A ritual for letting go

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.

rituals

(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.

11:02

The sun is lower in the sky. So the seasons change after-all.

I should be glad it all kept turning, I should breathe my sigh of, still-

Still.

I never wanted horizon love – and now it’s setting.

(I am here faded, too)

Image by Joanne Piechota

 ~ image by Joanne Piechota stories by me

 

A small stain

It’ll pass. It always does.

Right now, I’m a walking bruise. Staring into space and mirrors, seeing only you.

Right now the days are lost to hours spent. Isn’t that the way it goes? There’s no moving time when she isn’t ready to heal you.

But it’ll pass. It always does.

I’ll wake and dress and stare and smile and laugh and cry and ache, like I’m music you once played, over and over. I’ll be the melody you can’t yet get out of your head.

It’ll pass. It always does.

(but)

You left a small stain this time. When you poured your red and drank it from me. Right over the place they put my heart. Like we’d been doing it wrong till then.

And now.

There’s a small stain, you left.

It’ll pass. It always does.

Until we come around again.

Rock Bublitz at body, remember

All I ask is …

That it would end like this

Benjamin Mackintosh is dead.

These words are whispered, shared all over the office – the concrete floors reverberate with the news. Shock is traded from one division to the next, as the slow stain of grief spreads throughout the building. It reaches my desk when I return with my second coffee of the morning. My last moments of peace taste of froth and plastic lids.

Maggie – it is Shelley who approaches. Maggie, have you heard about Mack?

The mention of your name, and my breath catches. It is always this way, the shock of hearing your name said out loud. The sensation, it is a type of falling, but I’m still standing, still managing to shake my head – No? as my heart starts to hammer. The endless, artlessness of this heart, where even three months on, the sound of your name can split it down the middle, cleave right through it.

(Cleave – to hold fast, and to tear apart. I will soon understand this contradiction).

Would I have noticed earlier, if not for trying to steady my heart? Would I have seen the pale of Shelley’s tidy face, and the way the other women were crowding forward behind her? Would I have been better prepared for the detonation if I had been paying attention, instead of bracing myself against the mere mention of your name?

This name that was mine from the beginning.

In every beginning an ending is written.

It is one of the very first things I told you. When I would lie naked in your arms and spin my stories. The mind of a poet, and the body of a goddess you once said against my chest, and I wrapped this description like a gift. It was rare for you to be so gracious with your definitions, Mack.

Mack.

I did not know that it would end like this.

Shelley has placed her hand on my arm. Polite, distant Shelley, and it jolts me back. Maggie, she says, Maggie, Mack is dead.

We worked together for a period. Seven years ago. We were close – we were all close in those long days and longer nights, and it was no secret that Maggie and Mack had a thing. It never went anywhere – God, no! – there was the wife to consider, and Oliver, the kid. But there was definitely a little something, a spark that caught, and many were aware of the heat. This is the story Shelley must consider now as she touches my arm. As she tells me you are dead.

This is not something I can understand. In the silence that follows, I shake Shelley’s hand away. I perhaps say Sorry – an involuntary and sharp exclaim, before I walk on hollowed legs to my desk. I sit down without knowing where I am or why. It is only when I reach for my phone that I see how my hand grips the coffee lid, see how the plastic crumples against a trembling fist. Curious – it doesn’t even look like my hand. Everyone is watching as I stare at this hand. I hear Shelley start to cry behind me.

Truth takes time to sink through the skin. I feel my heart clench against it, ball into a fist under my ribs to fight it off. I am offered a last, merciful moment of incomprehension before the muscle contracts, suddenly, violently. The beat gets me going again with a force that nearly splits me in two.

(Cleave – to hold fast, and to tear apart. Now – now, I understand the contradiction).

Maggie, we just found out. Something happened this morning. Maggie, it’s bad …

Poor Shelley, the messenger. As culpable as harbingers will always be. And it is true that I will hate her, inexplicably, from this moment forward. When she kneels down beside me, I have a desire to strike her.

They’ve just called a meeting, but … but Mags, I thought you should hear it from us first.

Thank you. I say Thank you across her shoulder. And then it comes. A single, sharp stab, as my heart is perforated. I hear the words. That Mack – my Mack – is dead. I start to shake, and I discover that I have been biting down so hard on my lip that I have the rust metal taste of blood on my tongue.

Jacqueline Bublitz Writer

I know you don’t watch me walk away (remember)

I know you don’t watch me walk away. I know you don’t press your forehead against the double glass to keep me in your sight. There is no straining for that one last look, no time suspended in the final unblinking stare. You don’t stay with me until I am just another city glow fading in to night.

Tonight I have said I don’t want to do this anymore. I have said it in the way a liar can tell a single truth, sudden and surprising. You are asleep, or nearly asleep when I whisper it across the back of your head.

I don’t want to do this anymore. This – laying in your arms in yet another bed of tangled sheets. This staccato relationship, our little parody, where the only authentic act is how you fall asleep straight after we fuck. And I know what comes next. I can feel the separation as keenly as if you have already peeled your body from mine, already slid back in to that second skin, the crisp white shirt and pressed pants, so deftly shucked hours before. I feel you walking out the door even as your breath warms my breast and your hand remains heavy between my legs. And I decide that tonight I will be the one to go.

I have held on to you so long that my hands still clench around you. My fingertips try to press in to you one last time, to roll across your skin in a final and heroic effort to prove my identity. But you barely stir, as one finger then the next has to release its grip.

I move to the edge of the bed and I tell you I am leaving. I say other things too, they tumble from a wine-thick tongue, but in time to come I will only ever remember this. How I say I am leaving and you mumble I’ll see you soon, and how with your eyes still closed you miss the way I shake my head, no.

I know you don’t get up after I close the door behind me. I know you don’t move to the window to watch me tremble into the night. You are not looking down to see me stumble through cracks of concrete in the heels you removed so carefully over dinner, and you don’t watch as I recede to a grey as cobbled as the street below. With no neon flash of text to say goodnight, no vibrating phone to accompany me home, I know you are already sound asleep.

It is my 35th birthday and I will not cry. One wobbly foot in front of the other on this midnight street, I walk away.

Rock Bublitz by Joanne Piechota

Image by Joanne Piechota @ Little Clicks

Eidyia’s Note: Reposting this today because I need to remember.