I taste a liquor never brewed

I’ve been having the memory of when we were delivering Flynn. To this world. I can see the carpark from the hospital room window. I remember the 4runner you had when we met at NASA. Was it blue? Yellow? (I bought a yellow 4runner, that was really a piece of shit—remember?

I remember your old duplex, a few blocks from Kims, was faded blue. You had a small garage, and that’w where your bmw motercycle was. You had a black helmut. I remember Denise and Tom’s house in…Milpitas? I remember Lynn and Larry’s house. With the really green lawn and the beautiful flowers. It was across the street from the flute lady. I took some lessons from her, remember?

Remember when we ran into that flute teacher on a flight between Dublin and London? In London we stayed on the second floor of a biggishh B&B. We went downstairs for breakfast. There was one other person in the room. We left the breakfast room, to the left was a hallway to the kitchen. On the right was the large, brown door that led to the street. We left the building and turned left. We walked down the road. It was my first time out of this country so I thought the walk was amazeballs.

Sometimes, when I write this, I momentarily think I’m talking about our cottage in the Castro. From there we went out the tiny front door, to the patio. The 2-story building behind us had an entrance—do you remember Freddy? Was there a missing finger, or a big band-aid? Did he have a guitar?

Still in the Castro cottage: exit the big lack iron gate, turn right, and down to Castro Street. The theater is a block or two to the right, across the street. Past that, a few blocks—for a second I think we’re going to see the ice-cream shop we’d hit ON Castro, in Mountain View—the last shop, on the right, and the railroad track was on the other side of the street. I miss Kim’s. Lunch destinations from NASA.

Sometimes—I’m having a memory of one of our living rooms and then I realize it’s just my old living room, in the house I grew up in, in Cupertino. It was so tiny, that house. I used to practice my flute near the front window. My mom was so often on her knees, in the garden, with soil-covered hands. I can see the loveseat, I can see where our Christmas tree, I can see the little dining room—that we actually used sometimes.

And in our Mountain View house the front door opened up to the living room, on the left, and the small dining area, on the right, the kitchen straight ahead, the bathroom door to the right, the bedroom door to the left, and straight back was the back door that led to the small garage. Right?

Today I woke up in Scotland. Now, we’re in a tavern/pub. It’s upstairs. It’s around noon. We parkon the dead-end ally, on the right side of the street, the front of the small car facing the two story building. We walk inside, turn right, up to the second floor. Inside is all wood. Shiny, caramel walls. And bar. The left side of the pub are windows. Random stained glass windows, flowers, a cross, a pretty mosaic. Wet grey air is on the other side of the window. It seems like we are, often, walking through clouds.

It’s fun to try and order vegetarian food. We sit at a high table, climb onto a shiny chair, and see what’s written on a chalkboard behind the bar. We are meandering in the highlands, with Cawdor Castle being today (or tomorrow’s) destination. You order soup and a beer. I have a cider and a salad. Later I’ll ask you to stop at a market so I can get some cookies.

Now, a local asks us where we’re from. We’re told that this man’s son is currently in New York, but the father doesn’t seem to know why, exactly. He drops his shoulders and laughs. We laugh too. We’ve observed that Scottish people have big smiles and big laughs, so it never feels gloomy here. Not really. We haven’t yet been invited to the Scottish boy’s birthday party, that happens later. We’ll see a young man lifted up, while sitting in a chair, and he’ll be carried around the large room to pick up the pound notes his friends and family are waving at him.

I’ve been coping better in unfamiliar places. Jay has, without purpose, made this happen. I never feel unsafe with him. He’s confident, he’s the smartest person I’ve ever known—that never changes. It took me some time to realize I was safe, with him. It gave me a sense of safety that would grow, allow me to take a lot of risks. Taking risks, with Jay, is what forced me to start living.

I fall back asleep. I wanted to travel more. I wanted to go back to that super scary Scottish road that wound and wound and wound. . . But. I woke up in Hawaii. That was okay. I love waking up there. Especially Kauai. It wasn’t our honeymoon. It was when we stayed closer to the North Shore. We drove our red rental car to a spot on the road where there was a sign with a red arrow. We parked next to the arrow and hiked, in the mud, down to a beach. We walked through all the trees and mud, and then to the sand. We set up on the beach. We saw fish. We swam in the ocean. Every time I got into the water in Kauai I was in awe of the warmth of the sea. Every time. I’d no idea that the ocean could be so warm. It wasn’t in Half Moon Bay. Or Trinidad. Or Canon Beach. Those were the only oceans I’d been in, until I met Jay. “Be careful. Watch out for jellyfish.”

I woke up again, today. In my art gallery. I loved my gallery. Jay came by to set something up on my computer. I’d been looking at the DWR catalog. I wanted to get Jay something cool. I wanted to get him something to sit in, something that was beautiful, and wouldn’t be uncomfortable and not hurt to his back. I was researching the Eames Lounge Chair. And Ottoman. I knew he’d love it, but wouldn’t ever buy it for himself.
I was sipping a cranberry martini that Jay had made—when I started waking up. In this room. In Dallas.

I’ve slammed myself into the hospital bed—Jay is holding my hand. I am pushing Flynn out of my body. And I’m doing it with no pain relief. Jay keeps telling me I can do it. You can do it. So I do. That was January 7, 2005. I never wanted to believe all of the things I knew were true, about me, for other people. I’m a piece of shit. And I’m insane. It says so right on my medical records. So far today, many times, I’ve wished I could rewrite my story. I don’t think it’s fair that I inherited a disease that didn’t care to reveal itself until I’d already thrown away everything, including myself. And, now, I see a life, my life, that hasn’t stopped living just because I’m no longer in it. Every day I wake up all over the world. I think about how to stop the incessant waking up. So far, none of my attempts have worked. The other day, I woke up in Ireland. We’d just hit a cow. And I went to sleep in Dallas. By myself. Knowing that the biggest memory loss I’m living with is the fact that I’m hardly a memory, for anyone, anymore. I hope that, soon, I wake up in that little white villa, in Andalusia. We drive to the convent, with that 5′ wide, windy road, and we ate those delicious chocolate treats the nuns cooked. Jay purchased a flower from a nun. He gave me the flower. I hope I wake up again here, soon. Spain. Warm. Health. Sangria.

I want to wake up in my forest–my forest in Humboldt. I want to be out of my literal box with a bathroom. I want to be digging tunnels in the fallen branches, branches that were once giant canopies of ferny shade. I want to be drunk on the liquor never brewed.

I taste a liquor never brewed (214)
Emily Dickinson
1830 –1886

I taste a liquor never brewed – 
From Tankards scooped in Pearl – 
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I – 
And Debauchee of Dew – 
Reeling – thro' endless summer days – 
From inns of molten Blue – 

When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove's door – 
When Butterflies – renounce their "drams" – 
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats – 
And Saints – to windows run – 
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!