Sunday, May 19, 2013

[last Monday, the 13th,  I woke up with a great headache that lasted more than 48 hours. left side on the first day, right side on the second. nothing else particularly interesting.]

notes after midnight on May 17, 2013

When I was about 12, I could go outside some afternoons, in my backyard, and see giant helicopters flying across the sky, with what looked like trucks and tanks suspended below on long cables, in long processions, one giant helicopter after another. That would have been nineteen-ninety, ninety-one, the Gulf War. Just now, on my last night in this house, to which my family moved in winter of nineteen eighty-five, when I wasn't yet six years old, I went out to the car to get the computer that I'm now writing on, and I hear a roar, a helicopter, coming from the southeast. I stand and wait to see it, and can't find it, as it's getting so loud that I can feel the vibrations. I'm confused at the conflict between what I hear and what I don't see, just a sky of stars, and then I see it, an enormous shadow, a blank space against the stars, flanked by dim lights, and the sound I hear finds its match.

Now I lay on the floor of the living room, what we called the room where my mother's pianos sat for more than 25 years, which is now empty but for little piles of human junk here and there. I'm sleeping here just for the strangeness of it, and because I figure if I sleep in my old bedroom, a smaller space as the boy who painted cats might advise me, I will get a cave cricket in the mouth. Usually a room looks larger when you clear it out, but the piano room looks smaller without the pianos. The true nature of the house is revealed in this room, a set of almost ramshackle wooden boxes, this room the boxiest of all of them.

I get to hear the crickets and frogs outside, and the constant truck of I-40. I mentioned the stars. And I get to spend one last night in this string of boxes in the countryside, set in an undrainable swamp, in the Harpeth hills. Only yesterday did I get that cliched phrase - you have these hills or those hills, hills is an appendage for a pleasant or obscure prependage. But this place is in the hills, and it was flooded by the Harpeth only 3 years ago, so I think it deserves the name.

I'm not sure what to make of all of it. I never quite understood my surroundings when I lived here, I only saw what was just at my nose and never questioned it or looked further, though I thought I did. Now I think I know how to see further, but coming back here and wandering around, I feel the old ignorance surface, and it's a strange feeling of simultaneously knowing where I am and never having known, and really only knowing that I'll probably never be back.

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