Questions at the Dinner Table

I couldn’t write continuously because I couldn’t read continuously. I couldn’t read continuously because I couldn’t sit still. I’m needed in so many places. It’s like waking up with hiccups from the previous day. And it’s not helping that I am reading Proust. Old man Marcel writes in sprawling prose and tolerates, even patronizes, my lack of structure. He does these things to me. Dead. What do I expect from a man who makes words waltz with each other?

But I am writing now. Here at the dinner table. I am writing now while waiting for my food. I don’t understand why they are still giving me the menu when they already know what I’m having. I don’t know why I’m still reading the menu when I’m still going to order the same thing. Am I slowing down or zoning out? I don’t know.

And so I’m writing now. Hoping to make sense of my here and now, and my tomorrow, and then my history. I’m writing when I couldn’t. Like how a child gulps cough syrup. Or a diver swims his way up even after breaking an eardrum. Or how a heartbroken musician plays a song he wrote from a distant past when he was in love.

In the occasion of a slump, you still show up. There at the dinner table. Sit up only to slouch after a while. Writing and writing and writing. The Frenchman goes to you and tells you bon appetit! And asks you why you look specially beautiful today. (I don’t know.) A little girl shows up to say a shy hello. Then she goes to the pianist who, in the middle of singing Yesterday, she interrupts so she hears Twinkle Twinkle Little Star instead.

Life right now is not knowing. Or maybe it is not knowing at all. Not knowing why there is such a thing as a Proustian lure. Not knowing why you’re still reading the menu when all you want is the same blue marlin with the same herbed butter. Not knowing why you look specially beautiful. It is what it is. Life. It is not what you make it. Not yet. It is what happens to it. And it is how you make sense of the ruins that ceremoniously fall into place. When they do, play some music. Or have it changed to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

 

 

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