Oh Muse, help me tell the tale of a woman who would still refer to herself as a girl. Help me tell the tale of a woman whose heart is large enough for a person to climb inside and make a home, and still somehow big enough for another person to follow...and another and another and another.
Oh Muse, help me shake these ill-conceived thoughts and half-realized epiphanies loose from the crannies. Help me put words to these intense flashes of vestigial emotions in the hopes that I can clear the cobwebs and be done with them. I imagine my brain to be the chaotically organized library of an eccentric professor with stacks of books and papers and torn slips with hastily scribbled memos peeking out all over, and I keep meaning to clean it all out... but it’s not quite that simple. With each stack of miscellaneous memories and ideas lies the distinct possibility that some old trains of thought will get roused, stirred, whirring to life like some ancient mechanical widget shaking the dust off and following me around, buzzing around my head. I can’t help but wonder if every human silently deals with the parade of phantasms lurking in the darker recesses.
Oh Muse, why can’t dead things continue to be dead?
But let me tell you, Muse, that this is no new phenomenon. I have had the undercurrent of Nostalgia flowing constantly deep below the sheetrock I am comprised of for as long as I have had memories to recall. When I was a girl I was nostalgic about being a child (short lived as those days were) and as a young woman I waxed poetic about being a girl, about the “days gone by, lost forever.” And now... and now I am still a young woman. I am a young woman who has read too many stories and fallen in love with too many fictional characters. I see now, I see how this has affected my thoughts. I look around this cluttered library and realize how the fiction and nonfiction sections have all been placed in the same stacks. I see how I have begun to fictionalize real people and give them the same love that I have for storybook heroes. Real people that exist in the same universe as myself, real people that and oft are affected by the ripples of aftershock I feel whenever I accidentally kick open a long closed book.
Oh Muse, help me learn the difference. Help me understand that all there is is this moment that I am in and that in real life a book can only be read once.
But muse...as easy as it is to understand the source of the problem and also the rational path to my own peace of mind... well, it is not so easy after all. It is not so easy when I am cleaning a stack of papers and books and I am suddenly struck by the astounding nature of all of my life, and the idea that love can only be generated. That love, even old and obsolete love, continues to exist and must be accounted for in the history books. Indeed, in order to properly sort out and index this brain of mine, muse, I have to let myself be taken on these involuntary field trips of the psyche.
Unfortunately, and perhaps most vexing to me, I have to take these journeys alone. There is not a soul alive to whom these stacks mean anything besides myself. Even the ones closest to me wouldn’t be able to discern the real meaning of my cranial consumptions, but I don’t expect them to. I am intimately aware that each person’s mind is a booby-trapped playground all their own with an individual set of “shit I can’t bring myself to let go of for unspecified reasons but probably mostly because I’m selfish and stubborn.”
So off, alone, I go.
You may ask, muse, what exactly it is that I’ve been blabbering on about. Well I’m not exactly sure and that is what keeps my fingers in constant motion.
It started the other day when I tripped on a small stack in a far corner, one that I had long thought was archived and dispensed of. So I stopped in my tracks, right then and there, and I got to work. Clearly this was a decision that produced mixed results. Basically, muse, I should have left well enough alone.
Don’t get me wrong, muse. This tale is not one that shatters the earth, it does not have our heroine making terrible decisions or deciding to turn her life upside down solely to chase an extinct feeling...nothing of that sort. Our heroine just wasn’t prepared for the face-to-face meeting that blew through the mental library like a sudden gust of sharp wind, leaving her to shuffle through the now-scattered pages yellowed and musty with age, the pages that HAD been indexed and archived.
The event itself was no major thing. The aftermath, when picked through and objectively observed, was only a slight annoyance. Each moment and each scribbled word carries the maelstrom back into the past where it belongs, where it can’t affect judgement.