And she lived...
you’re doing just fine baby. she heard a voice whisper into her ear on her way back to the car from the gas station bathroom (because as gross as it was she just couldn't hold it any longer).just fine indeed.
she smiled as the sun beat down on her back and she stopped for just a moment taking in the many various human folk crossing her path at that exact moment. she held the cold green glass lime flavored perrier bottle up to her sunburnt shoulder and smiled, marveling at how many human folk there actually were in world to begin with.
“i am, aren’t i.” she said allowing the crisp condensation from the bottle to drip down her arm. “i really am.” she confirmed un-flinched by the bodiless voice.
she got into her car, put down the top and turned up the beatles who caressed her eardrums with tunes about coming together. she pulled out onto sandy cliffs drive waving a thank you at the beat-up red kia who so kindly let her into the long string of cars heading towards the 8 east, maybe even heading to the 5 north just like she was. she took a deep breath in and was taken instantly by the wonder of it all.
taken by how big and how small this entire world is at any and all given moments. taken by how quickly it could all change in a heartbeat. taken by how good she felt in this moment and how lonely she felt just hours earlier waking up in a bed she had so hoped to be sharing with someone by now. taken by how bringing the loneliness downstairs with her, and making breakfast for her mother and aunt, almost dissolved it entirely.
how can i feel alone, she wondered, with all of this?
yes, she was still human. in fact just the night before while watching a romantic comedy in which everybody falls in love and everybody dies, she felt the paradox again. and loving her mother so deeply but wanting to smack the nail file out of her hand every time she went to file off dead skin, which was by-the-way causing the woman pain, made her perfectly aware of her humanness. it was a thing she could still not quite wrap her head around.
how can i love these people so deeply, feel so connected to them, and be so irritated and lonely in the same breath?
and no, she was not just thinking of her mother and aunt in this statement. she was thinking of the world, of the paradox of the world. the infinities of the paradoxes that we live in when we live in this world. and she literally meant these people, the people of the world, of the whole world. how can she, she wondered, dip into the total and complete connectivity of the whole, of the oneness of who we are and then feel so desperately lonely and unlovable in the same moment? in the same exact moment? just because she caught a reflection of the meeting of her arm and back in the side mirror and did not like the (what she judged as) excess skin hanging off her bones.disgusting, she thought about herself, disgusting.
this morning she was body surfing in the pacific ocean. a place until very recently she was terrified of stepping her left toe in. and she wasn't thinking at all about her excess skin. she was throwing herself into the waves, allowing the salty salve of the sea to heal her inside and out. it was magnificent.
two days earlier she was jogging on the beach passing sweet eyes after sweet eyes after sweet eyes, looking into as many as she could and smiling. grateful for every step and every breath she had ever taken. hearing about a dear friend's, a soul friend's, a best friend's miracle survival had certainly spun everything on its head or rather on its heart for her, as these things tend to do.
she looked to the sky and then to the people and then to the sky and then to her heart and then to the sky. she saw the rays of sun streaming marvelously through the clouds. her breath caught and she had to stop jogging. god?
the rays twinkled, a child giggled, another cried, the ocean lapped against the sand, sweat dripped down her face and landed salty on her tongue. god?
the rays danced this time, yellow, orange and pink against the blue of the sky as if to say yes, yes it’s me, yes it’s you. she started running again, gleeful with every pavement to foot greeting. she stared into the clouds dancing with the rays now repeating with every two paces, thank you. thank you. thank you.
thank you for saving my friend. thank you for giving me this life, this body, this amazing body that i have the privilege of moving. thank you for giving me this amazing music, these amazing sights, my amazing family and my amazing friends. and i’m sorry. i’m sorry i doubted you. i am sorry i ever thought i knew better than you. i am sorry i ever thought you were not doing your job and i am sorry i ever thought i was not doing mine. i get it, sometimes. or at least i understand that there’s no way of possibly getting anything at all. it’s not to be gotten. it’s to be lived.
