fireworks photo

4th of July on the 5th of May

I am meant to be having a couple of days off. I need them. I feel heart-sick and trampled over. The street outside exploded in violence last night. I couldn’t tell what were fireworks and what were gunshots. It got so bad, the Boy dragged me away from the window and made me sit with him in his room. Of course, being hit by a bullet or a firework in one’s own home would be embarrassing. I wondered how often such a thing happens, and the answer is, way too often and usually around the 4th July insanity.

I both love and fear the 4th of July. I love the fireworks and the celebration. I love all that stuff like only a very grateful immigrant can and not feel somewhat dirty, I suppose. My American-born friends shy away from patriotism like cats from water. Their anger at what has gone wrong outweighs the swell of ‘ dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ adoration. For me, it is not the same. Instead it is sweet and just that I didn’t have to die as a result of my husband’s abuses that were facilitated and enabled by the international and Japanese law and attitudes towards abused women and their children. No, I eat all that red white and blue stuff up, because I can do nothing other than love a country that saved me and the Boy, even if sections of the country wish that nobody really bothered and I would rather I was 6 foot under than in Their Country.

What was going on outside was no jingoistic but dangerous expression of patriotism. It sounded vaguely like war, or at the very least a bad tempered bad idea. I could hear no joy, just a lot of loud bangs. Unfortunately, I was really stoned at the time. Like I said, I am taking a couple of days off. I am reading books, sitting with my feet up and my favorite socks on, and watching 5 minutes of various netflix series before I can them as boring. Serial series clip watching in the hope I find something worth wasting an evening on that does not require thought or action.

Earlier on I had eaten a tiny cube of vegan gummy that was infused with thc. It was absolutely miniscule, and didn’t taste too much of weed. The packet said 10mgs per piece, but them being so little, what could possibly go sideways? It would appear that size is no indication of potency. Two hours later, just when I had forgotten I had even eaten the stuff, and the world outside got scarily hostile, the high came on strongly and kept climbing. Flash! Bang! Shouting. Pop! Bang! Bang! The effects were somewhat trippy. People who were outside shouting sounded as if they were right next to me in the room. Nothing sounded friendly out there at all. My heart started pounding, and that gentle ‘headband’ feeling you get when you are good and high, built up to a slight pressure. Colors looked brighter. All of a sudden I found Ricky Gervais’s sitcom funny. I knew something was up, and I suppose that something was me.

The flashes and bangs and shouting went on a little too long. When I tried to get up I realized my legs were limp spaghetti. I was so stoned I was walking like Jack Sparrow. Being that high on thc is hilarious…when nothing is wrecking the vibe, and street hassle of such a magnitude tends to harsh any buzz. I started to laugh hysterically. Ricky was playing himself on screen, joking about suicide. I sat away from the window a while thinking how ridiculous it is that people throw fireworks, shoot guns and get so dangerous on streets, and how scary it would be to be out there. I bet those people don’t even live on this block. I bet their kids don’t even play outside. Heck, I bet they were not much more than kids. I don’t know, I was sensibly discouraged to look out the window and risk it.

It doesn’t need to be the 4th July for people to get crazy. Crazy is just about any day when someone has a problem with someone else. Infidelities, break ups, deals gone wrong, deals gone right and men who can’t handle whatever they are indulging in lurch at shadows on the sidewalk hooting and screaming in turns, it all plays out just outside my front room windows. I am not at street level, but close enough, especially on this high hill to be concerned. A man fell off his electric scooter with a clatter. A small elderly woman ran out of her house to help him. The prospect of her watching out the window next to mine made me laugh. I forget this is not just my street to spy upon. I forget there are other watchers. She picked up the 6 pack of beer that he had dropped and helped him up. I like this woman, she has a sweet small dog and always says hello to me when I walk past her. Normal people live down this street, trying to live normal lives. Nobody wants to be scared to sit and fail to be entertained by netflix while people do dangerous things outside their windows.

Thc in large quantities is very hallucinogenic, and the excitement was too much for me. I pulled the covers over myself and tried to relax. The boy patted me on the head and showed me cute animal videos. Finally the street calmed down, and I could haul myself back up and prop myself up on the sofa. The boy started to laugh. “Maybe it was because it is Cinco de Mayo. It could be celebratory, he reasoned?”It didn’t sound much like a celebration to me, I grumbled back at him.

I put on Joni’s Blue album, she was singing about how it’s ‘coming on Christmas, they’re putting up trees,” and some touching shit about joy and peace. Days seem to have no meaning anymore. I blink and time has flown. One second it is Halloween, the next it is the 4th of July in May. It might as well be Christmas. I am running out of time.

I don’t want it to be summer. I don’t want it to run into fall. I don’t want to have to be terrified about the rent and dealing with it all. I don’t want any of this to ever end, but I know it will. Time drags me down slowly, by inches, taking away pieces of me here and there. It doesn’t bother cutting off the non-essential pieces first, it doesn’t go for the legs, or a flesh wound to somewhere fixable, it heads right for the heart of the matter. For me that is what it means to be a woman: to suffer. You are expected to be the perfect mother, encouraged to bond with your children, and society demands nothing less than the total cannibalistic destruction of the mother for the offspring. No one cares if the mother is destroyed or hurt, as long as she does her job, the mother is always expendable. Why do we do it? For the memory of being needed absolutely and loved totally? For the genes? For the warm damp hugs of a crying child and the ability to soothe. Because, we want to? Because we should? No, time goes right for the heart of the matter.

A job well done means we are no longer needed. That the fireworks can fly outside on May 5th and we are the ones that need saving. A job well done means visits now and again. Sidelined. Like Townes sang, “Lay down your head a while, you are not needed now.” Except, you see, I was needed more than most. Trauma bonded. Isn’t it the way, when us women are not needed now, we are expected to fade away like spent batteries. Still, I would do it all again. I would do it all again in exactly the same way just to have the Boy I did. I would go all the way into hell for him and back again. I am still needed for now.

Time goes on, those painted ponies go round and round on the carousel. Dreams get painted over. Holidays and celebrations change with the location and the season. Up and down we all go, until the ride stops. How I wish I could make it go on forever.

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