Essays

the motion, the feeling


I don’t want kids and I have dozens of reasons why not, but it’s partially for the mess. The disruption. I want my routine. I want things in their specific place. If an item gets rotated half a degree to the left, I will notice it.

But one time I had a long distance boyfriend and he visited me for a week, the month after we started dating. My room was organized particularly, but he wasn’t particularly organized. I’d find myself subconsciously trailing behind him, picking up his small messes and smoothing his wrinkles. I was annoying myself, I told myself to quit being a fucking kinfolk magazine, but I couldn’t curb my impulse.

After he left, the cleaning stopped. I went around my room, touching the little changes he made. The blanket he rolled up instead of folding. The guitar he leaned against the bookcase instead of zipping into its case. The little Hot Wheels car he found in the grass on his morning walk and proudly displayed on my dresser.

Suddenly wondering at how disorganization by his hands could feel so sweet and intimate. But maybe it’s the same thing as having a trail of tiny bruises down your body. Why do painful purple spots feel so romantic and tender?

I slowly eventually started straightening up my room to how I normally kept it, but felt a bit sad about it the whole time. The absence of a person makes you want to keep things exactly the same, as a shrine to them until they come back. Sometimes though, they never come back.

Lives are not meant to stay the same. We are not museums. We are nature. Movement is literally in our blood.

Sometimes the never-ending motion of daily minutiae makes me crazy, and that’s one part that scares me about having children—how the routines and motions stay the same for ages and I don’t know if this body wants to perform those motions day after day—but I do know that we are meant for motion in any case.

Washing a counter—moving crumbs. Sweeping a floor—moving dirt. Intimate sex—moving body parts.

Germs spread. Spittle flies. “Plums defy,” as Stephen King wrote in On Writing.

I suppose just it’s a matter of deciding what kind of movement your body wants to make in its lifetime.


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