fumbling toward ecstasy
i stretch, feeling the tug of my muscles, a pleasurable ache remaining. it’s a reminder of how much has changed this year. 2009, it seems, is setting out to prove that spring of 2008 was a crucible — the smoldering coals i had to walk over to feel the cool wet grass under my feet.
the first crickets sing outside my window, their tunes riding on the fresh breeze of the evening. my breath is measured, even. my fingers and hands are warm as i type, the muted light from the paper-covered lamp filling the room with a soft glow. and here i am.
something leaps in my chest when that thought enters my mind. the breath in my lungs hitches for a moment, and my heart quickens. here i am.
the air is cool, and the sun has begun its downward path, setting the budding trees and leafy bushes to dusty gold. i am alone on the greenway path. for once, no passers-by break the silence with their footsteps and words. no joggers with ipods, no walkers with dogs and leashes. just me. i pause at the first curve, looking out over the field. a smile tugs at my lips — something that is happening more and more lately. a few puffy dandelions grow in the grass. on impulse, i step off the path and pluck one from its resting place.
there’s a difference in the air this year. a softer note in the sound of the wind. as i let my mind drift over the events of last spring, it touches on snapshots. my heart stopping as i read a one-line email from my cousin matt. “please give me a call the first chance you get.” dark brown eyes under a shock of shaggy black hair, darting nervously as my boss informs me my hours have been cut by 40%. coming home again to find my roommate doesn’t have the rent money or the bills at all. mocking words. maniacal howling from the other side of my apartment. walking into my bedroom and feeling someone else’s uninvited presence. things missing. weariness. driving. driving. mansions and mansions filled with people, hard faces. suspicious glances. smiling children and dilapidated buildings playing among cut gravel and broken glass. a boy’s florid bow as he moves aside to let my car pass. spanish filters through my open window from neighbors laughing on lawn chairs, easy banter on a summer evening as my car moves through their world. the quiet of the office, eight hours of nothing. from sprawling villas to shoebox dwellings — an invisible line is crossed, and i drive into another world. the rocky mountains in the distance. tired. always tired. six o’clock i drive to work in the morning sun. eight hours of nothing. the sun sets as i drive, the numbers on my meter move, move. hours and hours. at midnight, i drive home. i fall into bed. i sleep. six o’clock comes too soon. tears. the harsh scent of vodka. the sharp sting of lies. snapshots — just snapshots — that world is no more.
mom always used to tell me not to spread the dandelion seeds. i pause as i lift the fluffy ball to my lips, my fingertips sticking lightly to the thin, moist stem. for a moment i feel a gleeful rebellion as i purse my lips and blow. tiny tufted dancers spin into space. freed from their resting place, they float through the air. one lodges itself between my breasts, perhaps afraid to take that step onto the current of the breeze. i pluck it out and it soars away, trailing behind the cloud of others that flicker in the light of the afternoon sun.
last year’s world is no more. only this year is real. only now. here i am. again my heart quickens as i glance forward in time. the clock seems to speed in its place on the wall. soon and very soon. no more running away. this time i’m moving forward, grasping at newness, at vibrance. everything about now tickles my awareness of the immediacy of the present. the pull of my muscles as i stretch, the comfortable space in my clothing. the smile that tugs at my lips. newness.
i’m alone on the path. i glance around, but no one is there. my heart leaps in pleasure. the creek burbles over rocks as i cross the bridge, the soft pat-pat of my flip-flops still audible over the water. the path seems smoother, more even than i remember, even though i was there not long ago. i feel the urge to run. what happens is more of a scamper, borderline bounce. my legs tense, my pulse jumps. something in me sparkles. without a thought, my shoes are off, left behind on the pavement. i pad a few steps forward, then i’m running.
2009 is a new year. i felt it with the ticking of the clock as december became january. it’s new in every way. the gentle ache in my muscles gives me a moment of triumph. my body is newer, smoother, yes — slimmer. i feel good. i feel healthy, energetic. when i look in the mirror, i grin. i think of what i’ve done this year, in the months that have passed since the sorrow of last spring. focus, determination. effort. i’ve fallen down, but there have been hands to help me up. and here i sit. i am ready.
i come to a halt where the path turns to grass. i look out over the field beyond where it ends, see the rolling, tamed grass of the golf course and purposely turn the other way. a small meadow is nestled in the crook of a curving slope. a few insects flit across the path in the sun. the breaths i take as i turn back toward home feel like a drug. the smile wins, and i feel my face light up. when i reach my shoes, i pick them up. the plastic, warmed from the sun, dangles from my fingertips. my arms swing at my sides, and i revel in the cool air that passes over my skin. my earrings jingle as i walk silently on my bare feet. right now, at this moment, i am utterly beautiful.
carbonation bubbles in my veins as a thrill passes through me. my skin hums in anticipation. soon. an electric edge is on the air, seems to hover around me like an aura. this time there is no trepidation, only certainty. clear, crystalline certainty.
no running away this time. no desperation, no stumbles and sobs. only an abiding quietness and a tugging smile. a sparkle, a glimmer. raindrops patter on the ground outside, and a fresh-washed scent floats in on the evening breeze. the crickets have been put on mute, gone for cover from the rain. inside in the glow, the world is spread out before me. i’m the tiny dandelion seed, and i’m finally ready to launch myself off that cliff, to take the plunge. till then, i’ll smile to myself, i’ll keep these sweet secrets dancing at the corners of my lips. till then, i’ll look out over the world spread before me. till then, i’m her. i am ready.
Posted on 13 April, 2009, in meanderings, thoughts and tagged authenticity, clarity, ecstasy, excitement, friends, happy, honesty, hope, life, love, maxfield parrish, movement, music, progress, rain, spring, trust, unique. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.