"There is no journey forward without ghosts; there is no telling without fear."
– Gerry Turcotte, from “Persistence of Vision” in Border Crossing
i wanted no echoes. to walk away from everything i'd written or said, no matter how true. to be able to turn a corner and keep moving forward, to find a spot where i could no longer hear those words still ringing in my life. what i found is that no such place exists, no matter how far away i hide my heart.
june 8: at 9 pm the sky is still blue. not daytime blue but also not the blue of nighttime, it is the blue of almost summer, the days lengthening quickly now, too quickly for those of us who would have summer stand still a while. never mind that the heat has been mild, that so far these days have fallen on our skin like a sprawling spring, too lazy to move on.
6 days later the heat is here, has been here, in fact, for a few days. yesterday the afternoon sky was solid summer blue, not a cloud to be seen. i thought to myself that if i were a sky, that is the sky i would choose, but then remembered the summer of 2 years ago, when clouds were the stuff of prayers, and thought perhaps not. perhaps i would want clouds. and then i remembered the nights with maggie under midnight skies full of moonlight and stars, and knew i would want both. i thought of snowy skies and white nights, of skies full of lightning and hail. i would want it all, i thought. i will take it all. the bad with the good, the hard with the easy. my words will bounce off the walls of my past and there will be echoes.
the reason for things: while i was away from emma tree, katie & i threw a yard sale. old clothes are mostly gone. those dresses that no longer fit, tablecloths i never used. it was a hot hot saturday in the middle of those otherwise mild days, a loozianna day with humidity up to here and sweat down to there. we sat in the heat and bargained away bits of our pasts, making maybe not enough money to say it was worth it, if we only counted the profit part, but we also counted the sitting in the sun part, and the negotiating in spanish part, and decided it had been a good day. come the following night, she found the cat. he was curled on the curb around the corner, in terrible shape, suffering, hungry. we thought he'd been in too many fights, and though he could barely move, we lured him into a cat carrier with food and kind words. one look and we'd known we couldn't leave him. never mind how broke i am, i said, he needs help, and never mind that, she said, we'll split the cost. at the emergency vet clinic, we discovered we were wrong - he'd not been in any fights, he just had too many diseases, including feline aids, and was dying. and so, crying, we let him go just an hour after finding him. the vet waived the euthanasia fee, calling us good samaritans, but couldn't waive the walk-in fee or the costs of the tests, but never mind. i was just glad there had been one last meal, that he had died with a happy full belly. and our cost? yes. the profit we'd made from the yard sale. almost exactly. on the way home, i turned to katie and asked if she'd do it again, the yard sale, i meant, knowing she would make no money, that it would go to an orange stray cat we didn't know, and without hesitation she said yes. me too, i said. me too.