Saturday, May 27, 2006

Plus Ca Change

I have just returned home from a friend's post -wedding party. It was at the groom's bar, a lovely divey place in South Williamsburg. J. looked gorgeous and happy and was also an ample six months pregnant. Everyone was happy.

I ended up talking mostly to Moxie, a brassy rockabilly singer who had accompanied J. when J. was doing her burlesque routine. Moxie looks like Jayne Mansfield's mother and I was flabbergasted to find out that she is onl three years older than me. She admired my vintage sarong dress, I her blond fall and sexy voice. She told me all about the ceremony. We ended up talking about how beautiful and important marriage can be: especially for the people who did not expect it, did not plan for nor make room for it, and then realized one day that a wedding was the sole possible expression of a profound and inexorable alchemy of union, commitment and change.

J. told me how sorry she was to hear about my mother's death three weeks ago. I thanked her, and told her that yes, it is really sad and awful: but the corollary of that experience is that you realize who you have in your life upon whom you can rely: and that I have been so grateful for my true friends and for my family. How the three big life events, death, birth and marriage throw these essential connections in to high relief, and I was sure she was probably feeling that today, and when her baby came she'd feel that even more.

The groom's business partner was in the bar with his wife and their six month old son. I watched their baby watch everything else. I ached for a baby of my own, I was full of joy for J., I bonded over being married ladies with Moxie, I joined strangers in communal joy, I missed my Mom, and then I walked home.

Our house is crowded with boxes of things from my mom's house. My father and stepmother sold their house last month, and so they shipped 6 boxes of my old papers to me at the same time. Thus, our cramped apartment overflows with my life and my mother's life intermingled: the letters she mailed her best friend in high school: the telegram my father sent me when I had my eye surgery at age five: photo albums documenting a thirty year span: my Nancy Drew hardbacks and stuffed animals: death certificates and the Ziploc bag of my mother's souvenirs from our wedding. She saved her table number, her placecard, the business card from the hotel she stayed in, maps, printouts of our wedding website, and her corsage: a single perfect gardenia to match my bouquet. This ziploc bag is on my vanity, next to my bridal bouquet.

I have been opening a box or two a day. This would seem an efficent strategy, but sometimes one box will stir up emotions that drive one to take to one's bed. Today however, I opened a box of essays from my senior year in high school.

Oh My GOD:
Metaphors in the form of tales and myths are designed to explain something unexplainable in any other fashion, something that the ancient creators of those myths could not find the words to express in a straightforward or literal manner. They were created in attemts to communicate in "picture language" that which is divine and transcends description in words. They were created to be verbal containers embodying the transcendent.

So, to literally interpret religion and myth as historical fact is to miss the point of the mataphor, in the same way that literary metaphors are not to be read as literal statements. The map of a territory is not to be confused with the actual place it represents. A book is not an ax ["for the frozen sea within us": Kafka]
Have I traveled so far to merely adumbrate and affirm what I wrote about, so earnestly, in a fucking ESSAY TEST at the age of SIXTEEN?

I guess I have. I wish I could tell 16 year old Lillet that she was indeed very pretty, and smart as hell: to not doubt herself, to not despair: and that the axes for the frozen sea we all carry are legion, are all around, if you only look. If you look and you are brave.

But more than that, I wish I could see my mom. I really miss my mom. Not to mention, missed.

3 Comments:

Blogger Kate said...

Your eloquence and ability to spot meaning this early on astounds me. Beautiful. And again, I'm so sorry.

11:31 AM  
Blogger spillah said...

You are brilliant. Were, and are.

I was about to write to Kate and say, OMG, you must read Lillet's post now-- but I didn't have to.

Gardenias are also brilliant. We had a plant I had bought for my mother's last birthday, and when she was dying, it bloomed like crazy. I would cut the blooms and bring them to her in these absurd chartreuse Venetian glass bowls of my grandmother's. The smell of them brought joy to her face when few things could.

Metaphor or not, they're the prettiest flowers.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Kender said...

My deepest and most heartfelt condolences Lillet....

10:24 AM  

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