When I use this expression I don’t necessarily mean it as a comforting sort of image. It’s not Linus and that scrap of fabric he carried around with him; the one that transformed into a weapon or a cape or whatever else he had need of. It was like an externalized spine, a suit of armor, and it made Linus a force to be reckoned with, though he used it only for good.I wish I had a few more friends like Linus. I wish I had that kind of blanket. Especially right now.
I mean ‘blanketed’ as in having a sort of barrier between you and the world but not in a good way. A muffled, cloaked way. A half-life, numbed existence.
Hey I get it. Because sometimes life hurts. But if you don’t feel the hurt then you can’t feel everything else either. The wonder and the joy.
I couldn’t be numb around my kids. A frozen block that never thawed. Too bad there isn’t an off/on switch. Today I will be open to all sensation; tomorrow I will be a little dead inside.
But then I wouldn’t notice that the kids grew at least a foot this summer and became as leggy as fawns though more graceful in that exuberant, boneless way that kids are. They speak with their entire bodies; everything engaged- eyes, arms, feet, hips, fingers. Every movement exaggerated. HUGE.
They describe circles around themselves. They make the air sing and fizz.
I wouldn’t hear my son and his five hundred and sixty thousand questions about Batman, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, black holes and weird chemical compounds. I wouldn’t understand the pictures he draws for me and all their layers and wonderful skewed perspective.
I wouldn’t see my daughter try and catch dust motes on her tongue and then inform me that she is eating dead skin or listen to her singing the song “Tomorrow” from Annie in her bed just before she drops off to sleep. Hear the way her voice gets louder and I can imagine her little stubborn chin rising as she belts out the line “When I’m stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely I just stick out my chin and grin and say”.
How would I ever describe love? Or fear or hate or anger or awkwardness? Awkwardness is impossible to describe unless you have experienced its itchy heat in every fiber of your being.
Sometimes you have to excise something before it gets too big and it envelops you. It might even be something good and true but for whatever reason you have to remove it from your life. Usually it is something you may have convinced yourself is good and true and wanted but it is not. Sometimes it is impossible to tell until after. And even then you might not ever know for sure.
When my daughter was little she had a blanket she dragged around with her. I washed it every, single day. I even washed it when we were living in a two bedroom pit and had one of those sink washing machines you fill from the tap and it took 6 cycles to get the soap out even if you were miserly with it. I had to wash that thing because it collected whatever was in her path- dead spiders, leaves, mud, shit. The pattern faded until the stains became predominant and it was a soupy,splashed, grey brown thing. It smelled appalling- a deep abiding odor that withstood bleach and white vinegar and lemon juice- but I remember being a little kid myself and loving one place on my chewed teddy’s ear because it had this certain sweet stinky smell and i would position the ear under my nose and clutch teddy and suck my thumb in this perfect calming synchronicity and fall asleep with ease.
So I couldn’t get rid of it just because of the stink.
But I couldn’t send her to daycare with something that looked like it came out of a dumpster.
So blankie became hankie and hankie went to school with her in her pocket.
I wish I had a hankie.
A token with tons of meaning locked into it. Something to remind me that wounds heal over and scars are stronger skin.