During rush hour the electronic turnstiles stay open almost all the time. I am learning to walk through them promptly instead of waiting for them to swing shut and sense me, distinctly, approaching. They do warn you. Opened, they read “Keep Hands” in black Helvetica, printed vertically down yellow tape.
Full circle is the moment in your life when everything seems briefly too poetic to be reality. Most of the time people use the expression in a way that connotes helplessness and regret. Life has come full circle and, in the interest of poetry, is briefly out of our hands.
It never stays full circle for long.
I have been reading Mary Otis’ short stories because Lorrie Moore called them “funny, brave, and amazing”, right on the cover. They are not as good as Lorrie Moore’s stories but I think they work pretty well as meditations from that point of full circle. I am having a problem because in the last few pages of each story, Otis’ characters tacitly realize the sad and boring poetry of their lives and them promptly walk off the set. This recurring resolution device is cathartic, dear, and completely unrealistic. Funny, brave, and amazing.
I was talking to my barista who is failing to break up with a girl right now. Actually she is perpetually failing to break up with a girl. They weren’t seeing each other for a while and then they weren’t seeing each other very often and it seemed that a fade-out was in order. But then she realized that the girl had understood them to be together the whole time and the break-up would warrant a more hands-on approach. She doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it because it’s not a big deal. Really, she tells me, the girl probably won’t care very much.
Which always seems like the hardest to me, leaving the people who don’t care at all.
I mean, do I really believe I will be sliced in half if I don’t wait for the turnstile to fully close and then fully reopen? I’d like to keep hands but where is my head?
Six months ago (and a couple of days) J and I broke up. We had a lot of fights because the November before we broke up, she told me that if our relationship ended her chief affect would be disappointment. I am only now starting to be able to write again. But this story– the one about J– is not what I mean by full-circle.
Other people are back– and the kicker is that they never physically lived here. They’ve actually appeared because apparently Freud was doin’ it wrong before. I can’t say anymore because it would be just like them to be reading my blog. And it would be just like them for me to believe they were secretly reading my blog. That’s what I mean by full circle.
A week ago I had a nightmare which seems to need little explanation: I set up a window display full of JL’s favorite things. When he reached in a bear trap sliced off his hands. Instead of taking him to the hospital I let my father handle it and my father let him die. We disposed of the remains. Then I looked at pictures of JL and his sister, happy, in front of their boat and thought about how my selfishness had killed him. Because I was too lazy, he had to die. And there were so many people who loved him and were now mourning. I wanted to turn myself in, to resuscitate him and give him back.
I think, in murder, full-circle only happens in the movies. I can’t be sure since I don’t have all that much first hand experience with it.
I only just realized how many of the stories in the book are about children. For some reason I remember them as being about adults.