And yet …

It is easy to make too much of careless touch. Little world-slows and quicker breathing, the piano key fall of his hand at my back. These interludes rendered under my skin.

And yet.

He looks at me the way you used to. Even says the same things from time to time. Gold band twists and a different glow – thanks to you I know. That this is rarely – if ever – accidental.

Rock Bublitz by Joanne Piechota

(what mistakes we might make –  if our lessons were yet to be learned)

My barbies never got married (revisited)

My barbies never got married. The twenty or so leggy blondes were too busy auditioning for The Sound of Music and rehearsing complicated Cabaret routines. Wedding dresses went straight to the costume department and my one already married doll from the Heart family promptly left her husband and two kids when she landed the lead role in Mack and Mabel.

These barbies had boyfriends for sure, bumping plastics with Derek from the “Rockers” and occasionally starting relationships with their leading men … but they never, ever got married. It just never occurred to the little me that this was the dream. I never dreamt of the white dress, or the gold ring, or being walked down the aisle. As my barbies high-kicked their way through the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook I gave no thought at all to the day ‘every little girl dreams of’.

And yet I was fiercely romantic. I held my breath every time Oliver Warbucks told Grace Farrell her teeth were crooked. I replayed the whistle scene between the Captain and Maria so many times my mind rippled with the memory. I understood why Nancy wouldn’t betray his trust, and why Mary Magdalene was really changed. My barbie dolls played with love every day.

Because even as a little girl I recognised love and I never considered it patient or kind. It was the force that propelled things forward. It made you both heavy and unbearably light. You needed it to sing better, and to dance better. It was worlds colliding. Spirited women and solid men. Seemingly insurmountable odds (Nazis! The Great Depression!). One stolen dance that could turn you inside out. Running away and running right back. The crescendo that shook you from your skin, and the potent ache of a torch song that settled in your bones.

In short, the little girl with feelings that went all the way to China had it figured out by the age of 8. She might in fact have been born with it. A prescience about where she was going and how she would be. And long after the 20 leggy blondes stopped treading the boards she carried that idea of love with her. She forgot to dream about the white dress and the gold ring and being walked down the aisle but she never stopped singing torch songs and looking for a love to crash right in to.

The Sound of Music

(You couldn’t believe I didn’t want to get married. When I tried to explain my idea of love and how I couldn’t stand up in front of people and expose it because it was so entirely yours, and not for anyone else to share. You said that made no sense at all, and for a minute there I believed you).

Darkness lets everything in

Should we ever be trusted to tell our own story? I am supposed to tell mine here, let little bits of light into the past 7 years so that others can find what they are looking for. Here, the clues, and here, and here. We are all operating from the same motherboard of wants and needs, aren’t we? It should be easy to figure where something went wrong. We just need the details, a light shone into corners, and all will be revealed.

But what if there are gaps in the story? Empty spaces that cannot absorb light, cannot reflect it, or send it, scattered, back out into the world? What if there is nothing for the light to bounce off? People want to shine their torches, they want to find some defining experience that will illuminate what happened – how it happened. But what if I cannot show them what they are looking for?

The truth is, they just want to make sure it doesn’t look like them, what they see. They want me to tell my story so that they can clearly see it is not theirs, that it never will be. They want me to say that here is a girl who lost her little brother. Here is a girl whose mother forgot to love her. And here, a girl who controlled her body so tightly that it became a machine, a mix of parts that could be replaced or mended any time something was broken.

They want to see a girl who let a man put her back together every time she broke apart, because she thought it was love. Some kind of love, where before there was none. Here, and here, and here the causes. The reasons, the missed opportunities, the damage. All laid out and particular to me. If they can collect enough evidence, enough light, the past will come out of the shadows; it will reveal what has been hidden out there in the dark. And then everyone will be safe again.

The thing is, we are all afraid of the dark. It is where we go to disappear – when we step into darkness, we fear it will never end. We need walls, we need something to hold us in, something to keep others out. But darkness lets everything in. It isn’t the light at all, in the end. All great truths live in the dark. That is why no matter how bright they light this hospital room, no matter how intense the glare from Detectives and Doctors, I still cannot be found. Not the truth of me, the truth of it. They will keep asking me questions, keep searching for answers, but they would have to climb down into the abyss to come close to understanding what people can do, and what can be endured.

We would light everything if we could. I sometimes think we would even stop closing our eyes if we thought this could hold back the night, and the truth that we find there.

**

Always light and dark at body, remember. Now it’s Lucy’s turn to explore the difference.

You (and I)

You pulsate through even the question of what to have for dinner.

You are trapped deep in my nerve, you have spread under the surface of my skin like a bruise. You are the slick sliding down my neural pathways. The snap and lock and spark that causes the lights to blow when I flick a switch. You are the click of my land mines before they explode. The flavour I taste when my mouth is empty.

You are the moment before I come, all taut and jangled nerve, more acute and curious than the consummation. You are my own teeth on lip, the ache of my breast. You are the inexplicable detachment of mind to body, so that my head is there when I am here. You are the memory of muscle, the quickening of my blood. You are the juice that flows through me and makes me wet when I have not even noticed the weather.

You who loses no sleep over me, who turns to another and makes your bed every morning (and the nights I cannot bear to think of).

You, who cannot know how far and completely I have fallen.

Rock Bublitz at body, remember novel

Eidyia’s note: These words were scribbled across the pages of a half-filled notebook way back at the beginning. Years later they remain my favourite elucidation of you and I.

Love?

There is no lover’s dictionary. No universal definition to the flutters and thuds of the human heart. Love exists in the language of private metaphor, in the image sought through fingers reaching, through eyes slow-closed and teeth on lip.

See, I could fill rooms and mouths to understand just what it was you did to me. I could pour ink through my fingers, spill memories across the page until they form the neatest of lines. I could attempt to distill what survived, sift through the words to find some greater truth about love. And you.

But I will come up empty every time. Desire, love, eludes the grasp. The chemistry, the alchemy? The way you altered me? This above all remains our mystery.

inexplicable by Joanne Piechota

“A single metaphor can give birth to love” – Milan Kundera

Details

The Detective in charge of the investigation is Mike Keegan. We have talked on the phone every day, and yesterday he flew to Sydney to update us in person. I knew as soon as he walked into my mother-in-law’s house that I liked Mike Keegan. He felt like the only solid thing in this cloudy atmosphere where we are all moving as lightly as ghosts. The after-math has hollowed us out. We are people whose veins show through skin, whose words are formed over hushed tones, people who eat around our dinners and lay in bed without crumpling the sheets.

Keegan is broad shouldered, tangible amongst our shadows. He looks like the cops on TV, I tell him that and he shrugs, and plays with his graying moustache. Try not to watch those shows he says. They’ll fuck you up. People want to tell us now, how to do our jobs. Because they’ve watched CSI or some Unsolved Mystery shit. But it ‘aint real, and we have enough of the real to deal with right here, okay?

I like him. I like him better than the two young cops who came to my door, who said sorry and looked down at the ground the whole time. Who left me phone numbers and information, but nothing on how to survive. Mike Keegan might help me survive. It is Keegan who tells me about the severed artery, he replaces the general terms I have been given – There was an incident, your husband was stabbed – with something specific, something I can see when I close my eyes. And this helps.

Keegan tells me survivors always imagine the worst, that there are darker places in our minds than we could ever have imagined. That it is important to get the facts and to face them head on, even if we can only do this in small parts, even if it takes us a year or ten, the facts will do more to stop the nightmares than anything else, more than any therapy or support.

I’m here to give you the facts he says, and I offer my first and only honest thank you since you died.