Long day

I think a lot during the ~8 hour drive from Augusta to Nicholasville. Today, I was able to listen to anime mp3s thanks to the generosity of my good friend Hai Phan, and that took the edge off, especially when nice fast ones came on, like the Eurobeat Initial D stuff. But for the most part it’s just driving, and thinking. The music just gives my brain an additional something to work with.

Today, I thought about my old college roommate, and how things might have gone if we had never met during summer orientation and arranged to live in the same suite.

I thought about my husband, and how sometimes I have to explain to him my emotional needs. I wondered briefly what it would be like to have a husband who just instinctively knew what to do to comfort me.

I thought about my dream, even though I tried not to. I thought about the parts I didn’t mention in my earlier post. Weird sexual parts that added a creepy patina to the already dreadful death-knowledge.

I thought, briefly, about Gaila’s last shuddering breath.

I thought about how I’m giving up on dieting temporarily, and how I wasn’t really hungry anyway and could wait to eat until Chattanooga. (I later had a chicken burrito supreme from Taco Bell and a large chocolate shake from Hardee’s. And I must say, they were both excellent.)

I took pictures of skyscrapers, blasted cliff faces, trees, and rain. Yes, while driving.

I thought about how when I think, I have a feeling, and then I try to put it into words as if I was going to post it on this journal. Sometimes I will go over a sentence or paragraph again and again while the rest of the thought is congealing.

I don’t remember any of the “posts” I “wrote” on the drive. That’s a shame, because I think I had at least one decent metaphor.

I thought about how Luke and Tycho and Eric Burns have distinctive writing styles, and how I don’t feel that my writing has any particular style at all. It’s just there, and when I try to augment it I feel like a fake.

I thought about the nature of liking people. Part of me feels that I should be able to like everyone. I stupidly told someone in a chat room recently that I didn’t like him. He asked why, and I said something to the effect of “We share zero values.” He responded with incredulity at my criteria, stating, “That’s poor.” I don’t know what better reason there could be for not liking someone than not sharing values with them. At least it’s an ideological divide, rather than one based on race or gender or something that can’t be controlled. But then I wondered if I was simply trying to justify my harsh appraisals of other people–wondered if there truly is a good reason not to like someone. Yuuri–who has become my hero in pretty much every regard–tends to like everyone, regardless of who they are. He’ll get mad at people, but he has never said to someone, “I don’t like you.” Not even Adelbert. His “justice”, rather, is based on his intrinsic belief that people are good. He points out what they’ve done wrong, expecting that they will agree and change their ways. (He is actually more successful when he isn’t invoking the power of the Maou, which typically scares everyone into running away and doesn’t accomplish much other than saving the Mazoku’s asses. Except that one time where he saved the world. But I digress.)

I thought about Aunt Carol, who is all alone now on her farm in Illinois. Uncle Lee died a year ago of a stroke. Carol has had a heart transplant and is very physically weak. She is getting along solely through the strength of her will. I thought of how I would like to go to her and help her…and I thought of how temporary, how band-aid, such a visit would be. I thought that she should move closer to one of her sisters–my mom–and allow herself to be helped. But then I thought that she would be giving up everything she has worked so hard to achieve with her home and her animals. It would be so hard to lose that independence, even though technically she has lost it already.

I thought that there are no simple solutions in life.

I also ate some cheese crackers with peanut butter and drank a Mr. Pibb, and got sunburned up my left arm and in a patch down my left cheek. I drove through two torrential rainstorms that left visibility close to nil. I listened to Conrad’s Theme on repeat for a long long time. Fuji Syuusuke’s “Black Rain” came on randomly twice, each time during one of the thunderstorms.

When I got up this morning, I was so nauseous I didn’t think I would be able to eat at all. I couldn’t stop thinking about my dream and about Gaila for a long time. I read news and worked on packing until I felt better, then ate some Crunch Berries. When I finally left home at 11am, I had pretty much clamped down the nausea and memory of the dream. I purposefully didn’t bring any Touch mp3s, because they would remind me of the dream. (To explain why would be a spoiler.)

I ultimately enjoyed my drive, my time to myself. And when I got here I spent time with each of my parents, and Connor and Logan and AJ and Faye. And it was nice.

My mother told me a story about her old dog, Buttons. Dad’s grandmother, Ma McCormick, had asked to keep the dog, and Mom agreed to give her Buttons because Dad didn’t like her, and her barking tended to wake us babies up. Buttons aged and eventually died. Ma said to Mom, “I knew she was going to die, so I put her in the barn.”

Mom said she wished she hadn’t told her that. She said that Ma wanted to avoid painful things, get them out of sight.

I think I have that trait, too, and it shames me.

Gaila’s breathing as she lies across the room, just beyond the partition where I can’t see her, is ragged and wet, and her coughing sounds like giblets falling into a pail.

Her face is cottage cheese…but she still wags her tail.