Sometimes I wake up and try to remember how I used to feel. Back
when life had a shape, love had a focus, dreams a reality. I try
to remember the feeling of my skin being touched, my heart being
ignited like a fire catching the wind on a barren desert night.
The electricity of a kiss. Storms of passion circle in my mind.
I feel the pain rising to the surface and I sob bitter tears of
regret, strong waves of shuddering emotion pulverize my shaking
heart as I try to be a warrior in the face of negation. Grace
under pressure. The courage to be is a lifeboat I cling to as
the dark clouds swirl around my soul tearing away at the
structures I have called home for years. The comforts of home,
the basic necessities of heart and mind are turned inside out
and I look at my world turned upside down.
The roof drips with the foundation I used to walk on, the dreams
that had spread like glue through four individual lives, together
called a family, is suddenly dripping down the walls like some
ugly massive explosion in a microwave. That mess will take years
to clean. Memories stuck to the glass door that has slammed shut
between now and then. Yellowed with time, it is antique already.
Itís been less than a year. Years of love, the moments of joy
crash upon the shore of my definition of who I am. Huddled in
front of a campfire my energy is fueled by my fear of a cold
void. I feed the fire, throwing in the chunks of memory that
defined my life for the past 20 years. The pile of memory wood
is never ending, it in fact seems to grow by my selfish focus
on grief. The crackling embers, the firewood still wet from
tears. The rhythm of every single day, every single minute,
every single second pound inside my head, like the sound of
the water lapping on the shore. Constant, annoyingly cadenced,
reassuringly present. I try to gain warmth and sustenance from
the flames that lap around my eyes. My skin is pierced by pieces
of flying debris, burning at an atomic level into my soul.
The wind is blue, dark and wet, and despite the knowledge that
all this will pass, all we be well, the platitudes of recovery
just bounce off the wall of my healing heart digging away at the
shallow reassurance that wisdom comes from pain. I feel cold,
empty daggers of ice shoving their way into the depth of my
soul. All this will pass they all say, but the dark teal clouds
that are rolling towards me, purple like a deep bruise, followed
by black and only a glimmer of light in the very distant moon
that dances in a playful teasing way. Come find me, its tiny
annoying, yet all powerful voice calls out in a mocking way.
Laughing at my feeble attempt to rebuild, restart and redefine.
ĎI dare you to come searchí it says, (teasing) for release, jump
into your future feet first, heart last, but first you have to
create your vehicle of transformation, the suicide car that will
drive me from the old world where I live today and the carefree,
sparkling world of dreams. Tuscan dreams at the movies speak of
a fantasy rebirth, an illusion of Hollywood.
The world where I used to feel is running in a parallel universe
to me. Colored by the reality that the man I called my husband
for years is living a new life of passion, kisses and dreams
with a woman he may love for another 18 years. Or 18 months.
Who knows. The gods have other plans for him I say to myself,
but the love I felt so deeply refuses to let me hate. It all
comes back to love. The fire catches a gust of wind and my hair
is caught in a shimmering explosion of multi colored light that
I frantically reach out to capture. Instead, my hands are burned
and the blood is sticky and warm with sharp glass fragments
sticking out. The tears gush out of my heart and the fire is
suddenly a cold and blue grey ash. The moment is one of clarity
and death. I look into the sky and see a trail of sparkling
colors from emerald to purple bliss, like a comet that comes
once a century, I feel I have experienced a moment of true
understanding and been blessed with a unique chance to view my
life actually taking shape Ėpast and future captured in a spark
of hope. Just a tiny spark, but I take it to be a sign, a gift
The world where I used to question the tiny moments of my life
as if I were icing a cake. We had everything, everything sweet
and light. The nourishing creation of my childrenís lives,
adding the ingredients of unconditional love and patience,
hope and the magic of forgetfulness. The pain and mistakes are
transmuted in the depth of a sequence of memories that, at the
time, seemed so incredibly important, so amazingly real. The
decisions, the day to day vision of a bigger, grander world. My
children who will find joy in their moments, find blessings in
the small things while focused on the big things in the world.
