came upon her for the first time when she was dozing in the back of a car with her animal; some ancient species from ireland that she wasn't terribly forthcoming about; under the el tracks, near jackson, alongside the bookmonger's wagon; suddenly felt the strong desire to sink into profound sleep just like her! pounded/sifted/ exhausted by too many recent dance-floor type images; can't tell the wily monger what I'm really after these days; cleaned out his basement in exchange for some medicine, told him all about the portrait of the other old woman sleeping, at intuit, the local gallery for primitive/outsider art, above the blue line, near the intersection of chicago, milwaukee, and some other important avenue that I can't think of right now... too exhausted... sorry about that... tried to connect with too many classic old school drifters... they didn't hold anything back... revealed to me their entire life stories... including this anonymous woman still asleep in the car... how she helped them... how she gave one of them the prescription eyeglasses right off of her face (a pretty close match, apparently) saying with a dismissive gesture that she had another pair in the glove box... we arrived late at night, indeed, the village was still buried in snow, the inn had room in the attic, a few tattered blankets and pillows, I stepped on somebody's hand but he or she didn't make a sound or a stir, that's how relaxed they get up here, their sleep must indeed be something almost approaching divinity. good food, good shelter, good books, good activity- a snapshot of us in the very moment we decided to leave polite civilization behind.
the next moment we came back for a few key things we'd forgotten and tony, against our will, hooked us up with more permanent lodgings. how much time we had before the last of the meds and the money ran out was uncertain- something to think about late at night lying on one's back alone in the dark, the faint roar from the interstate dying off a little more with each passing hour. they play music downstairs, and they screen films on the weekends, and on major holidays the neighbors come by with their children and touchscreens. puddings, pastas, the usual. spices, sauces, salads, etc. we left the city at the last possible minute. it was crushing us, literally, between its thumb and its forefinger. I thought we were stronger, you know, more resilient than that- the bookmonger had a whole stack of wilderness survival guides and brochures. should have undertaken those studies when we still had a fighting chance, but oh well- can't tell the innkeeper what we're really even after these days- wish we could- honest to god- would like to be friends with the fellow- but his job makes it impossible for him to appreciate people like us, and because of that, I don't blame him, and I don't take his foul language or diatribes personally.
(here's just one recent example.)
"...terrifying, carol... in no way did I not try to remember you!!! it requires constant hard work just to survive in this god-damned bunker mentality!!! learned a new language so as to get closer to your so-called species of origin- utterly strange... haunted... silent... desolate to the point of mother-fucking oblivion!!! didn't have, want, need, require, sequester, revoke, seduce, transform, question, or pardon- never allowed those complexities- never even visited the alleged point of departure. jumping up and down!!! in pain... excitement... reversals in a new order of magnitude not to be so quickly or easily charted!!! terrifying!!! oblique!!! not to be missed or re-broadcast!!! carol, in no way did I not desire to follow you!!! even if that meant crumbling breadlines over the city-life's pock-ridden intestines!!! gave them to understand, in subtle ways, and took them to comprehend in mere seconds... that's the new situation here, whether it makes sense or not..."
(see what I mean, people?)