Friday, July 26, 2013

GHOSTS IN THE SUMMER AIR

Friday night. Even with a great adventure underway there is the desire to keep hold of old traditions. "Some things are sacred," Lou used to say in half-jest, and she was right. Some things endure, even when the people and circumstances do not.

My weeks continue to unspool in the same way, accelerating in anticipation to a Friday night of movies and quiet. There is no reason for me to hold onto the memories and rituals, but I do. I don't know any other way. "You don't have to feel this way," Smitty says, but actually, I do. The Ron we both used to know would have shrugged it off like a glancing left hook to the jaw. But this is what happens when you are changed on a molecular level. Everything is different. Nothing is the same, and nothing will ever be the same, no matter how many parties, no matter how many pretty girls. The Ron who was born in 2011 sees life through a prism that did not exist before. I feel things with a different intensity, experience events with a curiously mild disposition. I am more prone to shrug off petty bullshit, less inclined to furrow my brow in anger. In a word: sweet. This has never been my core.

But that sweetness rattles around in an empty room. Even when I'm with friends I feel I'm on the outside; they can revel, but even if I'm matching them bellow-for-bellow I am only an observer. Wandering around the fairgrounds on Thursday night I saw the lights and inhaled the evil, fetid smell, that special stink that says it's fair time. I watched couples in love, in like — saw them hold hands and exchange sly smiles that made me remember what that felt like — and I heard the strum of the D5 chord and it vibrated my heart.

It's not that I don't have happiness in my life. I do. There are moments where joy even enters the door and gives a small wave. But bliss — that's the one that's missing. I miss bliss, the emotion that once saturated my life with vivid colors, vivid hopes.

The lights of the concession stands at the fair beckon me. I lift my phone and snap off a few frames. As in my mind's eye, the lights have all gone white. There is no lack of intensity. But the world has been leached of color. Emotional percolation works. But even then, some things endure.

Friday night.

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