The title came first.
I had something else entirely in mind when I arrived on my own blog in the wee hours of this morning to find a season’s worth of recent posts inexplicably wiped off the face of the internet.
They hadn’t just disappeared into the ether, but all previous drafts (but for one weak early one) had evaporated, never to be reconstituted. I have no idea how that happened; it’s never happened to me before.
I couldn’t truly rewrite a post any more than I could recreate a quilt, or ever fully repair my bruised heart. The only things I can replay in vivid photographic detail are technicolor memories of human connections. Some of them are glorious, some quotidian, some so terrible thy hover beyond the limits of language. As we grieve we shift the balance among them.
It’s impossible to entirely rebuild something that emanates from your heart and mind, to which dimension and nuance is added by revisiting and reevaluating. Even something as simple as a blog post.
Were I to even have the heart to try, I think I would re-write tightly and tentatively. I might wonder if the words now were as apt as I thought, whether even the experiences I wrote about were, after all, what they seemed when I first wrote it.
A college classmate wrote “The Blind Side,” which I only just realized has an extended title: “Evolution of a Game.”
I’ll get back to that.
“The play is now 3.5 seconds old,” he writes, describing an infamous football game that resulted in a grisly on-camera injury. “Until this moment it has been defined by what the quarterback can see. Now it — and he — is at the mercy of what he can’t see.”
Anyone who has experienced reactive depression, or I suppose life itself, will understand the power of momentum that gathers out of your sight before you find yourself with the wind knocked out of you.
“Surprise me,” I or one of the children would say.
“Pleasantly, or unpleasantly?” their father would reply with a twinkle, and the infinitesimal crinkle of a winking eye, though he would never grow old enough to display what would have been gloriously earned laugh lines.
And some of us are far more susceptible to the blindside than others.
It’s been very close to eight years since my husband died.
At about the two-year mark, I met someone who had lost a sibling to cancer at the same young age and very close to the same time. If I’d written about this just four days ago an entirely different story would have been preserved in amber, about the person I considered my best post-widowhood friend through all those years.
As Edward Gorey once wrote, “Yesterday I did not know that today it would be raining.”
But after nearly six years, deep into an exceptionally stressful winter, which anyone who knows me must know swaddles my soul in degrees of icy darkness, I found out–through a single flipping email (terse, yet encompassing abuse of the adverbial form; anyone who knows me is aware that’s going to be poison icing on the cake)–that, at best, things were not as they had seemed. That maybe I was even part of the “evolution of a game.”
So that can’t be reworked, rewritten, rebuilt.
Maybe I’ll start on those missing posts instead.