It's going to take a good bit for my thoughts to settle, for me to process this into anything coherent. Give me time. :) The short version: This was a vision quest, a search for identity. A love poem - a visit to my graveyard. A way to come to terms. An attempt to encompass all of this.
I wasn't sure if it was a good idea - I just knew that I needed to do it.
And it's turned out to be the best thing I could possibly have done for myself.
I'm searching for words to tell you why, but I haven't got them yet. The idea, the mental images, the feel of it all is clear as day - but I don't yet have the words to express it. It needs settling.
In the meantime, I can give you some excerpts from my notebook. Unedited. Just scribblings as they occurred to me.
Walking in Vegas, it's as if the younger me is walking beside me - and she feels shorter. Animal-brain logic - she's ten years younger, so she must be smaller!
My echo, my afterimage, my severed shadow.
I feel like I'm seeing the town with two sets of eyes, me-now and me-then. Which could actually make for an interesting short story or novella. The daylight me, the midnight me. Little proto-'song stalking ghostlike through tourists.
Everyone says Vegas has changed, but it hasn't. My Vegas hasn't. My Vegas, of course, is unlike anyone else's. Tiny changes - the little yards in the courtyard of the Living Desert being fenced in, for example.
Gods, those apartments are so tawdry. Sunscorched. Brutal heat. Skinny little proto-'song striding through.
The spot where he grabbed me - totally unchanged. Still an empty lot. They never built anything there.
My pictures this visit are not of typical Las Vegas things. They're of vacant lots and closed storefronts - places that don't mean anything to anyone but me. And pictures of call-girl-card art. Memories and unexpected beauty.
Little proto-'song would scoff at the idea that she'd ever be dining alone at the Luxor, wearing a diamond ring.
Little proto-'song was so fierce and coiled-spring tense.
There are some ways in which I have not changed. I'm still a soldier in wartime... but the war has long since ended.
I'm not seeing any thirty-year-old punks. Just the "little" kids. Where are the grownups? This city has incinerated them and bleached their bones. There is no room here for people who are not young.
People don't last here.
I am one of the lucky ones.