Horses/draft

I don't know if this is a love story.  It was feeling like one for awhile, but then it started to feel like something else.  But before that, you need to know that my mom is out of town.  That shouldn't be important, because I'm not a teenager anymore, not for a long time.  But I noticed that when I was a teenager, whenever I had lost someone important to me, my mom was out of town.  I would be in my house with my sick dad and older brother, and think about how I had to turn into something else, because I was already turning into someone else, and it made sense to meet the situation properly.  So this time, I went over to my dad's house, which is my mom's house whenever she is in town, but now she is not.

I'm trying not to think about things too hard, because it's been a hard couple of days.  There's a little bit of crying, and a little bit of sleeping, but a lot of waking up in those hours when the dead come walking, and I can't focus on what they're trying to tell me.  But I think it has something to do with horses.

When she was in my life, not necessarily physically, because she really was never here for very long, but in my mind, when she was in my mind as something that could happen, we were always talking about dogs, becoming dogs.  This is how it worked, and even though it didn't happen in physical time together for very long, it kept happening in our minds for a long time.  She didn't think it was unhealthy, and neither did I, and we would meet by the oceans on the moon in our minds and it was a very nice situation for both of us, because there were always other people involved who wouldn't understand if we met by real oceans.

Over the past two days, I've been feeling something very peculiar.  I know it's something like grief, because it's the same thing I feel when someone dies.  My throat is sore because I smoke too much and my stomach feels like I've been eating nails, when I haven't really been eating much of anything.  I love food, but that's what happens when your heart is gone raw.  You don't eat and you don't sleep, it's just like falling in love.  But even more than this, I've been feeling taller and more sturdy, like my legs are becoming stronger, but right now they are just feeling like they might give out from under me because they are new.

I'm not trying to pretend that I'm becoming like one of her tattoos, the one with the horse, one of her new ones.  That would be too much like I'm trying to be connected to her, and I know that's not possible any more, but we've always been halfway in between dog and horse so it just makes sense to me that I'm becoming the next thing and saying goodbye to the dogs.  I'm becoming a horse, but it's nothing personal with her, it's in my own personal cellular mythology.  "No longer mad, I'm still wild but not lost to the thing I've chosen to be," is how Sinead O'Connor puts it.  Please keep in mind that I shaved my head before she did, not Sinead, the woman I loved for a very long time.  It's not a competition, though.

I carry all of this over to my dad's house.  It feels very heavy, and it's hard to concentrate, but I'm on a motorcycle so I have to keep my eyes sharp and my reflexes tight, because you never know what can happen when you're on a motorcycle.  I take off my helmet in the laundry room, like I always do, and my brother's little beagle comes through the door and licks me.  The dog looks smaller than he did before, I wonder if that's because I'm getting taller.  He also looks a little scared of me, but that's how beagles are with horses.  They're friendly but they understand that it's always a precarious situation.

When I go into the living room, my dad is wearing a bright blue shirt with monkeys on it.  He's been collecting new t-shirts lately, and I like it because it means he's wearing brighter colors.  He's been through a lot lately, with his ongoing sickness there's also been bladder cancer, and lately one of those tract infections that makes his male things swell up a little.  I suppose in some cultures he would be considered more powerful, but he looks tired of being in pain.

"Your shirt came," he says, and hands me a bright red shirt with an image of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  He always knows how to read me, even if we're not talking about what I'm going through.  We kind of don't talk about what I'm going through.

I kind of sit, and kind of drink water, and kind of try to connect with my dad.  At the same time, I am checking my phone every couple of minutes, about every six minutes really, because I left a message in cryptic form on my page for the woman that I will miss for a very long time, and I'm wondering if she read it.  I don't check it all that often, there are some people who would check it every five minutes, and I hold off just a little bit longer.  I'm not addicted to anything really, not anymore, but I have some of the behaviors still, so I try to keep them in check whenever I feel like I'm falling to pieces inside.

It's hard to sit like this, the bones in my back just don't fit in the chair.  I try to sit low like I usually do, but something is changed and I have to sit taller, and keep my chest expanded, because it feels better when I do that.  I learned that yesterday.

I was talking to my friend yesterday, who's a shaman too, and he told me to try this thing with expanding my chest.

"You surround yourself with gold light, and picture the sun above you, and let it rain on you to fill in those spots, those spots that want to connect to that person.  It's not really about shutting them out," he said, "but taking yourself back for yourself."

"She's not malicious," I said, "she's just moving, so it can't work," I said.

"I know," he said.

"Did I tell you?" I said, "I read her palm, and her lines changed, and we have the same lines now."

"That will all change when you become a horse," he said.

