I let my large gray yoga ball sit on my reading chair, even though in times past that would have meant something ominous if I woke up wrong. But I know I’m undergoing a transformation because, when they do show up, the ghosts in this room keep me company now. One will hang around all matter of fact and affable, like a wise old dog, before leaving again, and then I’ll just go back to sleep.
My boyfriend tucks me in for the second time and tries to sneak away to do more work. “Goodnight,” I say, then hold up my arm and make a beak. Then I say, “Remember shadow animals on the wall?” He laughs and turns to go. He knows I’m always trying to start conversations about shadow animals when people are trying to say goodnight.
What do you expect? One lifetime is very short, but it’s hard to realize when it’s happening. Except sometimes it’s easy to realize. Sometimes you’re almost a year later in a room in Brooklyn waiting for a blizzard, when just a second ago you were almost a year earlier in a different room in Vermont sitting on a bed with a Vanity Fair, a pregnancy test, and an empty bag of M&Ms you don’t remember eating.
My friend tells me there’s a word for this made up by a theorist. She can’t remember the theorist’s name or the word. My friend is very intelligent, but we like to half-remember things when we talk. It’s just what we do.
Physics calls it “everything happens at once and all the edges touch.” I believe I read that somewhere or heard it on PBS and didn’t just see it in a movie.
I will be the theorist and I will call it effleurage, which actually means “a delicate stroking motion.” In my theory, it means that and it also means “the mind and body’s flagrant disregard for notions of the consistent forward movement of time.” A delicate and non-delicate motion.