J. & P. are in NYC this weekend playing in the snow, so I'm running solo with Daphne, who I guess is a pretty easy job as 4-year-olds go. Anyway, she seems to be relishing the "quality father-daughter time," as she calls it. Still, the place feels empty & lonely. (Tho I'm trying not to be "cranky and bummed out," as Don Share puts it, sweetly.)
A weird twinge of sentimentality last night: on the back porch, on my laptop, into the wee hours, I watched Citizen Kane, courtesy of Netflix; & as I was putting the disk back in the little envelope (you know, the wax-papery inner one with the brief misleading movie description & runtime) I noticed, written lightly in pencil, neatly but in an unfamiliar hand, the message "I love you."
Who wrote it? Not a member of the household, certainly; maybe one of the guests & friends who've been thru over the last week? (Obviously, we're among the I suspect majority of Netflixers who turn over our movies a lot slower than we thought we would.)
But then I realized that I'd only broken the seal on the envelope a couple hours before, after putting Daphne to bed. It was the last Netflixer, I guess, who'd decided to trace those archetypal 3 words on an envelope that was about to head out to someone – who precisely, she or he could have no idea. A message in a bottle? (Cynically, the "God Loves You" one finds occasionally on a dollar bill?) It says something about the phenomenology of reading, or maybe about my own state of mind, that I would feel personally interpellated by this anonymous, anonymously-directed scribble; that I would feel struck, alone in the middle of the night, by a touch of human affection.
A figure for the poem. Paul Celan: "I see no essential difference between a poem & a handshake."