come back believer in shade believer in silence and elegance believer in ferns believer in patience believer in the rain – w. s. merwin
Last week a message reached me on my phone. Many messages reached me but this one was very different. The message had travelled from another brain to its fingers, which had touched the screen to form it into a string of symbols and spaces, thence it took to the air, antennas and satellites got involved, I assume, it bounced into the lower bounds of outer space… when it breached the ionosphere, did it seem like it might yet reach me? Couldn‘t it be that a spectral copy of this message fled out into deep space where one day someone on a remote planet on a far day will receive it in wonder and incomprehension?
It turned back or it was turned back by an object travelling at 28 kilometers per second. Imagine that for a few seconds and already you‘re in a far-away city. Further antennas? Today‘s word of the day truly applies: circumbendibus: a roundabout way; circumlocution.
It eventually alighted in my dumbphone where it caused vibrations. Vibes these days are no longer good vibrations nor emitted by people at parties, they are in pants‘ pockets, a manifestation of the will to communicate. I read that my mother has been taken to the hospital sick. She‘s at the advanced age where such a message sounds, at the very least doleful if not outright foreboding. Shucks, the day hath come and I‘m not prepared at all: emotionally, administratively, financially! …quoth me. So the bad feelings blend with a creeping panic and I can hear Lenin in a breaking voice: what is to be done?
The details are not so relevant, what matters is that it ended up being nothing serious. Unpen the first fumbling lines of the eulogy why don‘t you. She ended up in the ER but as a precautionary measure not because of any hideous, irreversible trauma. Pheeeeeeew, with a stress on that eeeeee part.
When I finally got to the hospital I only just asked for Mabona: 12, 64. They probably do not but I‘m under the impression that my parents always wind up in that particular room. I‘ll have to start keeping a record, I mean, something more reliable than my gut-memory.
However, when I opened the door, instead, it was my father [not a paragon of brimming health himself] seated by the window, studying his aged hands. Or perhaps the sky for unidentifiable objects, I don‘t remember with any precision. We make these things up as we go along, backwards in memory I mean, don‘t we? Be that as it was. He turned around at me in surprise, mirroring mine. He had had a medical emergency too? Why was he not down in Nephrology? Hooked up to the impressive artificial liver? The explanation of course was simple: they couldn‘t leave the rusty dialysis patient home alone. Thus they had simply appointed him a room, something that can only be considered simple within the formidable parameters of swiss health care.
My mum was downstairs, in the ER. Some of the earlier alarm trickled back. Why was she still down there? A suspected infection. My anglophone-media-trained reading mind immediately jumped to the scenario of midnight bacteria, a blissful exception hereabouts. Still, I couldn‘t just go inside. I was given a fullbody antiviral gown, green rubber gloves a gauze face mask. And attired like-so, with moving images of Outbreak and Contagion racing through my head, I went to say Hello to the Mums.
The gauze muffled my voice and the rubber muted the touch of our hands. All distances in our universe tend towards the infinite.
Surely there must be words for that sense of outlandishness that overcame me at that moment there, right next to & sealed off from my sick mother, but I‘m afraid they won‘t come to me.
It is different now, the person I love is not next to me but in the city next. Our cities cannot even scratch each other‘s backs. No big deal it should be, the distance, the very, very temporary separary*; just a once a week exception occasioned by her site of studies. Sit and study, Art herstory. Yet with a tad of bad… conscience and a bit of bathos, I feel the emptiness at my flank. It‘s not an emptiness, there is regular room-temperature air. That standard air however should be displaced by the warm, lovely body of my beloved. Maybe that‘s why it feels a little colder instead, the ambient air.
I want to reach out and touch her, simple, to converse with her in our alphabet of caresses. Or lean over to plant a kiss, be a plant watered by kisses. Kiss or be kissed. The elementary gestures of love that have come to be our everyday nutrients.
Funny thing it is: here I am, an alleged adult and after a single day of distance from my significant other, beLoved 1, I can already fell pangs. Thirst for her, Nomhle, who makes me whole. It is crazy, nutso, madness, water deprivation this sense of incompletion, the thirst&hunger pang of absence, the miss of kiss that overwhelms me in the space, the awayness of 24 hours only!
I mustn‘t be ridiculous, I mustn‘t belittle my sensations either. I can miss but I shouldn‘t dismiss. I must acknowledge both either and or. Must be patient like the fern at room temperature. Such is one of the states of being in love, of this folly of having found a better half and not having her around.
[Listening to Studio Ghibli Piano is not making matters iota one easier.]