His 11-year-old daughter is living with him full time now. “I didn’t know,” he says. “I just didn’t know. She thinks her life should be a comic book. And I agree with her, it should, but, you know, it isn’t.”
No. It isn’t. Although sometimes we feel the POW! And sometimes we have our mask on but someone recognizes us anyway. And that moment when we realize that we aren’t invulnerable –that moment is devastating. Well, shit. That fucking hurt. My spleen. Dear god, my spleen.
I have one long image of happiness. The room has dark wooden floors, and a white bed with an ornate metal frame. There are two sets of French doors and they are open, billowing white curtains into the room in a tangle. And a girl is walking across the room. Wrapped in a sheet with her legs bare. She never gets to the bed. She never leaves the room. She’s always in the act of walking. Her hair blown forward, her hair blown back. The sheet exposing a shoulder. She is unrecognizable. She’s a stand-in for no one and everything. She’s the way I picture love.
Of course, there’s a soundtrack for the image. The opening moments of Caught a Lite Sneeze by Tori Amos. I can’t explain any of it. I can’t explain where the image came from or why it’s so resilient. I can’t explain why I lift at my center whenever I think of it. It’s ridiculous. It’s a music video. My romantic touchstone is a music video: it lasts 8 seconds and loops decade after decade. I don’t remember a time before I saw like this.
Why shouldn’t she live in a comic book? The characters there have been human and flawed and brave and egalitarian since the beginning. They’ve been struggling to reconcile goodness and power.
I think that girl is me. I think she’s a myth I wrote. A character to reside in a bright, simple room that opens onto a garden. And she’s always in the act of moving through that room. She is bare but not yet vulnerable. She’s a template.