We went to a friend’s house, an old friend who recently moved back to Chattanooga. We knew her from years ago when she lived here and taught English at UTC for one year. Then she moved to Florida. She’s my age and had a baby, a total surprise, when she was 48. I don’t really know her husband yet, but I have always felt comfortable with her. We share many interests—she’s a writer, I’m a writer, she’s a flaming red hot liberal, as am I. We love music, we love to sing and wax literary and read poems out loud. There were lovely things in her house and some strange things a peculiar interesting mix of this and that what a painting what a marvelous blue lap just look at this tile in this floor this enormous room and a toddler, a little blonde wonder of a girl.
We had collards and Hoppin’ John and I brought a cabbage thing and she, Sharla, made the most marvelous cornmeal biscuits. There were only a few of us—Lanie, Dale’s mom, me, a friend of Sharla’s and her husband, Brian, and a toddler. A bright plastic cobalt rocking horse a little girl’s fake kitchen wooden puzzles and chunky books and high ceilings and wavy melting glass in the windows. A gorgeous gorgeous old house. And a feeling.
It’s the first gathering I’ve been to in a long time where no alcohol was served but in spite of no alcohol I was still my big loud boisterous show-offy self. And I had that nagging of why, what is this? You’re drunk you’re drunk and you’ve not had anything at all to drink perhaps you have misbehaved perhaps you should not go out perhaps you are very shameful go get into a closet climb in shut the door and wrap up in a blanket and be very quiet do not look at me I am hideous. So perhaps it was me just me being me the way I just plain am myself large loud hahaha self. Perhaps being myself without the buffer of alcohol is just too disturbing when I’m with a group when I’m in a strange place when it’s a big huge house with only a handful of us in it such soaring ceilings and a toddler a brilliant yellow bloom of girl with her wood cravings of food things labeled grapes bacon milk corn donut toast. Even these puzzles and chunky cubby books were alien odd out of place or was it me who was out of place I don’t know it was just so weird. Unsettling.
I’ve not been around little children in so long. I had boys, not girls. But I love children. And the conversation was fine and the food was great. And and and.
Perhaps I have been too social. And I’ve more social to go. A party tomorrow night, here at my house. And going to the farm for belated Xmas Sunday afternoon with my father and brother. And then EFM class resumes on Monday night. Perhaps my head is has turned round backwards. But I do know that I didn’t sleep not really not the last few hours and I don’t remember any dreams and my head was quite loud this morning its churning its voices its you its direct you you you are this you are doing this and my own please stop talking to me you you me whoever distant loud persistent go do a thing that will get you away from reflecting from listening to the voice that will would wants to narrate you. It is not good. It is dangerous. Shut yourself up little editor shamer judger observer. Shut yourself up little jittery uncertain naked cold thing will dull claws and missing teeth. Shut up. Shut up.
Of course all this goes on in a snap and I have my breakfast quite dazed my coffee and then begin to dinker and dicker on my laptop it’s morning it’s 2015 it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay you haven’t done anything wrong shameful incorrect.
It may be that the house reminded me in some way of the house Dale and I built in 1990 and then escaped in 1995. Escaped the farm escaped to the city escaped to Rebecca to college to a new life and began shaking shaking so hard shaking all the old stuff off. I think that being in that house, newly bought, still being furnished, and being around a toddler scampering and cooking rocking putting pieces into holes placing random things in my lap—it may be that it brought back all the sad sad so sad I wish I were dead energy familiarity of that old house that old life I barely escaped.
And so I suspect to be puzzled today and to not pay much attention to my being puzzled. And of course its more grey shit stupid dumb skies. And of course I want to do some reading some submitting and get shy of this unsettled feeling. And I will.
And the new mattress comes this evening. And there’s no back to school for me. Steady. Steady. When there’s a river, you can always ride it.