Monday, August 18, 2008

All is Well Within the House

Years ago, before I moved to the terracotta dust storms of Phoenix, before I moved to the small big town Long Beach, when my life was still unpredictable, when two full meals a day seemed almost extravagant and cheap wine and gin weren't inconsequential expenses, I was spending an evening at house of a man whom I had known briefly, but in that sort of way that lets you imagine you knew them better than most. He had a beautifully preserved beetle in his house, hung on the wall in a glass case. I had taught a mutual friend how to re-constitute and move the limbs of dead insects without shattering their exoskeleton, slowly hydrating their tiny strange reverse muscles till it was possible to pose them. I saw the beetle, alien in its perfection, in it's completeness, and I wanted so badly to smash it. The desire to destroy to, to make it into tiny pieces no longer recognizable as perfect and wonderful or even as beetle bits--I could taste that penny taste in my mouth that you get in a fight when you know you will lose but you keep on anyway, because to run away, to leave and preserve yourself, is unthinkable in that moment.


I recall it now. And it tastes the same.

For the first time in over ten years, I heard an old family lie. Initially, I was so saddened and outraged by it, this false image of me. But now, I envy this fabulism, and I dream about that glowing, fictitious naked child, so strong with nascent victory, and feel the reality of me to be so wormlike in contrast, cowering as I am, and recieving unprotesting, where she took what pleased her and destroyed when she had tired of it. She is powerful and full, like a new butterfly over filled of potent new blood so that it drips out of the ends of its wings.

all is well within the house

But so many, people who knew me the best I thought, believed in her, in that shining ideal evil, all bright eyed and deliberate. Believed, that at least briefly when I was pushing my nymphette years to their last, that I was her. In "1984," Winston is asked where the past is. He responds that it is in memory.

I did not destroy the beetle. I just saw it a few days ago while on a trip to Salt Lake City, in a different house but still owned by the same boy.

"You look so healthy." I told him.


"It is because I am full of poison," he said.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This post has been rankling my mind for days. I feel like I know what you are talking about, but I know that you often use this writing style to tell the truth, but to obscure it at the same time in order to keep your soul from being exposed overmuch. And I realize I may just be projecting my feelings onto a piece of writing that is open to interpretation.

I miss you. I woke up much too early to a dream about you leaving. I've been waking up ridiculously early lately anyway. I miss knowing that you are near. I miss driving down Thomas and saying to myself, "That's where Camilla lives." Now I feel a small sadness on the same route when I have to tell myself, "That's where Camilla was and now it is just a house."

I think part of what's been needling me, and has for years, is the wonder of what would have happened if our paths had not diverged when they did. It could have been beautiful or it might have been a tragedy, but I think it would have been something of remark either way.

The past is in memory and everyone only knows half of me at best. I think you might have understood how I came to be, but I would have had to be there or you would have had to be here and neither was the case. And now you are gone.