"I wanna scope you out - I wanna touch your mouth when you're out there.
When are you comin' back? Bird on the branch must come on home to sing."
-Burn That Broken Bed by Calexico and Iron and Wine, from album In the Reins
So many burnt bridges. A few years ago, in the dying throes of our friendship, a friend and I figured out that when you have a close enough relationship with anyone, you basically create a whole other existence out of that relating. You make a child, was our analogy (keep in mind we are both childless), or, more lightly, a bridge. You are, together, not just yourself, not yourself at all, in some ways, rather, a part of that newer entity. When you "break up", there is a presence lost, and it is not just that other person, not just parts of you. It is also the relationship.
My 7 year old nephew, who lives a couple of hours away, and I are getting a lot closer. Tonight, in a friend's borrowed car, we went bowling, then over to the store, because he loves to ring people up, and increasingly, he loves books. He is deeply affectionate, and wirey but inspiring. I had a dream last week that I was pregnant, and it was funny (odd, not ha ha) to be around him today, to feel a connection to such a person, a new generation of our family, of the world - to feel our connection as something outside of us both. His dad is moving to Milwaukee in the next few weeks, and he was really worried about not seeing me, about not seeing his dad as much. He was really excited about being in a car alone with me (I don't own a car, and he and I are rarely without his father) and about being able to hang out with me. It is so amazing how significant and sad it feels to me to be important to someone, to him. This, this season of family and relationships, and he gave me a big fat wet kiss on the lips when we said goodbye and wished me Merry You-Know-What.
In some ways, I have gotten what I wanted: alone-ness. Solitude. Space. Yet, I was feeling suspiciously isolated (over the holiday). My nephew, plus friends visiting from Canada, have helped over the last couple of days (holidays are always hard, as some folks are still around, but we are always holed away in our own homes). I feel in my gut a kind of hollow space, honestly, an aborted space, from which the dead of my family and the living but not a part of my life had been extricated by taking on this year's Christmas as purely my own. It was good to have a taste, a wet, sloppy taste, of my nephew's need for me to stay with him, here. Wherever that here is. Empty spaces included.
This is the worst time of the year for me, by a clear margin. In fact, Christmas isn't the hardest, it is New Year's. I honestly couldn't tell you why. Maybe it is the time after the last months' struggles. Maybe, and this I suspect is the "truest" bit, though it is quite plot-driven, it has to do with the pressure of a "New Year". Performance Anxiety. I always spend New Years Eve day alone, sorting over the last years' letters, calendars, diaries. I spend the day culling wisdom from the last year, making accounts, burning broken beds. This year I have done better maintenance all throughout. Maybe this year I'll spend the eve out in nature. Meditating. Moving ahead. Being in that day, instead of afraid of it, hoarding the seconds before the ball drops and lops off the last year from my life. Maybe this year I'll fall in love a bit, instead. Burn something other than a bed.