the finest art

Happy birthdays to James and Bill! My sincerest well wishes to both of you, the years would have been less splendid without you.

I’ve been up a long time, the sun has risen and the moon had sunk since waking, a bright morning breaking when I arrived home to my box today. Now the sun is setting at four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, it’s dark.

There was a party at Marcella’s, a holiday thing, thirty people compressed into a small apartment out at Gamer Hall. I would have forgotten but for blonde Bill coming over. He visited while I was working, a welcome light-voiced distraction from the plugging monotony of the children. It’s interesting to see people who have been lost and out of touch for so long, the mannerisms are all slightly different, yet the relationship remains tacitly assumed. I feel sometimes like I’m braving an ancient fire escape bolted to a building that I built too long ago to trust. The secrets must have shifted, our identities blurring into someone new, but the same. I like that we’re older now.

I’d forgotten how comfortable with touch that particular crowd of people is, how assuring and self-assuring the body comfort is with some of them. Hands reach out to trail across your arm as you walk past the couch, you’re caught into hugs as you squeeze through the kitchen. It’s aristocratic inescapable, the affection. The familiarity is soothing. It’s been such a long time since I’ve felt I could curl up safely with everyone in the room who knows my name that it was blissful to the point of falling asleep. A noisy room crowded and I drifted off, cozy in the blended cacophony.

Bill eventually joined me on the couch, quietly letting me fit myself into his shoulder to rest until it was midnight. When the clock struck over, we sang Happy Birthday, filling the apartment with happy drunken voices. I meant to leave then, I was going to go home and sleep, my only reason for staying fulfilled, but after talking with Kim, Angus, and Antonio, I found myself sitting on Travis out on the balcony, shoes off again and my coat inside, my opposition pointless, as it was empty. “She thinks she’s an imposition” is right, but for once I didn’t mind my neck being nibbled on. Letting someone enjoy, that I am myself again enough to be there was blessing. That, and I admit I respect skill. I respect skill like I can’t breathe with it, there’s not a mark on me today. Words floating from graceful hands, little stories and observations, some people are story-tellers and I love to listen. A silence broke that had waited four years, here in my arms. A long skirt and eyes that are laughing in love with you.