I love fantasies.
Except when I try to make them real.
Could be fantasies about anything, but you know what it’s mostly about. Maybe it is different for you. But … I dunno.
Well, anyway, the problem with fantasies is that they get messy and troublesome once you try to make them real.
The problem is also that fantasies don’t have any soul if you go into them and never try to make them real. They get distilled, watered down. There is only the bare bones and framework.
That is so attractive. Of course.
I wish I was better at making fantasies real and enjoying what I have. All at the same time.
And I am rambling, as I clean up the attic. Or my part of the attic anyway.
It’s dusty and forlorn up here, pieces of a life – more lives. I wonder what you could see if you went down the street here and looked into all the attics. I think you’d see pieces of many lives, never lived.
Or just clutter, thrown away.
Why did I go up here? I should try to fix my fantasies. I spent a whole morning with them because I was bloody alone. And why hasn’t Jon called yet to say when he is coming home with the kids?
I walk around and almost stumble over something. A bicycle. For kids.
I take it up and dust it off. Emma’s? I’m not sure I remember anymore.
Just as I don’t remember where my pencils are, where my paper is. It is somewhere down below and you see I wanted to use it – today.
I had made promises to myself.
I stumble over something else. I kick at it. I don’t even stop to watch.
I want to find those bloody drawings. Now.
But I can’t.
I look everywhere but I can’t.
The sun gets up higher and higher outside, but for once it only casts more light and not heat. The windows are dusty, too. But they are not blocking everything.
There is a reason – (I stumble again, or nearly so – dammit)
I sit down. On some crate of Jon’s, workout equipment he never used at home.
There is a reason it’s cold here, and it is not the dust. Not the small window. Not because it is winter.
Winter is never cold near the Mexican border. Winter is a concept here, something we’ve heard of, but never really known. It is the land with only one season: heat.
Everything is always dry. But that is not the problem.
I think about the heat all the time when it gets to me. I’m not used to it. I come from a land of cold and mist and even though it is no longer my home, it is what I bring with me.
Like stories. Of my life. Like all the things that always repeat themselves. Like wars – inside and out.
I am always at war. I meet people who have been to war, but that … does not matter.
I know I am rambling now but bear with me. It is important. It is why I can’t find my drawings.
It is why I wasted the morning, trying to take something beautiful and hold it but could not go all the way. I should have tried to make it real. Like my drawings.
What I am trying to say is that I have not made a drawing for … years. I don’t remember when it was the last time.
And I am tired of finding excuses. But I keep doing it.
And I am tired of not being able to create something beautiful. I have even forgotten what it was I wanted to create.
I work as a cleaning lady. I once went to college. Then I did drugs but got out of it. Then I worked myself back into some kind of life. Then I met Jon.
It worked. I got a life.
But everything is on hold.
(I wipe it away.)
Then I get up.
Tears are no good. I have to find out how I get to draw again. How I get the time, space, and energy.
How I use my energy to do that, something precious – like my kids. But I have given them a lot now, they are old enough. I have to figure out what to give myself before it is too late.
Carrie stood for a moment in the attic and looked around, trying to make sense of it all. Where had she put her old drawings?
Then she remembered that there was paper in the cupboard next to the entrance.
But no pencils.
I could go shopping and buy some. It is Sunday but the mall is open.
She wondered. Maybe this was another way of getting away. What if she went over there and got distracted?
What if she spent her energy?
What if Jon was back when she came home?
Carrie looked at her hand. In the dust-filled light, it looked ghostly. She touched her hair, let her fingers slide through it. It was dry, like the land around her. Like she felt.
So what was the point? She should be pleased, shouldn’t she?
She started descending the ladder, leaving the smell of old cardboard behind. She couldn’t stand it for a moment longer.
She gently lowered herself to the floor, since the ladder to the attic didn’t go all the way down. It was enough that she had almost fallen 3 times already – up there. She didn’t need a damn broken ankle when she was almost back.
But back to what?
Then she heard the car, then the door, then …
“Mommy – we’re home! Mommy, where are you?”
Carrie went to them. That was what she went back to.
But she noticed her heart was still alight when she hugged them – all of them.
That was good enough. Very good.
And yet. It pained her that she had failed again – to find the drawings, to find pen and paper. To get something done.
Something like drawing again.
“Hey, honey – ” Jon panted, putting down the bags. His hug was still strong, still good. He was still strong, although not without wear and tear.
She caressed his beard, for lack of some other gesture. But it was okay. No, it was more than okay. It was Jon.
“Anything the matter?”
He knew her too well. The kids were already running wild. They had not noticed anything.
“I guess … ” she looked down ” … I didn’t get so much rest, after all.”
He smiled. “I didn’t get any rest either – that playground in the mall is insane.”
“Well, the kids love it.” She put her arms around him.
“Emma is too old, actually,” Jon continued now, his voice trailing ” – she’d rather go shopping. Are you sure you are all right?”
She hesitated, but only for a second now: “Yes.”
She let go now and looked directly at him:
“Is JoAnn’s Craft Store still open over in the mall?”
“Yeah, I think so? Why?”
“I’m going there. Have to pick up a few things. Can you hold the fort for me – just for an hour?”
Jon was about to protest, but only for a second or so: “Yeah, sure.”
“Good.” Carrie took the car keys from his hand and clenched them in hers for a moment. Then she gently tapped his chest with her closed hand, and the keys.
When she went out the door and into the driveway, Jon called after her:
“What do I tell Em and Mike?”
She stopped and looked back at the house and him. Regular dry suburbia, but right now it looked a little better:
“Tell them I went to buy some new crayons.”
“For them or for you?”
“For all of us.”