Feeding The Habit

"I will go in this Way, Oh but I will find my own way out." -Dave Matthews

Monday, October 25, 2004

Non-Automated Biography

A taxi drive

My Grandmother was a large woman, though somewhat frail she had always seemed to me. Even now, wrinkled and bent over, I can still feel her tower over me. But really, I have her by few good inches. I remember mostly, when I let my thoughts drift back, her arms. Not so much their largeness, as when they were at her sides they were rather thin—skin sitting over bones—but more so the bottoms running elbow to chest, how they would wave back and forth more than the hand she was using to say goodbye.

But it wasn't even the gentle rocking back and forth of it that sits most in my mind. It was the way they would clutch me, desperate, just before goodbye became final.

She would hold on like she would never see me again, the arms smothering. I would be choked up and gasping like hell to try and suck what air I could into the still half closed nostril that I had managed to wiggle free. And I remember the tears streaming down. They eroded her face, washed trenches in makeup that wasn't supposed to carry such a burden. And then her arms would crush in more, covering my eyes, and everything goes to black.

That's as much as I can remember of that. Oh, and the kisses and the tears and the sobs and the "I'll miss you so much." And while she was doing all of that, I could never understand why. "I'll see you again, Grandma," I would look at her and say. But it was never enough it seemed. Just words lifeless in the air.

It took a long time for me to understand, but one day, on one goodbye, I did. It was a time when I had wrinkled up into my heart and tried hard to stretch out my love. It came easier than I thought it would. It was rather effortless really and I could feel my whole body ache. Suddenly, I became aware of the things that had been in the past elusive, I could feel a slipping of what I had so quicly come to know as a daily joy. The tears, the sobs, the kisses, they were all there and came at me like fire. "I will miss you" was all my mind seemed to understand, all it seemed to cry out with. Each minute moved by so quick.

The only problem was I didn't understand the need for suffocation then. I hadn't been learned that yet.

But then I knew it as soon as I drove away and found myself staring out the back window. I imagine if my Grandmother had been much of a philosopher and was around to say it, she would have told me there are few times in life when we have a chance to learn this love. It will come hard and quick. The trees will blow softly for you though, she would say, and that great ball of the sky will beam down. Love's lesson will fall like a hammer, a sledge in the hands of an old spike driver. He'll later rest his arms and look back at the miles of track he has layed.

Looking back though, my arms only felt large and empty resting on the back dash of that taxi. It's as if they were waving alone, slowly back and forth in the wind, wanting something to squeeze, and needing something more than a wave goodbye—

I turned around and muttered something to the cabbie about alergies and wiped my eyes dry. They would be wet enough soon again, I knew, too. And besides, it wouldn't be too long before I learned also; I could still feel you in my mind.