Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Save Something From. . . Save Nothing

This is the salvia in my garden.  Sage.  It goes by both names, I think.  When I was talking to a young biology prof at the gym yesterday, one of the fellows who goes drinking with the gymroids, he wanted to know how I spent my weekend.  He was one of the Spring Breakers adding to the barrage of group texts.  I told him it was a quiet weekend of gardening.  He wanted to know what I had planted having just made his young daughter a vegetable garden.  I said no, mine was for butterflies and hummingbirds.  

"Milkweed?" he asked. 

"Yes, three varieties, and pentas both small and large, and salvia."

"Do you smoke it?

"I have always wondered if it was the same salvia that Miley Cyrus smoked when she was a kid."

So I tried to look it up.  Some salvia is hallucinogenic and some is not.  As you can see, my salvia has big leaves.  Sage.  I don't know.  

I got to the gym late yesterday.  DST, I guess.  But when I got there, I was not motivated.  I saw my Tennessee Boyfriend (I need to quit saying that) in the back room when I entered.  He was ready to chat.  

"Man, your girlfriend was all over me the minute I came in.  I was chatting you up.  You're all set, dude."  

"Yea. . . I'll bet you were helping me out." 

"I was.  I told her your dance card was filling up, that she better hurry.  I told her she ought to hook you up with her sister."

The boys have all gone crazy for her sister who has just recently come back to the gym after a year or so of absence.  There are three sisters, all striking with athletic bodies, one particularly beautiful.  She has not been in for a very long time.  Her sister says she got a full sleeve and has dropped to ninety some pounds.  It is hard to believe.  She looked like the happy one.  The other sisters look as troubled as their mother.  Only recently has the eldest of the three begun talking to me.  It is a result of my newfound "friendship" with the rich, rowdy boys.  I never allow myself illusions about such things.  But the gymroids, they seem to be all self-esteem and little shame.  

I'm all wallflower.  

Somehow our conversation turned to fighting.  Tennessee grew up with the MMA and has bee fighting in tournaments since he was a kid.  MMA really took shape when I was already too old for such things.  Still. . . I headed to the Muay Thai gyms to learn a bit about kickboxing.  What I learned was that those guys could kick my ass.  Having grown up with boxing, flying feet and knees was all new to me.  So I don't know how I ended up in a small room learning the "tricks of the trade" at my expense.  Tennessee was determined to illustrate some "skills" to me.  

"You've got good hand skills," he said.  

"I can box, but when you start throwing kicks. . . ."

He demonstrated a few.  He was quick.  I was doing everything wrong.  And, of course, I could barely move on my bad knee.  It was disarming.  

"I don't think I need to learn any more today," I said.  "I don't really need new fighting skills.  I don't think I am going to be fighting."  

I felt my age and disabilities.  It didn't make me happy.  

"Man, it's after noon.  I got to go," he said.  

I didn't feel like working out when I came in.  I didn't feel any more motivated now, but I began.  It was afternoon by the time I got home and ate.  It wasn't long after I showered that it was time to go to my mother's.  The day had gotten past me weirdly.  DST.  The change always f's me up.  

When I got back home, I made a drink and sat out on the deck to watch my garden grow. It had rained much of the day.  I thought the plants had grown an inch or so.  The cardinals came, and, I think, a catbird.  Scar came for dinner.  I heated up some left over seafood stew and poured a glass of wine.  The cat left abruptly without a glance.  Stew finished, I went inside.  A scotch and the end of "The Years."  There is so much there.  It is overwhelming.  

"Her need to have a lover. . . The young man she sees on other weekends often bores her. . . . But if she gave him up, she would cease to communicate the insignificant acts and incidents of her day.  She would no longer put daily life into words. . . . She'd feel cast out of an entire world of caresses, desire, and fatigue, bereft of a future. . . . just to imagine it, the sense of deprivation violently attaches her to the boy as to a 'last love'. . . . In her diary she writes: 'He wrenches me away from my generation.  But I am not part of his.  I'm nowhere in time.  He's the angel who brings the past back to life, who immortalizes."

I read more slowly, trying to put off the inevitable end.  The images envelope me, but then. . . there it is, the final page. . . the beautiful and terrible last line. 

"Save something from the time where we will never be again."

Overwhelmed, I wept, nose and lips swollen, cheeks moist, chest convulsing.

 Salter meant the same thing when he said "Save nothing."  He meant what she means. . . the one who writes it, keeps it.  Nothing else lasts.  

* * *

I can't help it.  I'll keep writing.  

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