I turn up the music, blocking out yet more reports of grid instability, region failures, tasting change on the wind as I lock the studio door and then, prim by prim, remove it, remake it, no windows to look through, nothing but bare cedar planking, reminding me of heated saunas, old cedar forests, redolent with sweet wood smell and soft moss underfoot.
(Inside, she knows, a part of her needs this, physical to match the mental, the emotional, soul calling to soul and for once, she is standing fast against the call)
I hear nothing now, nothing from the world outside, not wind, not IM, nothing...Standing there in the silence, wood the barren chapel of desert thoughts, and wait for the emptiness to clear away, the spark of creation to surge again, going so far as to track down a pose stand and some design sketches for new dresses. I stare at them for two hours before sighing, packing them away once more.
(The music changes, moving from plaintive to accusing, and her eyes close, listening, wanting to deny, knowing there's truth in it, just a bit...
"When you don't look back I guess the
feelings start to fade away.
I used to feel your fire
But now it's cold inside
And you're back on the street like
you didn't miss a beat, yeah..."
but she did, they both did, she knows that, and still, still, she denies, she refuses, she turns away...first the vow to him, after all, and then the vow to all the others, and finally the vow to herself, the one she cannot break, the one she dare not)
And at the heart of all the stillness, I see the words again, the invitation, the plea, and I close my eyes, knowing it won't help, knowing it doesn't, knowing it's just going to take time, time and more time, yet more time...just breathing, breathing through it, alone and clinging to the vows made, the vows never--quite--broken.
(Because she's not who she was, and knows it; because he's not who he was, and should know that as well; because she can't move backwards if she's moving forwards, and if she doesn't move forward, she'll stop moving at all...
"And the world
And the world turns around
And the world and the world
Yeah, the world drags me down..."
Hard as it is some days, just standing, just walking, just taking one step, and one step, and one step--)
Needing to create. Needing to be touched. Inspired. Something in me needing someone to turn to, someone to tell me, it's all going to work out. Right hand drumming a faltering beat on the wooden slats until I frown, ceasing the restless motion, staring resentfully at the left hand, still at my side.
(More music in the place of stillness, filling her ears, moving uneasily between the life behind her eyes and the life she sees when she opens them. It's not fair, she whispers, over and over.
"Now's the time for stepping out of place
Get up on your feet and give account of your faith
Pray to God or something or whatever you do..."
But maybe it is.)
I go through the project folder, discarding building on large scale, considering the frustration of building on the microscopic, but discarding even that a moment later, the concentration necessary obviously not present for the night. Perhaps the entire week.
(The music changes again and it's almost as if her soul rolls into a ball, shutting out everything but the beat that never stops...even if, on occasion, it falters.
"This is the noise that keeps me awake
My head explodes and my body aches
Push it, make the beats go harder..."
(Back here again and why does she have to be back here, she's walked away from here so many times...)
For an insane moment I consider finishing the first two build projects I ever started, so many days and weeks and months ago, but even the laughable ideas behind them wouldn't distract me enough, tonight.
Not tonight. Not with...everything...on the line.
(Jangled guitars disturb her and with a thought she changes tracks, breathing until a new song's found, blinking as she listens. Can't go back, can't go back, can't go back, she thinks, and she knows she's right, now more than ever, because she went where she didn't want to go and crossed the life here with the life elsewhere, limbo a bare sliver of separation between.
"Record and play, after years of endless rewind
Yesterday wasn't half as tough as this time
This time isn't Hell,
Last time, I couldn't tell
This mind wasn't well..."
Can't go back, she thinks, and it has to be true. Now more than ever.)
Fluid reality in this place, thought takes form, random concentration engenders. I think, and a table appears; another thought and papers scatter across it, missives from the aether, scraps of design ideas, memos and curling parchment legends. One black-painted nail presses against a thin new sheet and I read it again, each word searing across my mind once more.
(Music changes again, and she wonders if she needs another place, another box inside the box, and briefly her mind is full of the image: wooden box, steel box, stone box, rusted box, doors missing from each one...but she shakes her head. Go so deep even her loves now can't find her? How does that serve her, serve them?
"It's the devil's way now
There is no way out
You can scream and you
It is too late now
You have not been
Doesn't, wouldn't, serve any of them, her own needs, needs of her loves, her friendship and those friends who remain...and everyone else standing on the edges...)
Wave of my hand and the memos evaporate, answered or discarded; the pictures return to memory storage; the table dissipates, back to wherever things go until I call them into being again. One thin sheet hangs in midair, violating the physics of other-than-here, but perfectly understandable in this space, in this sealed cedar box.
(Music changes again, and she hears it, plays it, one time through, then restarts it. And again. And again, words carving deeply on her heart, deeper each time. Apropos after everything, that this song is the one she chooses to reinforce what she's choosing to do.
"Someone take these dreams away
that point me to another day
A duel of personalities
That stretch all true reality
"They keep calling me
Keep on calling me
They keep calling me
Keep on calling me..."
Her soul curls tighter, memory's arms wrapping around her head, clinging to her denial. This time, if never before. This time, if not later. This time, because she said, because it had to be, still has to be, and hasn't changed.)
I sigh, music loud in the still space, and prepare for limbo. I've said no. I meant it when I said it. I can't return, I won't let myself return, I meant it, when I said it.
I breathe in grey mist and fog, as limbo closes over me. Stubborn, I am, I always was, too stubborn for my own good. But I can't be other than I am. And I can't give in.
She was never mine.
And I can't take back this no. Not this one.
For all she seems tied to me, she was never mine.
I've sacrificed, we've all sacrificed, too much to turn back.
Her fate can't be mine, either.
Whatever it turns out to be...
Limbo closes over me and for once, I'm grateful for it, slipping me away between time here and time there, laying circling thought and worry aside. It's almost all the peace I have tonight, and I cling to it as it sweeps me into restive nothingness.
(Song snippets are from Aerosmith's What It Takes; The Cult's She Sells Sanctuary; Seal's Get It Together; Garbage's Push It; Barenaked Ladies' Too Little Too Late; Radiohead's 2+2=5; and Nine Inch Nail's Joy Division cover, Dead Souls.)