There are people who don't feel this way, I know. Even here, in this coffee shop, there are people who feel perfectly welcome and at home. There are people who don't feel compelled to turn away quickly or to offer an apology every time they make incidental eye contact. I know this for sure, because I am one of those people sometimes. I can be something more than furtive and timid. But today I feel out of place and untoward, an offense to your otherwise acceptable and beautiful world. Sun pours in the window and illuminates the blessing of your smiling countenance. Sun glares in and exposes me where I sit, trying to hide, casting the shadow of my affront across the floor and onto your shoes. You stand shod on unholy ground. This music accuses me, and I know you are all only too kind and too benevolent to acknowledge the outrage of my presence. Did you ever feel obligated to evaporate? I would make your world whole and clean if I could only find the strength to open my eyes and release all my covalent bonds and disappear in merciful ionic dissipation.
It's all drama and overstatement, of course. It's fiction. At best today I'm feeling a little mellow and pensive. At worst I feel a little out of sorts, as though my soul might have gotten a little twisted and bent. I'm sure it will snap back and straighten out. It always does, eventually. In the meantime we smile politely and purse our lips, eyes foggy and eyelids heavy. We resist the springy pull of the fetal position and stretch our shoulder muscles and, closing our eyes, do our neck exercises and sigh in little popping circles of pain and relief.
"If you could live anywhere, would you?"
It's one of the questions that pops into my head when I empty it out.
"What have you got in your hand?"
That one always pops in when our hands are empty.
"What, then will you do?"
I will sing inside my head. I will name the clouds and then forget their names. I will watch the birds hop atop their long morning shadows. I will never give away my life. You'll have to take it from me.
Hello, friends. How are you today?
(Originally posted 09/30/2008. I'm feeling that way again.)