To My…

Love rarely comes down to a choice. You don’t do it because you choose to do it; you do it because you are supposed to. I don’t know what you do, when you do it, what time it is, what I’m feeling, what you’re feeling, whether it is a reaction- an action or inaction; all I know is that you do it and I fall in love.

My insides feel fragile, like crystal. I may shatter. And all of a sudden, I know you. I know everything. I know it from the insides of glass-like me.

You have always been an optimist. People call you sunny and cheerful and buoyant and ebullient; they are annoyed by your unflagging positive outlook so much that my sister once asked you if you were the child of Mickey Mouse and Tinkerbell. You smiled with your infamous toothy grin and you said, “Nah. Tink doesn’t have the hips for childbirth,” knowing of the pain I’ve gone though while fingering scars on my wrists.

This is our unspoken agreement: we don’t want the world and we don’t want to change it. We want our little corner to fill with family, love and laugher. To fill with wind-chimes tinkling in the wind on our front porch where we often sit talking, reading the newspaper, watching hummingbirds flit from one crimson bloom to another on the vine that flourish on the posts of the porch. Sometimes we’ll unfold a card table to put between the wooden chairs. I’ll crush you at Scrabble. You’ll dominate Trivial Pursuit.

After the wedding, we won’t send much on entertainment. No more Hollywood soirees. No weekends in Vegas. Being on the front porch with each other will offer as much pleasure as being in Paris. We’ll be saving for the things that really matter, To allow me to change careers… Kids too. We are saving for children. Four or five. On certain holidays, when we are feeling most sentimental, seven doesn’t seems too many. Money doesn’t matter, as long as we are free.

Free, you will eat marzipan and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and Doritos until you either grin and lick your lips or make yourself sick. You haven’t thrown up since childhood, but even vomiting is an affirmation of life, something you live for.

Free, you will celebrate our first anniversary by taking me to the state fair and winning a huge stuffed teddybear. It will be fluffy and white and cute. Even as a teenage boy you wanted a teddybear, wanted to feel its fur on your face, its safety as you clung to it. Now, you want your unborn child to have one.

Free, you will let me bask in my own beauty and happiness. You, more than anyone, adore the soft flush in my cheeks when my heart is full. You rest your head on my shoulders as I attempt to mimic a song off the radio on the black and ivory keys.

Free, you will tell me secrets. Late at night you will say, the secret is not to think because we think in words. Words can’t contain some truth. The secret is to feel. And I’ll look up, startled as you take another sip of soda and wink, before focusing your attention back on the football game.

Free and you will be my constant. Free and you will make love to me. Free and you will fight battles and will win. Free and you will hope. Free and you will live.

You will live, and then, you will die. There is no point denying it.

No matter what I try to do, you are going to die. No matter what you do, you can’t change it. At seventy-two, you’re all clear of the cancer that held you for almost a year. However, the universe has a way if correcting itself. At seventy-four, it comes back. I can see it all, right now in front of my eyes. They whisper. They call me the widow who doesn’t cry. A title to my replace my lost Mrs. Doe. “We are sorry for your loss…” A young man in an elegant gray suit stands before me. Sorry for my loss. He blocks the light from the living room window and holds flowers fit for a lover. I am no lover. I will never be a lover again.

The room becomes a sea of perfumed women in sequined black clothes with gray hair, gold jewelry, cheap cardigans, low heels and pop socks with emergency tissues in their handbags, next to their lipsticks and mobile phones. In the corner, our eldest son sits on the reclining chair, surrounded by the women too old to stand. Tobias searches for the sorrow in my face and bewildered, I cannot bring myself to perform.

Men in suits flood the corridors. They have showered and shaved your death away but they still smell of the warmth outside, of over-heated rooms and August sweat. Some lean on the banister and talk politely at the foot of the stairs. Others block the front door.  I look around and there are so few that look tearful or red-eyed from earlier. They are somber, conversing respectfully in low voices, their faces masks of seriousness. It’s like a scene from every other funeral I’ve been ever been to. It’s impersonal. It’s hideous. Hideous like the fear that will imprison me with days full of voices that barely penetrate the growing, muffled ache in my head. Days full of half breaths, each full breath catching in my throat. Until the day I realize, it is about feeling. You were right. It’s about feeling every feeling, and it’s about living. It’s about feeling a voodoo drumbeat in your heart, blooding pounding in your ear, liquid gold pumping through your muscles. It’s about life, not death. Your life. My life. Our life.

But now, my apartment is dark. Gray light filtering though the permanent dust on the tiny kitchen window. I collapse on the sofa after switching on the lamp in the corner of the room. Smiling at the ceiling, freedom rushes through me, like holding my hand out the window of a speeding car.

I can’t wait. I can’t wait for you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s