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Tag Archives: fall

On that singular day

I saw Greg Louganis dive in St. Louis
in 1984. Oh, the way he folded and
unfolded in the air. We all gasped
when he split the surface and disappeared.
But he rose up in a shimmering swath
of bubbles, unbounded joy.

Seventeen years later, a man steps out
through the lattice of a skyscraper and
folds himself into a breathtaking pike.
An anonymous diver, abandoning his
day job. Maybe you’ve seen the
photograph? A single body falling, white
oxford full and fluttering, like a peony,
blowsy, on that singular day.

–“The Diver,” Christine Hartzler

Today I am in my late twenties again.

Today I am waking up early in my town in the American southwest to the sound of people shouting on my apartment complex balcony. It is a day I can sleep in. I am working the late shift. I am not pleased to wake up to people shouting this early in the morning. I go out on the balcony and glare at them. They don’t seem to notice. Or care. Even though I’m in my pajamas and my hair is quite fearsome.

Today I am realizing there’s no point in going back to sleep and I might as well run some errands since I have the morning free.

Today I get ready without turning on the television or the radio.

Today I run errands while listening to a tape I have in the car. It’s a Hole kind of day. Courtney Love screams me around town.

Today I still don’t turn on the radio.

Today I get to my old job to help out a little since I’m up early. It is a thing I do, sometimes.

Today I walk in the door and there are people in a tangled knot around the small television in the lobby. The sound is low. No one’s at the front desk.

Today I ask one of my old coworkers what was going on.

Today she turns to me and says, “Two planes flew into the World Trade Center” and her eyes are holes in her face.

Today I ask her, “An accident? There was an accident?”

Today she says, “No. No, Amy, I don’t think so. I think it was on purpose.”

Today I stand in a crowd of people, strangers and friends alike, and we are all as one. Today we watch the television in the lobby and it grows to the size of a movie screen. Today we watch the towers fall. Today we watch news reports come in about the Pentagon. Today we watch news reports come in about a field in Pennsylvania.

Today our hands are over our eyes and our mouths. Today we are sobbing but not making a sound. Today we are praying. Today we are smelling autumn coming in through the propped-open doors of the lobby and we are running through the list of people we know in New York City and we are wondering if they also smelled this autumn morning and we are thinking, were they there? Oh, please, oh, no, oh, God, were they there?

Today I go broken and empty to my afternoon shift at work. My coworker is from Pennsylvania. I am from New York. We are barely holding it together. We are inches from screaming. We are being held together with fraying rubber bands and sheer adrenaline.

Today our boss decides we are not paying enough attention to our job and makes us turn off the television that presides with its cold unfeeling stare over the lobby.

Today we take turns shaking and vomiting and weeping in the bathroom where the clients and our boss can’t see us.

Today I get home from work and turn on the television and watch the ticker of the dead crawl along the bottom of the screen. The channel I’m watching tells the ages of those on the planes. One of the dead is just a baby. I’m having trouble breathing. Functioning. I’m watching the towers fall on endless repeat. I’m watching men leap from windows with a sort of corrupted grace. I am watching survivors painted gray with ashes stream over and over from the city I love so much. I am shaking. I am curled upon myself like a lost child. I am trying to count the dead in the ticker and I keep losing count and it seems very important, somehow, that I know how many of them there were. That each of them are counted. That each of them get given a name; that each of them get given their due.

Today, when my next-door-neighbor comes home, she asks me how I am.

Today, I tell her, “I don’t want to live in this world right now. The good got lost today.”

Today I live all of this all over again. Today and next year and the year after that; every today, I am the person I was on that day.

Today the towers fall, and they fall, and they fall; every today they fall.

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That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts.

It is officially September! (And happy Labor Day to all my fellow Merkans!) Well, the calendar says so, anyway. The weather says it’s still summer. It’s all sultry-muggy with those late-summer thunderstorms that come out of NOWHERE and BAM you’re soaked. Thanks, summer! Where are my crunchy leaves? Where are my cool evenings? I know. I am impatient. It’s an issue.

