Button

imagesI’m hard on buttons.

Apparently. It’s not that I abuse them; Dyan seems to think so. It’s just that when I see a loose thread I can’t leave it well enough alone, I must–MUST–pull at it, worry it for sometimes days. I work at it until finally the inevitable happens with a small, satisfying pull, I unthread a button entirely and it falls off. Sometimes I am able to retrieve the loosened button, but mostly when it happens I lose the thing entirely, yes, but also I then have this gap in my sweater. I’m a sweater and sports coat kind of guy, FYI, so it’s usually one of these two.

I have random memories like this.

Like loose threads.

Like buttons.

For no apparent reason, and out of absolutely no where (or at least with such stealth as to be without geography), some memory of the past comes back to me. This happens often but in varying degrees of strength and by that I mean there are some snippets that come back to me, and I smile or grimace accordingly and move on with my day. Other times, the memory pops up and stays with me for a very long, obsessive time.

Usually, but not always, a memory becomes a minor obsession, a mystery to be unravelled so to speak, not because the memory is all that important seemingly, or is of some high point in my past, but rather because it’s not apparently important or some high point of my life. It is a button and it’s thread because it makes no sense why it should be. It becomes important simply because my brain is telling me, hey I found this, maybe you should take a look. 

I was driving home listening to Chopin this week when the last one came. A thread. Foggy from a distance. Dark, actually. But there. Pull-able. I kneel before a girl, tying her shoelace. It’s at a university social event, we used to call them beer bashes. I know the girl, but I don’t know her name. She’s from my hometown and she is younger than me. Well, she still is right? It is like I am dancing with her, and I look down at her feet and see that her shoelace is untied. I stop dancing, and supposedly she stopped dancing, and I kneel down to tie her shoe.

And then I stand. Slightly taller than her. And she looks at me. Smiles, kindly, awkwardly.

And my heart is light.

Still to this day.

Light as a sunbeam.

Deep down the memory hole there’s a sketchy moreness, additional flickers and filaments part mystery, part desire. Early leavings. Backward glances. Telephone calls made or not; missed. A mishmash of movies I’ve seen, songs I’ve heard, time warps and sparkles.

And that was that.

A gap.

But not a desire, desire, more of a wont to understand the memory’s place in my soul. It couldn’t have been more than a hour or so of my life. A pittance, right? And yet there it is, now, days of staring and wondering.

In the “Little Prince,” the narrator talks about the magic of youth, and how when you get older and you attempt to talk of such things with your contemporaries it tends not to go well. So you stop, you the adult, stop following threads of magical thinking, and put yourself away partly and instead “talk about bridge and golf and politics and neckties,” the narrator says, and be amongst the land of the reasonable people. Reasonable.

But for the sunbeam. So unreasonable.

It won’t dare drift into nothing. It lingers. Inside.

And one day it shines. (Chopin, blazing orangey dusk, forward movement, slightly tired).

A reminder of something. Someone. A moment shared. A moment.

A thread, a little worry at it, some gap. A button at hand.