*** ‘Vignette City’ is an ongoing project of daily writing and urban photography ***
It is raining again today. It has been hard for me to get used to the rain since I moved here. It seals me in. I started to wonder a couple weeks ago if my skin was getting enough sun, since the sun is almost never actually out here. I don’t know how much sun the skin needs. I don’t know anyone in this city to ask. Surely someone here must know that answer. How much sun it takes to keep human skin from going gray and molting off the bones. The way it does when you die.
Today I started going through my books, because books are like old friends.
When I moved in here I’d organized them by author’s last name, because that is the best way to organize one’s home library, or so I thought. After these months here though, I started to think differently. I pulled all the books from their shelves and I began to sort them into piles from oldest to newest. Not by copyright date or publishing date either. Rather I sorted them according to my own autobiography.
This one I have had all my life.
This one from my mother, on her last Easter.
This one that I bought for my mother’s mother when she was in the hospital, but which I never got to take to her.
This one from my first college course.
This one that I bought on my first date with Hannah, years before her wreck.
This one that Cynthia gave to me for our anniversary, before she got sick.
This one from Wallace, who loaned it to me before the deployment he never returned from.
This one from Elliott, the only man I’ve ever really kissed. Who wrote on the inside of the cover: Ultimately our bodies betray us all, enjoy your body while you have it. He’d grown morose and bitter like that, near the end.
In one I found a near perfect receipt from March 22, 1999, pressed like a pale flower between two stiff pages which apparently had not be separated even once this entire millennia. It took me several very long moments of counting on my fingers to recall the number of people I have known who were alive on that day, and who are not now.