Oh baby blue,
never think of home
It’s a razor blade,
It’s a cross for your back
And he lied when he said
he’d come back
Some nights, you are so very cold. And so you put on those flannel pajamas to keep warm.
Too quickly, the body forgets the memory of another body against it, how skin warms skin and obliterates the need for clothing. It should be as natural as this, when bodies cling together for warmth. We should need nothing more when we are with one another. We were made to lie close, body to body, nestled in a nurturing embrace. This was how our ancestors survived since the beginning of time, when caves were cold and damp, the darkness — absolute.
Now we have the embrace of flannel pajamas, made all pretty with a length of ribbon. We have the heater on. And in one corner, a night lamp burns quietly, trying to keep the darkness from swallowing us whole.
It all fits together somehow, the series of little events that have begun to draw this year to a close. Each one signifies an ending, a tying up of loose ends, telling me to gracefully accept the passing of things I used to (or have tried to) hold dear. I had always imagined a different way of growing old, but this, I guess is how it will unfold for me.
It’s my season for forgetting, and it starts slowly.
I kissed an old woman who no longer remembers me. Someone introduces me to his wife, his unblinking stare pleading with me, “Please, for the love of God, don’t be surprised. ” A grown man buys me a beer, assuming that I still drink it. I am asked for the nth time “When did you stop smoking?” in this, my ninth year free of nicotine. In the darkness, inside a speeding car, I am introduced as Somebody’s Ex. A curious crowd intermittently talks to me across the table, but not one is brave enough to ask the question that’s in everyone’s eyes. I’m told that I look like the ghost of the girl in that movie, and I just smile. No, I do not. Or at least, I do not see the resemblance.
I turn to someone for a little solace, and he turns, unknowingly, away.
At the end of each night out, I go home to a full house, but as always, I go home alone. And I’m sad that all this doesn’t make me feel anything but a vague ache, as though everything that’s recently happened is already nostalgia. It’s a faint kind of sadness, not particularly keen or piercing, just dust falling to dust, just the blue tones of one more evening descending, just the sinking of a dull sun and the soft, silent fade to gray.
Just me in the great big world, growing old.