--SOMETIMES WHOLE SIDES OF THE WORLD LEAN AGAINST WHERE YOU LIVE
...I'm going to Napa for four days starting tomorrow morning. Napa is always fun. I love Napa.
...I flipped open "The Dark Sunshine" and scanned it. What a dark book. Holy hell. What's wrong with me?
On Monday I'm speaking to my daughter's fifth grade class about writing and I thought maybe I could a story or section from my own book.
That would be a No.
Here's an example of why:
The Truth about Leprechauns and Miracles
If I am sad, will you be sad with me?
There is a broken window in my right eye where it’s sleeting. The left is loose without light. When I open my mouth to speak, someone stomps on a pipe organ and I bray harsh, brassy sounds. People who wanted to know what was wrong the first few months now just look away.
If I am dying, will you die with me? It’s not good to die alone. You could hold my hand and teach your face how to make happy signs so that I’d be encouraged and more hopeful when I woke up. Or you could just say, “It’s not okay, nothing is, but I’m here anyway.”
My grandmother passed away when I was a teen. I remember her blue bathrobe and her cheeks with their red and orange color like a peach. Now she advises me in dreams. Something she said recently was, “The dead get lonely, too.”
So, I guess every does.
Do you know there’s this thing you do when you are contemplating a brighter future? Yes, you rub the end of your nose until it’s raw, as if hoping a genie might appear. You do it without realizing and your eyes blink back white flashes like lightning.
If you knew how much I loved you, Jesus wouldn’t seem such an improbability and miracles would make perfect sense. You’d understand that nothing is preposterous.
I’ll admit it: I’ve been watching you for weeks now. So many fun times for you, huh? And here I thought you hated the opera.
But what about that day at the grocery store, in Aisle 13? The second you admitted Lucky Charms were your favorite, I felt the razors go slicing inside me.
He said, “No kidding,” and then did something foolish—something, if I were a brave man, I might have done—plunging his arm into the box, pulling out a fistful and stuffing his cheeks with marshmallow moons and pastel cereal pieces.
You called him ridiculous.
He had to spit out a few clods of mottled goop before he said, “I’m not ridiculous. I’m you’re little leprechaun,” which made you cry, because you were already laughing so hard, and then when you plucked spillage from his chest hair and ate it off your finger while people watched, a blow torch burned me out.
“How did I ever get so lucky?” you asked.
So, you see, miracles do happen. People get incurable cancers and then a month later the cysts and fibers disappear. Babies often end up in homes with parents who love them. The deaf can hear, the blind can see. Couples get torn in two but re-sewn with new, better halves.
Anyway, that’s what I tell myself.
Outside the window right now, gales are sending a garbage can rolling down the road. Cedar shavings pelt the glass like claws and tree branches scrape the front door though there’s never anyone there when I answer.
What grandmother tells me that night is this: “There’s no mercy in nature or mankind. There might be miracles, but mercy’s the myth.”