Anchored in Bliss

There should be a warning on old video tapes, taken in earnest before watching grainy footage of your children, now grown, your parents, now passed, your prime, now spent. This one was from 2005, I weighed more, the world hardly weighed at all. Alex and her sister lament their lost form. My son is so cheerful. My sweet baby girl, ever present thumb, covered in excessive affection. I am opening a gift, cigars and alcohol. I exclaim, 'thank you, you gave me cancer.' Laughter. It is hard to watch in retrospect. Not difficult, but hard.

You look better now, than you did.

It's a defamatory compliment, this is no time for happiness. Hope is such a dangerous ally.

On the water, the rope slides through my hands, wet with salt, increasingly frenetic, interrupted occasionally by neglectfully unloosened knots. It ceaselessly disappears and I notice the unfastened working end.

Do you remember what that's called?

A cleat?

Tie the end to the cleat, let me be anchored to bliss, let's bob in the breeze and waver in the waves. We cannot stay here in the past, but can we linger, at least? Back in the present, people are dying. Not due to war or tragedy, but to normal biological processes and the slow marathon of days. In these old tapes, no one dies, we are in our own reality, and every time we pause, we wake alive, the very next moment, miraculously saved, our loss a touchstone in someone else's vanishing timeline.

We have to run, because we can, because ability is obligation. I weigh less, but even more important the world weighs less. I answered my own question inadvertently. Happiness kills the dream of happiness. It is terrible to linger here.


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