This paper clip is the very last thing left from anything left from the mess of this last year, which was the last year of my marriage. I took a picture of it, in the odd, filtered light of my attorney’s office, which is in an old Victorian house in the section just outside of downtown Asheville where you go to get help with things. There are attorneys to help you with your legal nightmares, accountants to help with your financial questions, and shrinks to help you with the questions you ask yourself before falling asleep at night. My attorney is a nice man. He’s a very intense guy. Continue reading
My twin soul, Debbie, who lives in Arizona, sent me a musing recently. We do this, she and I, over the space of many states, even sometimes with months in between correspondence. We are both writers, both coming out of an intense personal trauma, both on the fresher side of a battering storm, both feeling strange and stark and changed. She wrote of the pain brought forth by the simple expression of herself, the self that has not, in fact, been destroyed. I know this pain. Continue reading
Untangled skeleton woman
fleshed out and walking
Well good morning, psychology of the New Year. Today is clear and cold, and I am looking out over the mountain just beyond my porch, trying to remember Jan 1 2014. I don’t remember. Wait, I think I do. But now that I have, I don’t think I want to. I’d rather try to remember back to the first cold day I stared out this same patio door, at these mountains in the morning. I would have been brand new that day, in an eerie way, having just moved into this house, having just left a whole world behind (not fast enough). It was not a year ago, but it’s close, and the mindset of people celebrating New Years day the world over has me looking back, trying to figure out if that other world is far enough way from me now. I decide it looks like a distant star, but still in the same galaxy. Old, dead light, still in sight. Might be as good as it gets. A faint glittering. A myth of wishes. Continue reading
We close on the farm today. I’ve known about this day for weeks now. I’ve waited for it for almost a year. I woke up this morning extremely cheerful, despite having a slight virus that has weakened my body for a few days. I playfully cajoled my kids over breakfast, and thrilled at their grumpy morning faces stretching into smiles at my silliness. We compared dance moves on the way to school. We sang Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, pretty incorrectly. We hugged tight. See you in three days, mes petites. Then, I went home and set about my day. A bit woozy every time I remembered, but hey, of course this is weird, right? Smiles. Shivers. You’re fine, girl. This is good.
And then came the emails. The settlement paperwork. All the extra whatnots of finalization. My responses were all yes and OK. And my friends are texting me about a movie tonight. I’m responding here, responding there, dutifully sending all paperwork and numbers on to my attorney. Everything is so efficient and so neatly handled, like the turning of a page, or something. Like our brains and hands are just doing it. A series of signals that tell the hand to flip. Next. Onward. Sign here. I download, print, send, continue responding, and then I hear this weird sound.
It’s like a giggle. Or a gasp. Maybe both, but either way, it’s coming from me, and then all of a sudden I am standing alone, in my little white house, and I’m crying again. Good grief, I admonish. This is the first time in something like a few months that I have cried over this shit. So I’m here, now, leaning against the wall, laughing at myself for crying, and still these big hot tears are falling from my face, making little thuds on the gray carpet. I’m just going to go with this. I sink onto my knees, still laughing, still leaking tears. Sighing, singing, smarting, dying, living, breathing. Exhausted. I decide it’s not really officially crying, even though it is. It’s some other thing for which we don’t have a word. It’s the thing your body does when it has nothing else to do. I thought, for a brief time, that my body was the only one that did this. But no. Everyone does this. Everyone, when the raw brain is sending so many signals that there is no answer in the muscles around the bones. There is no just action, and so there is this. This…uncrying.
I do this uncrying for a while. I do it for everything I’ve lost or messed up, and everything I’ve gained. I do it from relief. That I’m alive after all this, that I won’t have to pay for strange old woes every month, that I’ll have a tiny, tiny bit of ridiculous, made-up money to work with. To start over. I do it because even that is a funny bauble to have in exchange for such a tangle. I do it because this confusion and contradiction of sadness and goodness keep twirling around in my blood, and it is so taxing. So taxing. I do it for love, both here and gone. I do it for the torture of all the unfeeling fact we exchange. Yes and OK and Sign here. For the easy click of Send that rides, with all these short, simple words, on the back of such ecstatic sorrow, with sweating, white-knuckled fingers grabbing onto every hair. I do it for the lessons learned, and the questions unanswered. For the sheer boom of the truth being that we don’t ever feel just one way. It’s either automatic (flip), or we force it. We just pick a pair of socks, or we build things, or destroy things. We have to. We have to decide. But it is a damn miracle to be sure.
I’m done now. Obviously. I’m sitting here, writing this, having showered off all the hot flashes and cold shivers, and the thoughts of taking my insanity to the airport and boarding a plane. Maybe I’ll go to the city, and help my brother move down from Brooklyn tomorrow. Disappear into the people who do better than anyone on earth at being faceless. Into the buildings and taxis and street trash. Or maybe I’ll go to Curacao, and fade into the waves. Or to Utah. Or to some truck stop. I’ll have a waffle with a random person, as random as the next, random as me. But wait, I’m teaching a class tonight, and I have a meeting tomorrow. My kids come home on Friday. I have all these attachments. Strange. I haven’t actually lost everything. I am aware of this. I wonder why I seem to feel the same fly-away-empty-freedom-crazy of someone who has.
At ease. I’m going to the coffee shop. I’ll put my hello face on and go work on my book, choosing lamb photos and joking with neighbors. They cannot see me any more than I can see them. What a fantastic, flawed, incredible life this is. What a day, this here. I’ve collected myself now. I’m ready to go forth into the world. It’s over, now. (Flip.) See you around.