gale on a glen

Page Seventy-four

Friday 14 May 2010                   Turners and turpitude

A couple of weeks ago I ate in one of the local restaurants, one in which I have eaten many, many times in earlier years of the Turners Falls crucible. I ate alone, of course, but I sat in a place where my daughter and I often sat in those years.

Many things are not the same as they were in those other years. Daughter doesn’t live here anymore. Restaurant has a new owner, new prices, somewhat different menu. I no longer have  my own life, and my animals.

But as I sat there, remembering back to when I ate in that restaurant with my parents, with my daughter, with various friends, and alone — all back in the days of my own life — there was the usual pain in the chest, the usual tears, the usual wish that I could die right where I sat. I didn’t. And this never ceases to baffle me: how can a human heart and soul be permeated with such an enormous volume of pain and rage and despair without causing the body to just cease? Don’t understand it. The cells ought to just collapse. But they didn’t, and I continued being alive.

                                                                      

So I got up to go to the register and pay, and suddenly something else came over my heart. A gale of cold, icy anger. At myself. If  I had never moved to this horrible place in 1985, then my daughter and my father and my mother would never, ever have sat in this restaurant. They would  never even have heard of it. It was my doing that my kid and I came here. We were the reason my parents ever got into their car and drove to this cesspool.  All my fault, that my family members ever walked the streets of this poisonous town.

As an outsider from the east, I couldn’t have known what the people here were like before I moved here: I realize that. Nonetheless, I feel tremendous self-reproach that it was I who caused Turners Falls to ever be a factor in my human family’s life, and in the lives of my animals.

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