Always angry, always the underdog on top.
I remember the way he would touch me in a crowded room. Run the back of his hand over my shoulders. His fingertips kissing the ends of my hair. It rolled me like the waves of golden grassy hills floating by the window at 65. And he would whisper, "Oh excuse me....I'm just trying to get by you but I don't seem to be able to..."
Sometimes I see myself as he saw me. Abandoned and skittish, watching the world, waiting for the next shoe to fall. And other times I feel myself the way he did, defiant and deliberate, waiting to slip out the first unguarded door.
He chased me and I followed.
When I look back I see us each clinging to what we thought the other would be.
When I look back I see what I loved best about him was who I was when I was with him.
Then I remember, that's not true. No woman has ever loved a man as much as I loved him.
The way his dark eyes fluttered when he was nervous. The weight of his massive stance and the shelter it offered me. The thickness of his breath over the wire.
I would have given him everything had time allowed us. But for us, our whole relationship was nothing more than long drawn out goodbye.
I see him as we were. Together, when I knew that I was loved. Before I slipped off into the world of the valley below our feet.
I drive kids to their own music. And I run alone.
I don't pick the movies we see.
I stare blankly at the phone.
I make dinner after 8 PM because no one else has bothered to cook
I crawl into bed where the smoke of night gently burns each day into the next.
And it's beautiful that way.
I wash and rewash the blue set of sheets because I love them the most. I cradle imperfectly blue cups of coffee in my tired hands and let the warmth soak into my chest. I collect castoffs & scraps like treasure.
I know what I am. Even when I am unseen.
Splashing through winter rain a little voice crawling out of my car calls to me, "Middy, I don't know why you put up with all our disaster."
This makes me smile, "Because I love you, Sophie."
"Yeah," she blinks, "but I don't know why."
When you are unloved you have no debts to pay & you are free to give it all way.
Free to walk forgotten.
Free to love whomever you choose.
I see him as we were but I know that this is the version of me he was looking at when he whispered, "Misty, I'm in love with you..." and I whispered back, "That is a very bad idea, Doctor; because I am unlovable."
Beneath Still Water, mlb
Emma Snow sat on the sofa cross-legged, an unopened textbook across her lap, staring at the front door listening to him drinking himself into a frenzy. Her dark eyes searched the polished oak finish for the familiar faces encased within the wood grain. Faces of women screaming with gaping mouths, flame-like hair, and teardrop breasts, their bodies nothing more than remnants from when the tree was alive growing wild with designs of life.
Calmly she waited for what was coming. She had chosen this gamble knowing she would lose. Knowing all along the true price of stolen hours. She had gone out with friends hiking on trails leading nowhere through box canyons on ground barely released from winter’s tight hold.
The spring breezes cold enough to be painful on uncovered skin, yet in the patches of late afternoon sun Emma sweat beneath her thin fleece jacket. Following her companions, walking among them as if she was one of them, knowing she was not. She is a thief. Stealing away moments casually discarded. Her sins covered by the sound of the wind rising through the trees. The glint of melting ice in the sun, the weightlessness of the mountain sky, laughter echoing off the rocks, a footstep in the woods, anything she can carry attempting to stash it away, somewhere safe, somewhere he cannot reach it.
Yes, she had known the price of her actions even well before she found him standing in the driveway waiting for her. The sight of him smirking had made her stomach lurch but she reminded herself to remain calm. That she had chosen this moment and it would be here and then it would be gone. Nothing more than a bad memory. Or better still if she could it would become forgotten between a thousand other moments. Maybe forgotten is too strong a word, perhaps distorted like looking through icy water of a stream to the worn peddles below- too could to really feel.
He had cornered her coming the long way around back of the truck. She had been gone from 1 to 5, three hours yet he argued over and over it had been five. Smashing his fist into the hood as he counted off the time, already too drunk to add but stable enough on his feet to have her pinned without laying so much as a finger to her.
As he ranted the force of his fist knocking bits of red clay loose from the underbelly of the truck she began to watch the two of them as if from far away. And being so far removed like a stranger at the edge of the driveway it was easy to concede to his clouded reality. The mountain was icy. It snowed. She was gone five hours. All of it true now. And with that he had let her pass safely by him into the house but it was far from over and she knew that too.
In the back of the house glass shattered followed by lumbering footsteps. The structure swayed with his noxious rhythm as he stumbled through the long narrow kitchen toward her. She sat motionless. As he towered over her she thought about the door behind him wondered with more curiosity than emotion why she not gotten up and left or why she had ever come home at all.
His jaw loose, sliding numbly side-to-side, expelling drops of spit as he yelled, but she could no longer hear him. She let his hollow eyes and limp muscles rotting with alcohol overtake her as if she was powerless to fight.
He easily knocked her to the floor. Within the darkness she curled into the tightest ball she could. Her hands clutched around her skull so fixed within the dark mass of her hair her knuckles glowed white. Protect your head, she told herself, nothing else matters, just protect your head. And this moment will be gone.
She thought if she was non-reactive he would grow tired but she felt his fierceness growing. It was too late to change strategies. She could hear the sounds of her body folding to pressure and force but she felt nothing. The pain would come later. Later she would not be able to sleep, the sheet of her bed raking across her bleeding wounds, too tired to stir and too hurt to settle. Later, she would drag herself to the coolness of the bathroom floor, vomit blood then huddle on the tile within haunted sleep caught in dreams of icy mountains, dreams of falling.
Beneath the heat of his anger conscience thought slowed, the clarity of her mind fading as the voices in her head were no longer hers. A thousand conversations swirled about some shouting others tiny whispers. Words spinning so fast she felt the hot burn of bile in the back of her throat. Most didn’t even make sense, items on a grocery list, random elevator chatter, and unconnected out of date phrases from an era not her own. Through the overwhelming buzz she began to make out the voices jeering, “What chance do you have to make it here, in this world, when you cannot even open a door?”
She tried to cry out but it was cut short by a hard blow to her back. The voices mocked her, “He is your judge and your jury. Who knows what you are worth better than him?”
“No.” she managed to utter aloud.
“Don’t doubt too much the sentence he gives you, for you might find out that it is truly justified.”
Then ‘no’ was a distant thought snared in a childhood memory of afternoon sunlight flooding through a bay window in a house that no longer existed. He landed a strong foot to her side it hooked around to her lower abdomen. She felt her bladder give way. The warm fluid soaked her pants flowing out onto the ground around her. Satisfied with this, he finally stopped.