Like a birthday cake with the candles blown out, there is a
sense of hopefulness, that somehow the wish that rushed from
the heart as the candles were blown out, flickering in the winds
of change, defying the fact that dreams donít come true all the
time, that the chance that wish will come true is as remote as
the distant vista of their past successes. As the icing starts
to melt in the sun of time passing, grace under pressure allows
an ignorance of the fact that the moment is passed, the wish
has been declared, now the hope for just a small response from
the god of dreams. My grief could devour an entire cake of
dreams in a single setting. I am hungry so I consume the
memories in a panic, as if they will dissolve and disappear if
I take my attention off of them. I panic that eighteen years
will vanish in a moment of cosmic negation if I donít watch
them every minute. A mantra of hope. I cling to the shapes,
the words that nourished my soul, the places my body traveled
in time seem an illusion, so I eat and eat and eat and eat.
Still hungry for that one combination of thoughts that will
secure something permanent. The wind is picking up again and I
reach out for something to hold on to. The desert sand stings
my face. The sky is churning, the darkness is overwhelming. I
drink the poison of my anger in violent and bitter, sad and
manic passion. One gulp of pain that fills my heart with a
thousand painful calories. I feel heavy, overweight with grief.
It is time to stop eating and start breathing again.
Where do I walk? How do I dream? I just donít know anymore.
Spinning in circles, I can hardly breathe. My life is a
contradiction between the world of life that I know must
be courageously declared and the inner pain of defeat and
withdrawal that shouts priority. And so each day, one step
after the other. One moment in time. Exhale.
Every act of kindness is heartbreaking. A lady call Felice,
responds to my online auction for a treasured watch. I need the
money but I also need the memory. She tells me that she would
love to buy my watch, has always wanted one like it (just like
I did years ago) but she understands the sentimental value.
Reaching out across an anonymous online void, we connect. She
understands. I cry.
Every memory now is like an overwhelming weight of emotion. I
want to be lighter, to float over some of this drama. My heart
is breaking. My head is hollow. I try to go on each day, making
a cup of tea the water sizzles and steams and I go away somewhere
in my head, remembering balconies with private mornings, Indian
tea at the Raj Vilas in Jaipur, green tea in Shanghai, white tea
at our favorite Thai restaurant. Coffee from a thermos on the
beach. I get dressed and the memories of beaches and flowing
saris and jeans on our summer trip to Yellowstone, the soft pink
suit I wore for my wedding, the stark and sacred nakedness of
our lovemaking. I wash my face, remembering the parties, the
operas, the secrets and the nights where streaks of lipstick
told of a wild kiss.
I hear my toothbrush like a drill reverberating in a void. My
mind is empty of depth, I skim the surface, afraid to go towards
the center of my grief. I circle it like a person gazing at a
dead body, carefully waiting for it to jump back into life.
Poking at it with fear and dread. Is it really dead? I look at
my relationship with a morbid curiosity. Lifeless. I want to
shake it, hug it, kiss it back to life. The scream is pounding
in my chest and I almost can't bear it. I want to go back in
time and erase all the hurtful words, dilute the pain with the
wisdom of time and understanding. I see it all so clearly now
but itís just too late. I have gained so much wisdom but at
such a price. Then there is the loss of trust, the memory of
love. I am tangled up in the mind numbing intimacy, the
inexplicable contradiction of marriage.
They say all things will pass and of course this is true. Each
day, my ex husband shrinks a little more. I have carefully
placed him inside a little coffin, inside a tiny cage in a
remote corner of my heart. He lives there in a kind of dream,
quietly watching me spin in the memories of our time together.
Most of the time he is quiet and the pulse of memories bounce
off the painproof walls I have built. He watches me cry but
doesn't hear the pain. Some days he breaks out and gets into
my blood, circulating through my body like a virus he infects
every moment with his presence. I take the medicine of hope and
like a lion tamer guide the screaming beast forcefully back
inside his cage. Every time he shrinks a little more until I
hardly feel him breathing anymore.