It has been six weeks, and I am still in my hometown, which is an undisclosed location in the great state of Virginia. And I gotta say: it is a bizarre and spooky feeling to be here. This time exactly five years ago, I was in a similar quandary, what with my being between two places and in a sort of limbo. The situation feels less dire this time, because I know I’ll be back in the place I want to be sooner than later, and for the most part I have about as luxurious a lifestyle as someone with my station in life could hope for during these dark days. Which is not to suggest I’m living it up . . . hardly! It’s just that I stay up late and take baths and watch movies and read a lot and hang out with my cat, and get gas station coffee and go on long walks and midnight drives in the direction of nowhere. And no one tells me what to do and I don’t have to be anywhere. In the Before Times, when the Shadow had not yet swallowed the world in darkness, these are the sorts of things I would be doing anyway in order to maintain some semblance of sanity. The difference here is that I am not hindered by having to go to a job or do normal human things with any regularity. Though I often struggle with the utter hopelessness of the world at large, I just try to do my best to keep it together. That’s really all any of us can do, I reckon.
All of this is to say: there are worse fates than being marooned in self-exile on a remote asteroid from which I happen to have come from.
THAT BEING SAID: I do feel a sort of despair that I could only experience here in this place. Everyone I ever knew is gone now, so I don’t know when I would come back, or why, or where I would even stay if I did. There is nothing new that can happen to me here. I can only gaze through a glass darkly at what came before, and what good does that do me, really? In some ways is strips the meaning from it all, which is a scary thing for me to feel. There is just no way to make it anything more than is, or was, which is a constellation of tens of thousands of memories that I alone hold inside my head like a curse. On the periphery of my mind are these thoughts exactly:
I am trying to enjoy it for what it is, which is a vacation into the past and / or a haunting of my own life. But when I wake up it will all go away forever. And so when I walk through old parts of town, or in my grandmother’s neighborhood, or through the forests and farmlands where I am from, taking all the paths I have taken for decades, I know that it will be one of the last few times I will ever tread that way. I’m noticing all sorts of things I did not see when I was younger . . . and remembering also the houses I have seen my entire life, and wondering if the people I used to know who lived inside of them still live there, even though I already know the answer.
My friend Cecelia is driving down from NYC this weekend to stay with me. This will be the second time someone has driven down from NYC to see my weird little hometown, a place I could not otherwise imagine someone visiting on purpose. I assume we will do what it is I do alone here every day, which is to get stoned and drink coffee and drive around looking at stuff with the heat on. And I think she said she wants to watch THE THING, so of course we will! We both miss Califoria. I guess we’re probably going to talk about that a lot too. We need to plan our escape from the East Coast and get back there. And then what? Who knows.
How can anyone know right now?? Maybe Cecelia can tell me, though I have a feeling she would ask the same of me. Hmmmm. . . .