Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I open my eyes and see the lake from the deck at Indian Point. It is autumn but the afternoon air is still warm, still scented with the last lingering aromas of summer.

Languid: that's the feeling around me. No anxiety, no pressure, no need to rush-rush. Minutes take their time. I feel my brow relax; no more furrows. I ask myself: Can life really be this sweet all the time? My smile is the answer.

Somewhere in the distance, the sound of people on a boat, the calls of frolicking birds. My shoulders lose their hunch. Another scent: perfume. My smile becomes a grin.

The perfect life is spread before us, the novelist J.B. Priestly once wrote, and at this moment I believe him. Nothing bad can touch this place. No one can intrude.

I am clean and sober. No more pills or powders, no more trying to live up to a reputation that never fit my frame. No more need to bang out paragraphs created by pain. I realize I could spend the rest of my days here and never write another word and be complete. Everything I've ever wanted — peace, tranquility, happiness — surrounds me. There's even music — the lovely piano coda to "Layla," with Duane Allman's bottleneck slide providing the call of the birds. I close my eyes and remember that the man who wrote the beautiful music was a genius who killed his mother.

I open my eyes and reach for my phone. I tap the snooze button to turn off the music. The sun on the lake's water still winks behind my eyes.

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