Moles: Elegies and Odes

Tomorrow I am going to have my first ever mole removed.  It’s just a being on the safe side thing, and I get to chat with my doctor, who is really cool and likes bikes, so that is fine.  But the mole is a dark black one just off the center of my spine, next to a long white scar I got from ducking not low enough under a barb wire fence when I was mad at my mom.  She didn’t do anything; I was a teenager. I remember I was charging around these pine woods with a bloody back, totally pissed off, when it started raining, and pine trees, unlike our friendly Western Washington forests, don’t do squat to shelter you against rain.  So I was soaked and exhilarated and bleeding, and tromping around by myself until I wasn’t angry anymore.  The cut scarred up, and I like it.  It is in fact, one of my many favorite scars.  The mole makes a sort of constellation with it that seems like one of the particularities of my specific body.

But as of tomorrow, there won’t be a mole there, and that has made me nostalgic.  No one else who loves me will love that mole.  It’s a welling-up poignancy that must be passed through.

However, my moles have been well-loved.  Even preserved (briefly) in literature.  The story: when I was a barista, there was an elderly man who was a regular and a prolific poet.  He had been to Auschwitz on vacation a few years before, and despite not being Jewish, had been moved to write poems about it — over one thousand, he told me.  He wrote a poem a day.  “Do you write about other things too?” I asked him, as I made him his normal Americano in his mug with the space needle inside it.  I filled it, per instructions, just to the top of the space needle, leaving a good inch and a half for him to fill with cream.

“Oh, I can write about anything,” he proclaimed.  “I could even write about the moles on your chest!”  He nodded at the triangle of moles in the scoop of my shirt, moles I happened to be fond of.  Half an hour later, he handed me a piece of notebook paper, on which he had written, sure enough, a poem about my moles.  I lost the poem later that day — it fell out of my pocket, probably for the better — but I remember the gist of it.  It begins with me,  “lying supine on my bed.”  Then I get up and look in the mirror and feel self-conscious about my moles.  Then I go back to bed in a fit of self-conscious despair.  The poem ends with the man saying that instead of being something to be shy about, the moles are “one more reason he is glad he’s not blind.”

So.  Perhaps a little creepy.  But since he was a regular who answered the question “what would you like?” not with  “tickets for you and me to Maui,” like another guy did, but with very specific instructions on how to make his daily Americano (top of the space needle!  warm up the cup in the microwave first!) and because he was generally just kooky and amiable, I decided it was mostly sweet.  Anyway, it is fun to have poetic inspiration in your skin.


A Blog and a Dog

I am living alone now, since Seth moved out.  Mostly, I like it — the living alone part.  Break ups are too much to sum up with like/dislike.  But anyhow, I have had two new urges in my new solitude: to get a blog and a dog.  The dog has to wait until I move, but here is the blog.  You can read it if you want to.  Personally, I pretty much only read, which is my friend Jesslyn’s blog.  My apologies to all you other bloggers, but life is short and Jesslyn’s blog always makes me glad to be living it.  She is both Wise and Funny.  And some.  I am telling you all this because maybe you want to read her blog (seriously, you should, right now,) and also to acknowledge that my dreams of being an Awesome Blogger are 100% Jesslyn inspired.  Also, the name of this blog is a flagrant ripoff of hers, though that isn’t where I got it.  It came to me in a dream, actually.  Or rather, I woke up with the phrase she had the eyes of a friendly moth in my head, and it felt significant.  I can’t actually say what it means, but I like it.  So here it is.

God and the Origin of the Universe

A while back, I was babysitting two boys I know, Declan and Luke.  They are total sweethearts, and both have the exact same haircut.  Anyway, Luke likes to draw pictures of ninjas fighting zombies, the kind where there are detached limbs and gushing blood and everyone is smiling.  So Luke is showing me his fighter Legos, and all the monsters and swords, and grotesquely ugly faces that are somehow replicated with total cheer into tiny pieces of movable plastic, when Declan wanders in.  He settles dreamily beside us.

“Becca, what is your favorite thing to talk about?” he asks.

It is a surprisingly hard question.  “I think I like to talk about things that have happened to me, and stories about people I know,” I said finally.  “What about you?”

“Oh,” he said.  “I like to talk about God and the origin of the universe.”

Yep.  Declan, age seven, who still says origin like “owigin” is pondering the deep questions of life, and I, this very moment, am recounting yet another story of something that has happened to me and people I know.  But I do have a purpose, more humble perhaps than explaining the beginning of the world.  Behind these kind of anecdotes is a kind of happiness.  A “Look, I’m alive, and things happen, and it’s great/absurd/wondrous/crushing/coincidental/fascinating: in other words, I see it.”

So that is what this blog is about.  And maybe along the way, I’ll figure out the origin of the universe.  But it’s probably better that I don’t have a blog about that, because another time, when I was babysitting another kid, she asked me, “How did the world start?”

And you know what my answer was?   I said, “Well, some people say God started it.  And some people say there was this thing called the big bang, which was a big BA-BANG!, and then the world started.”  Luckily, by that point, she had stopped listening.