We really just don’t have much time, which is why I get up in the mornings to write. I thought that walking with Benny in the morning yesterday, to the fields. He asked, now that you’re back in Seattle and settled, do you see yourself staying there a while? Maybe the mid-life crisis people talk about is the awareness of time, that you won’t keep on living, you lose the feeling you will, which we have in youth. The idea of old age and dying was repulsive to me then. But then I saw myself in the mirror for the first time with that chicken neck thing starting, the way the flesh starts to hang below the chin, and since then it’s only gotten worse. I splash cold water on my face in the mornings and go for the coffee maker, that seems to undo some of the effects. And then I walk outside in the cold, in the dark, and use my senses, and feel strong for a time, and get ideas I can use to write. I lay in bed in the morning in the dark, and Dawn’s upstairs sleeping with the kids, they’re having bad dreams. None of us want to be alone but we all are, in a sense. That’s the trick of companionship, to pretend we’re not. I had a bad dream too, and wrote it down here:
The dream started with my green knapsack on fire, in the corner of a hotel lobby. I thought, someone lit that and it’s going to blow up and I need to get it out of here now. I threw it outside but there was someone in the grass on their side with a rifle, and they saw me, and I ran but he got me in the back, I saw the bullet come out of the rifle in slow motion and felt it go through me and come out the front, a direct hit. I went down, and in that moment thought this is it, and felt my last breath and then my legs open in a yoga pose. And the dream told me, now is the chance for your last thoughts or prayers, what will they be? And I don’t remember, but they weren’t about me.
Loren wrote, he’s depressed. I wrote back and did the best I could, but there’s only so much you can do, on email. I told him I feel the same this time of year, it will get better come January when we get more light. That’s part of my problem with violent movies or the news, why let this all in, when it’s hard enough to stay positive? When people feel alone or lonely with their grief, we need positive things.
Loren said he went outside with his phone and filmed, the groaning of the trees in the wind, the sun. And I did the same walking through the forest in the morning alone with the birds and trees. We’re going back there some day for good, and maybe all this now is just a dream.
Just as the Christmas market started so did the snow. Benny called his dad Christoph, who met us by the Rathaus around noon. The brass band started but the conductor wasn’t wearing a hat or gloves and looked cold. Christoph said we could go upstairs to Charlie’s, there was a small room where we could sit and watch the snow. Charlie said he had some orange cake that was really good and brought me a coffee and the others, Sekt. Dawn met us and we made room, and shared the orange cake with our forks. The snow seemed to stop and start again, and when we came out mom pointed at a little tree with lights by the entrance now covered in white. I would have taken a picture of it but it wouldn’t have come out right.