the Art of Waking a Sleeping Widow with Wasabe
Anyway, the kids fell asleep in the car one night, and to keep them from waking and keeping me up when we got home, I decided to drive. I drove to familiar places in my old hometown. Next thing I knew, I was driving to Asheville to repeat a trip I had made as a small child. Driving became something I could do, again.
The next trip was to the ranger station at Tupelo. I wanted to take the kids there for a last small road trip. Something bit me there, and I had to see Memphis again. I've never seen much of it to begin with, to be honest. But I have seen some amazing things in Memphis. I saw my hands shake one night so badly I thought something was wrong. I had to sleep with them between my legs to stop them.
We stopped to watch the Olympic Torch, and sunset over the river. Over dinner, I explained dry and wet ribs, and the finer points of each. And I remembered, through the fog, how it felt to feel.
After the kids left, I had to go to New Orleans. I have always known that something important was there. I've been trying to go for years, but it's never happened. I almost made it once, but funding was cut, and I was left with no trip. It isn't Anne Rice, although I love her books. It wasn't the Fodor's, or the friends I have that had moved from there. For some odd reason, New Orleans has always had some sort of mythical magical flavor in my life.
The miles get longer as you go, too. Anytime you get on coastal plain one mile turns into twenty. We went down the Trace to Jackson. I've never seen much of Jackson, either, by the way, for much the same reasons I've never seen much of Memphis. The snagglepuss at the Waffle House said it was about three more hours. She lied.
It rained from Jackson to Hammond, but the sun broke over the bayou as we got closer. I found a room in the Quarter, and hit the pavement. The humidity was terribly oppressive, and I was soon wet to the bone. Pat O'Brien's (to replace my mother's Hurricane Glass from her honeymoon that I had broken as a child). Gifts for family and friends. Museums. Preservation Hall. Young men tap dancing for tips. The lunch on the balcony on Rue de Bourbon; an oyster po boy with a mayonnaise that was so rich with oil that it glowed. The smells of Cafe du Monde, Brennan's, Antoine's. Dr. Zombie's VooDoo Museum. Iced cappuccino at the Brewery. The rasping of the saxophone in Jackson Square. It was utterly unreal.
Suddenly, it hit me. It hadn't crossed my mind before, probably because I'd been too busy being busily numb. I was standing in front of a display of netsuke in an antique store on Royale, asking if they had any rosaries, or period mourning jewelry. While the owner looked, I saw her, and thought "I should get her for him. I know he'd be pleased." And, I laughed because I hadn't thought of him in that way for a very, very long time. He'd rather become a comfortable, delightful acquaintance.
The more I looked at her, the more she said to me - about how journeys are not always straight lines; about how I was going back to familiar places, so that I could move on to new ones, and that I'd been trying, all along, to get out of the grey expanse of nothing.
It was so undeniably clear. I knew it would either be very good or very bad, and never grey. Standing there, my body told me I needed wasabe. Whatever happened, I'd definately feel again.
There is a line in a song by Tom Petty that goes "You're the only one who's ever known how to make me want to live, and I want to live now." So, there really was no choice to be made. I did, however, think carefully. What I needed was to wake up and go on, not just exist. I only knew one way to do that, and I'd waited too long to learn another one quickly enough.
There are men who are like wasabe - they provoke reactions you can only imagine in the most twisted of erotic nightmares. I know one, and count myself fortunate that between us, we've always managed to balance the wire without ruining each other. He's not something I can grab and hold onto - if I try, it doesn't work. The taste of wasabe isn't neutral.
The Method, though, brings it's own problems. The largest, of course, is enjoying the high without being a burned out junkie. Getting enough for it to work, and not enough to kill it. Being close enough, but not uncomfortably so. Timing is a delicate art form, too. We've both worked out some very intricate and interesting defense mechanisms. I'm absolutely stone cold worthless for days afterward. And coming down is not elegant; I wouldn't do it near him.
I've found that the tracks fascinate and help me. I know to be still, quiet,silent, and wait while they're there, because if I don't, I crash and burn. And if they go away before I've landed, the mental pain is not worth it, and it fails.
They've become as necessary as the belt. I don't know how it works, or why. I don't care to know, either. If I did, I don't think it would be as magical to me. It isn't all I know, and it isn't all I am, and it's not what I want to become forevermore, but touching him is the only way I know to get back to who I am, and move on to something alive. I can't stay here, and live being dead forever.
Get the belt, pl
it must be your skin
I'm sinking in
must be for real
cause now I can feel
Everything gone white
Now you're here
Now you're away
You've got a beautiful taste