Sunday, March 14, 2010

falling: Jennifer's Body

She looked so peaceful. …
If we were related, like lions from the same pride, I would have laid down next to her and nuzzled my face into her open palm. We would be warm with love and any other creature who happened to pass by, even a sparrow, would want to share in the display of love and serenity.
…and we would sleep and dream of the human versions of ourselves standing upright, running, tumbling, picking flowers, holding hands. We would dream of the warm sun kissing our faces with freckles. We would imagine ourselves as Kerri Russell before she went Felicity and cut off her hair. Our respiration would be in perfect rhythm and our eyelashes would embrace each other’s as we lay with our faces pressed so near to one another that we would come as close as any two physical beings have ever come to being a Venn diagram.
We would not have the words to express the feelings in this moment, but the reflection of our eyes in one another’s would send a message to our souls that this is what it means to be content and this moment would be with us even when we were apart. We would love and be loved and the world would fall away. Far away.
But I am not a lioness and either is she. We have no fur. There is no love. There is only her and the cold, damp pavement.
I came upon her with an innocent curiosity about the curious girl who was sleeping on the pavement. I thought that perhaps she did not know she had dozed off. Perhaps she was waiting for me to find her. She would open her eyes and tell me she had waited so long that she had fallen asleep. As I approached I realized that she was not asleep, because people don’t normally sleep with their palms up. That is when I saw the blood.
An ambulance was called, not be me but by someone who could keep their wits about them while I stared at her. I kneeled down and pressed my ear against her mouth as if she were to whisper that she was ok. I felt her breath, but she made no sound. I crouched over her and held her hand hoping our dreams would come true. She opened her eyes, but could not hold me back. We were in trouble.
She had been drinking. Perhaps to forget about things that were said and not meant. I imagine she told someone she loved them, but they could not love her back. She was out on a ledge and she was alone there. She needed this fact to fall away. She needed to push it out of her heard. She drank until she was a ghost and no one could see her. She couldn’t even see herself. So, she couldn’t tell that she was reliving the trauma and going out on the ledge again. She was just thinking of you and all the things she would have said differently and, just as in love, she lost her footing and fell and I found her.
The paramedics arrived before I could really grasp what was happening. They moved her gently, but quickly and attended to her. It was a ballet ensemble. She was the swan and they danced around her attending to her great needs. I stood outside and watched their performance through the ambulance window. I felt the pieces of me falling away like a puzzle assembled in the air, without support. Eventually, no matter how beautiful the picture, it begins to buckle and the pieces give way.
I knew how she felt.
I have fallen while grasping to the ledge that is you. Except, the paramedics have not arrived and I am bleeding out for an eternity.
Jennifer fell because she knew she loved you more than she could bear. She was purging you out and crying was never going to be enough.
I couldn’t go through life in confinement, as afraid of pleasure as I am of pain. I went on that ledge because I had to. Just like Jennifer. And, in the moments just before the crash, we knew exactly who we were and who we could never be for you. The landing pushed you out of our heads for good and now we can be quiet and content, knowing it can only get better from here.