Tuesday, I wanted to write about grace. The days soon ran together with only a litany of unwritten words circling around my mind like dirty water around a drain. It’s bath day and the youngest of nine has just taken the plunge in the tepid murky mess. Tired wet words are splashing on the floor. A detached curiosity drapes itself around my neck as I watch. I can’t turn away.
Yesterday, I wandered through the downtown library as we killed a few minutes between appointments. So many books. My heart beat faster with desire. Ah, the words, the millions and millions of words that swarm around me and seep into my veins. Words are like heroin in my blood. Without them I don’t feel normal but with them, I feel still feel lost. It’s as if the world knows a secret and it’s not telling me. My mind feels sweet and foggy.
Maybe it takes more to get high these days. My mind has gotten use to the noise. The words feel different then they once did.
There was a time when I could savor words. I could taste them and swallow them slowly without fear of them slipping away. Now, I, devour them before someone else can. Some times I devour so many that I have to crawl off by myself and purge them from my system, tossing up words as if they were bits of undigested food. Gluttony is my sin. I want only the best and yet, once again, I’m dining on the scraps tossed from a rich man’s table. Those scraps soon lie at my feet. The binge and purge waltz spins me through a decade before I recognize with whom I’ve been dancing. My mind, foggy and sweet, hasn’t recognized how common my words were or are.
I struggle to let them go gently, to turn away and never look back but I feel sorry for them. I reach for them with tears in my eyes. Blindly, they blink back at me. Their cheap sequins and sparkles catch the dull light and illuminate the vomit on their shoes.
Words are the prodigal son. They are less than what they could be. They are never really enough but when they return, I am thrilled to see them. I forget how they wronged me, what a disappointment they were. Determined to never let them go again, I hug them until the boundary between us is no longer solid. From head to toe, words seep into my soul and fill me their sweet warmth. Tarnished, used, ridiculous, we are one. In that unity I find a singular grace. Seriously, solemnly, I march carrying a woeful grace like a crown of thorny words round my head. They are all I have.