Wednesday, May 5, 2010
my current read. a deep dish of digestion for thought.
When I was seventeen and in full obedience to my heart's most urgent commands, I stepped far from the pathway of normal life and in a moment's time ruined everything I loved — I loved so deeply, and when the love was interrupted, when the incorporeal body of love shrank back in terror and my own body was locked away, it was hard for others to believe that a life so new could suffer so irrevocably. But now, years have passed and the night of August 12, 1967, still divides my life.
It was a hot, dense Chicago night. There were no clouds, no stars, no moon. The lawns looked black and the trees looked blacker; the headlights of the cars made me think of those brave lights the miners wear, up and down the choking shaft. And on that thick and ordinary August night, I set fire to a house inside of which were the people I adored more than anyone else in the world, and whose home I valued more than the home of my parents.
Before I set fire to their house I was hidden on their big wooden semicircular porch, peering into their window. I was in a state of grief. It was the agitated, snarling grief of a boy whose long rapturous story has not been understood. My feelings were raw and tender, and I watched the Butterfields through the weave of their curtains with tears of true and helpless longing in my eyes. I could see (and love) that perfect family while they went on and on with their evening without seeing me.