Rendered Fat Content


A 16th century woodcut of Archimedes' eureka moment.
"I hope we'll find some of our selves imbedded within whatever emerges next."

When I say I'm HeadingHomeward, I put myself in danger of misrepresenting my movement, as if I was passing through passively empty space when I might more properly speak of Displacement. We exit having visited disruption upon our accustomed routines and threatening worse on the other end, for this world, our world, remains tightly connected and any change anywhere transmits shockwaves and worse throughout the system. There are no innocent or isolated actions except through willful inattention, and even that wears thin and insubstantial. A realtor innocently suggested that we update the interior color of The Villa before we leave, which set up a grand Displacement well before we'd actually be Heading anywhere else. Rooms emptied of evidence of our long occupation have been hollowing out what remains of our existence, rendering some days unbearable, or nearly. Privacy has become a premium commodity with the second floor swarming with painters, their tools, and supplies. We're masked to pass through our own house and we sleep surrounded by tarps and paint smells.

Molly and Maximum, our trusty cats, maintain the rhythm of this place, or try to.
They alone remember when breakfast should be served and they govern with iron-pawed insistence. They've taken to coming and going like obsessive-compulsives, distressed by the sudden absences of their usual spots. They plaintively scratch plastic sheeting blocking access to accustomed perches. The painters inexorably work, more like machines than young men. Heads down, they attend to their foreground while our background quakes. The dining room table's covered with orchids and African violets moved safely out of harm's way. Six dog years of secrets were dredged from the back of the master bedroom closet to create space to refresh the old status quo, utterly decimating it in the process.

I take another drive to nowhere, my go-to destination when Displacement overwhelms me. For all the forlorn days I've spent here, isolated and lonely, I sense the absence of even that abiding sense of absence. The Schooner seems a safe refuge since nobody's repainting that. The wheels carry me up and over along my usual course, for nowhere always lies along familiar routes. I find solace in the same sameness that once bored me and I think about Last Times. Perhaps, I consider, this will be my very last time traversing this familiar route, so I set about failing to commit this passing to long term memory such that I might one day recall it at my leisure. The attempt does not stick. It never has before. It never will. My sense of this place will remain just as disjointed as my primary experience of it has been, a Displacement itself of a former place and time. None of this was ever mine. I was just visiting without any compelling desire to more deeply connect. Our time here teeters on the edge of nostalgia now, promising much better in reflection than it ever delivered in the first place.

Some possessions once displaced lose their formerly compelling attraction. They become alien presences, emblematic of other places and some other person long-ago displaced by some shallow promise of difference. The threads remained, though somewhat torn and broken, and no one had spoken of them in so long that they had been forgotten, turned into a foundational given, content more phantom than actual. This ballast seems easily jettisoned to produce a tiny splash in an enormous ocean, Displacement darned near indiscernible against the larger scale of everything surrounding. What once seemed dependable now seems hostile. Foundation cracked, the whole structure can never seem intact again. I remain distantly hopeful that this HeadingHomeward might lead us somewhere besides further into temptation. We will have spoiled this nest upon our exit, disqualifying us from further tenancy here. Once the painting's finished and the kitchen floor refinished and the counter top and sink replaced, it will have become someone else's place and we will have engineered another Displacement for ourselves. I hope we'll find some of our selves imbedded within whatever emerges next.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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