Thursday, March 13, 2008

Some Things Last A Long Time- From Catherine


It rained for three days here. The daylight never seemed to be able to rise out of the steady darkness. Even at noon the streetlamps were on and the puddles glimmered on the sidewalk under their glow and I watched people dance around them, sidestep them, holding umbrellas or newspapers over their heads. In this weather the square near my apartment is often completely emptied of people, and I hurry home from work in the evenings listening to my footsteps smacking the wet sidewalk and echoing off the walls, no one to hear my little cadence but me. And the rain sometimes would fall down in sheets, and I would run under the awning of a restaurant, and to justify myself to the doorman I would pretend to be reading the menu. And I would catch my reflection in the glass display and see my hair clinging in strands about my cheeks, and I would stare into the eyes of that ghost in the glass and try to determine who she was just then. My hair is shorter than when we met last summer, and my skin has lost a good deal of its color. This winter seemed long and lonely and I feel as if I haven't changed much for all the time that has passed.

Then after the third day of greyness and cold rain, the weather broke, and the season changed suddenly. The morning felt fresh; the sun was warm and the city became full of its color and light. The people in the square reemerged, their clothes different, their eyes sparkling. They all carried themselves so much more lightly, and I myself felt lighter and felt myself opening up again. It always strikes me how people and nature respond the same way to shifts of weather. The man hunched in his heavy coat and soaked hat, huddling with his head bowed to his feet in the rain, and the leaf-less tree, sleek and black, limply waiting for the clouds to open. Both change drastically in a spell of warmth and sunshine. On this day, the same man was walking briskly, his head up, his face reflecting the radiance of the sky, his arms bare to his shoulders. And the tree, its branches now arcing upward strongly, tiny green and red bulbs appearing at the tip of every limb, releasing into the air the scent of its sap flowing through its veins like blood. The man passes under the tree and stops short, briefly called back to something by the familiar smell. He lingers over a memory, he considers the buds specking the branches, he turns his head and then he goes on his way.

I drifted about these last few months. It is strange not to be in love with anyone. Or to have your love live only in memories. They flit in and out of my heart; I lose myself in an almost perfect moment and I am carried away. But I soon descend, and I find myself back among the familiar rooms and faces that make up my life here. Some things last a long time, Fernando, and the words you whispered to me under that immense night sky softly settled somewhere permanent inside me.

Not too long ago I was standing beside my father's grave with my mother, holding her hand. It was a pale winter morning, clear and bright. The ground was wet and we were the only ones in the graveyard, and she told me that she couldn't love anyone but my father. And I thought of all the years she has been alone, with only a few friends and me coming every so often. Yet she isn't some obsessive widow. She just seems distant, like she is always distracted by some thought. And I wonder how it is to live in that house that she shared with him, to be reminded constantly of his absence. The bed they slept in, the kitchen where they cooked for each other, the porch where they sat and spoke. It must not be a whole life. You told me how Anna wanted a child but you never did. And I have thought for a long time that I do not either. But that morning by the gravestone my mother's eyes filled with tears and she told me that throughout that whole tragedy, the horrible dark last years of my father's life, he kept saying that no matter the end, when he held me in his arms, when he looked down on me before kissing my forehead as I slept, when he thought of the years ahead in which I would grow, he felt that he had somehow justified the misery of his life by giving me the gift of mine. And I don't feel that having children qualifies someone's existence, but I am the life my father was denied, and I wonder now and then if I should give life, in return. Or if there is some other way I can bring life into this world.

I am telling you all of this because it has been so long since we have written. Seasons have passed, and I am living with only the memory of you. Time moves so quickly, and we lose ourselves in its passing, but please do not lose me forever. Nothing is lost when it is written or spoken between us. I don't wish to slip into the silent dusk of things gone; I wish to create myself, to save myself, to save the ones I love. And when I was with you I felt that those things were possible; you had only to lay your arm on my shoulder or your head on my lap. There is so much that was never said between us and I want you to know that I want us to say it.

Speak to me,


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