WHERE ARE MY LEAVESSSSS?

WHERE ARE MY LEAVESSSSS?

BUT! No matter! I refuse to let you get me down, weather of disgustingness! Because it is SEPTEMBER! Which means FALL IS HERE, DAMMIT! Also, it means I have SO MANY THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

Somehow, the next six weeks have come together into the busiest, yet most exciting, weeks ever. EVER. I have more things coming up in the next six weeks than I’ve had the whole year, and they are all awesome, and I am SO EXCITED.

We’re going to save the biggest, most exciting thing that’s coming up next month for a later date once it’s official, and once those chickens are ready to be counted, because I don’t want to geek out over something that’s still in the end-stages of planning.  It would be too depressing if it fell through. So once that’s official, expect MUCH REJOICING. And general rah-rah geeking out.

So…what’s coming up, Amy?

I WILL TELL YOU!

Andreas-face-talking! Andreas and I try to face-talk with a Google Hangout thingy on a regular basis. Like, at one point, we both got crazy busy? And almost two months passed? And the next time I talked to him, his son had a whole head of hair! THIS IS MADNESS! That much time can’t pass again. I need to see Andreas’ face regularly. Andreas keeps me grounded. He’s like my constant from Lost, I think. So there’s totally an Andreas’-face-talking scheduled in this month. This makes my brain settled, because I have a crazy-busy schedule coming up, and I like knowing I have Andreas scheduled in there. Being all constanty.

Andreas is a very good constant, brotha.

Andreas is a very good constant, brotha.

Laura-visiting! Very, very soon, Laura will be here to spend the weekend! Think of all the fun we had when I visited for just a few hours and multiply that times DAYS! We have grand plans; we are going to hit up the best thrift stores in the Capital District, we’re going to a play I’ve been looking very much forward to for some time (and it’s directed by, and stars, some of the best talent in the area – I can’t think of a better way to welcome Laura to town!) and we will have delicious foodstuffs. I need to get cleaning, because this place needs a good scrubbing. And I need to get planning, because Laura’s never been here before, so I really want to showcase our wonderful area so she falls crazy in love with it. (I want everyone to fall in love with it here and wherever they go, tell people, “Albany and the surrounding areas, they are wonderful! What do you MEAN you heard it was gritty and industrial and depressing. NO NO CHARLIE. Apparently you didn’t have the best tour guide ever!”)

You will not meet a tour guide who loves this place more. I most sincerely guarantee this.

You will not meet a tour guide who loves this place more. I most sincerely guarantee this.

Chris-and-Kat dinnering! Later in the month, Chris and Kat are visiting! In case you are all “who? what? what the hell?” Chris and Kat are Chris F. Holm, who is one of my favorite authors (and a downright awesome human) and his wife Kat, who I sincerely just enjoy the hell out of and is so kickass and awesome and funny and intelligent. There is a conference here, and Chris and Kat are attending…and we are meeting up! We are totally having food at one of my favorite restaurants! I am most excited, and hoping my excitement won’t translate into me spilling food all over my top or saying something idiotic or get tongue-tied that I am HAVING DINNER WITH ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS YOU GUYS. (SIDE NOTE: when I told Dad this was happening, he was all, “What? They want to have dinner with you? That’s cool. Wait, are they killers?” and I said, “No. I’m quite sure they’re not killers.” And Dad said, “You don’t know. Probably this is what killers do. I bet this guy and his wife are BOTH female truck drivers” and I said “DAD. They are not FEMALE TRUCK DRIVERS. They are VERY NICE PEOPLE. They live in MAINE” and he said “Just because ONE AUTHOR you like lives in Maine doesn’t mean ALL authors that live in Maine are good, and besides, that author you like in Maine is a HORRORWRITER.” Dad doesn’t approve of horror. Also, one time Stephen King said something against Fox News, and therefore – DEAD TO DAD. So, Chris and Kat, I sure hope when you show up you are not female truck drivers. I hate when Dad’s right.)

