It’s so frustrating being locked inside for so long! Though I did go grocery shopping today and bought myself a very berry hibiscus refresher from Starbucks on the way out. Things like fancy Starbucks drinks do make the day go a little better. What’s the song say? “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down”?
Earlier today I thought about my memoir, the one I spent the better part of my thirties writing and rewriting until at last I couldn’t bear to write anymore.
I thought about a scene of me, age 22, being rescued from my loneliness by a Frenchman I hadn’t seen in a long time. He took me to a blues club and bought me a drink. I asked for a Coke, of course, because I wanted to remember the night and my stomach was so empty that alcohol would’ve most certainly caused me to quickly become inebriated.
Strange enough, the food deprivation was tolerable, but I was also touch deprived and would’ve given anything for a hug. Sadly, French don’t hug friends of the opposite sex unless they’re already a couple. Kisses on the cheeks are okay but hugs are an invasion of personal space.
So today I started playing with the idea. What if 22-year-old me had broken protocol and hugged this rugged-looking, tall, long-haired Frenchman who took me to a blues club even though I had no money just because he hadn’t seen me in a long time? Would he have pushed me away or just let me rest in his arms for a few minutes?
I’d never heard of touch deprivation back then. But now I’m becoming an expert. And even though I live with three other humans, they’re family (my parents and sister and me) and we’re not a touchy-feely family. So I look forward to my great escape when I can find friends to embrace once again.
Wondering about the what-ifs and what-might-have-beens should make a novelist out of me, don’t you think?
(cue voice over)
Imagine. Unrequited Love.
It had been the most perfect night and she dared not forget it. After the music and the Coca-cola, he walked her home and they talked in French, now with ease as opposed to two months prior when she struggled to understand him at all. When they reached her apartment door, she impulsively threw her arms around him and waited for him to embrace her in return which, in sensing her despair, he did so, holding her all the closer as she sobbed on his shoulder.
As they stood there, he spoke softly into her ears, telling her it would be okay. C’est pas grave. Ne t’inquiètes pas. Tout va bien.
He was there. There was nothing to fear. And she wanted to believe him. She really did. But she knew it wasn’t in her control to begin with. Nothing was. And when she remembered as much, she let go and said merci and bonne nuit. Then she ascended the stairs to her apartment to be alone again.
Such a beautiful yet tragic fantasy! If I spoke it into existence, would that make it true? If I believed he held me tight while I wept in his arms, would it be real?
Memoirs are tricky and, as it turned out, in the earliest incarnations of my memory of that night, I wasn’t sad in the end at all. I was, in fact, happy, so happy that I wrote about it in my diary before I went to bed just so I wouldn’t forget! Then I stared at the slanted ceiling barely a foot above my head, and smiled as I turned off my bed lamp. This was the first in a series of joyful upturns in a downcast story.
Anyway, one doesn’t just write the same story over and over again never to see it published. Maybe it will be found after I die and someone will declare “she could’ve been a great writer.” But I shouldn’t let my imagination get too far ahead of me.
I try to read.
Great writers love to read and I decided to engage in children’s literature, so I picked up the first four books in the Harry Potter series. I’m still on the first one. Sleeping has taken precedence over reading. Dream after forgotten dream. But I don’t want to face another day of this. Dreams are worth it, even if they are forgotten, right?
I write letters to people whose names I know, too. Don’t know if they actually read the stuff I post on the the internet. Everyone’s a writer now and the world is oversaturated with blogs and podcasts and so on. Why would anyone stop to read my words? Why on earth? It just doesn’t make sense!
But people still like receiving letters in the mail, right? I’m a bit slow at getting them out as sleep takes a lot of my time, but they’re getting better with each one. Sorry for the once I wrote to my earliest recipients. I just didn’t know what to say.
We talk about what we’ll do when this is all over. I want to go for a little weekend solo retreat somewhere and eavesdrop on other people’s conversations at coffee shops and bars. Oh, I know it’s not polite but I can’t help it.
Humans fascinate me. I often don’t feel like I’m one of them. I feel like maybe I’m an alien, like le Petit Prince wandering around in search of any kind of connection at all. The world is lonely and often feels hostile toward me. I hate going to parties for instance for fear of a stranger asking me what I do for a living.
I’m a writer. I’m just not published and not writing any books at the moment. Just a few blurbs on my blog; a few sentiments unleashed from the solitude of a mess room.
There are books everywhere here! More than I’ll ever be able to read! But I love having them near me. They remind me that I’m not alone, not really.
I like to think the Frenchman wouldn’t have pushed me away but instead would’ve perceived my need to be touched and hold me a little longer than normal. Then I didn’t want to bother him with my troubles. I’d told him I’d lost my wallet but why did he have to know the rest of the story? Why burden him with the pain of everything else I’d been dealt?
Does that even matter anymore?
Maybe that’s the secret – let my imagination wander and play with all the what-ifs. Then maybe I’ll find some real answers.