Blog Archive

Friday, July 31, 2009

Puzzling

I'm off soon.

Three whole weeks in the states.

I don't know how steady I'll be on the blogging front. Sometimes when I'm home, I get floods of feeling that I need to put somewhere, but maybe I won't be able to.

I'd organize guest posters, but my guest posting karma is pretty much crap right now, as you may recall.

I've never gone home for this long before to visit.

Three weeks is roughly 6% of the year. Add that to the two weeks that I go home for Christmas and it's roughly 10% of the year. That means that I have 10% of the year to try to find a balance to outweigh the favoritism of self that I give this place – the place that gets 90% of my day to day, that sees 90% of my breathing, 90% of my blinking, 90% of my yawning, 90% of my sighing.

During that short time at home, I get to feel like a puzzle piece that fits perfectly into place. I know I fit when I smell the freshly cut grass in the morning and hear the lawn mower outside my window at 7:00 a.m.; when I wake up in the dark and my feet find the soft carpet below just like they should, instead of the unwelcoming tile floors of Spanish homes, just after realizing that the bed is exactly the height that a bed is supposed to be. I know I fit here because there are garbage disposals that suck the shit out of the kitchen sinks, out of life, instead of getting all clogged up where I have to spend forever picking out tiny pieces of food with a chopstick, never quite getting all the bullshit.

And I think, this is it, babe, this is where I fit so snuggly, see? I nudge him-- this is where everything dovetails, where the tenon finally fucks the mortise. And I see him trying to cram the little uncooperative bits of his puzzle piece onto my part of the puzzle with all his might, bending and folding and partially fucking up his appendages. I see him thinking it must be here where he fits too because he's relieved at finally seeing me comforted by the shape and form of the architecture surrounding us. But he can't make the cardboard edges line up properly; the outgrowths are too big where the holes are too small, and besides, he's a piece of sky with clouds on it and there are clearly no clouds in this sky.

And it sucks something out of me like the garbage disposals I miss to know that where I match up and fit all compact and sheltered like a cubbyhole he does not, where his bits align and contour just right, mine. just. won't. -- try as we might to fit our puzzle pieces into the same surrounding structure.

But by some manufacturing fluke, both of us as pieces fit so perfectly together, like we were certainly meant to dwell in the same part of the jigsaw puzzle, like our fibrous matter belonged attached, unsevered, having always been tethered even before when we were just sheets of paper board smoothed down to be cut with the fretsaw by the puzzle-maker.

He rolls over in bed, prostrates himself on his stomach and his shoulder presses against the mattress and he extends his arm with the palm of his hand facing up, finding the place it wants to find, cupping over the fleshiest part of me as I lay face up. This is my cue to place my hand on the small of his back and let sleep wash over me again.

It's as if we originated from the same cellulose pulp derived from the same wood, from the same tree, as the same organism, to later be disjointed and scattered unfound inside a box of a thousand imposters.

So we stay as two perfectly fitted pieces reserved to the side of the card table. We go together. It's just not really clear where exactly we go.


See you soon.


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15 comments:

Mongoliangirl July 31, 2009 at 9:02 AM  

I don't know where Hellbilly and I are supposed to go either. But I sure am glad I get to make up part of the puzzle right next to him. I get it Blues. What a lovely post. Thanks for getting me thinking about my own wonderful marriage.

Denise July 31, 2009 at 10:46 AM  

I didn't really use to identify with your homesickness and feeling of not fitting in in Spain, until I realised that my Madrid/country dichotomy was the same thing on a smaller scale. So I take my hat off to you now, for sticking it out in Spain, because I don't think I could do it in Madrid, no matter how well me and the MadrileƱo fit together in our private bubble. And although it doesn't look like I'll have to now, I'm really hoping for both our sakes that he doesn't find it as impossible to fit into my world as I have done to fit into his.

The Unbearable Banishment July 31, 2009 at 4:34 PM  

Bon voyage. Happy landings. Don't forget to fill up on some fine American grub. Take a walk through the local mall and see what's become of your countrymen in your absence.

hereinfranklin July 31, 2009 at 7:28 PM  

Safe travels. And here's to lots more giggles than shits. Wave as you fly over Franklin.

jen July 31, 2009 at 11:21 PM  

a perfect analogy for the connect/disconnect. and how sometimes you don't realise how much you don't fit elsewhere, until you remember how much you *do* fit somewhere else.

have a good trip.

Noble Savage August 1, 2009 at 12:03 AM  

Have a great time and enjoy the lush carpet under your feet.

Blues August 1, 2009 at 12:18 AM  

@mongo - thank you Mongo, wherever you go, I hope you take plenty of farm animals with you. For some reason it comforts me knowing that you and Hellbilly are hanging out with a bunch of animals.

@Denise - Yes, I can see how this could apply to a situation like that as well. I hope your MadrileƱo is happy in your country place.

@Unbearable - thanks! I hope to avoid the mall if possible. But with 120 degree weather, sometimes it is hard to avoid.

@Hereinfranklin - I´ll be waving. Oh I plan to giggle alright. Just being away from work makes me giggle and yesterday was my last day.

@Jen - yes, I used to not realize these things until I actually got home and it would all hit me like a ton of bricks. The feeling of being okay didn´t come from family, it just came from the little details of the environment that suddenly made me feel at ease and then I would realize that I´ve been annoyed with my surroundings for months. I guess there are certain things you never quite get used to, but those little details of comfort that I feel in American homes there I have not been able to duplicate so far.

@Noble - thanks. I might even sleep on the floor, that´s how much I´ve missed carpeting.

Captain Steve August 1, 2009 at 8:13 AM  

Tthat was a neat post. Have a great trip home!

Emily August 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM  

This is one of my fears. I'm reasonably content here in Chile, but I do have moments where I hate everything. Our eventual plan is to end up in the US, and I worry that Rodolfo will hate it. Even if he doesn't hate it, I know he'll have hard moments, and it makes me sad to think that those will basically be my fault for dragging him off to some other country.

Thank you again for putting thoughts I barely knew I had into words.

Rassles August 2, 2009 at 4:17 PM  

Blues, this was amazing. That whole mortise and tenon business. Wonderful. I just don't even really know how to respond.

Have fun in Arizona, and be all Arizonian.

* Also, I have a plan for your guest post. Worry not.

Not Afraid to Use It August 3, 2009 at 11:03 AM  

I want to fit in. To know that I am putting down roots and staying there. So when people ask me Where are you from? I can answer them with one word and not a long-winded soliloquy. The problem is, I don't know where I'm from anymore. Where I fit in. It's one of the pieces of me I have yet to define. I hope this trip back brings you more peace than uncertainty. More happiness than self-doubt. Enjoy yourself.

Ginny August 5, 2009 at 12:16 AM  

Sigh.

What a beautiful image.

Have a wonderful vacation.

A Free Man August 6, 2009 at 5:56 AM  

No shit. Where do we fit? I'm struggling with that all the time - we've got family - immediate family - on three continents. How do you make that work? Don't know. I feel at home here - as much as I did anywhere, but. But.

Gypsy August 6, 2009 at 6:32 AM  

This was so good. And I miss you already. Enjoy being home for your 6%.

Carl September 9, 2009 at 8:01 AM  

I brought my own garbage disposal to Madrid from the States. Packed it in my luggage.

There was no way I was going to dig the shit out of the sink.

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