Wednesday, December 20, 2006


She was in love with Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and the golden age of Hollywood. She's a sucker for history. She'd give anything to have walked a red carpet with the people who made the silver in the term "silver screen" or ride a bus to a civil rights march when both politics and civil rights had yet to be tainted with the likes of both extreme liberals and Ann Coulter. She'd have killed to listen to Richie Havens as he sang "Freedom" at Woodstock. She'd have stormed the beaches of Normandy with paper and pen in hand and she'd bet good money she would have captured Pearl Harbor with all the ferocity of a devastated nation.

And yet - she'd want that Loretta Lynn interview while she was at it. And wishes she could have scored June Carter and Johnny Cash and the people who keep the southern charm in the streets of Nashville. The sound of Allison Krauss had more than once moved her to tears and at the same time - she'd love to scream with Amy Lee of Evanescence or Disturbed or Three Days Grace. She knew the beauty of 'Stairway to Heaven' and loved Ani Difranco with her lyrics like "I'm not a pretty girl/that's not what I do/I ain't no damsel in distress/I don't need to be rescued."

She loved the way her boots looked when they were dirty. Like she'd been somewhere or done something. She used to love the way her body felt when she shoveled snow, all achey and painful. A body well worn out for the evening. She'd crawl into bed with a cup of tea and pour over her textbooks and magazines, falling asleep with the light on. She didn't need much sleep then.

She ordered catalogs from Johns Hopkins University. She wanted to get into International Relations. She read the CIA's global reports and books by former agents like Robert Baer's "See No Evil". She wanted to walk across the emblem on the floor one day, she thought of writing magical narratives like Alice Hoffman's "Here On Earth", while piecing together detailed reports on the influence of different cultures and threats on democracy.

She was me.

"I miss me," I say to Rachel. We're on the phone, long after we both were going to go to bed, summing up our day. She consoles me the best she can...for feeling the same way. And then a few things occured to me...

The first being, I think Brandon's death, who I considered a brother, affected me more than I had originally wanted to admit. It's been one year. When my Grandfather died, we sat shiva. I wrote ferociously for one year to the day. It was incredibly nonstop. From the minute I woke up to the minute I fell asleep, I scribbled notes and thoughts into my journal and assembled a collection of over 50 poems. I've done nothing since Brandon died. I should have done something. But the lack of words for him have caused me to doubt my ability to have words for anything else.

The second thing hit me the other day, actually. I had written down for a friend, "You intimidate me sometimes. Like a good story, I'm afraid I won't be able to do you justice." What a loaded sentence. I'm afraid I won't be able to do anything justice. Imagine that. It's not the story that's the problem. It's me.

The third was the idea... That maybe it's not the goals themselves. Maybe goals are supposed to change. I gave up on mine because they weren't happening. But maybe that's not the point. Maybe having them - is. Having them in the first place is what matters. Whatever happens along the way to change the outcome - is not supposed to be scary. It's supposed to be fun. I used to know that, once upon a time. And I never was a gal to be pigeonholed into any one certainty...and I usually retreat into myself when I feel it coming in. If it's a time for resolutions...I suppose this is mine. To remember. Day by day.

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