Bent Words

Bent Words

December 06, 2007

At night, when I was little Ė and you know that must have been a long time ago Ė I would take my fatherís set of binoculars down from their hanging place on the wall in the porch and focus them on neighborís windows. I was fascinated with the unique worlds I saw; the strange colors of their carpeting, the odd pictures hanging on their walls, the unfamiliar faces with bunched brows pondering the meaning of a sentence in a book I could not discern. They had lighter shades of hair or darker shades of skin and different pets than we did and fireplaces in their kitchens (of all places!). And, while I was standing stoically, an occasional sigh to relieve the pains of squinting and concentrating, they were busy bustling through their dirty dishes or playing cards on a table that looked nothing like ours or laughing over some story which I would never have a chance to hear.

They never seemed to know I was there or even that I existed though surely they must have seen me from time to time, playing in the yard or splashing in the lake. But Iím sure they never paid such very close attention to me as I had spent paying to them. Iím sure they never pondered who I was or what I did on cold evenings when the winter would blow so cold as though it were throwing punches at the front door. Iím fairly certain they were too occupied to notice Ė too involved with each other to see someone as small as me.

I feel like that now sometimes. The curious little girl looking in on you from somewhere far away.

I catch a glimpse, here and there, of how it must be. Like you were walking past the window and there I am Ė struck with a feeling or a vision and, since no one is there standing beside me to tell me itís skewed, so completely wrong or right on the money, I run with it. What it must be like, how it must feel, the things that simply are, what youíre thinking or saying Ė whatever it means to be you.

Those few precious moments, when all I can see is how different things are, strike me abruptly like a rush of cold on a warm day. It just wasnít what I expected.

The gap between knowing you and not knowing you is filled with something other than I imagined and the fact that I imagined your life in the first place, with such apparent detail, based purely on a few inadequate glimpses, is equally as shocking considering I suppose I had no right to it. Perhaps I never did. Even while we were together. But, of course, to believe such a thing only leaves a slight distaste in my mouth. Especially considering it was the only thing I can recall having desired above all else Ė just to be on the other side of that window.

Rather than wondering or imagining, rather than hoping or piecing it together. Rather than having only half the story or part of the picture.

How that still aches. Not quite knowing and having to guess who you were when you werenít with me. No wonder I never really knew you. No wonder it feels so incomplete. I was watching, from somewhere far away, too distanced for the whole story and only recognizing the blatant differences. I didnít get it all and so I didnít quite get all of you. I wasnít invited all the way in and so I tried to withdraw so as not to cross what I thought was a sacred boundary. I didnít want to push because I was waiting for you to pull! I was waiting.

I was watching.

Adoring and fascinated with it allÖ

While you were doing the living part.

Written at 9:00 p.m.