I have been looking for the miraculous from my infancy. I believed in it then, innately, and was terribly put out, time after time, when the miraculous turned out to be bullshit advertising. There were beautiful sunsets, rivers, oceans, forests and dales, and that was the miracle in which I lived. But there was no miracle beyond those miracles: Nothing that shot through the gut and sundered sense; nothing in the palm of my hand that I could point to and say THERE, there is your damned miracle, beat that!
Nothing but lies. I think the churches started it, with their fistful of miracles, all magnificently printed out on those impossibly thin, onion-skin pages. All that militant ostentatious wealth and pomp and circumstance; and nothing to show for it but more churches, more real estate – all that stuff that had nothing to do with me and my questing mind and craving cells.
If there had been one snail metamorphosed into a tropical bird, one wish granted, one healed victim, one dead sparrow resurrected in the lane, then everything else, any kind of deprivation and misery could have been accepted, embraced even. One miracle in the face of all this rot and boredom and militant logic, that would have made the difference for me.
And then, adolescence…
… when I was as bland as milk, and secretly passionate, lustful beyond my years. A middle-class upbringing had not succeeded in killing my soul. Hidden, up in the dark in my bedroom, dreaming magnificent desires, secret and small, like the blood that seeped through my veins.
In youth, falling in love, that first statement of individuality, of separation from the family. I remember Linda, skinny ballet dancer, Jewish, superbly madly exotic, her huge dark eyes drank you in, her smile, with a peppering of freckles across the bridge of her nose, was like turning on the sun. She came striding into the living room one winter night at fifteen-below – with her brother who was my best friend – wearing a tutu, pink and red tights, thick wavy hair knotted with coloured ribbons, and a torn purple sweater. I remember Linda, her wonderful alienness as she stood in front of the fireplace, lit up with her brilliant smile and daring eyes. I imagine my parents were mortified, wooden and hard. All I could see was Linda.
She was my first love, a summer love following accidentally on this winter meeting: No forethought, just the fates casting us together carelessly. She and I hid within the summer at their home up on top of a mountain in the Laurentians. I was fifteen, she was nineteen. I was hopelessly outmatched, but for the weeks we were together, life was a delectable fever, a surrender to a bewitching. She wore tiny bells around one ankle, strung on a leather strip. She knew I could always hear her, find her.
We slept together and learned to kiss as slowly, as delicately as a petal grows. We wrestled in new, unknown night, lips forming together, fluid lava. We expired on a breathed word.
Linda, New-York Linda, dallying with a boy child. She, too, had a child’s soul then. We all grow up, sad to say. I am more than old enough now to be her father then. I will never forget her. Nothing happened – beautifully.
Perhaps that was my one, personal miracle.