it’s to be experienced not understood. and yes there are plenty of things we can understand. one plus one equals two. cars move forward when you press the gas and stop when you slam the breaks. water is wet. hair grows. hearts pump. people are born and people die. we are here to care for each other, though this often is forgotten and hard to carry out. we are here to care for ourselves, though this is often forgotten and hard to carry out. we are here to learn and grow and stretch and contract so we can stretch further and yes, we are here to live.
and that was it. she had rediscovered god. it was something she did time and time again. in her childhood, at least in her memories of it, god had been there, but as a myth, as a man in the sky. and only sometimes. only when her italian catholic cousins were visiting. and she worshiped them, so she worshiped god. but then god was gone. for a very, very, very long time.
and then god came back. but not as a myth and not as a man in the sky. first it was on the new jersey turnpike at 4:30pm on a thursday, in the clouds. then it was on central park west after an all-nighter on a film set laughing harder then ever before with people she loved harder than she had in a while. then, of course, god was in her broken heart after falling in love with a alcoholic drug addict. and who could forget god in santa monica? over and over every weekend for three years. then there was that one night in her bed. and oh that was lovely. and then two days ago, on the beach, yards away from the hotel del coronado. who knew god was in all those places all along?
live. she heard the voice in her ear again pulling onto the 5 north critically eyeing her arms and deciding, again, that no man would ever love her with arms like this. live. she had forgotten for just a moment what she had vowed that morning in the waves. what she had vowed two afternoons ago at the beach dancing with the sun. what she had vowed at the end of that dumb overly saccharine yet made her sob anyway movie (which was based by-the-way on a book that she had already read that also made her sob). what she was quite certain she would vow over and over and over again until it was time for her next adventure.
thy will. thine not mine. she had vowed to accept and celebrate all of it, every single thing. if this was the body she had, then it was beautiful, it was built for her to enjoy. and plenty of men had enjoyed it already why would there all of a sudden be a shortage? had she forgotten about the 7 billion plus people on this earth? and speaking of these 7 billion plus people on the earth, if she was not paired up with one at this exact moment there must be some rhyme or reason. there must be and in this moment she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no, she certainly was not alone.
because in addition to the ridiculous amount of love coming her way from her friends and family and pets was the ridiculous amount of love she felt for them. each and every one. and in addition to that was the ridiculous amount of love she felt for the waiter who served her lobster and brought chocolate to every customer he ever had. or the love she felt for the waitress who had dog treats in her pocket for every dog on the patio. or the boyfriend of her best friend who had the bluest eyes and the cutest fake dimple that she had just met and loved deeply all the same. or the man in the red beat-up kia that let her in on sandy cliffs drive.
and what about the drug addict boyfriend who brought her back to god who was truly just doing the best he could? yes there was still loving in there for him too. absolutely. and the boy she had loved at 13 and the man she had most recently slept with, and the man she had most recently wanted to sleep with. love for all of them. and the hundreds of people who were stuck in this god awful traffic on the 5 north just trying to go home after a long weekend, all tired, the crying babies, the hormonal teenagers, the sleepy drivers, she had love for all of them. yes she felt it and she knew it wasn’t just kate bush singing about all the things she should have said but she never said. it was the love that existed in her, the love that she was.
it was the god that existed in all of these people. and of course, it was the god that existed in her.
the god she would vow to again and again as often as she needed to remember. this is your plan god, i may question it when i forget it is not for me to understand, but as soon as i remember, i promise, i will live it. and i will do my very very best to enjoy every last moment.
just fine indeed.
and the traffic cleared, and the sun shone, and wouldn't it be nice, the beach boys asked. to which her answer was yes, yes, again and again yes and isn't it nice, right here, right now, yes. she pressed her sandy barefoot down on the gas and her car flew forward as the wind blew through her hair. and she was living. and she lived.