jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


The long-anticipated houseguests have left like the late afternoon tide going out. Empty flat beach, lowering sun, barely a footprint. A tail has come off one of the toys, there is a mass of twisted sheets, in the bathtub drain there will be, I know, a small mat of reddish hair, whose solemn removal I will imbue with an embarrassing sentimentality.

I warned the downstairs neighbor of a week’s worth of pounding small feet and I am pleased that their greeting to the house is, in fact, to run up and down the length of it, clear the shot from front to back. The boy is like a lost pet suddenly found and brought back indoors as he moves from space to space, looking for the right sized niche for himself. I will note that he handles his feet very deliberately on escalators, very cautious of where the shifting world meets his changing physicality.

I am not sure what emotional card trick got the girl to agree to her first rollercoaster ride but we are on deck at the Cyclone and she gets to pick the car. Not in the front, not in the back, in the middle, a car with the letter O on it, is what she wants. I put my arm around her and at the bottom of the first fall press her hard to my side so she will not rise or shift overly much, will know that there is a safety in this risk. I can still feel her slight shoulder pressed deep into my armpit.

Their father, of course, I will miss the most. I could say it is because he is volumetrically the largest. Or because he is the ringmaster of this tiny circus. Or because he leaves the most hair in my bath tub drain. Regardless, the house is emptier and now I go back to the business of my life.


Blogger slickaphonic said...

ah, thank goodness you're back. (to me/cyberspace, anyway...)

sounds you had a wonderful few weeks, tho! (mermaiding around NYC and then drains full o' hair! woo-hoo!)

11:07 PM  
Blogger Dr. S said...

I interned with an anthropologist once who told me about an emotional concept that a group of people in Papua New Guinea have identified: it's called awumbuk and signifies the three days of fatigue and general letdown people experience after guests leave them. I think it's perfect.

9:56 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

slick, it is so good to be back. But be warned, internet connection at home is for suck, so I'm going to be spotty until that clears up. Boo.

Thank you Dr. S, that is in fact perfect. awumbuk.

It should be fairly noted that the father objects to being called volumetrically the largest, although I would simply call that factual.

Hah, here's a question I never want to hear: does this metaphor make me look fat?

10:46 AM  

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