William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

For Better or For Worse

It breaks my heart to see a long-married couple out for a walk together, but not walking together, the man ahead, the woman behind, the assumed command and superiority in his carriage, hers subservient, with neck slightly bent and head held just so, as if fearing to cause his displeasure. And yet they are out together. Why? What are their secret pains, their secret pasts, their secret thoughts? How long has it been since they have held each other’s hand? Do they sleep apart, he in the master bedroom, she in one down the hall? Is their life under the same roof merely one of habit and practicality? When was the last time either of them were happy for no particular reason, or genuinely pleased or surprised? Granted, this is all my interpretation — the interpretation, no less, of one who has told himself and others a great many stories, a number of which he has, for better or for worse, made part of the published record. But the initial facts do speak volumes: they are not together: there is no spark, no joy in their countenances, no magic familiarity between them. They demand my attention. I cannot see them, and then pretend not to see them. I must recognize them, and acknowledge the degree to which they exist in myself, the extent to which they are myself — for surely, if I dare claim to understand them, I must also be them, and find it in myself to love them and care about them on their fleeting appearance and passage through this world. If I do not, if I cannot, then of what use am I, and of what use are these writings, beyond proving that I am here for the moment and do not know what else to do with my time?

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Categories: Everything and Nothing

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