Safety is an Observation

I want to see flowers. I want to feel warm water. I want to feel waves melting around around my body. I feel stupid. I feel smart. Do I feel smart because I’m so fucking stupid? Feelings are supposed to be shown, not told, when writing. Show don’t tell. I want to feel happy. I want to eat. I want to know. I want my hair to not fall out. I need a break. I need a brain. I want a break that lasts me the rest of my life and beyond.

I don’t want to be standing on the gymnastics floor, eight years old, with my gymnastics teacher, Wayne, behind me. Gently reaching around to push his hands down the front of my shorts. I told my mom. She was so upset I needed to comfort her.

I want my hair back. I want my life back. I want a sandwich. I want ice-cream. I want to eat with love. With people I love. And who love me. I want to sleep. Forever. I want to live happily. Indefinitely. I want to hold my newborn son, every one of these days. I want to be in love and mean it. I want to hide in a lake. I want to hide with fish. I want to write about people who exist, and who are good. Instead I’m swimming fiercely in rocky, murky water. My legs are drumsticks. My legs beat beat beat. The wood, shattering on the wet, sharp rocks. I taste blood. I remember the metallic, plastic, blasting—the sound of my typewriter smashing cement after I threw it over my second-floor balcony. Little brown buttons with letters in a dark courier font splattered the ground. H and I, two stated.

Whenever I find myself in the hospital room, standing next to the bed on which is resting my dead mother, in indecipherable spans of time, I am looking out the window. It is Summer Solstice, which means I am nearly exactly 17.5 years old. I am staring at the white blinds, which are slanted open, and I look through countless strips of plastic, I am looking at the sky. The sky is blue. Above the top of the concrete roof of the fifth floor of the other wing of The Hospital, the sky is blue. It’s that clear, clear, clear, clean, windex blue. The kind of blue that only happens for a little bit of time, on days with a slight breeze, and little pollution. Danny and I–Danny Lee Clark Junior (he’s dead now, too) and I–had left the trailer in San Jose, after the call came, around 7:30 a.m. Now, it was around 9:30. It wasn’t yet 10:00. The light would be less clear at 10:00. It would start to look hot. And it was, after all, June. June 14th. 1990. I look at my mother. I look at her. She looks peaceful. I’d never seen her look so peaceful. Ever. The bandage wrapped around the top of her head was neat, and clean, and white. It only covered the top of her eyebrows.  I would not–did not–think about the bloody wound hiding beneath the clean, white dressing. It was all dead. She was dead.  Standing on my balcony, in Reno, I watched the explosion.

When the typewriter hit the concrete, the black ribbon spool still pressed against paper. After the ancient typing machine crashed onto the ground, I remember brown leaves drifting around my brown typewriter, like ballerinas, floating in the blasted air. Today, now, I want to see the brown leaves drifting across the scuffled concr ete of my patio. I want to look between the brown patio steps and see the ground. I want to hear the shuffling sound of shoes as people walk on the other side of the fence, unaware of what they’re missing over here.

What I want to be is home. I want to be cooking paella on my stove, in our house, that I toured with Jay with a real estate agent. I want to be standing in our kitchen, in front of the counter, chopping vegetables on the countertop that I designed. I want to boil water on the stove that I, after much research, had installed. Our 5-year-old son watches something silly on the tv with J, who is sitting on the long sofa, a shot-glass of to-be-sipped-slowly tequila in his hand. They watch the green Bang & Olufsen television. I want to be there, at home, where I was–where I thought I was–safe. Safety is an observation.