Week-old red wine. Just one more sip from the glass. I’ve been saturated for days. Imbued thoroughly. Isn’t that a way to put it. I’m soaked right through.
I can’t shake you off or swim clear.
There is work to be done, I know.
But I like the sinking. The aftermath, then, is always this. My tendency to get lost in the deep. And the way life reaches down, pulls me back up. As if she knows.
That I might sometimes prefer to drown.
“I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths. And a great fear of shallow living.” ~ Anais Nin
I shouldn’t think of you still.
The science says 6 months to two years.
And yet. The thought of whisky and ice, and your-
… add one more night to the leaning.
Gone now. An empty room I travel through, seeing what used to be there, the ghost tables and photographs, the thread chairs disappearing. What to decorate, what to add to this emptiness? But first the walking, barefoot, the reaching and touching of things that used to be here. Feeling the fade, feeling the ending, the going away as something active, present.
Drawing our names in the dust, tracing the sadness with my fingertips. Only webs and dangling threads left now, all the finished, unfinished remains.
In this room. This small room, this small house we made, this small life we lived in small moments with big, deep breaths. Empty now. Gone.
What to do with all this space? You should know I’ve found someone to fill it up, to reach into corners, open the blinds. Someone to dance me across this bare, dusty floor. But they’re not you. You should know.
He’s not you.
I once said there’s a part of me that only you-
It wasn’t only you I left behind.
There is always the first time someone lets you down.
Always the first wound, and even if they tend to that wound after, even if they do everything to make up for what they inflicted, it’s hard not to hold on to that very first time. The first time you were a bright spark of hope, and the person who lit you up looked at your light, and asked you to lay down your torch.
There is always the first wound. It remains where it formed; it remains locked deep under the skin. Scar tissue is never as supple as that which it replaces.
(How hard it is to undo our mind once we believe something to be true. Once we’ve committed to an idea. Even when it’s the most damaged idea we’ve ever had).
A memory that sits closer to the surface. A different conversation we dance around. We are discussing what would happen in the hours after Honey, I’m home! How it would be, if we were the ones on either side of the door. We spin an imagined history between us on this sunny, stolen afternoon.
That sure would be something, you say. If life were a dream.
You think my view of domesticity is naïve at best. You do not believe two people could sustain this every day. An intensity of skin to skin that does not leave room for God or neighbours, or tricycles turned over in the yard. Obsession may prevail in moments, yes – but it does not leave nearly enough time for real life, Maggie.
My parents still waltz in the kitchen, I defend. In the midst of chaos, they go into their dance. It makes the chaos beautiful. Or the dance. Even when there is work to be done.
Because not all love is scheduled, I say as you look at your watch.
But the moment is gone. I can see that I have lost you to the clock, once again.
There he is, the morning of.
It is summer and he feels good in his skin. Stretched to the corners of his life, filling them out. Everything is as it should be; he is where he should be. He’s solid here, close to the ground, nothing shifting underneath him.
There he is. Oblivious and satisfied, this morning of.
Oblivious: Unaware. Without memory.
Oblivion then, is this. All that stays unknown. There are fires forgotten, under that skin. Little licks in his veins he tries to out-run. Thinking flames can be exhausted this way. Not knowing a single spark can revive.
And how close he is to burning, now.
There. Here. There he is.
He’s out the door, and the sky is blue, and he’s running along, not knowing her name. He’ll hear it today, this name, for the very first time. Unaware of the dreams she’ll soon gather, of the clocks and counting just ahead.
He doesn’t know that he will remember. And that she is his memory, waiting.
(I never, not for a single day, forget)
There she is, the morning of.
It is summer, and she feels it. The winter sadness has been shaken, sloughed from her skin, and she’s lighter now, present. Waking without the ache, without the anchor thud dragging her down.
There she is. Happy and forgetful in her getting ready, this morning of.
Ready: Prepared. Willing. Equipped.
The readiness is all, they say, but at this minute she thinks she has escaped her fate. She thinks one can survive it. She does not know, as she takes that last mirror look, as she smoothes her hair and tongues her teeth for lipstick stains. She does not know that life can change in other ways, that there are slower, softer ways of starting.
She does not know what’s out there, waiting.
There. Here. There she is.
She’s out the door, and the sky is blue, and she’s humming along, not knowing his name. She’ll hear it today, this name, for the very first time. Unaware of the ghosts he’ll soon gather, of the tracks and stopping just ahead.
She doesn’t know that she’s begun. And that he is her somewhere, waiting.