Walking down the street yesterday I was thinking about all the places I’d already been in the two years I lived here. That’s the street Michael used to live on before he left.
I started thinking about how fast memories build up around you, how quickly anyplace can become a ghost town if you put your mind to it. If you haunt yourself. My therapist leaves me a concerned voicemail and my primary care doctor calls after I fall down the stairs and wrench my ankle out of place. She wants to see me if the swelling isn’t better in two weeks. In the ER some of the nurses recognize me and it’s funny to be hurt again. It’s funny that things happen at all—that they happen again.
That’s where Andrew and I wove through traffic on our bikes howling like wolves.
Last Sunday at brunch a woman said to me that the reason I was still single is because I don’t know how to contain myself—that I need to learn how to not intimidate the men who come into my life. I said that didn’t make sense because I need someone who’s strong enough—that I don’t have time to train strength into someone. That I didn’t have the energy. Talking about the need to be harsh she says, offhand, We grew up in poison. And I start to wonder how long that excuse can serve? How long is it acceptable to say that we grew up hard and that’s why we love wrong?
That’s the shop of the man I went on one date with and didn’t call again—I still have his bike light that he let me borrow when I was leaving his apartment.
I’m interested in mercy—not as a one time exercise but as a method. What would it mean to be merciful as praxis? What would it mean to follow Holzer and recognize the self-interest in being tender? I’m exhausted all the time lately and on the train yesterday I thought about how absurd it is to live a life that makes a weapon of you. I think about how maybe I want a husband because somewhere I recognize that a weapon without a wielder is just catastrophe waiting to happen. In a book I read a sentence, The important thing to understand about FDR’s choice to use the bomb is that, at the time, it seemed like there was no choice. and the woman at brunch last week says, It’s impossible not to love someone once you know them.
I want to us to build a merciful world. I do. I want a world that could not tolerate even the cruelty I perpetuate in the name of a good I can only numbly imagine. When I talk about politics I talk about a vicious game. To a co-worker I say, If they think they can get away they have no idea the cone of teeth I will build around them.
Yesterday I turned my head and thought, Over there is the house of the man I dated who’s dating a friend of a friend now. I heard they’re moving in together.