We Are Simple and Fragile

image_2I went to the beach today. Unknown dewdrop blobs marked the tideline in glistening polka dots. They looked like some kind of jellyfish relative: translucent, but lacking tentacles, lacking lightness. It seems they met their end strewn along the sand. Some accident of the tides led them astray, to parts unknown and untenable.

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Today I had my first physical in five years. I learned that I may have a magnesium deficiency, that depressive tendencies often worsen with age, and that rubbing leaves between your fingers helps. Sartre would beg to differ, but I’ve done okay so far. (I’m reading Nausea, in which the main character steadily loses his sense of reality. Early on, he describes a fascination with picking up frozen leaves in the park. Little fragments of tree, “pilonnés, broyés, maculés.” Bombarded, crushed, stained. The words taste like harmonies in minor chords.)

I met this shrimp in the sand. Iridescent, unbothered, no longer than a section of a finger. I talked with my sister about the wedding she will one day have, and realized that at some point I gave up planning my own. I told my grandmother, each of the six times she asked, that it was better not to lock the garage door because Mom comes home that way. The seventh time she forgot, she said, “I locked the garage door. I hope that’s okay.”

simage_1I found out that my visa application was accepted. My passport came in the mail with a shiny, stamped sticker and a picture of me staring expressionless ahead. I’m tempted to say that that’s me, staring into the open future. But no. I’m staring down all my dreams and suppositions, the lives I have invented, the unknown truth that will unfold before me.

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I don’t know what’s coming. I know what I want, a bit. I know what I am afraid of, a bit. I know to fold my knees beneath me, drink a coconut water for magnesium, rub a leaf between my fingers for sadness, and pray for all beings who pouf in and out of this world, making marks in the sand erased by the waves.

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