Someone had once said that there were no closures, in life.
I had read that yesterday afternoon, while I waited for LA-LA’s haze to clear. It never did. Because by the time I saw the anticipated clarity of the sky — something we all think we’re entitled to, around here, on the daily basis — the smog had already crawled in, like just another cloud; and it was time to call it a night. Or, it was time to call it an evening, at least.
So, I kept on reading, sprawled out on the floor among my books and collecting random bits of opinions by others that have come — and written — before me; in possible hopes that someone would do it a little better than them, down the road…
But then, someone had once said that there were no closures, in life.
That life — didn’t really work that way. That it consisted of choices — poor choices and those that were slightly better — all conducted in reaction to complete chaos. And then, of course, there would be consequences to those choices as well; and more choices — poor and those that were slightly better — would follow, in reaction to more consequences. And on, and on, and on: Life would carry on, with the better of us learning to commit slightly better choices. And a life with the biggest majority of better choices, I suppose, would make for a life, best-lived.
Pretty bleak, that thing that someone had said once. And it would keep me distraught for the rest of the day. I also knew it would keep me awake, when it would finally be time to call it a night. Or, to call it an evening, at least.
So: By the time it became clear that LA-LA’s haze would never clear yesternight, I left the house for the other side of town, speeding through its residential streets, in search of a catharsis if not an adventure. Occasionally, I would wave at other drivers to let them have their right of way; and most would appear slightly surprised — at my better choice. When the exhausted joggers and the defensive pedestrians waited to be noticed at intersections, I would make eye contact with them and nod. And at some, I would even smile: Like the sporty Jewish mother in her Lulu pants with a pretty but androgynous child inside a baby carriage, on Robertson. Or the tired Mexican man, in dusty clothes, pushing along his cart with leftovers of souring fruit, from his selling island on Venice and Fairfax. Or the two young lovelies, who despite the never cleared LA-LA’s haze, decked themselves out in delicious frocks; enticing me with their tan legs and taut arm exposed, on Abbot Kinney.
I nodded, I smiled. I waved, on occasion. In some odd state of calm resignation, I found myself in adoration — with the never cleared city. That mood, ever so close to surrender, would be my slightly better choice, for the evening (even though I wouldn’t think about it long enough to realize its further consequences).
But then, someone had once said that there were no closures, in life. That life didn’t really work that way. That is was all chaos, random choices with their even more random consequences.
Later, while I waited for a rendezvous with a man so luminous and kind he would make me want to forgive all others that came before him, I lost track of time in a conversation with a friend. A friend that had been a comrade at first, then a lover; until we would make a poor choice to put an end to it; then a slightly better one — to preserve what was left. He had once asked me why I kept in touch with those that had come before him.
“For the stories,” I would respond, immediately surprising myself with the clarity of my choice.
At the time, he would find that choice slightly poor. But yesterday evening, he had to finally see it — as a slightly better one. (Redemption, at last!) Because in my stories, I had become a researcher of consequences. And perhaps my act of defiance had come from the fear of being forgotten — the fear of being inconsequential — but I would choose to remember, him and those that had come before him, and I would keep track of our stories. And also, I would keep track of our choices — however poor or good — in possible hopes that at least one of us would do it a little better, the next time, somewhere down the road.
And no matter the choices, no matter the consequences, all along, I would insist on kindness. That way, in the end, in addition to the intimacy that could soothe a broken heart, there would a new sensation: Something, that for the first time yesternight, to the two of us, would feel like grace — some sort of stubborn choice to be slightly better.
Yes, someone had once said that there were no closures, in life. That life didn’t work that way.
But last night, in the midst of the never cleared LA-LA haze, I dared to differ: Although others indeed could not always grant closures for my own life — or for our mutual stories; I would always make the slightly better choice for forgiveness. And isn’t forgiveness — just another name for closure, anyway?