Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Heat and the art of ladybugs

Each night exists as a piece of a season. By itself it isn't anything, it's just a link in a chain, but you bring to each night what you have in yourself and turn it into more than a piece in a chain. You make it something. You take the darkness outside the rooms you light up, the darkness you go outside to look at, and you turn it into something that's yours.

Today was the last day of the warm part of fall. It was in the low 80s today. Cold enough in the morning to turn on the heat in my car, and hot enough driving home to turn on the air conditioning. It's warm in the room where I'm sitting right now, writing this. I've opened the window behind me and turned the fan on, to pull the outside air in. I went outside just a few minutes ago, to look at the moon. Even on the nights I haven't meant to or wanted to this week, I've gone outside to look at the moon, like it's pulling me out by the teeth. The picture I posted yesterday, I took that two nights ago, or maybe three--it's blurred together lately--after I had changed into sweats and a t-shirt and was walking through the kitchen to get into bed with M and the dogs, and I saw the vividness of the silverwhite light on the lawn where the brightness of the moon fell through the maple trees onto the dying grass. And I went outside and looked up at the moon through the leaves and the thin patina of clouds like plaque covering the earth. The moon was so bright. Last night we took the dogs for a walk and the moon was low and orange in the sky. Tonight, just now, when I went outside to look, I searched the sky behind the house across the street, where I expected to see it, where it usually is, but it was to the left, hanging quietly above the house next to ours, looking through the tunnel of moisture in the air, down at me in my driveway looking up at it. The moon is just the moon, but I've just finished a good book and I felt that it was looking at me the way someone you used to love looks at you just before they look away. The moon was what I brought to it. Not just plain, unadorned rock in the sky reflecting the light of the sun, which has set on this part of the planet. Something else. Like it has been all week. Something else.

This time of year.

Tonight I was sitting at my desk after everyone had gone, finishing up a project, after the air conditioner had shut off and others' phones had stopped ringing and the man who cleans had come around and emptied the trash cans. It was quiet except for the sound of the pen I kept flipping around in my fingers and the occasional sounds my keyboard made when I typed IM exchanges with Nathan. My typing sounded clattery and loud in the quiet. Outside, the sun was sliding down the side of the sky, getting ready to set, and there were ladybugs on the window. This time of year, in this particular place, there are ladybugs. And I was typing to Nathan on IM about the ladybugs and I had such a strong memory come over me, of school, my senior year, when I was so in love with a boy who was not in love with me. I remember standing outside the hall where our Japanese class was. It was late afternoon, this same time of year, and I was standing outside the hall with my bicycle. The class had ended. I remember how the grips on the bike handlebars felt under my palms. The weather was still warm. The oak trees were orangey-brown. Squirrels everywhere. A girl from our class sat outside on the steps of the hall; I can remember even the peeling paint on the doorframe behind her. She reminded me slightly of an ex-girlfriend. She was trying to keep the ladybugs out of her long blonde hair. In my mind now I confuse her slightly with a girl I met since I knew this girl, so she warps and ripples like she's underwater when I try to bring her face into my mind's focus. She was angry at the ladybugs. There were so many. In the rooms of the residence halls, you could scoop the dead ones from the windowsills and fling the dried husks of their lightweight bodies out into the air like confetti. If you had a poster on the wall, and you took down the poster, you would find ladybugs behind it, hugging the wall as if the humps of their bodies might disappear into the pale-colored paint.

The boy I was in love with who wasn't in love with me came out of the building and he walked alongside me as I walked my bike. The leaves crunched under the tires. And when I ran over acorns, they shot out to the left or to the right. The boy had told me he'd transferred into the section of the class I was in because I was in it. He would come close to me, and go away from me, on and on, that whole semester. He wasn't toying with me. We were both too straightforward for that. We slept together for a while. He didn't know what he wanted. In the end, it wasn't me. He wanted my body enough, but not...he didn't want me. It took a long time and a lot of alcohol and some other drugs and sex with other people for that to be okay.

Nathan, the friend I was IMing, went to the same school I did. That's where we met. I told him about the ladybugs on the window. He remembered them too. Remembered throwing handfuls of them. We talked about the ladybugs for a while as I finished up my project, and about that boy, and then Nathan said some things that made me uneasy. There may be more posts about Nathan in the future. For now, I'm keeping hold on Nathan and not bringing him too much into the light here. I don't want the thing that could bring him into the light to happen.

Okay. My hands are hot. I should go to bed. Stop listening to this moon...


At October 20, 2005 1:01 AM, Blogger The Great Saphenous said...

The weather here in Arizona has been...tempestuous the last couple of days. Three days ago, we were in the 90's and the skies were completely clear. The next day, a freak storm hit: the temperature dropped into the 30's (no shit), and we received several inches of rain and golfball-sized hail. Yesterday, it continued to rain on and off all day. Massive amounts of rain were forecast for today, but we didn't get anything. In fact, the only unusual thing about the weather today was that temperatures varied by about 50 degrees.

Sorry, I haven't had the courage or the ability to look at the moon over the last few days.

Ladybugs are rarities around here. Ladybug sighting are generally regarded with the same...regard as UFO sightings. I need to start thinking before I speak.

I sense a disturbance in the Force. Who is this Nathan?

At October 20, 2005 3:52 AM, Blogger Mary said...

"You make it something".
Yes, you do.
Looks like you've brought quite a bit to this night.
Night-time always seems the the best place to touch on the things that the light isn't quite ready to hold. Night-time has its own light, doesn't it?

Your memory of that school day, so vivid and so tied into the time and temperature of the year, just jogged a memory from my school days for me, too. Strange how that works.

At October 20, 2005 8:51 AM, Blogger Sangroncito said...

Lovely post.

At October 20, 2005 3:23 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

Magical, yes, that's the word for the writing about the moon. It made me feel all mysterious, like something exciting might happen tonight, as the sun sets. There is just so much feeling in your writing, it's amazing.

Nathan, hmm, a whole name.

At October 20, 2005 6:13 PM, Anonymous E said...

J, you're just the best.
I miss talking to you!

At October 20, 2005 7:23 PM, Blogger suleyman said...

I came back to this post and thought "adab." The new meaning is sticking with me.

A little adab'll do ya, a little adab a day.

"And I crawled out the window with my shadow on a spoon, dancing on the roof, shooting holes in the moon."

My comment makes zero sense to 99.9% of those who read it.


At October 20, 2005 10:23 PM, Anonymous M said...

Winter is so close here I can pretty much taste it. It will be below freezing tomorrow morning. This time of year always seems to bring change; people pair off, people break up, people take up hobbies, people make life decisions. It's as though in anticipation of the freezing winter, they're anticipating the freezing of reason and suspension of decision until the flowers bloom. A flurry of final activity before the world grinds to a halt until April.

Pick up a pen, J.



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