Betweenings

betweening
"It's so quiet here."

For a while, everything seems like a dream. I become a rather distant observer of my own activities, separate and dispassionate. I greet the flight attendant who probably doesn't recognize that I'm disconnected, hardly present. The turbulence seems like it's happening to somebody else. I change planes in a daze, surprised to find myself at the departure gate and finding my seat just as if I knew what I was doing. I read my book and refuse sustenance, a ghost on a plane. I'm in no hurry, neither the first nor the last to board the tram to baggage claim. My bag arrives soon enough. I text The Muse to tell her that I'm on my way to the passenger pickup area, then simply wait until she arrives.

An observer might say that I'd arrived home, though my internal experience feels less definite than that.
Sure, I helped prepare supper and even ate my share of it, but every action felt more automatic than deliberate, definitely not inspired. I'm aware that I'm no longer there but also aware that I'm hardly here yet, and uncertain when or even if I might arrive. I recognize that I feel bone tired and head for bed early. I sleep two night's worth of sleep in one vivid dream-filled run, and don't come down stairs when I finally conclude that I must have awakened. I dawdle around the bedroom, finish unpacking, and simply sit and gaze out the window at the unlikely familiar scene, uncertain how to begin my first day back.

I forgot to drink my usual bowl of decaf, recognizing the absence sometime in the early afternoon. I ate bread with olive oil for breakfast and read the NYTimes Book Reviews before taking a nap. The Muse later said that she was trying to give me room, space I had no idea what to do with. I listened to an uninteresting podcast and fell back asleep before it finished playing. I woke convinced that I needed to go somewhere, it being Sunday. I declared that I needed to go to the library to return the books I'd taken with me on the trip and The Muse said she'd tag along. I remember taking a fine walk along Clear Creek and also stopping by a grocery store where we later both reported that we'd forgotten what we'd come for. The Muse bought some soup and ate it there while I waited, not hungry myself.

We visited the Octopus Car Wash and watched through darkened windows while the still new car was scrubbed clean. We visited the liquor store to restock our wine cellar, looking for wine we could not quite find, all while suspended in some alternate state. I remember driving back home and wandering around the yard for a while, pulling the odd weed from beds still hunkered down from winter, which seemed to have been there that morning though Spring had since arrived. The sun felt bright and hot on my face, or what must have passed as my face. I'd waved hello to our neighbor Ben who was out playing baseball with his children when we drove in, and he'd recognized me. I'd wondered where we'd been.

Last night's supper seemed supernatural. The Muse sautéed the half of a fennel bulb which was threatening to fester in the larder. I grilled red trout with capers and fresh other-worldly asparagus sprinkled with green garlic and Peppadew vinegar. We drank a flinty Corbieres red. I went to bed shortly thereafter, waking to absolute darkness. I stumbled out onto the deck to smell which season I'd awakened in and thought Early Spring, at least a month behind where I'd been two mornings before. I could feel a tug not unlike gravity starting to anchor me to this present place and time. My mind seemed to be starting to accept where my body finds itself now. I couldn't quite see the sun rising yet, but could sense its impending presence. Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat sat in my lap to watch the gas fireplace flames flicker in the quiet. It's so quiet here.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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