an opening paragraph – on bravery

I woke up this morning, tired of being brave. I say this so casually, as though I knew it the moment I woke up, but I didn’t. All I knew was that something had changed. It wasn’t anything physical- all my limbs seemed to be working as I stretched and squirmed within the bed. So I pushed aside this feeling with my blankets, and stood up. The morning was cool, with a slight biting chill. Later, I would tell you that I stood for a few seconds before I walked to the door, puzzled why I could smell something sour in the air, something wet, something urine-like, when I’d last wet the bed twenty, thirty years ago. Later, we’d sit wondering what had made me glance back to the bed, imagining a dark stain soiling the bedsheet, why my hands had gingerly felt the seat of my pajamas.

Perhaps, you’d say, your subconscious realized that bravery had left you in the middle of the night, like urine leaves a four year old.

No, no, I said. Then it wasn’t bravery that I was smelling. Bravery had long fled my body and my bed, and left only remnants of cowardice.


~ by translating for peas on June 5, 2010.

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