Prose

thoughts on belonging

Belonging is constant, flawless, inevitable. Even mistakes are painful in their precision. We disconnect because of connection, and wander through our home. It would be different if it could be any other way.

My hand belonged in yours as the car edged towards San Francisco. The laughter belonged in my belly, and those tears in my eyes, as we placed our cheeks against life’s possibilities. With perfect youthful abandon, we belonged inside that wonder of how our footsteps would feel and voice would sound on an island across the world. I belonged on the lonely, psychedelic, cobblestone streets of a frozen frontier metropolis. My tiny child hands belonged on your coarse, balding head, and my legs dangling across your impossibly large shoulders, as we walked together, belonging in the early dusk of Southern California.

Life, I love you. I love not loving you. I love the sobbing, and treading along the precipices of our rage, our tragedy. Nowhere do I belong more than in the thrashing of passion, or the violence of disappointment. And my perfect place is underneath your shoe. I belong in the cracks of pavement unseen, in the reflection of the pupils contracted in ire, in the bellies of maggots feasting. This is where I find home.

Belonging is not a place, but a truth. It is sometimes glaring in its radiance, and other times hidden within the shadow’s shadow. It is the fabric which clothes our lives, and it is impossible to escape. To not belong is where we belong. It’s the belonging of dislodging, the ease of discomfort, the perfection of disarray.

It’s like staring into darkness in the wake of chaotic love; finding yourself cast off from a farm in Eureka, back home and hopeless. It’s the exact flavor of despair that could launch you to the foothills of Jinshan, in the fog-soaked, rocky northern coast of Taiwan. It’s that startling and refreshing reminder that life is putty in our hands, and we can stretch and twist it into many forms. But whatever the form, it’s the putty itself that belongs.

-08/2018

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Acts of Disobedience
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The Shoemaker