Thursday, September 10, 2009

Interior Decorating

I am addicted to comfort, and afraid of hope. I quash my imaginings, fold them up neatly and layer them in the bottom of an empty drawer. Occasionally one wakes up and batters itself against the inside of the dresser so the drawer clunks back and forth. The shaking rouses all the other visions and dreams, too. They flap and flutter, and at least one escapes into the open air. It follows me around, getting in my eyes, casting flitting shadows that distract me from whatever I'm looking at. Every time I put something down, I'm afraid I'm about to squish it into a stain on my book or bag or butt. I don't want to smash those dreams, really. I want to have them around. I just don't want them as a real part of my life. They're too dangerous. Following a butterfly will get me lost in the woods.

Instead of gazing at my dreams, I pore over memories. I sort through filing cabinets and pull out my favorites. Those hang on the wall to constantly remind me: those good times are real. They happened once, so they can happen again. But my imagination is too stunted from being kept in the drawer, too afraid of being shoved back into that small orthogonal space, to take any risks in envisioning the repetition of a good moment. My imagination doesn't dare translate a situation to a new cast of people or a novel location. It keeps the plots tethered to their characters and setting. My imagination plays slide-shows of memory's photographs, instead of painting pictures of its own.

I live in a house wall-papered with memories, with the curtains shut to keep out the brilliant light of the future.

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