Sandy liquid

My neck seizes. I cannot turn my head. Perhaps some tensions in daily life, the concerns of the day, gather in the trapeze and stop it swinging. So I go to swim.

Laps in the pool, avoiding children on the odd-numbered forward strokes towards the shallow end and watching the ceiling on the even numbers to make sure I don’t smack my head on the end wall, and make the pain and seizure worse. If I’m lucky, after twenty or thirty lengths, the nerve or tendon or muscle or whatever it is that’s stuck and sore will give a little. Something will let go, will ping or snap or crunch. I need that release. A “sandy liquid feeling”, said the girl in the gallery, when I told her why my head was leaning, why I hobbled like a babushka in an ancient newsreel.

Lap after lap, like a meditation, I hear my thoughts repeating, worrying the phrase, matching it to the experience. The graunch of tendon, bone and nerve. Body parts moving under the skin, seeming to come free and release a tangle of emotion, but stopping before the end, as if stuck on a slide.

A sandy liquid feeling. No, not sandy liquid. Like tequila riddled with fluttering flecks of gold leaf, that you imagine might stick to your tongue. Or fizzy pop at the seaside in 1964. A liquid sandy feeling, then? True, it can seem like quicksand, sand as fluid, but the combination is wrong, the combining doesn’t work. Perhaps a comma would help?

A sandy, liquid feeling?

Or a liquid, sandy feeling?

The feeling itself is neither sandy nor liquid. it’s both, but most of all, it’s a “feeling” that has no definition. Sandy and liquid help a bit, but they’re not the whole of it. It’s definitely not liquidy.

Finally, I suppose I can say that it was a sandy, liquid, feeling.

I have never before worried so much about where a comma went. Is this obsessive analysis and reconstruction of meaning a writerly concern? Or is it a product of memory failure, that I don’t know any more quite what I want to say, what I mean, how to tell my thoughts. I don’t really believe that this circularity still counts as thinking.

I wish my quicksilver mind would come back.


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