By Cate Love
Reprinted from Guilty Pleasures, 2019
She didn’t quite know what to do with all the bits wandering around in her head. She had tried to write them all down. On scraps of paper, napkins and square sticky notes lay many of the thoughts, memories, rants, stories – fact and fiction – that came to her within reach of a pen. But there were still a lot just pinging around inside.
She thought she might take the sticky notes and scraps of paper and sew them into a dress to wear around town. But somehow, she thought, that would be like walking around naked. So, there they lay, tucked into books and boxes and in drawers next to her bed.
The ones that hovered around inside her brain were numerous and stubborn and premature and it didn’t make them any more complete to jot them down, just easier to hang onto.
Sometimes (don’t tell anyone), sometimes she lost them. Can you imagine? She lost them and they were never even let outside!
Some day they will return, she thought. Or, I will return to them.
A small, salmon-colored poem floated by.
Sometimes a great, blue, moonlit moment came cascading through her mind and she would dig through the office closet for a proper notebook with a few spare pages and squeeze ink onto them with abandon.
Traveling was the best medicine. Traveling meant time in coffee shops; or at a stout wooden desk in the window of a centuries-old hotel; or on a rock beside a raging torrent. Traveling meant everything went down on paper: conversations with strangers, lengthy observations turned to poetry, languages and colors under a different sun.
Traveling notebooks, filled with tiny, illegible handwriting, were stored safely in zip-lock bags on the library shelves. Someday she would read them. Someday she might type them out and make them real.
All of the sudden, it seemed like there would never be enough time.
She gathers up the scraps now when she comes across them, and zips them in with the traveling notebooks, worn and soft from rain, sand and sun.
They are the scenes of her. The subconscious and philosophy. The desire and sorrow. Gathered up and waiting in the wings for an audience that doesn’t even know itself.
She puts on her lipstick, regarding her reflection in a mirror.
It’s just backwards, she thinks.
The wildflowers in her head turn and take a bow.
Cate Love wasn’t born in the Roaring Fork valley, but she’s a lifer. She treats writing like a surprise visit from the fairy godmother: zip into that ball gown, slip on those fancy glass slippers and boogie on up the palace steps. Carefully. One at a time.