Blacking out

Lately, I find myself zoning out as I walk home at night — hardly remembering any of it. Tonight I could barely remember which way I walked — and had to retrace my steps from when I left work — which bus I took from downtown Seattle — and which coffee shop I stopped at in West Seattle. After all these years, Mark knows my walking routes as well as I do — and perhaps he acts as my auto pilot.

I come to once I reach my apartment building. I have no idea why this is happening. It’s a very recent thing. If I’m thinking about anything as I walk, I don’t remember that either. I literally black out — and no drugs/alcohol involved!

Tonight I decided to revisit my 2014 NaNoWriMo writing project. Recent events at home and abroad have renewed my urge to tell a story that I have been incubating for the last fifteen years — OK, I guess it’s Mark’s story too — but I’ve been the one doing the writing — as usual. I don’t even know he exists anyway – so it might as well be my story.

The first thing I did, after making a duplicate file, was to delete all but four of the chapters. Sounds drastic — and the word count is now a mere 12,000— but those chapters are almost perfect! Now I will write two or three more chapters, perhaps incorporating some of the better sections of the deleted chapters. Perhaps this is what I think about as I walk.

On the bus, I’ve been listening to a Librivox recording of Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl, by Herself, “herself” being Harriot Jacobs. On Twitter, I’ve been reading a backlog of tweets by Crimes of Britain (@crimesofbrits). And the hymn I Vow To Thee My Country, the subject of the post Mistaken Identity, has been an ear worm in my head since November 11.

It’s time to write the story.

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Just for today…

… do not worry.

That’s the First Principle of Reiki. I’m not trained in Reiki, but Alene is (Level III non-master) and — I have to say — she violates this principle on a daily basis. Mind you, she does have plenty to worry about — starting with listening to my voice in her head and not knowing whether it’s for real or just part of her imagination. Sometimes I get a bit tired of it though — and I have to insist.

In early 2003, she was struggling. She had not worked in eighteen months and was worried about running out of money. Winter allergies (to mold in her apartment) made it hard to breathe at night and her sleep habits suffered. And the ideas that went through her mind (and mine) were getting very intense. The neighborhood grocery store had closed so she had to go almost two miles to buy food — and she chose to walk rather than take the bus. She hoped it would help her get back into shape after several years of pain from a back injury.

It was (still is) a nice walk — starting out on the level through a neighborhood of rather charming gardens. We enjoyed watching the emergence of early spring flowers. Daffodils are not the most interesting of flowers in appearance — but what is rather amusing is their behavior in a group. Daffodils tend to grow in clusters all facing the same direction. But every know and then you come across a bunch of militant individualists, each of which faces any direction it feels like. It looks untidy — but you gotta admire them for it!

Then there’s almost a mile up a rather steep hill — with sweeping views of Puget Sound and Elliott Bay. At the top of the hill is one of West Seattle’s main business hubs. Alene would treat herself to a jumbo latte at the posh grocery store coffee shop and then go to Safeway to buy her groceries.

The winter of 2003 was generally mild and drizzly — very nice weather to walk in. I looked forward to Alene’s twice-weekly walks — and wished she could just let go of the angst for a few hours to enjoy them properly. One morning I suggested she just try it — forget her worries for the duration of her outing. She did a pretty good job — and I began to prod her about it every time.

I reminded her of that today, because she has been having a major worry-fest for several weeks. But the fears she harbored twelve years ago failed to be fulfilled — and by the end of 2003, her life had taken a few happy turns, one of which was meeting Allen. It’s quite possible that her present set of worries will turn out to be groundless. She’s certainly in a much stronger situation now than she was back then. But the world is a scarier place. And she is older. And she is getting tired of this.

I wish I could just have her here with me.