Love Is A Piece of Gravel Lodged in the Brain
Before he drove away, he left me with a smile and the scarf his grandmother knitted last Christmas. I have seen the tires of the Cadillac spin over the gravel six hundred and eighty seven times because one of the stones has lodged itself in my brain. In the left hemisphere no less. And it aches like a muscle strain. The kind you get when you’ve been hiking too long and instead of you climbing the mountain, the mountain climbs you, and rests in your glute. And for the next week, every time you take a step your body remembers the view from the top of the mountain, although you forget, maybe because the view was too beautiful but maybe because the four hours you spent exhausted really weren’t worth the scenery at all.
The stone in my left hemisphere is the same way except, at times, I try to string together a logical set of thoughts, each thought slams into the stone, one after another, like an automobile pile-up. I suppose that’s how the test dummies feel at the crash site. I think the stone must be granite. If it were volcanic, like the landscaping in the Midwest, I think my thoughts could seep their way through. But if it were calcite, then maybe it would miraculously morph into a deposit, and instead of me seeing the back of his head driving away a million times over, I would have a tumor. Somehow I think a tumor might be more consoling. Then when I enter the hospital, as everyone with a tumor does at some point, at least I could have visitors. And not a red scarf.
Since I don’t have a tumor, I smell his scarf for the nineteenth time today, and it’s only eleven a.m. This is a compulsive right brain act. Yesterday I made it to two hundred six, but that’s because I had the day off from the factory and the cicadas were out.
If I were a cicada, I would only surface the earth every seven years too. And, if I were a cicada, my brain would be small enough to wedge out the stone or not even allow it to enter at all. That’s not true.
If I were a cicada, mating would still be a sacred act and afterward I could burrow my way back into the earth and not worry about a Cadillac’s tail lights or knitting.
Knit. Purl. Knit. Purl.
Why does every grandmother know how to knit? I only know what a purl is because I’ve heard my own grandmother uttering to herself. But I doubt she has a stone lodged in her brain. She’s been married fifty-two years, has knitted fourteen afghans, thirty-six pairs of slippers, a hat that appeared to be a sock, and forty-nine and a half sweaters. I know this because she keeps a list and utters that too.
A left brain act.
And the half sweater is only because on one of her trips to visit my father, her luggage was lost.
The stone in my brain aches now more than the tightness of a stiff knit.
Cast on, cast off.
Kelly Lydick received her B.A. in Writing and Literature from Burlington College (VT), and her M.A. in Writing and Consciousness from the New College of California (San Francisco). Her writing has appeared in Twittering Machine, the Burlington College Poetry Journal, the New College Review and ditch. Kelly’s work has also been featured on NPR and KQED’s The Writers’ Block. She is the author of the chapbook We Once Were (Pure Carbon Publishing, AZ), and the experimental fiction novel, Mastering the Dream (Second Story Books, CA). Her website is: http://www.kellylydick.com.