I worry about my sister. I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like. To be around her is to be sucked into a vortex, a not entirely unpleasant one.
My mother was one too. Who knows, maybe there’s a little vortex in me? There must be. Despite the risk, I crave the aliveness of it. I miss the suspense, the depth of feeling, and the reality of it. The urge to enter the vortex, do battle (and be so involved!) is instinctual.
I’m not supposed to go there any more — self preservation, good boundaries, and all that. But I remember there were no boundaries when I was young.
I remember in school, getting caught up daily in the web of other people’s moods. A formerly quiet day could turn to life and death, catch you in distemper, or cast you down a well of desire so deep it could take months to climb out.
And home, well, home was where I ended up when no good substitute was available. I didn’t really want to go home. I mean, of course I wanted to go home and rest, eat, and recuperate. I slept, ate, set my hair, watched TV, and even occasionally painted my nails. But sometimes it all started to turn on me — the vortex — and I was smacked and stung by all the things sucked in once it got going really good.
Bam! A telephone’s hurled at me, bruising my faith in fairness.
Smack! My bedroom door reminds me that a good barrier also makes a good weapon.
Scrape! My pink nail polish is ruined while trying to free myself. All that work to look pretty now tarnished.
Zap! A jolt of self-defensive anger churns up.
Oomph! Into my pillow, I escape.
Bam, Smack, Scrape, Zap, Oomph… and then stillness, regret, determination, and finally, the friend of sleep.
Next day, blue skies, clouds parted, summer in the air. Life seems returned to normal, because normal is as changing as the weather, and no more predictable.
Maybe sunny California is where I want to be. But southern roots run deep, and there is no vortex in California — not unless you make your own, or go see your sister.