Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is Satisfaction? It is This.

I spent the late morning and the entire afternoon reading the rest of The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, and I felt such deep satisfaction, such calm happiness from having become so absorbed in this story about a failing newspaper in Rome and all its inhabitants, editors, writers, reader and publisher alike. Rachman's quiet genius is in each chapter telling the story of each character, while sprinkling the others in as cameos, bringing it all together with what feels like a proper epilogue. And I loved it. I loved the book, I loved that feeling I got from having read something so good that afterward, I went to my priority reading stack and pulled out How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal. So far, it's good, direct in its approach in this story about a woman taking in her daughter's stepdaughter while she goes to Germany to attend to her severely burned soldier husband in Afghanistan. There's lots of breadmaking involved, and though anything food-related always holds my attention, and I feel so involved again, I want this more often than I had it before. More reading. Lots more. Now if this same, lasting feeling can be found in a relationship, I'm all set.

The Ghosts Have Disappeared

I had a dream during the night that released Lisa completely from my heart and soul. She had vacated my heart early yesterday evening, but I still had brief thoughts of hope that she would eventually find whoever it would be that would make her happy.

In this dream, I was involved in a production of Sweeney Todd that starred Angela Lansbury, and one part of the dream, though not crucial to what happened, was that I wanted to ask Lansbury what she thought about Tim Burton's film of the musical.

The backstage area was this huge, opulent mansion, with deep tile hallways, gold trim on the ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows with cloudy sunshine pouring in, partitioned beds, and very nice buffet spreads. In one part of the mansion, I was running through a tile hallway for some unknown reason, and I spotted three women far ahead of me, two my height, one slightly smaller. They leaped into the air and disappeared.

Who were they? Did they represent what I had liked about Lisa, that she was a voracious reader, a writer, a lover of old movies? Did one of them represent her voice, which had made me melt the first time I heard it on the phone and lasted all the way through to the end? Was one of them representative of how attractive I thought she was? I don't know, and I'll never know, and it doesn't haunt me, because the ghosts have disappeared. That's what they were. I think they did represent her in some way, and that's it. Today, I'm myself again. I'm happy. I've been reading The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman and I had forgotten in those two-and-a-half months how much I enjoy just sitting for hours and reading, especially when the story is as absorbing as this one. I have missed this so much. I'm loving recovering all these parts of myself that I will never abandon again.

I knew I was back to myself when I woke up at about 10:10 this morning and heard "Singin' in the Rain" streaming in from my sister's room across the hall, and wondered if she had Turner Classic Movies on. So I went to her room, found she was still sleeping, but earlier, she had put on a Paddington Bear DVD for our dog Tigger, and Paddington was dancing around in the rain in a raincoat and black galoshes. I have returned.