The Good Husband

“Well it kind of hurts when the kind of words you say kind of turn themselves into blades.”

Was it because I said yes? And if so, which yes was it? After that early no, which capitulation was the one? Was it when you said I’m happy to cool it, but how ‘bout we share a red next week? Or when you said can I see your tattoo? Was it the acquiescence as I slid off my dress and closed my eyes … was it how my layers looked on the floor?

Was it because you said we don’t connect then pressed me up against the wall. Was it when you said do you mind if I contact you here? or when you pushed me, crying, out the door. Was it when you said I’ll be there at 6 and I waited till 9. The birthday you ruined? How we played in the dirt? How I sought your mouth when you turned away. And walked home alone in the dark, every time?

Was it because I said yes! always, despiteWas my affirmation to you an abdication? Did I hand back the crown you had bestowed, did I end up at your feet not the other way round? Did this play dutifully to your dichotomy – was the seventh sin an abnegation? Tell me exactly which capitulation was the one? To absolve you of care when you corroded my heart (while carefully plating over your own).

A thousand wagging fingers might concur – but love, it was only you when the lights went out.

Jacqueline Bublitz Writer at body, remember

Image: Joanne Piechota

The Other

You ask about her once. With your head on his chest so he cannot see the way you squeeze your eyes shut in a kind of terror as you wait for his reply.

You feel a twitch in his muscle as you extend this invitation. She has not yet entered this other world. This other woman. He has not traded pieces of her for your favour. He has never once tried to use her as an elucidation (though her presence has knocked in the we of his day, the night invariably colludes with you and I).

Still, she is a gossamer strand wrapped around his finger, she glances off the gold band when he touches your face, and the knock turns in to a hammering in your chest when you ask –

What is she like, your wife?

(You have read that the source of the word ‘wife’ is veil. Here now you lift the fabric with trembling fingers)

It is not until you turn to face him that he answers.

Well (a pause) … she is a really, really messy cook.

As he elaborates there is knowing, an easy affection for this agreeable flaw. And it splinters your heart because love is in the detail isn’t it – in the ordinary, the commonplace. You don’t know what you expected from a revelation – but you never considered this.

He will tell you other things in this concession. But you think only of a kitchen in another city, of homemade sauce licked from fingers, of frustration ebbed in the taste and the smile. Of a sink cluttered with the dishes of everyday.

And now when you stand at your own sink you sense some deficiency in the even florets and the wiped-down bench. The running tap as you clean what you use and how you put each utensil away.

In the order and the precision of your empty sink you are suddenly found wanting.

Because somewhere she is splattering the oil and spilling the wine. In a kitchen over-flowing.

When you are supposed to be the beautiful mess.

But you are essentially – the other.

What if

What if I liked to cook? What if I believed in god on Sundays? What if I had less of an appetite? What if I planned spontaneous sex like the magazines say? What if I wore dresses with higher necklines and had a degree and talked to everyone at parties? What if I read Twilight and identified? What if I avoided unpleasant conversation and what if I never said I don’t agree and what if I only cried at weddings? What if I ran four times a week and drank the right amount of water, and was always pleasant at 6am? What if I helped you tick the boxes and we drew a bigger one around the both of us and lived inside it quite perfectly …

Would this make me easier to love? What if you had to choose?

body, remember by Rock Bublitz

Image by Joanne Piechota

Ruins to most people

An attempt at reconciliation. I send a message.

“…I suppose it is all water under the bridge. And sometimes there is so much water the bridge actually washes away. But the fact is the bridge was there once, connecting two people, and something of it necessarily abides, as all things that have existed must do. Maybe there are even foundations that survive, worn down and out of sight, but a testament to what came before, just the same. Ruins to most people, but really ruins are just evidence, aren’t they? That something was once built, a long time ago, carefully or carelessly, no matter, because nothing in life is really either-or, good or bad, love or hate … it is all the same really, all of the multitudes that keep us busy forgetting what we remember (or remembering what we forget)…”

We are three months out, after four years in. It hasn’t gotten easier, not for a minute, and you respond immediately. Something clumsy and sweet and I am both triumphant and well aware of what I am losing, because had you not responded, this would have made for such a lovely ending.

There was a girl

There was a girl who loved a man. This man knew she loved him because she told him.  Once, and many times after in fact because you only stumble with such words the first time. So she loved him and he knew it, and it was the love you find in movies and songs, and also in quiet afternoons, though this part he might not have known for high drama gets more notice in these situations.

She battled with this love because sometimes it felt more like war. She fought for his attention, and surrendered more than she ever intended. She lost days because of hours, and saw the underside of more nights than one ever should alone. She cried to friends, and to the moon, and one night to him, where she discovered this man she loved unmoved by her tears. On that night she made her deepest acquaintance with loneliness yet. And for weeks, months after, she held him off with this loneliness, wrapped it around herself, and waited for the love to lessen.

But the girl continued to love the man. The love had snaked its way in to her bones and anchored in the deepest part of her. She missed him and began to forget the sharper edges of their relationship. She remembered instead the way he had touched her wrist on that very first night. She remembered his worried eyes and the soft pad of his thumb against her lip. She remembered him singing in her ear, and the rough of his neck, and the tremble in his throat when she undid his tie.

She began to polish the grooves out of her memories and soon only shiny surfaces remained. She slipped these memories in to her pocket and took them out at night in the dark. She started to hold on to every last night and let go of every next morning, and soon her loneliness recalibrated in to longing. And when only longing remained, she took the memories out of her pocket and laid each one before the man in a gesture both hesitant and hopeful.

The man had been waiting. He welcomed her return and held out his hand, and when she took it both were full of forgetting. This man and this girl could not write their own ending. The end of their affair would not be quick and strong. They could no longer tell the difference between falling down and getting back up again, but they held on to each other just the same.

I am not supposed to like this woman

I am not supposed to like this woman. I am not supposed to admire her selfishness or her hunger, a greed that has taken to demolishing all that gets in her way. I should hate the destruction she causes, not least of all to herself.  I have been taught to admire women, find my muses and inspiration in acts of strength and independence. Women who fight and march and challenge, not women who fuck and covet and become the object of their own desire.

I am not supposed to like this woman. Not her scheming or her blind faith. The cleavage bearing dresses, the teeth ready to catch his flesh, the way she parades before him. The way she ensures she is every single thing the other is not.

But here is the truth of it.  I have fallen in love with this woman. The way she has emerged from within me, this path she has taken me down is an intoxication, a slow tumbling in to wonderland. My body is awake – god how long was I sleeping? She stares me down from the mirror and I know that I will do anything to make her stay.

I  am not supposed to like this woman at all.