Cousin S. visiting! This one’s got me over the moon. OVER THE MOON! So when I was a kid/teen Amy, one of my closest friends in all the land was my cousin S. Cousin S. is most honestly one of my favorite humans in the whole world. And she HAS been, since I was a wee Amy, all ponytails and big old glasses and nose buried in a book. We had so much fun together. We laughed until we cried. We GOT each other. We had inside jokes and secrets and she got me through some really tough times and even better, she was my family. How often is someone you love this much actually related to you?

This is cousin S. in high school. I stole this from her Facebook page. DO NOT KILL ME, COUSIN S.! I love you more than ALL THE THINGS. Also, look how beautiful she was. She totally still is, yo.

This is cousin S. in high school. I stole this from her Facebook page. DO NOT KILL ME, COUSIN S.! I love you more than ALL THE THINGS. Also, look how beautiful she was. She totally still is, yo.

Then life happened, and we moved away from one another, and went to different colleges, and there was marrying and child-having and job-getting and moving far and moving closer and all the things that happen while life is happening and you keep getting all these gray hairs, and then you turn around and you’re almost 40 and you haven’t seen your most beloved cousin in over ten years and you keep in touch with Facebook, but it’s still quite sad that you’re so far from those two girls giggling into the wee hours of the night over Princess Bride jokes and cute boys. Those girls would be SO ANGRY that you allowed life to get in the way of your relationship. Well! After us hinting at it and dancing around it and thinking about it for years, we are totally doing this thing, yo. Cousin S. is coming to visit this month for a WHOLE WEEKEND. I haven’t even decided what we will do yet. She said she hates it here so I have to win her over. Well, if there’s anyone that can win someone over to the joys of the Capital District, I think it might be me. I’m up to the task. We will eat food and talk and talk and talk and have adventures and then talk more and Dad was all, “Oh, no. You girls. That’s going to be trouble, is what that is. SO MUCH TROUBLE” but he was just kidding. He couldn’t be more pleased. I am so excited to see cousin S. SO EXCITED. (I don’t think we’ll get in trouble. Probably.)

This is cousin S. NOW. Guess what she does, along with being awesome? RACES IN TRIATHALONS. No, I'm totally not even kidding. She's one of the most kickass people I've ever known, most sincerely.

This is cousin S. NOW. Guess what she does, along with being awesome? RACES IN TRIATHALONS. No, I’m totally not even kidding. She’s one of the most kickass people I’ve ever known, most sincerely.

Mom and Dad visiting! Mom and Dad are coming for a weekend soon to pre-celebrate my birthday. We will have food and go shopping and marvel over the fact that I’m like the oldest. Then Mom will leave for Rome! Which she is very excited about!

BIRTHDAYING! YES! It is almost time (again? yes) for my birthday. Which of course means ALL THE CELEBRATION! OK, fine, it means I’m going to work all day then come home and probably blog…but still! BIRTHDAY!

Play-seeing! THREE plays this month. All of them with some of my favorite people. I get three fancy theatery lady-dates this month! On top of all the other awesomeness! I know, it’s almost too much. TOO! MUCH!

I’ve not yet decided if this is all TOO MUCH or if it’s JUST RIGHT. I’m going to go with it’ll be fine, as it’s all things I want to do. (Oh, also I have to work, of course. And do things like grocery-shop and laundry and clean and give Dumbcat snuggles and bring the car in for an oil change, which is totally not a euphemism, and get a haircut, and, like, LIFE-things. Those don’t stop. Well, maybe if you’re dead. I’m not dead, I don’t think. Am I?)

SO MANY ADVENTURES, you guys. With one big one to cap ’em all off that’s going to stay under wraps for the time being. Chickens. Counting. You know. But we’re close. We’re REALLY close.

I’m so excited I’m bouncy. Sometimes I live a really exciting life, right? It’s a little hard to believe. It’ll all be something to look back on when we’re mired in the wilds of the winter and don’t want to leave the house, I’d imagine. YAY FOR ENJOYING THE HELL OUT OF THE AUTUMN!

Happy week, everyone! Plan something spectacular for your fall. Fall deserves it. It’s really the best season. No, seriously, it totally is.


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