but the answer was that i want to take care of jackie because (and here is where my voice cracked and i started to tear up) she has taken such good care of me.
we're talking stories here.
this woman i never met obviously did not take care of me in any real way. but also she did?
i've been writing and thinking about her for 3/4 of my life and still i am no closer to understanding what happened to me when i first met her story.
this is not a scenario in which i am aware of having agency.
she was there. her story was there. it was right there, in front of me, for the taking.
i took it. but is there choice in that equation?
or is this just one of those things that was meant to be?
is this how fate works? or god?
i don't know.
the thing i want is to experience joy. to actually feel things during this process, as we wind our way towards the jackie book being an actual book you can put on your shelf. a book i no longer have to read every few months or years and edit in the hopes it'll one day be Out There.
maybe this is the beginning of letting go? if so, i hope to go down in a blaze of parties.
i struggle to feel excited. i struggle to feel. i struggle.
too bad knausgård already took that title. they keep rejecting mine.
it's a weird thing, naming things.
i'm reminded of how marcel didn't feel like a marcel for like a week. he was nine different people. and then i relented, and he was marcel.
bingley was supposed to be marcel but he was so obviously bingley. maybe i already knew he'd be an outlier, he wouldn't be with us long, he wouldn't last, dear thing.
things do not last. this is what i talk about in therapy.
the thing we do not talk about is the unrelenting tremor that persists somewhere deep within my guts because of my immigration experiences.
we tried, today. but i sensed she couldn't get it and the book was easier to talk about and so we didn't really go there.
i do not know how to go there.
when we talked about the rapes in college, we used the metaphor of circling the block and pulling the car into the garage.
i don't have metaphors for this. i just have that passage from john berger, about the mouse, quaking after its time in the cage.
what i've done is written a whole book about freedom. a book about a white woman trying to free herself.
what i remember is the blueness of the skies in chatham, the blueness of the lapis fireplace, the pinks and purples and blues of the setting sun, the shimmer of sequins in the dark.
i've pulled myself all this way, written myself into being the writer i am now, and still i fear i am not enough, i have not expressed it clearly, fully, so that anyone will be able to understand. i fear i cannot do her justice, i have not done her justice, this woman who didn't so much set me free-- because are any of us?-- as provide a framework on which i might pitch a life. like a scarecrow, i have hung myself upon her. so that when i read the story i have written of her life, tucked into it is also my own, though you'd maybe never know it.
every sentence is a pandora's box of memories. every paragraph a decision i've made somewhere along the way. every page a choice.
there are so many choices.
it feels like she wasn't one, arriving as she did during the dark of homeroom, but she has nonetheless shaped my whole life.
maybe this is what it feels like to let go? to move on?
my therapist always asks where i feel it and, with her, today, i feel it in my guts.
this is what my nearly 13-year-old self wrote (ya'll, i know it by heart):
i keep thinking about jacqueline kennedy and richard nixon. they were a part of history. they made history. and now they are history.