There are two types of bad relationships; okay, there are lots of variations on a theme because truth be told, there are never two of anything, but humor me here -- both like being a dog in a yard. One dog is chained to something, and he can see the chain. He goes as far as he can, sometimes he strains against the chain, he tries to free himself. He can't, but that doesn't stop the impulse. The other is the invisible fence, the one that shocks you when you get too close to it. You can run around all you want, except when you get to the fence that you can't see and receive a jolt of electricity, the illusion of freedom. Most of us freak out when we see the first one, the arresting pictures of domestic abuse victims, especially the one from the latest edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves where you can see the tire tracks from where a woman's boyfriend ran over her with a truck. I admit to looking at the pictures from all the editions with an eerie regularity -- they have an authentic horrible quality that one seldom sees anymore in the service of good, the vivid depictions of botched abortions, stds, the wonderful and cruel business of labor, the wounds of women made visible.
As for the invisible fence, I've never had an actual dog, of course. But I've been in and witnessed those relationships as well. You can't take a picture of a yelling match or a mean comment or a silence so deep that it cuts the soul. When I was a child, I grew up around a bunch of electric fences made of barbwire to keep animals in their place. The animals didn't fear being cut so much as being shocked. My friends and I would take long weeds and see if the current would carry to us. It did, and we'd startle with the fear and then laugh. We'd have contests to see how much pain we could endure. We'd hold onto the fence and hold onto each other and scream in pain, let go, and laugh again until we got bored and did something else. We were preparing for our future.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I'm always looking outside, trying to look inside. Trying to say something that's true. But maybe nothing is true. Except what's out there. And what's out there is always changing." Robert Frank
Drinking short story collection suggestion: The Brutal Language of Love Alicia Erian
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Hope everyone who had a snow day enjoyed it! And Valentine's Day is over -- hope everyone survived and got lots of beautiful presents and cards. And love, yeah, that too.
53 Days until The Sopranos airs!