I’m feeling the presence of the absence today. I never know why. I wouldn’t have known what to call it had I not gone to the wonky, high-fallutin lecture almost 30 years ago at Yale. The speaker was a sort of philosophical architect, whom even the wonkiest philosophy majors in the crowd felt free to mock out loud. He spoke of the hole the building would make, should the building be built and then fall. And he spoke of the presence of the absence, a concept that immediately caught me by the throat and never let go.
And yes, I am thinking negatively. I apparently have made a decision not to be especially happy today. Because I feel the absence of youth, the absence even of my children’s youth. Money has disappeared, time, dogs, houses, gardens, grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents, friends. Love. Energy. Plants I planted last spring never came back. They were beautiful. They died.
My expertise, my desirability as an employee and in other ways too, my importance, such as it ever was, gone. The dishwasher broke and I can’t afford to have it fixed. And if I replaced it I’d have to replace that whole section of kitchen cabinets plus the sink and plumbing, since the whole thing is about to fall down anyway.
Ideas I had for a book have gone poof. My ideas tend to just dematerialize, or vaporize, or escape somehow. Things that seemed smart and interesting yesterday are nothing but a vapor trail today. Such a funny concept, disappearance. Where did it go? A child’s question, but I’m still asking. Some things I gave away. I let my children go, to adulthood and lives in another city, children and jobs of their own, thoughts I will never know anything about. These children used to be, literally and figuratively, inside me.
Some people take pictures in order to remember. My father did that. But the pictures he took were staged, a picture of a picture and not real life. There are no pictures of the Chihuahua staggering around, except in my head. That’s one I’d like to get rid of but it persists. Odd.