After all the dislocation of my life, and the uncertainties of my existence, it is paradise to be in this quiet apartment in Washington. Some people say that my neighborhood is the dreariest part of northwest Washington. I am a stranger here, but I feel at home: it is life, and I am content--yes, miserable, but content with my misery.
I spend the day doing small things, drinking my morning cup of coffee, going to the library, then coming home and listening to music; afterwards going for a walk, shopping for dinner, cooking my evening meal. In between all this activity, when I have a quiet moment (as if all my moments were not quiet!), I look over my notes. I am daunted by them--the strange handwriting, the bizarre references, the bizarrely-boring notes about my life (if one might call it a life). There are two large notebooks, about two hundred pages, filled with my writing. There is too much of it. Some pruning is in order, I should think. There's enough material here for a hundred blog posts, at least.
It's a relief to have household chores to do. They keep me from thinking, just as thinking keeps me from living. My chores are brainless and tiring, they are just what I need.
I think of myself when I was a little boy coming home in the middle of the day for lunch. I had a very serious face, very pale from the Philadelphia winter and perfectly smooth. I had small beautiful hands and deep brown eyes that were so expressive my mother did all she could to please me. She gave me treats, bought me chocolate at the corner store, and cakes for my after-lunch dessert. She watched television with me, sitting next to me. When I was at school my mother missed me so much that sometimes she went early to meet me, and loitered until I appeared.
"What do you want for lunch?"
"A ham sandwich with Swiss cheese."
It delighted my mother that she could make me happy by being with me and offering me these simple things.
Actually, all this is a lie. My mother all but ignored me, and never picked me up at school. When I started kindergarten, my mother had a neighbor child walk me to school to acquaint me, no doubt, with the cruel reality of life that mother is not always there to offer comfort. I accommodated myself very early to the fact that my mother mostly ignored me, rarely tried to please me, and never offered an empathic observation to soothe my troubled heart.