The following entry is in response to a New Year’s Day Facebook post by friend and fellow writer Lisa Nichols. She wrote the following: “Can you tell me, how do you maintain your independence while in a loving relationship?” I started to leave a comment but decided to post it here. Happy New Year.
I go into my office and close the door. Sometimes I wedge a chair in front of the door to keep people from opening. Once I’ve blocked out the world, the next thing I must do is escape from myself. I open the window, sit at my writing desk, unzip the back of my neck and float outside, leaving my body at the desk.
I strip from whatever clothes my soul might be wearing, leave them folded against my house and walk the neighborhood.
I sit and have dinner with whole families of strangers who can’t see me. The babies can see me, the toddlers especially. They don’t care that I’m naked. They laugh at my face and play with it, because my soul’s face, like my body’s, is funny and interesting to look at and touch, all full of jagged angles and slopes.
After dinner I leave through their windows, never the walls, because windows are made of water while walls are made of fudge, and therefore harder to pass through.
I walk until I find a street I’ve never walked down, usually near a church or bingo hall, some place where seniors gather. Some of the seniors can see me. When one does, it becomes a joke among the other seniors. Everyone’s mood lightens. My mood lightens.
I like to sit in the church and listen to people recite prayers. I get lost in the monotone nature of their praying, how their voices form a steady droll that becomes one great, many layered voice.
I wait until the last hymn then float through the top of the building and watch as the moon reaches the center point of the sky. Then I start the long walk back. I cut through as many windows I can, watch television in bed with couples, stand in corners until the family dog barks at me. I put my clothes on when I reach my house, float through the window and land inside my body, which has been slumped for hours pretending to get something done.