Some things stick with you.
They say you’re supposed to let water for your plants sit overnight. I think it removes some of the impurities. I do this and realize I sometimes take better care of my plants than myself. I do this and smell the tap water picking up hints of the plastic watering pot, wafting the scent to my nose. I am transported so easily. Nostalgia is a constant friend.
If you grew up kind of poor, you might have had one of those plastic, rectangle swimming pools. It was our pride and joy. I think my mom ordered it from one of those mail-order catalogs, and it quickly made us hot shit among the other kids on our block. There wasn’t anyone to drive us to any public swimming pools or the beach of Lake Michigan. That, and none of us knew how to swim so it seemed a bit pointless.
But this Pool. This inflatable, blue and white rectangle of plastic that killed our grass and caused any number of fights among my siblings and the neighborhood kids, and I, me was paradise. Like all things plastic that bake in the sun, it had a distinct smell to it. I was much too old to want to do this but I needed to chew on it. It had three chambers, the topmost white while the other two sausage-like parts were blue. I can picture that yard and that sun so clearly, and I wonder what younger me would think of me now?
. . .
Reader, I have lost my job, but I know how to float on my back in the water.
I am interviewing but I have finally found a group of people who want to hang out with me regularly.
I am running out of money, but I floated into a lake for the first time, silencing the voice in my head that said I would float too far out and not be able to stand up.
I think am filled with so many small miracles and it is the most tiring thing in the world.
. . .
I went to karaoke recently. Someone sang Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”. The smoke machine was going full force and I almost couldn’t see my way to the plastic container to fill my water cup.
Swaying, they sang in a high-pitched voice:
“Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home, I’m so cold”
It was one of the most wonderful things I had ever heard.
I had met up with a friend who hadn’t read the novel.
“It’s like, spooky and romantic and gothic and problematic.”
They nodded along to what I was saying.
“It’s kind of messed up.”
Spoiler alert, Cathy dies. Heathcliff thinks he hears her on the moors at night, begging to be let in by the fire. He’s going mad with missing her. This novel has some of the most ape-shit lines that I adore.
“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest, as long as I am living! You said I killed you — haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe — I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always — take any form — drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”
All this to say that it felt good to be lost in a moment, thinking about these fictitious characters and their fictitious agony instead of my own. Their keening singing made me feel like Cathy was right there. My imagination is still in tact at least.
Reader, I don’t know what’s next. Here’s hoping that the next newsletter finds me in a better spot. I am so grateful to my friends for supporting me and constantly lifting me up.
“I’m probably going to get fired for that.”
The woman on the fun from the unemployment office is cackling. She’s made a harmless joke and I can't help but laugh with her.
“I was told that there was a way around me not having an Illinois ID.”
She bursts into laughter and suddenly everything seemed so much smaller: a pinprick of a moment during my unemployment. What’s a pinprick in the greatness of it all?
I hope I find more.