Halfway through the ten-day vacation. Still waiting for some kind of joy to take hold. Just at the edge of the day. Just a small tug.

There are 4 y’s in that paragraph. Like utterances of frustration.
Three j’s. Like little fishhooks.
Two g’s with their round descenders. Heavy. Resigned.
Where it ends.

Depression is a sneaky creature. Like one of those cats who hang out in your driveway, in your yard, until you find yourself living with a cat full time. Feeding it. Making concessions for it, as though you’re obligated to tend to it.

I keep using external excuses: I need to get away – to the desert’s heat and the intense sunshine that condenses everything vital into granular truths. Uncomfortable, but discernable. Not that I want to stay in the desert. Just learn from it. Take some things home with me.

A friend once visited the Saraha on her vacation, and for Christmas that year, she sent us all tiny packets with a few grains of sand. There’s a beautiful innocence in that little crime. An optimism. A desire for magic.

I think of the word charming, the history of the word, and figure before I go down the rabbit hole, it is bound to turn up darkness.

Charming. Charming. Every spell comes at a price. Handwritten letters. Deliberate fonts. It’s all in the details.

So just let it be? J. Like a fishhook.

A second definition for vacation is the action of leaving something one previously occupied. The example given in the dictionary is that of a priest and the “vacation of his fellowship” for marriage. I suppose then, one can have a vacation from a state of mind. And it need not be temporary.

Today I will listen to Edith Piaf and think of Coach, who died this week. I will be grateful for his compassion and generosity. He put a roof over my head. He parented me when I should have already grown up. “Stand up straight.” Seems like a metaphor now.

He gently questioned all the clichè melodrama I dragged into his house, “Do you think you two are good for each other?”

When I moved in, his kitchen was covered with dust. I learned that his bills went straight to the bank, and the paper copies piled high, unopened on the counter. He lived each day as it came. For the easy small talk at the cafè. For the deliberate ease and the joy of theater rehearsals. I swear he was the weirdest bodhisattva that ever lived.

I will remember him sitting in his den: smoking, and listening to Piaf.

I will be grateful for my healthy lungs.

“Avec mes souvenirs/J’ai allumé le feu”.

We go on vacation, we go through the desert, we take our chances fishing, and we burn our pasts to learn how to begin again.

While we can. Rest in peace, Coach.

2 Replies to “Pheonix”

  1. So sorry to hear about Coach, and sending you good thoughts. You may have also learned from him, but forgotten, never to count the days of the vacation because that action takes you out of the present. I wish I knew how to stop counting, too.