Swing Low

“Swing low, sweet chariot.  Coming for to carry me home.  Swing low, sweet chariot.  Coming for to carry me home..” played in the background, fighting against an inner dialogue that suggested there was nothing soulful beyond the four white walls that stared back at her.  The version playing from her Spotify account was sung by a folk group with a male lead.  It was, in her opinion, a bit bluegrass for 8am but she let it play on, knowing other versions featuring a soothing female vocalist with a choir like quality would be on soon.  The young summer sun shined through her apartment window, while a chained up dog barked from one of her neighbor’s backyards.  She imagined the dog to be big and brown.  Her own dog sat on her lap.  The air in her apartment had a slight chill to it.  The sunlight that came through had a way of teasing its admirers, tickling their skin with the suggestion that it had the capacity to warm them- possibly make them sweat.  But like all things that have natural limitations, the young sunlight was only able to light and heat slivers of the space.

This was a song she learned when she was 19, working as a camp counselor in Maine.  She loved it immediately because it gave her access to her own longing.  She didn’t know how young she was when she was in fact that young.  That summer she wore the tote bag with her sorority letters around like a shield that said “look, I’m part of something.  I really am!”  While she was doing it she knew how ridiculous it was, but she did it anyway because she didn’t have another way.  It was easier to try and stand above other people, instead of alongside them.  It was just easier that way.  She learned at a young age how to create distance.  When she was older she learned how to create friction and flow.  At least friction had a natural heat to it.  It required closeness.  It kept her warm.

She sipped the lukewarm coffee from her pink Ikea mug and ran over her to do list:  Item 1. Get a new tote bag, one with nothing on it- preferably handmade.  Item 2. Buy a record player.  Item 3. Forgive yourself.




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