It’s night, and a gentle song begins on my bedside speaker. Until this point, I’d always wondered who’d be the first to hear this song with me. Whose breath I’d feel on my body as the melody got lost in the darkness along with our inhibitions. It wasn’t a song I’d been saving, only one I never had the chance to share until I found myself here, exploring the open fields and windswept mountains and towns in between.
The stars are clear out here. A train runs through the centre a few times a day, blaring a horn as a warning to people who may be going from building to building by crossing the tracks. It’s a tiny village in a snowglobe, only the snow hasn’t come.
I haven’t been around this many people in years. I’ve long wondered what it’d be like to live this life one more time. To have rituals and theatre plans and regular friends. None of this is real, of course, but I don’t mind pretending if only for a little while.
I find myself resigned to someone’s care. It’s not an easy kind of control to relinquish, but lately I trust as little as possible in the future and do my best to go along for the ride. As the old poem goes; be wise, strain the wine, or as Zorba would put it, “DON’T BE DELICATE”. I didn’t plan on living forever anyway.
On a cold night, we keep the only promise made, one of those small wonders that still make me believe. I fit somewhere between needs and wants, temporary relief and long-term side effects, class and homework, nibbled lips and bitten tongues.
The fall is holding out against the winter, trees clutching bright leaves before the chill breaks their grips. It’s wonderfully warm among such colours, and we walk in the valleys of Appalachia to take in the smell of mountain air as rustic hands around us work livestock and soil. In old Aramaic, Damascus means “a well-watered place”, a fitting name as the rain soon grows too heavy to be exploring the tiny town, population 981.
I’ve made peace with this body. It hasn’t been an easy peace to come by, as I seem to get constant reminders about the diminutive size of my stature. Most recently, I met an older Chinese woman who admitted that she thought I looked sick and weak only after she discovered I had colitis. It was as if she thought colitis caused some kind of malnutrition that stunted my growth, and she didn’t want to bring up the fact that I was this size because it would have been too embarrassing unless it was caused by a medical condition.
I’ve been dealing with all kinds of similar comments since I was a kid, so when a girlfriend would say that she liked a particular part or portion of my body, I always thought they were just blinded by love. Eventually I realized that if they could come to love this body, then I could too. It will never look right in anything but slim-fit extra smalls from Mexx. It will never be good enough for my parents. But it will always be who I am, and I’ve learned to accept that.