Sunday of the Transfiguration

(Every day now thousands of people and I receive an email from a man named Stephen who writes in short confident sentences about his goings on and ponderings, and periodically reminds us to buy his book, which I will refer to as The Ritalin Diaries. He writes like Raymond Chandler only nobody dies on the page, perhaps due to the medication. He writes like candy or television, it goes down easy, and makes you want more in the way that feels better when nobody else is there.)

It had been snowing since mid-morning, and now the jonquils were all flung against the ground like leftover lollypops. Whenever you heard the hard sound of a drop against the window or the hood of your coat, you knew it was raining again, but mostly it was quiet as the grave. It’s March, and this is what March is like. We forget.

I didn’t want to be anyplace with windows today, and drove into town to see a movie, which turned out to be Rabbit Hole. If John Sayles isn’t available to film the story of my life, then you might see if John Cameron Mitchell is available. Or Eileen Myles. Rabbit Hole was terrific, told with restraint and compassion, and was utterly devastating. It was perfect. I wiped my eyes off with the hem of my skirt, left the theater, pulled the hood over my head and listened to the pings against the plastic. It’s always a surprise to leave a theater in the daytime. It should be dark, but it wasn’t. I was surprised to see the street, cars skating along the silver pavement like there hadn’t just been a movie, people on their way to someplace else. I walked back and forth, acclimating to the new world around me. A friend of mine was walking up the sidewalk. “I just saw the saddest film in the world,” she said. “I know,” I said. “I was there too.” We looked at each other, and then, embarrassed, looked away. There were tribal drums in the distance.

“I think that might be the Mardi Gras parade,” I said. We walked that direction. My friend was meeting up with someone else, and didn’t invite me along. She turned in the other direction. I followed the drums towards the center of town, where nearly-naked painted people mixed it up with others wearing animal pelts and glittering beads. Children in big hats and animal cloaks held the gloved fingers of their parents. No one looked older than thirty, except a friend of mine who I saw midway through the melee. He plays the horn, but I didn’t see it there. He was pacing alongside the crowd, scowling, his padded paws and fur worn like an old lion’s. His wife was at the center of the party, her long hair bound in beads. Then the parade started. Someone I recognized from grad school danced in the front of the parade, beads bouncing. Enormous drag queens strode in splendor, disdainfully throwing beads and candy at the dancing crowd who followed the parade through the streets with their phones taking pictures. A cow tail hit my shoulder and fell to the street, so I bent down to get it, and was hit by another. I was being a part of the moment, unwrapping the stale caramel, frozen crème center, chewing it like a stogie. By this time, my pockets were full of paper invites to after-parties, flyers about the roller derby the next weekend. “St Patrick’s Slay”. It had stopped raining, and now the wind was blowing hard and sideways.


About Carolyn Ogburn

Writer, hiker, activist and gadfly. #Binder Writes @NumeroCinq555 / Blogs @pshares MFA @VCFA
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One Response to Sunday of the Transfiguration

  1. Linda Wells says:

    Oh Carolyn, how you captured for me that moment of coming out of a movie matinee and wondering how the world could still be going on in such a mundane, ignorant fashion while some people’s lives were being torn apart by sorrow. Rabbit Hole, oh yes. I still go sit in dark theaters to get caught up in big stories on the big screen. When my friends say, “I’ll just get it on video” I feel sorry for them.

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