Day Four

Four days. For days. Four days. For days. Four days. For days. Four days. For days. Darlene. Darla. Darlene. Darla. Darlene. Irene. Darlene. Irene. Darlene. Irene. For the first time, I notice we share something, we both end our names with ‘-ene.’ Writing this memoir, writing about you wears me out. I feel like a wave tossed upon the shore. It’s four in the morning, and I am surprised that I have made it to day four.

I woke up at 2:59am, and my thoughts formed a disorderly queue in my mind. They were arguing over which one would get to start my morning pages. The memoir crew wanted me to write about the Dark Lady. (They mean the Dark Lagoon.) And I chide them for always correcting course, why can’t I call the movie the Dark Lady from the Lagoon, if I want to. No, no, they say you have to get it right. You have to be accurate, you can’t bend the truth. But that’s how I want to remember it. And then the present tense crew ridicules me for taking on this project at my age.

My age! I’m eighty-four, it’s about time I start! If I don’t write now, when will I ever finish. “Day Four,” I write at the top of the blank page, after finally telling myself to get out of bed, because I know from experience that I won’t get back to sleep until I get up and quiet the crowd of thoughts by writing some of them down on the page. So here I am writing very early morning pages.

I never thought I would make it this far. Four days. It’s not getting any easier. For days, for weeks, for years, I’ve told myself this same truth, “It’s not getting any easier.” Why do I believe life should get easier? Shouldn’t I have figured out the way to the easy, carefree life by now? But it’s hard, exactly because so much of my life has passed. There’s so much to tap into. So many directions I could take. And so many memories clamoring to be heard, to have their day in the spotlight. (And as I already noted, the most difficult memories sap me of energy, and I don’t feel like writing about them anymore. Like noticing that Irene has part of my name in hers, and I have part of hers in mine. I will be walking along the shore of this awareness for days looking for significance, but maybe it was just a coincidence.) I let the memory of her recede like the ebb of the sea to be washed ashore again another day.

Right now, I should go back to bed, but the memoir crew shouts at me again, “When are you going to tell them about the summer in Florida? Remember when you were in the spotlight, when you were the Lady in the Dark Lagoon? But the darkness presses in, and I yawn at them, and say, maybe tomorrow.

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