Why did they draw everything? Too much novelty to even breathe steadily. Can’t draw quickly enough, my hand won’t move fast enough. I try harder. The lizard is crawling away.
My family used to vacation every year. Florida, The Cayman Islands, Aruba – my parents went to Atlantis one year but they left the kids in school. Do I prefer to see animals in their natural habitat or in places where they are forced to stay within my view? That seems like an awful question with an obvious answer. I just need these animals to know that I love them. I care for them. They fascinate me. Like that man in the documentary; he wanted to be one of the bears, accepted into their colony. He was crazy, but all I could really see were wounds. He was in so much pain living among humans that he took refuge in these massive creatures. I’d like a teddy buddy too.
The lizards moved quickly. I hardly noticed that they were there to begin with until they moved. When I get my face too close to something I always imagine it jumping onto my nose and so I leap back before I think it sees me.
I bought sterling silver turtle earrings (well, technically it was with my mom’s money, but I didn’t think about those things). We have shirts that said stingray city. It was a beautiful, magical, frightening place out in the ocean. We could feed the rays by hand chopped up squid. Their skin so silky yet leathery. It’s been a joke in my family since it happened, “First one in and the first one out.” I was just so eager to be with them. I enjoy the edge and I was right there, I had to jump. I had to be the little girl who wasn’t afraid. But its fin grazed my leg, like my girlfriend’s tongue on the playground; we wanted to know what they felt like, these strange muscles in our mouths.
So these turtle earrings, these stingray t-shirts, where are they now? Those pictures, my mom’s unceasing camera, where are the pictures? There’s a closet in my parents house with tubs of photos. My mom is as obsessed with Tupperware. She might even prefer to live in a clear, plastic house. Are hours wasted shuffling through photos?
I am afraid I will enjoy myself only for the camera, only for those brief snapshots, so the world can know a smiling face, but it’s not why I’m there. I’m not there to have my photo taken. I just want to be there. I can’t be solid enough because time is always passing. So there are photos and souvenirs. Constricting - I am being crushed! I scream because I cannot taste. I thrash because I cannot feel, my fingertips raw. I gouge out my eyes because they will not remember. These colors these sounds textures and smells, I can’t take them and squeeze them and know them forever. Their memories will fade the second I blink. Like the way I love you. Why we lick and bite. I shake you and squeeze you, to own you and take you, throw you around and smash you into myself just to feel a greater impact. Nothing is solid enough. “I could just eat you!” And it’s true, but even that would not satisfy. Like the gorger I am I have to always be tasting it. I bite and feel juice gush out. My taste buds dance with my saliva. They wrap this treasure and push it into storage. But in storage is darkness and silence, dust and cobwebs. I sit idle on the floor and cry because I’m not there. I am here, on this floor. I am trying to feel. My face contorts in frustrating. I don’t want to be indifferent.
When I hold up those t-shirts or play with those earrings, does it really help me recall? We need something tangible. It’s why we can’t understand God. His memory fades, replaced with painted souvenirs.