-stride I stop on the sidewalk and try and think how much of her I remember. Do I recall how she moved? What she cooked? How did she look at me long before she was sick?
It's March which means it's also the march to her birthday. I couldn't figure it out for a few years, but there's a ghost that haunts me every spring. I don't sleep for about a month. I mean, sure, I close my eyes and sink deep into a tired place but before long I'm up again. In 2007 I didn't know what was wrong. It took another few years after that to fully realize what was happening. I'm being haunted.
Every once and a while I'll pause and look around. Is she really here? My dog comes around the corner and I jump. "Holy shit, Paco!" I berate animal that I've often wondered is the reincarnation of my mother. Wait. Maybe that's it. Maybe she did just come around the corner. And she'd love that she's the one lying on the floor and farting in my tiny studio. She'd really love that.
I'm not going to kid you. I'm tired. You get enough whining on your Facebook, I'm sure, so I'll get out of this little slump in about fifty words. But up until April tenth, it's like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. I get up at the same time with the same song. It's really shit music, but it goes something like this: "What are you doing? I know you should be sleeping, but there are some things that need to be done." Terrible lyrics. And it dances out like a miserable musical. The same actions. The rolling around until I give in and get up.
Get up. Let's talk about that. About how getting up is easier when you do it on a regular basis. Because I slumber all too often. Waking hours zombied into the dirt. Like the undead crawling back into their grave just because it's less than they thought it would be. Where's the carnage? The screaming? Terrified people pounding boards over their windows? There's nothing. It's bloodless. Apathetic. A coup without a battle and not one single person perturbed about the change of power. I'm just lying here, man. I'm not interested in your anarchy.
That last paragraph was a metaphor for being stuck in your own way. Imagine tiny legs trying to bound over a log. I've got regular legs. But sometimes I feel I should donate them to someone who could use them.
So rise, I say. I say now because I have no choice. Goddamn ghosts. And I say, Remember now. I ask, with eyelids dragging across hot pavement, what is it that you remember?
I know what I know--at least as far as what I can conjure. I'm making this up, but it's in my head so maybe that's just as real. But my mom is coming around the corner. It's a sunny day. The sky is blue because of the oceans or whatever makes them blue, but on this day it's a courtesy to the green trees and everything else that needed contrast. Thank you. You all accessorize nicely together.
Winnie the Pooh, I've imagined, would be the perfect host for what I'm painting. He's helpful to paint you this scene. Pleasant Pooh made us all feel comfortable with each other. My mom reading and me lying on her bed, in the sun spread across our memories.
So no actual Pooh, but his idyllic setting: Sarah, the kids and me on a classic picnic blanket. The kind used to sell Coke in the fifties. And we're where our house used to be. I guess I should mention that. Everything is gone. The home, the things, the new-ish diswasher and the fifteen LED screens that turned our kids blue like cheerful choking victims downing another few gigs of Internet entertainment. I can't blame them. I taught them that. But that's all gone. The doubt over everything--that undying self-spewed aspersion of everything you're not sure what you're doing--has dissipated. I'm not sure if it's because my mom has just turned off Oxford onto our street, but I get the feeling that it's part of it.
I get the feeling that it's nice to know what's important.
I hope this is just the beginning. I'll call it part 1.