279: “In The Same Room” (Richard McGuire)

                “There was a moment there when we were all together in the same room.”
                -Richard McGuire, Here

                McGuire’s book unfolds my ideas of time and place in beautiful, provocative ways. I highly recommend it. I’m not going to try to explain that unfolding (it’s still happening in my head, and besides, he does it better), but my flatmate and I did spend most of the day making and delivering pies to friends in the area. Apple, pumpkin, and cherry. I left one on a porch bench swing and one on a chair and two on doormats. I handed others over, both of us smiling behind our masks. One friend laughed that she could tell I was smiling from my forehead. And I was.
                Like so many of us, I won’t be able to see my family this week. I won’t be able to see them over the winter holidays. Missing them is a breathless space on a cold day, but threaded through missing them is the realization that, in this moment, all of them are doing something. It’s like I can see my little brother smiling mischievously while he picks up his guitar, and my older brother holding one of his giggling daughters. Like I can see my dad, looking back over his shoulder at a sunset, and my mom, pausing to listen to the wind. And then I can see my niece as she was a year ago, while we walked across the street to look at the twinkly lights. I can see one of the pies I baked, sitting on a friend’s counter, and the cookies my friend had waiting for me. I can see the kitchen where she baked them, today, yesterday.
                Or not see, exactly. Our culture’s so focused on sight. Feel? Hear? When I touch the wall, smooth against my palm, the paint and the sheetrock and the space inside the boards starts to feel like here. The apartment next door feels here, and the neighbor I’ve only waved to, and the trees who’ve let go of their leaves for the winter. And the winter, and last summer, and the coming spring. My niece a year ago, leading me to look at those lights. My little brother and I years and years ago, sitting on the carpet playing, and my older brother helping me swim across a river. And you. 
                Maybe there’s a moment, here, when we’re all in the same room together.

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