I envy the silence of rocks. Perhaps they are not silent, perhaps they are whispering amongst themselves in rock-speak. I envy the dewy softness of clouds, how they glow around their frilly edges. Perhaps, to some small insect or some smaller particle, a cloud is as hard as a rock. Everything has its refutation. The shadow of a swallow licks across the gravel outside my window. Gravel, to the paws of my cat, as smooth as stepping stones. And I, I feel like a sponge squeezed past bearing. I scan my insides, the long lines of nerves, veins, the smooth surfaces of bones, the wet, pulsating organs. I come to rest inside my skull. The answer must be here: a switch I can turn to ‘off’. Or at least a dial, from zero to ten. Five would be good, a nice balance, a good number. It looks pretty on the page, if you mark it in dots, like the side of a dice. That is how I see five: two evenly spaced dots above two more evenly spaced dots, and a single dot perfectly placed in the middle. I see five as the colour blue, although I am not synaesthesic. Three is red, two is yellow. One, white or black. Black, the colour of my wedding dress, a froth of lace that ended just above my knees. Lace tights, a wide-brimmed, black felt hat, a tiny veil just covering my mascara’ed eyes. I even had lace gloves, on sale at Victoria’s Secret. White: the colour of mourning in Japan. I married a samurai. I still have my wedding ring, etched with the mon of my ex-husband’s clan. The ring rests peacefully inside a black lacquered papier mache box I bought in Srinagar. I left the bargaining to the man I was then with, who I later married, Husband number 1: an American jazz saxophone player who unbuttoned me in a great tangle of blankets that smelled of mould, the houseboat rocking gently against the wet green lake. I remember: one night in a generic mid-western city, its landscape a mouthful of broken teeth. My slabfaced hotel room is courteously provided by United airlines. I’m stalled, enroute from Toronto to San Diego, from one man to the other, and back, I have a return ticket and a multiple-entry visa. My long-toed feet are slip-sliding, my arms are flung wide, my fingers tear through lace, white this time and as thin as ghosts, the earth below a blue-green marble in a game I’ve forgotten how to play. The room’s cyclops TV eye glares down on the bed where I’m pressed flat by sheets tucked tighter than a straightjacket. I cannot sleep for fear of falling, for the sound of pinball in my ears.
Sandra Jensen on On Loneliness debyemm on On Loneliness Sandra Jensen on On Loneliness Julie on On Loneliness Sandra Jensen on On Loneliness