On Homesickness. - The second time I went to New England was after a prolonged time in the deep south. My tenure at Louisiana State University had come to a close (relativel...
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Shazam, the lightning
If we were loosed from our bodies, freed from these shells, what would we be? Nothing? Maybe. Or would we become the quality that most defines us.
Roll that around in your head. Laughter, lightness, anger, grief. What word would people use to describe you, would you use to describe yourself, and how would you dig being that quality, post-body?
We would blow like a wind, inhabiting people and places that conjured us--laughter at a party, anger and fear in a back alley brawl, tears at a funeral. If that were the case, would we be more careful what qualities defined us? Who wants to be grief eternal? I'd go with laughter or wonder eternal anyday.
Let our bodies hit the floor. Not in a speed metal, mow 'em down manner, but a casting off of weight or restraint. Look at what is left and if you are glad of it.
Lately, I haven't dug what I'd leave. It doesn't feel like me.
This line of thinking sprung from a tangent. Junot Diaz was describing a character in the later pages of "Oscar Wao" and says of her, "Neither Captain Marvel, nor Billy Batson, but the lightning."
It was a magical lightning that transformed Billy into the Captain, made him superhuman. To describe a person as that lightning. Wow. I wrote it down and rolled it around in my head. I don't know what to make of it, except that I am struck by it...like...wait for it... lightning.
Diaz's words are also that lightning, transforming my thoughts about words and descriptions. About how to look at people. About how to look at myself.
Our 10-year-old pushes the ball up at field hockey practice. Our seven-year-old and a friend are on the playground pretending to be spiders caught in a giant web.
I am perched on a picnic table, in between the two. While the girls are in motion, I am still. Writing, reading fragments from Roland Barthes, who is mourning the death of his mother. Wisps of wind and rain spin evening melancholy.
And I wonder, what quality I would be past my body. But more, what quality will the girls remember me being? Is it how I'd want to be remembered?