Monday, December 14, 2009
Sometimes I have this fantasy where I'm not broken. I don't have it often--it makes me fragile and sad more often than not. But sometimes, I like to close my eyes and imagine where life would have taken me if I hadn't had that terrible flu when I was 25--the thing that started the whole SLE spiral downward. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to be breathing. Happy I outlived Flannery O'Connor, happy to see the sun rise. Happy I'm here to share stories with you and have words dancing all around me like snappish puppies.
It may be, that without the SLE, I wouldn't be doing this. I've always known I wouldn't have returned from the UK, but for the breakage. I wanted to get a little place in Normandy, a little pile of rocky Norman farmhouse. I would have had spotty cows and chickens. I might have made artisan cheeses and had a shot of Calvados in my coffee in the morning. My French would have eventually been okay-ish, but I would have always spoken it with a South Carolina accent that made my neighbors wince. I would have ridden my bike into the village each morning for bread, cheese and to see what might be good to fix for dinner that day at the market. I would have had a hard time finding a mechanic to work on that old Morris Minor I used to drive. I suppose my life wouldn't be so different from how it is now, except I wouldn't be broken.
If I was never broken, I would never have stopped dancing. The mysterious falls would not have happened. So I probably would be all crippled up from that by now anyway. Dancers get to where the only time they can move properly is when they are dancing. Not that I was much good at it ever--but it was something I enjoyed intensely and was passionate about. There's something magical about having a body that does what you tell it to do.
I would have traveled much more than I did. Worked--I'm such the workaholic--like a madwoman. Probably managed to get into way more trouble than I did--I'm such the sensualist--never met a physical sensation I didn't want to try--or try out on someone else.
If I weren't broken now, I'd hike to the top of Mt. Cammer and shout my wishes into the wind. I'd dance a crazy dance balancing on the edge of a big rock and threaten to fly. I'd offer myself, a perfect sacrifice to the sky, bare breasted and pink in the cold.
But I am broken. I guess we all are in some way. I just wish I weren't broken in quite this way. And that's how the fantasy of being unbroken usually goes.