I believed him at the time, but now I'm not so sure, not sure I'll be able to transform as completely as I need to.  Not because he wouldn't know, but he kind of wouldn't, because his aura is already still covered with the aura of the woman he's in love with, and he can't get out of it.  I have a lot of people in my life who are caught up in things they can't get out of, and I don't want to think that she's caught either, but sometimes I do.  These people have hard lives, but I'm free today, and it doesn't feel as good as it should because I'm not used to it yet.  I kind of liked being a dog, and am really very scared to become someone else, someone she doesn't know.  It could still work, I am thinking, if I just stopped something I'm doing wrong.

My dad interrupts and tells me, "There have been over 300 earthquakes today.  The earthquake center is calling it an earthquake storm."

"Yikes," I say.

"And it looks like New Orleans is going to get hit again," he tells me.  The news has people on it talking about the monsoon.  My dad says, "The republicans are mad because the hurricane is stealing all the thunder."

If I weren't in a religion that pays attention to the weather, with gods and goddesses of thunder and lightning and storms and earthquakes, this wouldn't bother me so much.  But I am, and it does, and I go into the hallway for a little bit.  The last time I was in love like this, there was an earthquake in Haiti.  I don't think I cause these things with my heart, but I do think it's in line with nature.  The hurricane tells me this is really over, that I stopped wanting the thing I wanted for so long.  I only cry for a little while, and then I go weigh myself.  I'm losing weight again.  It's not a bad thing, because I'll need to be leaner to do what I have to do next.

On the scale, I am thinking about this friend, this friend who always interferes.  Before I saw this woman for the last time for awhile, the interfering friend told me, "You know she's planning on sleeping with you this weekend, don't you?"  and the whole thing makes me wish she would just stay the hell out of things that are not her business.

But it did make me think about things, and I wish I was one of those people who would like to think things like that are good news, and the whole weekend would be a seduction.

It doesn't work that way though, not when the woman I love is in my house.  She wants me to pour secrets over her head but I don't.  Instead I tell her I am not sure if I caught something from the last person, because my herpes test didn't come back yet, but I think I'm ok.  I also tell her that I am really only wanting something like a real relationship, because I already have lots of fulfilling relationships in the dog world, where we meet when during the hour when the dead are walking.  I also tell her that I think she's my twin, and that means something.  She tells me that I'm not telling her anything new.  It's not very seductive at all, and it didn't feel at all like a weekend of seduction, with oil and candles and ropes and things, but I really didn't see how we could get there from here.  And I wanted so desperately to be there with her, but she was already on her way somewhere else.

I'm definitely not crying now, and when I walk back into the living room, my brother is there.  My brother has health problems with his mind.  He's always pretty clear up until dinner time, and we don't have food yet, so it's nice to see him like this.

Even still, it's becoming difficult, because I'm noticing now that every time I cry a little, my shoulders get stronger, and my legs get longer, like my body is telling itself it has to change to carry all this weight, to make it so that the weight doesn't seem so heavy.  But it is very heavy.  I was in love with her for a very long time.  I know I've already said something about that.

My brother is telling my dad about Burt Reynolds.

"He got to college on a football scholarship."

"I bet," my dad says.

"But then he got injured," my brother says, "and he took an acting class, and that's how he got his start."

"Oh, really?"

"That's what Sally Fields says."

I like to hear them talking like this, because it reminds me of everything we talked about at home when I was a teenager.  It's practically the same conversations.  When I grew up, we all wanted to be with someone like Sally Fields, because she was feisty and strong and politically active, and had one of those playboy model bodies.  But when I started getting older, I started looking for something else, someone who was more like a wild dog, with the capacity to turn into a wild horse.  Being a species is as much of a situation as anything, and we're free to be whatever we are becoming, but we need to live in packs where we can protect each other, and the world is so very unsafe for all of us.  I tried to stay in the Burt Reynolds movies as long as I could, and I tried to be in the dog world as long as I could, but we usually don't shift ourselves consciously until we wake up and discover that our bodies are already doing the work.  It's a very painful thing to wake up and realize you're shifting, and can't be the thing that other people want you to be any more.

I'm becoming a horse.  This is very difficult to keep to myself, but I think they already know.  I can still handle things with my hands, though, so it's not a problem paying the pizza delivery man.  He looks like a very small dog, scared and friendly.  We see each other.

By the time the men in the house are all eating, the dogs are at our feet, growing smaller.  Craig Ferguson and William Shatner are talking about pantomime horses, how they must have back pain.  And they talk about their own bad backs, and how they can't bend right, the way people inside pantomime horses can bend.  I can't tell what I'm supposed to focus on when they're talking, the horse thing or the men growing older thing, but the horse thing I am finding offensive.

My brother asks me to get his guitar back, and I'm worried because I'm not sure about my hands any more, and I'm starting to get a sharper vision than I had before.  I recognize this is part of the whole deal.  I also understand it's after dinner, so we have to move fast.

