This, this was the day your life changed. Slowly, then all in a rush. You used to think it was the day before you met him. You used to think about the lack of hunger, the lack of yearning, the something missing-ness of your life. You got so used to recognizing him, the back of him, in any room, in any anecdote or situation that you forgot who you were the day before. Let me tell you. If I could sit down with you on that last day, when you did not know him, did not think of him in some way.
You were healing, piecing yourself back together. And it suited him to keep you broken.
Full circle. Or something similar.
The world has always looked different with him in it. When she saw him walking up the stairs, when she looked up from the text he’d just sent – I got lost. Bloody Melbourne alleyways! But I think I’m at the right place. Up on the roof, yeah? – and their eyes met, it was that same sudden, silver glow. Clouds moving away from the sun, and every particle of light directed at her.
She forgot, for a second, how to breathe.
(By the time she’s finished her third wine she’s taken to tilting her glass at him whenever she makes a point or declaration, flirting over her nervousness, drinking it away)
It’s that kind of morning, yeah 😉
You can be half a planet, half a country, half a block – or half a room away, and still hurt me with the arms that you impose.
I no longer wish to be part of the distance that you make.
Happy Holidays. Happy New Year. Happy Birthday. Happy every anniversary of every happy any thing that means something or no thing at all to you.
Happy any day that I’m not in, let’s say.
I will read your obituary and cry myself to sleep one day. But while you’re still here, alive, you get nothing from me. Ever again.
(I think they made resolutions for this).
A toast to getting where you need to go. No matter how long it takes you.
(you can start your new year any time)
When I asked him what he felt about me.
He said so many tiny things I somehow made bigger. If I were to lay these little words out now you’d no doubt see – sooner than me – how little he ever saw of me. See how I clung for years to an autobiography, let him write his narcissistic stories all over me.
I believed myself to be the shore for this man, his brink, his haven.
But this is not what he felt about me.
I’ve been looking for answers the wrong way around it seems. Wondering what I could have should have did not could not-
The truth outs eventually: For years I loved a hollow man. One who wounds with silence and dishonesty.
This was never, ever about me.
Wisdom is hard won. Clarity often requires you search and search and search that rocky shore. You crawl on your hands and knees to find what they buried so deep. Knowledge painfully extracted from the chest.
♥♦ The treasure always, darling, is you ♥♦
Maggie Valentine has no idea how old she is. Not in the sense of calendars and birthdays, these details she of course knows well enough, marked as they are with parties, and resolutions, and the requisite attention to the big years. Rather, it is the final number that doesn’t make sense to her, the tally of her years as if the age she has landed at is a place, irrefutable, like the next city plotted on a map. She does not feel 37. She sometimes experiences a jolt of surprise to hear this actress, or that singer, someone she sees the details of regularly, is a particular, much younger age than that. When she would swear these women are contemporaries, older even, than she is. It is as if she has the wrong idea about everything now.
In truth, Maggie Valentine is approximately three years past pretty. Though filters and animal ears hide this in her most commonly shared photographs, it is a reality she sees in the mirror every morning. The slacked jaw, the fold-down corners of her mouth, the stomach rounded and hips fleshed. She has not grown old with someone, has only herself to wake up to each morning, and this is what she sees. A woman well past pretty, still sexy, even beautiful at times, but there is little youth to be found in her features now. This, she has to accept.
But how to be 37? How to understand in her bones what that means, when it is nothing that they told her it would be (They. Her mother. Women’s magazines. People who should have known better).
I missed Maggie V. So I’m revising her at a different time. Just to see where she’ll take me 😉
Jade ocean and granite mountain. I am still. Known and knowing, heart achingly quiet. I should stay right here on these rocks, face turned, palms open. I should let things be. But I carry the madness of my mothers, a garnet red river in my veins. When calm descends, I can’t help but twist toward wild seas. I want to breach my banks, break free.
I have said this all along: I was not made for serenity. There are no tranquil waters in me. I desire, crave authenticity. I cannot leave illusions alone. When I reach backward like this, it’s for the promise of new.
And no, this is not really about you.
You, who responds – are you well? As if I could be contained by this small question and this small interest in such a large, unwieldy life. I have long understood I dive to the depths on my own. It is the rare man who could meet me there – and you were asked before I knew.
I do know. Whatever sensation I seek today, you have merely waved from the shore.
(I do not think you feel less, old friend – but I am certain I feel more.)
“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes)” ~ Walt Whitman
These are not suitcases. They are my stories. I carry them with me, yes, and at times – at 2ams and altitudes – my shoulders slump with their heft. The weight of past mistakes and all of the leaving. I spin the world backward, these times. Searching with my finger across the whirring, blurring globe for home. Are you nostalgic? she asked me once, and I said yes, as I understand it. I think writers, necessarily retrieve. I meant to say that memory matters. The past matters. But those words belong to another, so I left the thought behind.
I do – at times – have to turn myself around.
But these are not suitcases. I do not come with burdens, see. I arrive lush with autobiography. Stories spilling, swimming. I had a farm in Africa. I stood trembling at the door. There was a moment, just before. I sobbed and smiled. Here. And here. And here. I thought-. He was-. She was-. They were-. I was-. He sang in my ear. I shouldn’t have. I did. I came twice as he-. I saw the most-. I travelled to-. It made me feel. This is the … happiest I’ve ever been. Yes! I remember everything.
I remember every thing. I carry it all, swinging, dancing. Hands out, even to my sorrows. I never wanted a calm waters life. Though I waded through his once or twice. Just to see what it is to be light. And I found it heavier than I’d ever imagined, to carry no one thing at all.
Here, let me open for you now. These are not suitcases. They are my stories …
(Remember: Don’t believe a word I say. Just the way I say it)
♥ HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear readers! Here’s to all the stories in 2018 … ♥