Looking through the photos on my phone, you'd think I never look up.
This one is borrowed. A stolen sunset. Tyler sent it to me, maybe a year ago. Maybe farther back.
But I'm not thinking of sunsets. I'm thinking of girls.
There has always been Rachels, there has always been Kellys. Nellas. Esmes. Hannas.
It's the unfortunate state of the matriarchy we find ourselves in. Compromised. Working in cycles on limited resources.
I do look up, but not with my phone. And it's not something I know how to share. It's not something I have context for.
Spaces. Vast spaces.
I can examine what's close. What I can hold in my hands, in my arms. I don't know what to do with the length of miles between here and there. I don't know what it means. It it makes me feel dumb.
I don't want to compete. I don't want to fight. I don't want anyone to go home alone.
I examine things I've brought in from the walk: a damp headlamp, a stick, pine needles. They are laid out on the table. Treasures. Things don't stay for long. Clutter happens easily in a small house. I'm a gnome in this way, though more of a halfling. "By going far; my looks leash.." Sylvia Plath.
I'd rather have the world before me within 12 inches of my face.
A phone, a laptop, a book, some objects I must organize.
These cycles are exhausting. Man chasing cycles. Man winning cycles. Dancing to be desired. Doing the tricks to be noticed. My phone fell in the chili soaking pot this afternoon. I was filming myself wearing a space helmet full of flowers. The phone was leaned against some books on the kitchen altar. It fell right into the sink and I fished it out, greasy. Wet. It seems fine, but won't charge.
The space between my phone and I is making me deliberate my simple existence. It's not much space, but it's enough.
I can't stop thinking of the Year of the Rabbit, a 12 year cycle. I'm thinking of the dissolution of Esme's marriage to James Ryan around this time. Esme's and I meeting at her birthday in March. Meeting James Ryan at the Easter party over bike croquette. That ensuring summer in that house. Thunderstorm running with Boy Casey. Having my heart shredded by my own stupidity, friendships rise and erode. I had birthed myself again the following Spring but never let myself feel that way again. It was so stupid. I beat the shit out of myself for trusting anyone during that time. For showing softness in any way. For being anything but sharp and aware and angry.
And I feel better now. 2022 was a good year. I was in love and someone loved me back and we had said it. And then I found I loved myself more and left and that felt good too. There was balance in the year of the Tiger. There was healing. There was softening. There were female relationships unmarred by betrayal and pain. There were male friendships that were romantic but nonsexual.
The question in the cycle is, did you learn? Can you stay soft? Can you see the prophecy of betrayal and love anyway? Can you see the omens in the migration patterns, the way the leaves grip the inside of the tea cup, the writing on the walls, the cards on the shawl and say, "I learned. I can do better."