We're in my dad's wheelchair van, careening down the highway.  I like driving the van because it's big enough to hold me, and because it has an Obama sticker on the back that upsets the republicans.  There are a lot of them where I live.

I'm trying not to think about how she didn't really read anything I wrote her all the way through, and how she can't know the whole story if she didn't read it.  It's hard to think about someone all the time, though, when you can't have them.  I can't get through what I wrote her when I'm alone, and when I read what she writes about me, I have to try not to digest the whole thing at once, and end up reading the first part and forget to read the rest.  Because it's hard to think about someone when you can't have them.  I was really sort of hoping that she would understand that she could have me, but I'm not really sure that's true.  I think we all start becoming the things that we're becoming, and they don't always work together in the same way.

I shouldn't do this, but I check my phone when I'm driving, and can see that she got my message.  It makes me feel sadder than I expected, because it means that we're still walking with our auras open to each other, even though the next time we see each other, we might be totally different species that don't get along.  But I really don't know anything about what will happen, not a goddam thing.

I used to drink, I used to like to get as drunk as a horse, and make angry gestures with my fist at the world.  I used to like to get lost in my thoughts when I was drunk, and I used to be able to make something sad turn into something beautiful.  I can still do it, but it takes a lot more time, and actually, it's a lot more beautiful when it's done.

My brother is talking about his adventures in cars when he was younger, and talking about his friend, someone I can almost remember from high school.  He is telling a story about driving into a ditch, and I can tell by his speech that his night time medicine is kicking in, so we have to move fast.  He's talking about driving into ditches.

My brother goes on, "We were drunk as horses."

"Drunk as horses?"

"I didn't say that."

"What did you say?"

"I don't remember." He thinks for a long time.  The night time medicine is kicking in harder.  It's a little uncomfortable.  But I have time.  "Something about being drunk, like how I don't even need to mention that.  But not like horses."

"'We were drunk of course'?" I ask.

"What?"

"Is that what you said, 'We were drunk of course?'"

"That's it," he says.

I'm really glad I don't drink.  We never would have gotten through that.

When we get to my house, he's staggering.  I don't even notice until I'm upstairs that I've started to saunter, that the steps had nothing on my legs.  My roommate is there, and I want him to meet my brother.  My roommate has a brother, too, and I want him to see that we're not alone in the world, that we all have brothers or sisters with problems.

By the time we're back at my dad's house and my brother is sleeping with his small dog, I notice that the other small dog has been staring at me.  She always runs when I call her, but whenever I get to her, she tucks herself into my hands like she wanted me to help her feel safe for a hundred years.

I forgot that I know how to do this.  Keep someone feeling safe.  I haven't felt safe for a very long time.  I've been scared of becoming the next thing, I guess, but it wasn't really up to me, what it would be, or how long it would take.  But with this small dog in my hands, I feel like I'm landed, and my legs aren't shaking any more.

My dad is talking about the family, how the Polish always hated the Germans because they invaded them too much.  I know how that feels.  I don't think I have herpes, but I know how that feels.  He tells me that the Polish always liked the French, because of Napoleon, and how we have some French because they liked to intermingle.

I like to think about Polish and French things intermingling, because it always turns into something beautiful.  I also like to think that we really don't know what we are, and even when we become something, we always eventually become someone else.  I wish I knew more about the future, but all I know today is that the lines in our hands have the same destiny, but that doesn't mean anything until it means something.  I also know that she's leaving tomorrow, and will soon be on her way to something else.

My helmet barely fits, because my head is growing with the rest of me, but it always makes my dad laugh, because he thinks I look like BD from Doonesbury whenever I wear a helmet.  I bump his head with my helmet when we hug inside the garage.  I love my dad.  He wants me to be careful, and I want to be a little more careful with everything.  I can carry this weight, but if I let myself run wild, I'll hurt things, and hurt the people that I love in small ways, and I want very much to learn how to love them better in small ways.

On the way home, the wind feels good on my four horsemen shirt.  Guided by Conquest, War, Famine, and Death isn't helping me not hate the Christians in this city, but the horses of the apocalypse are beautiful.  White, Red, Black, and Pale.  The colors of a hurricane when you're living inside one, but capable of walking through it without losing too much of their strong hearts.  And mine is made strong, freshly strong, able enough even to love a beautiful person even when she is disappearing from my sight.  Meanwhile the city ahead of me looks just like a place I need to live in for awhile.  I have family things I need to take care of here, and I have other things on my mind.

And still meanwhile, I think about the moon, how it was always watching over us and telling us the most beautiful stories in the world.  Touching her was like touching the surface of the moon, and like the first man in the moon, I always wanted to tell her something important.  He's left the planet, but I'm still here, and I can still speak, even though my throat is sore, and my stomach is aching, and like any good wild horse, I can find my way through the storm even when there are tears in my eyes.



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