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.


I live alone. Several months ago I became aware of when in the day I spoke my first words out loud, to whom they were spoken. “Good morning!” to Mr. K, rolling up the security gates at the corner pharmacy. “Thank you,” to Sammy as he hands over the change from my croissant. Sometimes when I wake up, I will say a word into the still air, just to make sure that sweetness is the first thing in my mouth that day. One morning this week I said “I love you” and when I asked a friend what he had said, he replied “Cat puke” which, in my context, made me laugh until I snorted.

I am invited, again, to the Holocaust survivors’ for Thanksgiving. This is painfully sweet, since I am the one who first insisted on dropping this happy bomb on them, and I still do nearly all of the cooking, but their pride makes it have to be their offer to me. Thinking about it today on the train, what this gift means, I get the nearly subsuming desire to drop to my hands and knees, press my forehead to something, in supplication, in gratitude.

He said his corner of California is the most beautiful place on earth, but I think the inside of my head is. Last night’s rain swirl and headlights turned that man’s raincoat into a monk’s saffron robes. The harsh lighting on the bus took the woman walking down the aisle, turned a take-away dinner tin swathed in white plastic into a halo in her hand, held out like an offering. This morning I say his name so it will be the first, the magnet, the aggregator of what this day holds.


Blogger Dr. S said...

oh... hooray? hooray. hooray for joy.

often, my first word of the day is "fuck!" as in, "[why did I just hit my hip against the doorframe?]" often, it's "yep, get up, get up."

these days, though, it's been "yessss!" because I am writing. because I am spooling out ideas even while I'm still in my pajamas, in my narrow bed, scribbling like a mad girl in a small cell.

6:08 PM  
Blogger E. Coli said...

I was under the impression you had a pet of some kind?

You see, when you live alone, having a pet is what justifies talking to yourself, so you don't think you're really crazy.

Of course, that means you're in a room all alone talking to an animal...

10:34 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

Yes, Dr. S, that would be a hooray. There is a man who says he loves me, and I think he may have a good idea what that means. I have low-keyed this, due to so many dramatics over the last year or two.

E, I had dogs. Now, just some house plants. But they are pretty good to talk to, too.

9:41 AM  

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