Rose said she didn't "know where [she was] to or where [she had]
been," but that that was okay because she knew that this is where she
was supposed to stay, today, and tomorrow, and the day after, because
her life had "become dull," she said. She said that in Paris,
"Everyone speaks English, Darling." She said she admired Selma for
traveling there alone, and that if Selma had just stood there in one
spot she imagined that "Frenchmen would flock to [her] in dozens."
That Frenchmen would flock to her. Selma tells her that she knows
"everyone there speaks English." That Rose is to be admired for the
glamorous life she has led, and that all the Frenchmen must have
flocked to her; 'how pretty she was.' But when Rose speaks to Selma
she looks into her eyes directly. Despite her faux feelings she looks
straight in. She tells Selma that she is beautiful this day. Selma
contributes in Rose's luxury affair with words, and truly feels their
emptiness there, because she knows them well, but not from that
position. Not from sitting, leg asleep backwards, on her bed. Not from
being taken in so trustfully by someone on her way out who can't name
her the following day, can't discern her own place. But. Now she knows
them from the position of someone watching it all, disconnected from
her past because past brings it feeling. Of someone who can echo
shame but must choose now to rename her secrecy of character. Can't
shadow the discomfort but can't consider it either. What it brings
even its passers don't know.
The bird walked like an Egyptian, and Rose said, "My, those trees are
so big." It was funny how the other day Benny told Selma that all the
trees had stopped, not a leaf was moving. And on the following, she
had asked him if he heard that cricket, and he thought she was conning
him, nodding on her imagination by saying, "It's a good thing." Selma
sometimes gets a glimpse at the pillars of trunks on her way
approaching home, and she thinks it isn't all bad to be constantly
falling into bouts of naiveté; drawing all inside the lines is equally
as naive as absurd. Even early, "Running a Redline" had always tried
to be her mantra, but then there are others that attach themselves to
her, like Yesterday's "It's all beneath too much" or June's "No, I
didn't say anything. I thought a few things, but I didn't say much."
It was all as if she'd already told herself it. Too pardoning to be in
field research and too troubled to be in field research. Too insane to
be driven into that small gated community where no one lies, again,
protecting their sphere from the world outside to instead speak plain.
Too antsy to be pulled into that period of nurturing…and she realized,
it's difficult to eavesdrop when you are repeating your own thoughts
and trying to act sincere. Benny told her today that he didn't think
enough before now, and in old age, he thinks too much. It bothers
Selma that she likes him most when he is starving.
In this Republic, with him at her flat, Selma learns the meaning of
depression. She's deadened, and she often cries when riding the bus
out to work in the country- the country where her students await her.
"In the nature," some of them say, those who have cottages there to
visit on the weekends. Selma can't not cry, and she is supposed to be
"the strongest one." She pulls out her book even though she hasn't yet
devised her lesson plans. Everyone in Prague brings a book. The Czechs
are indelible students. Selma fake reads to have her head in something
and her eyes on something else. What she thinks is not what she sees,
but she's no prophet. The future's always too predictably predictable
for her. Later after getting off the bus and returning home in this
catatonic winter and with wet boots that crystallize her stride, Selma
wants to, again, cry. Sometimes when she feels this she tells him that
she must go walking. Then she walks around the reservoir and thinks
about that word. "This must be it," but she hears no music. Selma
feels betrayed by the likeness of the words "dreary" and "dreamy"-
"that's not quite right." And she cries, beside herself, on a bench.
It is hard returning home this particular night. Every second person
is a fucking asshole and Selma's mind is not minding her again. Like
not knowing how to say, "bless you" in another language, an awkward
moment is all that she can surrender when passers-by question her
tears through their skittish looks. It's safer there in walking
though, in being just a wanderer rather than one without a title.
"I'll erupt a few stories down I suppose," but length is a
measurement, and, Selma, you're only falling from one place.
Danielle Adair is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles.
She carries an MFA in Art and in Writing from California Institute of
the Arts and has both performed and exhibited her art extensively
within the US.
Stu Hatton Linda Benninghoff Danielle Adair Mary Kasimor Bobbi Lurie Tim Martin David McFadden Gertrude Halstead Bruce Stater Patrick Mc Manus