August 5, 2003

Song 3

Zero conversations yesterday. I did say “hi” and “thanks” to the woman at the gym who handed me my towel and I did leave a phone message for a friend, but neither could be called a conversation. A conversation is when people say things back and forth and no one knows for certain what’s going to be said. Imaginary conversations are not conversations, for even when you must consider what the imagined other would say in response to what the imagined you has just said, you’re still just talking to yourself.

This time I raised my arms to the ceiling and sort of danced, flexing my legs at the knees and rocking my head a little from side to side. It was nearly involuntary. I felt like a baby in its crib, reaching up at one of those crib toys that spin and make sound.

I have tried not to think how you picked the songs, what each may or may not mean, why one follows the next, to what degree you asked yourself what I would think. It’s a dangerous thing to do. In the years I was gone, my mother would read and reread a book she found in my abandoned apartment. She gave special attention to the notes scribbled in the margins, seeing these as clues to my inner life – the life, as she imagined it, I had never shared with her or anyone. She told me about the book when I returned. It had taught her things about me and had strengthened her faith that I was alive and would one day return – a faith she alone maintained through those years.

And it was all a mistake. I had never seen the book before.