“How do I make all this pain stop. It’s too much and unfair for one person.”
It’s four in the morning and she’s keeping me awake because she needs to open her soul, unfold it and look at it from the outside. She doesn’t do it often but when she does I can’t bring myself to breathe because I know that if she can’t get her head around it she will get sick. Everyone knows this by now. It’s just not done.
She tries to accept the fate of those infinitely dear to her, after running away from the one who loved her fiercely, while every single day she tried to wrest more from life than she had, in a mad scramble for redemption from what she felt was unacceptable injustice; and she hated (hates? Now that she’s swimming in confusion she still struggles? Is it still her?) injustice above all else.
And to fight the wrong of having been born in a different condition from the one she claimed and felt she should have, she saw it do, with the megalomaniac and helpless eyes of a child, everything a drowning person does, drowning and pulling down even those who try to carry you to safety, in the rush to breathe, and when you don’t breathe every gesture is justified, even not going back to your children in the evening, even hating those who hinder you, burning alive those who hurt you, humiliating those who come back to you on their knees begging you to forgive them, believing that that is justice, and that justice, which perhaps is above all pride and revenge and the desire to teach others how one should live, that all this comes before the serenity of you and your children.
“How do I stop the pain, make the skin reform? Moving away is a palliative and not enough, not enough is not enough. Her pain is inside me. Not only her, everyone’s, the tortured children, the helpless and starving elderly who at the end of the market go looking for scraps in the garbage, those who lose a child, all the pain in the world. If I pretend not to feel it, it will dig into me silently, and it will kill me.
I have to find a way to stop feeling this, without becoming a demented person like she’s doing. Or I will lose my sight because I don’t want to see and my sense because I don’t want to hear. There is too much pain in this world, maybe if I can find pieces of joy I can put them together and expand them and live without having to tear myself away from anxiety every day and live immersed in the present and only in the present.”
Cats scratch at the middle door to get in. I tell her that we just bypassed the solstice and from now on the days will begin to shorten. That I find it poetic.
“But why? It’s awful! You’re not normal.”
“It’s not hideous. It mimics life. It makes it acceptable. It makes you feel part of the whole, gives meaning to aging, makes it possible. Don’t you ever think about it?”
“About what? About growing old? Why, no. Not even dead.”
“Well it puts you in a very bad position. Your mother wasn’t capable of aging and now she’s locked in an inaccessible limbo.
Anyway, it’s inevitable. In the coming days we will have less and less light, that is what summer is all about. In the slow approach to darkness. It breaks the heart by how beautiful it is.
My eyes close but to put me down now would be inappropriate and too selfish even for someone like me. I give her a long hug, wipe away her tears and tell her I’m going to make some chamomile tea. I dive into the net and wallow between pdfs linking recurring numbers to angels, people painting with red wine and a cool blog about fermentations that I’m going to save and try to study tomorrow in a spare moment. How can you not love all this good stuff. It’s my dream come true: to be invisible in an infinite world of people chatting with each other in every possible language, about every existing topic, an immense library of Babel.
I struggle to let go of all this beauty but I pour the chamomile tea, turn off the light, close the cats and go back to her. She is already immersed in an indecisive sleep. Tonight she will wander in unknown places where she gets lost without being able to communicate with anyone and labyrinthine houses invaded by water, which is always rising. She has written something, in a folded note on the bedside table. I read it, of course.
You are like a setting sun.
Confused, indignant, still recalcitrant.
Sudden flashes of light rip through the horizon
Coloring the sea
Your beauty, your strength
Are still evident
The reflection of your energy floods me
It moves me and I admire you
As always I have admired you
And loved you
And how much you have torn my heart apart
And there’s nothing you can do
I don’t understand those who don’t want complications. I do want complications. Complications are the anteroom of truth.