I hardly ever make eye contact and when I do, it’s electrifying in it’s own way. It’s because I hardly ever like to do it, unless I’m trying to intimidate someone. I choose to see the world in a different way, to save sight as a last-ditch effort to understand my surroundings. I never made eye contact with the waiters in Naples, but understood their language through the food. Stilettos walking on marble and the slightly monotone sermons I heard the Sunday I moved to Italy at 18 echo deep in the recesses of my dreaming conscious. It was invigorating to experience things, dreamful things, in a way that wasn’t hearsay.
I’ve always wanted to combat the feeling of distrust that comes from second-hand lives. Spoken words mean nothing to me. It’s the written form that creates a contract, that solidifies the veracity of life not yet experienced. And so, I choose to read.
I’m picking up books at the library like four-leaf clovers. I’ve been this way since June of last year. They sit in stacks, in piles and on shelves by my nightstand and I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many words. Currently, I have anthologies of Didion, Neruda, and Eliot, a French grammar book, two Hemingways (one featured below), and Wuthering Heights. My fine at the library is $6.50. I have had the Didion book since September. I’ll never finish all of them, and I don’t expect to. I am just lucky enough to have them as guests in my home.
And so, I choose to read them. I remind myself of their ephemerality. I remind myself to learn from them and to experience the world that’s contracted in the pages and to believe them to be true, because my elders told me so.
And maybe, one day, I’ll be thought of like this, too.
I read outside last week, drank and espresso and ate a scone. I realized how many worlds I’ve lived in, and that I need to write them all down.