The Corner, The Turning

It's a little early for all this.
Everything's still very bare--
nevertheless, something's different today from yesterday.

--Louise Gluck, from "March"

It was while gazing at another ceiling, with mid-morning light poking in through another window, hearing another set of lungs quietly at work, waiting for another pair of eyes to open, that I thought, Right. This isn't it. That room, those hours, those lungs and eyes added up to something that used to be familiar (a warm Boston apartment, March 2001; a Seattle room near the train tracks, sometime before that; a gray July morning on Geary, not so very long ago)--a sighing blend of acceptance, understanding, and resignation that takes as its unofficial soundtrack Elliot Smith's "Oh Well, Okay" and, if in title and melody only, Cat Power's "Maybe Not."

I've felt this before, and this isn't it.

What struck me this time around, though, was what came next.

Which was this: But still, I'm somewhere else today. I wasn't thinking physically or literally, though indeed I was somewhere else (in a Valley that wasn't mine); rather, I felt like I'd come to a corner and had turned it. Suddenly it felt like I could exhale completely, for the first time in months, and that I didn't have to force myself to loosen my grip on what I'd been holding: it loosened on its own (well, ok, with a bit of a hazel-eyed nudge). Something in me went soft and slack, and for a while I closed my eyes and fell back asleep.

The morning wore on. The light changed. Our breathing changed. A while later, in front of my house, I said goodbye to those other eyes and came inside. Everything seemed familiar. Everything seemed just a shade different.


Simon said...

Beautifully put. I love these little moments of perspective and lucidity.
Imagine if we could see things that clearly all the time...

Emily said...

I wish, Simon! I would've saved myself many moments of angst and many, many pages of terrible, retrospectively embarrassing journal entries.