Fin in a Waste of Waters

"These moments of escape are not to be despised. They come too seldom....Leaning over this parapet I see far out a waste of water. A fin turns....I note under 'F.,' therefore, 'Fin in a waste of waters.' I, who am perpetually making notes in the margin of my mind for some final statement, make this mark, waiting for some winter's evening." (from Woolf's THE WAVES)

30 July 2006

So long, soldier

Last night was Dan Shofner's last night at home before leaving for basic training today; he's going into the Navy, and nuclear school, and hopes to work on a nuclear sub. I called him to say goodbye & to ask him to take good care of himself.

Several years ago, when we were still dating, I dreamt that he went into the Navy. But it was during a full-blown war, and the dream was itself set in the 1940s. In it, I was saying goodbye to him on a train platform; the train was stopped, steaming and whistling, next to us; it, and the platform and the air, were all a dusty, faded tan. He was in full uniform, also tan, even the hat, and had only one square sleek black bag of things in one hand. I held his face and told him goodbye, knowing that it would be the last time I ever saw him, tears uncontrollably rolling down my face. I didn't tell him this knowledge, and he didn't understand why I was so upset, and awkwardly (vainly) tried to comfort me. I couldn't tell him that I knew he was going to a war from which he wouldn't come home. In the dream, I woke up before he got on the train. But even now, I can feel his head in between my palms as I held it so tightly.

I didn't tell him about this dream on the phone last night. At first I was sad that I missed his last day at home - he actually ended up having to leave earlier than expected; otherwise, I would have caught him - but now, I think it might be okay. Saying goodbye in person would have been too much like the dream; it would have felt almost like somehow jinxing him. Saying goodbye over the phone like this sort of broke its charm. Though I'll still keep his safety in my heart.

[And still, I haven't written about the Islam & Middle East galleries! I still want to; other stuff just butts in - maybe the third time's the charm, like they say...]


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