The cost that comes

It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.

More curious than endings however, are those moments you stand on the liminal, where beginnings and endings might be the very same thing. I am never more aware of this threshold than when I am travelling on a plane. Suspended for a time somewhere between coming and going. When I fly I often wonder – am I on my way now? Or is this just another leaving?

It is a question I can no better answer at 30,000 feet than I can with my feet on the ground.

There is a moment in any flight I have taken, perhaps 15 minutes in, when plastic stops rattling, when trays come down, touch the knees of tall men, and certain passengers begin the loop from seat to bathroom and back again, shifting from foot to foot as they wait for narrow doors to fold open, for strangers to press past. This moment, preceded by a telltale ding, seems to panic some, send them scrambling, but for me it is when I am most likely to pull up some simmering memory, searching through my mental albums as if on a phone, to find the one picture I know I should delete. Sticky inflight magazines are idly read, people scan through last year’s movies on their too-small screens, but I am back in his arms, or stumbling away on that rainy night, or knocking at his door for the very first time. Beginnings and endings coming to me all at once. On my way. Or just another leaving.

There is no liminal like the place you stand with a treacherous lover.

I read an article once, about men who cry on planes. About heightened emotions and hormones, and how Virgin Atlantic now puts warnings on inflight movies that might make you sob. I thought about him at the time. Seem to think about him on any flight I take. I suppose unfinished business melds with the ambiguity I feel whenever I’m going somewhere. I learned from an early age, as an exchange student who made choices too soon, that you can never go! without also leaving. Since then, I have used plane trips, those four hours or twelve or twenty-four in the air, to reconcile the cost that comes with beginnings. All the things and people you leave behind. I’ve dripped salty tears into plastic wine glasses, disintegrated thin tissues against my running nose. Cried more than any man watching Toy Story 3, or that film about a dog who dies (they always die). I’ve scribbled notes to myself, trying to keep my elbows in, and been grateful when the stranger beside me has fallen asleep. I did this not two weeks ago, in fact.

When I could see my next beginning stretched out. Beckoning. And the ending wound tight around the gesture. So entwined, that from seat 14c, I could not separate the two.

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I’m taking a Creative Non-Fiction class at Uni this year. A working backwards of how I usually write, where I’m used to spinning real life into fairy tales. It has been an interesting exercise thus far. The task last week, taking that famous first line from Didion, should have been easy, obsessed as I am with endings. But there’s something about writing with yourself at the centre. Some pause between me and the keys. Perhaps I have been hiding behind my fiction for too long 😉

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They are my stories

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 …

Rock2018

(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 … ♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t let go

You don’t.

The accumulation, the little gatherings. You open your arms wider to them. You hold one more, and close.

You don’t.

Fingers and slipping. Everything that falls through – you never knew how. Always scooping up the love at your feet. Until it is back again, and overflowing.

You don’t let go.

You let.

You let everything stay.

Everything stays.

You remember she said there is always room – it just expands. And you are a chasm now. Wide, wide open, and reaching.

You remember.

She said.

You don’t let go.

(This heart. It holds every thing)

cropped-bodyrememberjan142.jpg

And here I am again. Forgetting. Or remembering – differently. Something softer, something sweeter always pushing through … 

Excavation

Do I scare you?

Is my music too loud? Can you sense the symphony under my skin, the cello and the drum beat? My own little march and invitation.

Is that why you want to turn me down.

Do I scare you? With words this long, and seeing through? With asking for your stories, too?

You scare me, it seems. Your dull charm and your possibility. The way my fingers itch toward your chest, toward ribs and the cracking of cages wide open.

This has always been my wild persuasion. A man buried as deep as you. And the promise of an excavation.

Joanne Piechota photography at body, remember

“Ordinary life does not interest me” ~ Anais Nin

 

To the lover after you …

I come with suitcases. Most people do. Mine are full of words and wounds, and that time he said it wouldn’t work. When I never once considered it was him not me that was broken.

I’ve been carrying this for years. All that heavy. Maybe I could put the contents at your feet some day? All the damaged things, and how they’ll look little in the light, because half of what I carried never really belonged to me.

His baggage weighed me down for years – but I’m lighter than air, you’ll see. Was. Will be.

And I’m looking for a safer place to land.

Rock Leaving

time for letting go …

Resolution

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).

Resolution