On the Thorn
Maybe I am strangely inquisitive, or overly dramatic, or simply have too much free time, but based on informal evidence I’ve had a strong series of breakthroughs and catharses in my 38 years on earth when compared to others, and controlling for drugs, big blasts of epiphanies, moments of great pain that seemed to heal me with fire, lightnings to fill the skull and the apartment, the sound you can almost hear when the pieces finally click when I conquered some issue of mine with the power of logic, my Caesar’s wars, really, my Gauls, my great triumphs so far.
So I was caught unprepared the other day, like in that Sharon Olds poem where after a lifetime’s hatred she accidentally forgives her mother, when I seem to have found the thorn that had always hurt me, grabbed it, and just pulled it out, I couldn’t even feel a thing just that I had stopped crying, I now notice the lithe façades of buildings outside and my muscles, the shape of my arms at dance, the curves of this city, the music hummed, there’s some happiness looming here with serious consequences, and I have no idea what those consequences are or what to do.
All I know is that something that had bothered me all my life—well, I’ve found it. I see the thorn in the palm of my hand and can decide what to do with it. The ensemble cast of my existence, this commedia dell’arte, is being reshuffled, a falsehood in which I was complicit suddenly seems elective, the rewards promised in exchange for it less enticing. Like Sharon Olds, I have zero idea who I am without the thorn in my flesh, but as they say: I’m excited to find out.
For the first time since I emigrated, I don’t feel grief. One thorn to throw away and one walks tall once more, these baby steps onto a boundless road. I have no clue what comes next or how far I’ll walk now, but thorns are for self-defence that other creatures stab with at random; we extract them and shed them with intention. Like a spell it ends when one rejects that sharp embedding, the foreign body, the wanderer needs his free and healthy feet. What a quiet shift this is, this tiptoeing onward, no fireworks this time, just a clear moon in a calm sky starting its cycle.