All the drinking, all the arguing. All the cigarettes and tacos and dirty pictures. All the street signs I've seen and left behind. All the early mornings, quiet streets. All the lust. The desire. The disappointment. All the spoons I've dropped on the floor. All the clean ones they brought me. All the kissing couples I've seen in the squares. All the pigeons in the background. All of the songs they played on the radio when I happened to be listening. The many more they played when I wasn't. All of the skin I've felt. All of the bashing. The jealousy. The envy. All of the hospital rooms; the unconscious back and forth we never said when we could've. All of the ringing phones. All of the dial tones. The rise and fall of endless accelerations: of passing Chevrolets and Fords and Le Cars. All of the deer right at dawn. The evening knats. All of the nights spent falling in love with someone so hard after she ordered me beer and pizza on the phone from thousands of miles away. All of the nonsense. So much static. All of the nights I laid down in spilt cheap whiskey on the barroom floor and played my harmonica. All of the time spent staring at the mirror. All of the Zoloft. All of the pot. All of the chocolate. And the rubbers that formed perfect rings through the leather of my wallets. All of the people I trusted. All of the caution I exercised. All of the filthy old snow. All of the fresh cut grass. All of the laughing I faked. All of the thrills I couldn't possibly explain. Singing birds in England. Jumping fish in Tennessee. Shaking the hand of Johnny Cash. Holding her hand on The Grand Canal. All of the curse words I've said. All of the mints I've taken by the cash register. All of the prayers, just asking for favors. The magnificent paintings in the magnificent museums. The days with only a single dollar to my name. All of the names we called each other. All of the holes in the wall I've hammered. All of the fumbling for keys to unlock apartment doors when someone inside heard me and just stayed on the couch anyway. All of the Civil War Battlefields. The famous author's graves. Rock stars at a distance. All of the bullshit. All of the stupid lists. Trying to say stuff no one has ever been able to say.
All of the potato chips.
All of it has led up to this one moment of supreme weird magic.
Saturday morning: I am sitting on the couch in front of the big screen TV, poking around Facebook. At my feet my daughter Violet alternates between convulsive dancing in front of Dora The Explorer as she sings the same fucking song a-fuckin-gain and sneaking around to the wall behind the television to peer at the wires and cables that make it all happen.
She is looking for Dora. It hits me all at once. She is looking for the characters!
Oh the sweet sauce of life. It dribbles down through my veins and bones like that first sip of beer after a long day's drive. Oh sweet little girl, looking behind the TV for the cartoon characters up on the screen.
I did that! I remember, back through the murk; I remember looking at the back of TVs, at dusty black wires and ventilated slats. I know I do because I can still see it. I can see what my daughter is seeing now without even looking! And oh how I have been desperately seeking some way, some Black Magical system, for me to be able to close my eyes and see EXACTLY what she is seeing through her little clean eyes.
Violet stands somewhat unsure. She leeeeeans back to look for Dora, slowwwwwwly. Her lips make that O that could go either way at any moment. A burst of smile. A screech of terror.
All of yesterday melts into a gob of joy I feel about once every twenty years or so. Look at her. Look at her looking. Holy shit. I'd totally forgotten what I'd seen back there all those years ago. Totally forgotten what it was like to nervously peek for super wonderful things you really believed could be found.
Imagination. Love. Expectation. Reality. Dreams. Investigation. Real true magic.
It's all dust and wires in the end, man.