I've alighted again. For how long? It's anyone's guess.
I'm back in my hometown and happy to be here. Even so, most items remain boxed. The trunk of my car has become a weird closet holding bits of an old life. Root around in there and you'll unearth boxed shoes, pocketbooks in protective sheaths, a can of WD40, books, a ziplock bag of utensils.
I have no idea what I'm doing. I could be on the lam without much effort, but don't have any firm plans to break the law. It's not exactly chaos though. Work is stable. Beer is stable. Exercise is consistent. (Pauses to consider the irony, shrugs, examines sore foot.)
Physically I'm recognizable. The hair is long and silver. The breasts too large. The hazel eyes are more feathered at the corners, but that's to be expected. It's been a long year.
In other ways, the cocoon has been shed. I spend enough time at the American Legion that the bartenders know my drink. I can tell you on what night you can shoot pool for free at the bar on Main Street (Wednesdays). I'm relearning Euchre. To great concern and the open consternation of MathMan and the children, I've taken to listening to country music. I hear whispers of intervention.
Life is exploding with characters. I want to collect them all, write them down, get their stories just right. I think of my own story and wonder when will it be not so damn raw? I poke and poke and come up with too much feeling, too little sense.
I spend most Wednesdays convinced that it's Thursday. I don't think it has anything to do with playing pool for free. It's because I'm twisting myself into knots wishing for the weekend so I don't have to answer the phones. Answering the phones means there's a damn good chance I'm about to invite someone's despair into my ear.
"Law office, may I help you?"
And then the words come. Sometimes faltering. Sometimes tear-stained. Angry. Afraid. The callers who want to know right off the bat how much this is going to cost are the easy ones.
Working in an office that deals mostly with divorce wasn't the brightest idea coming on the heels of busting up my own family. I have a genius for putting myself in ridiculous and painful situations.
So I'm listening to the audio version of Naomi Wood's Mrs. Hemingway and there's this line that goes something like this.....
Hadley, his first wife, to Hemingway: You create these messes for material.
I listen, rewind, listen again. This is Chuck to remind Bill to shut up.
I hear you, Universe. But I'm still looking for that compass.