In Search of the Alchemical Spark of Superheroes
I took myself out for a solitary Saturday breakfast this morning.
It felt rich to sit in a sunny window alone. I did not rush. I did not think about work or worry about the speed of time. I just sat. I enjoyed how the steam from my coffee tickled the end of my nose. It was quiet and largely wordless. I was whole and wholly there.
I started to feel a disconnect between my eyes, though, like my right eye had blind spots my left was not filling in, and my fingertips went numb. A strange nausea overtook me, and I became keenly aware of a man's aftershave at the next table.
These are normal signs of the beginning of a migraine for me, so I put on my coat and left, zagging along the sidewalk like a drunk, hand on my head. I felt vulnerable and old. I was alone. Would I be this alone later, in my 70s and 80s?
In my heart, I might well have been a fledgling bird, abandoned and waiting for a crow or neighborhood cat to pick me off.
These physical injustices, a little more frequent now than at twenty, feel insulting. Time seems to give us the bum's rush once we've been cured of a sense of immortality and know the truth of our slightness. We will forget things. We will become forgotten.
I am more inclined, too, though, to remember a sunny window when I am in it, to fall into an easy, peaceable space, even if I am more given over to anxiety about growing isolation with age.
Really, I am both more soulfully peaceful and corporeally anxious now, a commixture of ready and terrified. It is the feeling I had as a child when standing on a diving board. There was always that moment of being both inside the wealth of my courage and horrified at the grit of the board under the soles of my feet and the possible sting of belly-flopping on the water.
We are miraculous and fragile, vigorous and vulnerable, brilliant and raw.
I will learn to marry the internal/external-ethereal/corporeal-spirit/flesh-infinite/finite, to make them co-conspirators, winking spies in each other's houses. I am adrift when held in the sway of either, but something inside me insists that, together, they hold the alchemical spark of superheroes.