THE LONG HOT SUMMER
At rise, inside a 1960s apartment building. Hundred-degree days, a waning water supply and the dire need to stay in a creative space, the protagonist gathers the almost empty bottles; she pours them into one bottle, scavenges for more in bags around her home. She can make it to the day before payday if she rations herself… Inside an old purse she finds a five-dollar bill stuck between two receipts. PROTAGONIST breaks out in a victory dance, slow and off beat, dehydration is cruel.
HOT DAMN, WATER, WATER
WHAT? WHAT? WATER, WATER
I could have never imagined that the world would start to have hints of the BIRD BOX or the BOOK OF ELI real time and that in the midst of “working from home,” the competing stress factor would be water or the lack thereof. So yes, I danced around a bit then promptly left for the store to restock.
The dehydration lasted a few days longer than expected, symbolically tied to the minimal writing I have been doing. My whole self has been crying out for community… I took a webinar on grief through Hedgebrook just for that reason. The Webinar, “The Sixth Stage: Possibilities for Awe and Wonderment When Writing Grief” with Idrissa Simmonds-Nastili, and its ‘holding space’ was a profoundly refreshing experience. Hedgebrook offers a lot of webinars that can be a source of gathering during this time. This was my first one which I took on grief because I seem to be living there as of late. Grief encompasses real estate like a swarm of bees heading home to the honeycomb looking for the sweet refuge of its cavernous walls. Hovering over loss like a tornado, it’s the bitch that won’t go away easily, not without a fight, not without drawing the last bit of blood. With the death of one of my cousins and one of my dear friends, my body which has been keeping score has begun to scream, “do over, do over.” There’s no such pleasure…
What’s left is what’s left. Or, is there a way to change something – some part – of this madness?
Maybe the do over is in the expelling of the stinger and the adding of salve and alcohol. It does help when you write about it. Even when there’s so much of it that it can fill two lifetimes, writing moves it on it way.
I am missing the pieces of me frozen in the walls, my fingers and toes have started tingling, waking up, moving, they don’t know there’s no such thing as do over’s. Maybe I won’t tell them, maybe I’ll just wait and see if this leads to deep welled water… deeper than this grief. Maybe it’s flowing upward from underground just waiting for me to believe so it can burst forth…
There is a wonderful article “Letter from Oakland: Black Motherhood in Sleepless Times by Idrissa Simmonds-Nastili on the Literary Hub site at https://lithub.com/letter-from-oakland-black-motherhood-in-sleepless-times/