Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Greenville without me

I drove to Aiken to see my friend Michael and his husband Allan, whom I'd been missing for years. Auntie Maya and Uncle Dennis took care of Lulu. They found baby bunnies living in the backyard. They went to the zoo. Naked fun was had with cats.
Now Adam's waiting for us in Nuku Hiva. And I'm sitting here, staring at the screen, reminding myself to stretch.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Adam is...

8 degrees N [er, wait--would that be south? all he said was 8]
138 degrees 32 minutes W
120 miles offshore, thinking about doing laundry and eating something other than lentils and weird sourdough bread

The people who raised you, siblings, if you have any--they have stuff. Maybe they have objects, things saved for sentimental reasons, still kicking around. Regardless, they have other things--accumulated emotions that have collected in a deep pool from which all can freely draw.

But I can't really talk about those things right now. As for the objects--the other day I came across a diary I had kept sporadically when I was an adolescent. I received it from some family friends for my eleventh birthday, or "for my birthday 11," as I inscribed it.

Excerpts from my diary: "I really hate Townley because she bothers me." "I got the Clinique bonus with English Pink lipstick and the Lancome bonus w/ some liquid eyeliner." "Don't be cute!" "I have an obsession with Adam. Of course, forget that. Forget that. It's so ridiculous. Don't even think about it. Dave I don't really care about now. I used to like him so much I think. I can't really remember. Anyway, who cares. More later."

Adam and I got married, but otherwise I don't want to relate to this petty, obsessive person. In my last entry ("DEC 30 I think 1986") I conclude, "I can develop myself from within and try to have a beautiful personality. It's very difficult though."

Paging through albums, watching ourselves grow up, my sister paused at a photo of our family taken in Lynchburg, Virginia ("I wish I had friends in Lynchburg. I hate my teachers they give us so much work"), where we'd moved after our parents' divorce. We're in the dining room of our house. She must be about twelve. She looks like she's eaten mushrooms and they're starting to kick in. I'm standing behind her with my arms folded over my chest, wearing dark glasses. Our mom is giving the camera a lovely smile.

Where was I going with this? It's really hard to think.

Those other things, the things I can't talk about, are trying to come in.

I can hear my mother, full of hearsay and popular opinion. The phone rings after polite hours for phoning have ended and she speaks in a flat, tired voice, so I know who it is, and then hangs up abruptly. Memories are like granite over which the days flow, but it's hard to know anything for sure. If there's anything to know for sure. My grandmother's house still smells like a dog that died years ago. I saw a photograph of her as a child. Her hair is bobbed and she's standing on a split-rain fence, calmly watching the photographer manipulate those unwieldy glass plates, balancing there without moving.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Adam is...

400 miles from Nuku Hiva with good steady winds. He has been inspired by the work of Benjamin Franklin. He even talks about getting some rimless glasses. Except he doesn't need glasses. He's been out there a long time.

My sister took these pictures after Lulu ate a holly berry which is poisonous and I tried to make her throw up and she started crying hard and it didn't work anyway and then my sister finally found the number and got through to Poison Control and they told her that I had just totally traumatized her for nothing because they don't prescribe barfing anymore. They said one holly berry was no big deal. And then I made a special drink in the blender and Lulu loved it and we hugged like survivors.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adam is

0 degrees 21 minutes N
130 degrees 32 minutes W

"An atoll is a group of motus."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Where is Adam?

Nuku Hiva bound at:
2 degrees 48 minutes N
128 degrees 3 minutes W

Lunch for the church ladies after a trip to the dentist. That's what I call good clean fun.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The other day, I had lunch with my grandmother. She told me:

I was only about four or five years old, and the boys were throwing bottles. My mama had told those boys never to throw bottles down there. And I was playing under the staircase and I cut myself. Look at that, Jess, the scar's just about gone. I guess I nearly cut my finger off. And my mama, she'd told them never to go up there with those bottles. I was just a little girl. About five, no about four years old. You see I was using a milk bottle as a doll, and I cut myself. About cut my finger off. I fell down, and the bottle broke. Well, it looks like the scar's finally just about gone.

And the scar is just about gone. It's been there for ninety years now, a long thin line across her index finger, and it's just about gone.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

If anyone cares, there's a lot of noise in my head lately. There's a kind of tinnitus. Where is Adam, what is he doing, is he alive, when is he going to be there. How many times my sister and I would ask that question, riding in the car. Are we there yet? There's a noise like heavy metal played at low volume, that's the sound of I need to BE somebody. I've got to get some WORK done. Sit at my comPUter. FInish something. GOD. There's another sound, which is sometimes like static and sometimes like a stream flowing over moss-covered rocks, making little pools where tiny fish dart and catch the light, a breeze blowing through the sycamores, and that's the sound the baby makes.

Where is Adam?

Eating lentils at degrees, 51 minutes N, 125 degrees, 38 minutes W. Twelve hundred miles from his destination, with the wind coming out of the SW.

We check out the zoo. The mother orangutang has wrapped herself in a sheet and is sitting motionless, looking like a pile of laundry, in a corner of the enclosure. I understand this.

Listening to some kind of weird mariachi by kids, for kids in the Greenville library.

Playgrounds are a new pleasure.

Lush evening in a Greenville, SC, park documented by my brother-in-law Dennis's Lush evening in a Greenville, SC, park documented by my brother-in-law Dennis's iPhone.