“Always there’s that space between what you feel and what you do, and in that gap, all human sadness lies.” Rodrigue George
I am sitting in the parking lot of the dumpiest warehouse in all of Indiana. Inside there are whistles blowing and bags of potato chips that cost $5. We are between games.
From my car, I can see American flags blowing against a grey factory landscape and behind me somebody is shoveling water out of a giant pothole. He is noisy and methodical.
Last night I stumbled across one of my sketchbooks from 1993 and out of it fell a picture of my husband. It was a photo that I took, developed in the darkroom at SVA and then dyed in a class called “The Hand Colored Print.” The only thing I remember from that course was that buying Q-tips by their brand name was always worth the extra cost, as they held the ink without bending or leaving lint behind.
Paper clipped to the photo was a folded yellow paper from a legal pad. In pencil, my husband (who was not yet my husband, but just a boy I loved) wrote: “I love your life. It is a playground that you sometimes invite me into after dark.”
On the next page was the Rodrigue George quote. Even then, I guess, I knew that the leap to sadness was not a long jump.
I shut the book and tried to sleep and imagined myself spinning on a playground merry-go-round, staring up at a sky so filled with stars that it no longer seemed navy blue, but instead, a whirlwind of light welcoming me home.
I can hear a train whistle in the distance. That sound will always remind me of one pregnancy in which I would wake each time I heard the train blast. I think it must have been William in my belly then …hot, sleepless July.
I should go back in, return to the game. At the end of the first game Lizzie’s coach tried to reach out to her, presumably to discuss the two or three hits she missed. She just held her hand up and said, “No. I need my space.”
So perhaps George was right … There is a gap between thoughts and things, but sometimes we need the gap. We need the deep soul searching angst to move us from fighting the current to swimming with it. For now, I am grateful for the reminder that decades ago the boy I fell in love with saw something magical in me.
Sometimes that’s enough to bridge the gap.