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It can be simple
dispatch #18: Before you can say another word
“David’s Boomerang” by SHIRA • Home recording, Winter, 2023 • Recorded directly into Voice Notes on the IPhone
Some days you’re wandering the dark streets, sobbing. Other days, it’s simpler.
Simple as someone you love dearly lighting a j in the kitchen while dusk light pours through the stained-glass streamers. Those stained-glass streamers the two of you scrounged your money for at that fair in Boston half-a-decade ago.
It was worth it. Yellow & blue triangles strike the walls every time the light pours through. You love this kitchen, which smells like your downstairs’ neighbor’s Pakistani cooking, which tempts you. Sometimes you are lucky & they climb the stairs to gift you a treat.
Life is complex, but it is simple to love a kitchen. The place where one of you leans nearby to chat the other up as she flips an egg, as she dices onions, as she lights a j, as she’s adorned in triangles.
Life is complex, family is complicated, & here you are. At the museum with your folks, & your brother. As is true for many within their families, you carry a whirl of truths & effort, a chaos of needs & losses. But this is also real: the three of them pausing in front of a large ocean scene, a painting so large & tumultuous that it threatens to engulf its witnesses. Back home months later, collaging, you re-situate them inside a Monet backdrop. Your mother likes Monet. There is calm where the lily pads float. So much of your life, you need to create a new frame, a new framework. Paradoxically (can you do it?) you have to create a new way to hold what’s too big for the frame.
Here you are, sussing this out in language on the page, months later. You find yourself using the second person “you” instead of claiming the first person “I” because, in many circumstances, distancing helps. Perspective helps. It’s so easy for an “I” to be overwhelmed. “You” invites spaciousness.
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One night, in the passenger seat of your brother’s van in your hometown, you feel in your bones I am in exactly the right place. There’s no place else I’d rather be. It is simple. Him, driving. The radio on. A Boston night. Both of you older, with conflicts behind you – & unknowingly, ahead. Still. This night is an example of how it always feels with to be with him: a brothering, a musicing, a togethering. His name means gift, & he is.
On this day at the Botanical Gardens, you think you lost your wallet & for a brief three minutes, perhaps the only time you’ve felt this way: you don’t give a shit. Let them have it. You should care - your ID, your credit cards, it matters. But you are in a state of sober hypnosis. It’s the first week of Spring, sun’s on your skin, a field of something potent is exploding nearby, & these arms, decadent with love, are wrapped around you. It can be simple, you think.
If you should find yourself wandering dark streets, sobbing, there is no need to change it, reframe it, or push it away with a “you.” There is, however, something to be said for the knowledge of other days. Other moments. Coming. Where simplicity might poke its head into the doorway & ask to borrow sugar. Or simplicity may very well bring sugar in a bowl, a single blackberry dotting its center.
“You’re so odd,” you’ll tell simplicity.
“Don’t I know it,” it will respond, then shove a tart sweetness smack-dab into your mouth before you can say another word.
With ample maple syrup,