I can hold it in my hand, or at least believe that I am holding it.
It’s smooth, rippled and oval, like the walnuts that came in the Christmas bowl that was outfitted with crackers and picks.
It’s also black, hard and cold like the chunks I would pick up by the coal yard next to the train station. A lump of hard coal, for Christmas.
And somewhere in that anthracite walnut is the spark I put away so many years ago now.
I cup it in my hand, feeling the cold weight of it. and I blow on it, breath still warm and moist, as if I was still alive.
Can I warm it up enough to feel a shiver of the energy trapped in it? Is there something in that shrivelled nugget that can still vibrate, still pulse?
Years ago I was sent to Kripalu for healing. My sister told my parents it was good for me, that people valued me. I told them it was bad for me, proving only that I have the capacity to give people what they value, but they have little capacity to give me what I value. I know how to move into other people’s worlds, to illuminate and warm, but my world stays solitary.
After the appointment with the lawyer revealed how my sister failed me again, the next time she saw me she wanted a hug. She wanted me to reach out to her and make her feel better, even as all she offered were promises that sounded even more hollow now than they did before.
Her friend wanted me to do tech support, wanted me to drag her brain into understanding. She wanted to help my sister, but she didn’t want to have to say that the goal was to help my sister manage the estate, as her friend didn’t want to upset me. So many failures, so much time, so much effort on my part. I know. They want to kill me. I get it.
Her ex wanted me to reach out to a transperson who is having trouble finding a place for expression and reflection in this world. Yes, I know the problem. And no, after four years, ten years of conscious denial, I have no answer to it. Maybe the worst birthday of my life was when he, my sister and a friend demanded to take me again to the movie Hedwig And The Angry Inch, a kind of drag show, and sat like lumps, not reflecting any energy. It felt like death. And when I woke up the next morning, I watched the second plane fly into the World Trade Center live on TV. My response was God bless the world, but the right response turned out to be God bless the USA. Missed it again.
A walnut is a seed, but turned to anthracite, it will never sprout. So many years, so much waste, so little fertility. I know why trans gets twisted into Eros and fetish, so much easier than embracing essential life.
When I was 17, I had a greeting card printed up at LSC.
“Sure, we are all born to suffer and die,” it read. On the inside, it continued, “But before you go, try the pâté. It’s wonderful!”
All these decades later, and my taste buds seem to have disappeared, along with so much of my sensuality and vitality.
Are they in the anthracite walnut I hold this Christmas, or are they gone forever, leaving me fit only to service the needs of others?
War is over, if you want it. War is over now.