Friday, February 03, 2006

from "Fatty's Girl"....
Did you ever want something so badly that the wanting became the thing, the very thing, that you had to have? As a child my imagination was legendary. I drew places that I'd never been to, never seen, with astonishing accuracy. I told stories to my little cousins that had them spellbound. I always left them with a cliffhanger and the next time we were together, usually at our grandparents' house, Jesse, Lisa and Bev swarmed me, demanding the next installment.
In early November, when I sat in my room and seriously began my perusal of the Sears Wish Book, there was always an object that captured my desire. The year I was ten my obsession was a round train case with fake travel stickers scattered on the front. As I looked at it in the catalog, it was easy to imagine my hand slipping into the looped handle. I felt the weight of the case, filled with 45 records, a hairbrush, pink nail polish, a chiffon scarf pilfered from my mother's top drawer. I thought of Donna and I sitting under the willow with our cases open, wearing our movie star sunglasses. We'd laugh our Hollywood laughs and toss our hair. For the six weeks between the arrival of the catalog and Christmas morning, the red vinyl case was with me, the wanting of it so sweet and secret. Yes, it was at the top of my wish list and I was certain it would be there, under the tree, but after it was mine, a real thing in my possession, the wanting, the delicious fantasy, would give way to the shared reality. The case would be mine for all to see, but the dream would be irretrievably lost. Knowing how it would play out made my stomach clutch, filled me with a illogical sense of loss. Why on earth, did I want the wanting?
Only when Dewey died, did I realize the true folly of dreams, the danger of wanting. I lost my powers and the economy of emotion was all I really craved. Time and time it slipped through my fingers as I tried to conjure Dewey's face, his presence, for an instant. I knew what was true, that he was no longer ours, that we were a family with an ugly shadow of loss that darkened every place we entered. Still, I tried to capture it, the heavy, false burden of wanting, but even my infamous imagination could not give me even a feather's weight of Dewey.

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