Saturday, October 4, 2008

So Many of Me

[Note: It was a dark week last week, and this was written in the middle of it. But things got better by week's end. Exercise, I think, may have cured it--helped anyway. Did Crossfit workouts four of five days (more about that later). Too sore to be depressed. Thanks Lex.]
There are so many of me these days.

There is the teacher. He enjoys what he does. He enjoys his students, the freshmen particularly. He enjoys the works. The craftsmanship of Shakespeare never ceases to astonish. Things yet to comment on, unnoticed by others, and no time in which to do it.

There is the colleague. A recluse, mostly, these days. In early, office door closed. There late, office door closed. Wan smile and untrue answers protocol requires of polite questions. Deflection as defense against the rarer real concern. Never before so private. Never.

There is the neighbor. Friendly enough. That guy walking the beautiful dog morning and night. Politely conversational, yet unprying. Hardly gregarious, yet kind enough. Comfortable. Gone early most days. Home in the late afternoon and then home all through the evening. Quiet. Gone nearly every weekend. No one knows where.

There is the father. What to say? “The most important thing a father can do . . .” wasn’t enough. Now just to stay. To ride it out. To one day nap on a couch with a grandchild’s sleeping head tucked under his chin as once its mother’s was. Sustaining vision.

There is the son. There are two even. One almost his father’s clone, in mannerisms, in voice, in aspirations and resignation. Not wounded there, whatever Eldredge may think. Exception that, in so many ways. The other, wounded to the core in ways he’ll likely never fully understand and labeled “angry” over it.

There is the soon-to-be-ex. Him, I have no idea how to describe at all. He just wants it over. He isn’t bitter; just sad. He isn’t determined; just resigned. He wouldn’t go back; nothing has changed. He failed, somehow, at the one thing he thought most important. He isn’t procrastinating; he is paralyzed. He will be seeking help for this, for inertia he must yet cannot overcome. As fascinating, that, as psychosomatic pain. Phobia in another form. Shameful. Infuriating. And no object for disdain or fury but self.

Lou was right.

But there is one more. Tender. Hopeful. Sheltered. Understood. Under repair. If not whole, then at least gathering the pieces. Focused on, mindful of, longing for the one place where everything works.