Last night I slept with a man I met at the hotel bar. A Sailor visiting dry land for the holidays. He told me he lives weeks at a time aboard his submarine. Submerged in the deep and the dark. His world is a place most of us would do anything to avoid.
My God your body is beautiful, he said when we lay down on the bed, and I thought – living under the sea must do strange things to a man.
But I looked to see, just the same. I lifted the sheets to make a coy appraisal of my flesh, marinated in the salt and oil of summer, this skin that I will peel and shed back home. I took in the chipped red of holiday nails, the grains of sand in the curve of my foot, and the nerves still pulsing in my flexing toes. I looked at my pliant muscles, and the startling white of my hidden parts. I could see all of the ways the ocean had left its mark on me, too.
This man tasted of rum and cherries. And when he kissed me again I wanted to say –You are not the only one who has emerged from the deep.
Last night we both looked beautiful when held up to the light.
~ Lucy, LOVED
I posted an early version of this exactly five years ago. Like so many of my musings here, the scene found a perfect place in my novel. Eventually. Funny reminder today that you never know where you’ll end up. You. Just. Keep. Going. Here’s to an exciting second half of the year …
It is not an easy love, the way she does it. It reminds me – vividly, oddly – of the shocking red of a determined flower. A flower that lasts the winter, when everything else goes to grey around it. Is this you, Ben, over my shoulder right now? Sending me the image of a flower, when I think of Maggie? Because that’s not what I see for myself when I look at her, here beside me. I see something so much stronger than that.
There is nothing delicate to the way she loves, Ben. But as your mistress cries in my arms, I suddenly understand that this red flower of yours is something the fading flowers – the grey people, like you and me – have always wanted as our own.
~ Lucy, LOVED
“The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing – desire.” ~ Willa Cather
I’ve never been one for belief. Preferring, since I first found words, the question. But you suggest an answer now. Something permanent and waiting. As if there might be gods and fates whispering, a place and time of return.
I would know you anywhere. In a room filled, or across vast, empty spaces. Even when I’m not looking for- … I somehow seek to find you.
Perhaps. Perhaps. We are indeed part of something greater. An entire universe found in our kiss hello. Sliding lips remembering. The familiar that comes from knowing.
(Perhaps I’ve lost my goddamn mind.)
You know, don’t you. Have always known. That it won’t be happiness that ends it. You learnt this many years ago. When, in some other loss, some other love, you discovered there’s no seducing sadness.
This is how you will lose him.
A small or sudden sorrow that separates. No crawling on your belly back. The distance, suddenly, too far.
Ruins to most people. But really, ruins are just evidence, aren’t they? That’s what you asked him once. Thinking about bridges, and wild weather, and washing away. But storms are easy. You see that now. You could swim across that suffering.
But this. This quiet, calm. The questioning. The way you can’t be his answer now. This is how you will lose him.
One foot in front of the other, my sisters. One foot in front of the other.
I’ll be there right beside you, every step of the way.
*Poster Art: WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON – JENNIFER MARAVILLAS*
Know your history. Know her story. Seek out Audre, Alice, Maya, Gloria – seek out all the incredible women who speak bone deep, beautiful truths. Then go tell your own story, loud, clear and proud. Your voice has never been more needed in this world.
Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women. ~ Maya Angelou
I imagine it’s something like lights turning on all over the world. One by one the illumination, as continents glimmer then glow. I see it as gravity pulling the stars back down. Collective sadness, collecting love. The bright flame of grief making our shared surface deeper.
Know this. You have been loved.
It’s not dimming, ever. To remember, to honour, to love in this way. We should do so well with the living. We should send out our sparks and turn up our songs while we’re both on the ground. Don’t you think?
You should know you have been loved.
♥ Jeanette Winterson, Lighthousekeeping
I expect so much more from you in 2017.
It is not so remarkable. To be two in seven billion. To find each other in the throng. It is not so remarkable to navigate the wide oceans and narrow fences between us, to swim and scramble, and to arrive at each other at last …
I’ve been here before. Recognising that happening under the skin. The visceral confession that precedes, concedes. Thinking – hand to chest – I found you.
To be two in seven billion. Thinking – perhaps – you found me, too.
I’ve been wrong before. I’ve misconstrued. And now. This forgetting heart of mine, she’s made and remembered. New old mistakes to drink away. To somehow, some day think away. Searching again for words, for wisdom and witches.
… try, they say …
Candles. Moonlight. Paper. Fire.
(Stilnox and bathwater don’t make the cut. No matter what they’ve cured before)
Crystals. Lanterns. Mantras. Sand.
(Ticket stubs, boarding passes? Silver chains and crumbling flowers?)
Sage. Yoga. Feathers. Tears.
One or two or five or seven. So many ways to ritualise. But not so many to exorcise those familiar feelings, familiar failings. Yes. This foolish heart of mine reluctantly knows. That there’s still more swimming and scrambling to go.
Try, they say.
To arrive at last, Rock – first a ritual for letting go.
(I’ve been there. With my heart out in my hand)
Note: this post is as much about the odd trajectory of my writing career as it is about love and the usual subjects. How not to get weighed down by the past, but not forget it either. And a reminder that there is no quick-fix, magic-wand way to transform your situation. The only ritual that works for that is, well – work.