I can still remember when I didn’t feel this anguish. When a day was just a day, boring or exciting, or maybe with some small or large upset. Life was good because it was supposed to be good, things would work out, love and security was there all the time. Is it even possible to feel that way again? I’m through the looking glass, the world has changed, the air has changed colour. The daily rhythm is a cycle of pain and struggle and acceptance, love is a traitor and hope is a stranger, and l breathe longing like I used to breathe air.
It’s not about dying alone. You were right, everybody dies alone.
It’s about this moment right now. At 4am. 2am was just as bad.
It’s this aching emptiness between my arms, where my lover should fit. This parched feeling on my skin, like every nerve ending is straining outwards to meet a touch that isn’t coming. The barrenness of my tears. Meaningless sorrow, here by myself. Nobody is coming. I am speaking to no one, crying out to no one. It doesn’t matter that my desperation ratchets up a notch each day. It doesn’t affect anyone but me, and I’m just an unheard voice in an empty space. It doesn’t matter what the words are where there’s nobody to hear. It doesn’t matter what’s written when there is no reader. It just doesn’t matter.
I don’t really know what marriage means, but if I’m married to anyone, I’m married to you. One person can’t own another, but I know I belong to you. Whatever love means, whatever ball of need and want and fear and joy and giving and taking that is, it comes from and goes back to that place in my heart where you are.
So now I’m supposed to move on, carrying you with me and leaving the best part of me behind with you. Move on – to where and to what, and why? With you in every step and every breath, with you wound around each rib. With you seeping into every crevice in my mind, in places I don’t even know exist. With every touch an echo of yours and every moment missing one thing. When making love feels like a memory and every time I close my eyes I see you, the way you looked when I was moving in you. Sometimes when I open my eyes too.
And with every moment of affection, when someone looks at me with loving eyes I feel I should explain: ah, you are beautiful, and you warm me, but, you see, I am deeply and secretly wed, I am taken; every part of me that is here with you is more deeply hers; all our moments are like shadows of that happiness; and on those terms – do you still want me?
Who could say yes? And so – where would I be moving on to?
I found her. Stumbled across her in the dark. The one I was supposed to find. The one who made it all make sense. The missing piece of the puzzle. It’s a puzzle that has hundreds of missing pieces but with her there none of the others matter. With her jagged edges and bloodstains and the madness in her eyes and the sadness in her heart she is perfect. With her there the roaring in my ears stops and my heart stops tearing apart. With her there there is always a reason. I was never supposed to find her and I was always supposed to find her. It was impossible but she found me. She found me and the world changed.
And then she got scared. I was just one missing piece and all the hundreds of other missing pieces mattered more. She closed the door on me, she drew up the drawbridge and closed me out and the thing is, I didn’t get out in time and I didn’t want to get out. Everything about me that matters is still in there, deaf and dumb and blind but there, with her, and my senses and guts and pain and logic are all out here. Lost, with no reasons, because all the reasons are behind that wall. So I stumble around lost, and there are no reasons
The catcher asked me why I’m alive. “Why are you still here?” Her beautiful gentle voice.
I smiled through tears. What a lovely question. Not what’s wrong with you; why do you want to die; how can we keep you back from the edge; but, why are you still here.
I am in a chair. I am in a cot. I’m trying to sit up straight. I’m lying on my back, reaching up. You are in front of me on the computer screen. You are leaning over me, about to pick me up and hold me. I’m trying to breathe. I can hardly see through the tears.
All there is in the world is your face, your beautiful smile, and your soothing voice.
I met you at my front gate, all those months ago, and invited you in. We sat on the porch of the gatehouse and chatted. Difficult stuff, to be sure. On the porch of the gatehouse, serious topics can be discussed.
Over the months that followed I invited you in again and again, further into my world, until we were in my private room in the heart of the citadel.
In that room serious topics can be discussed, and shame, and humiliation, and vulnerability. Things I’d never talked about with anybody. We made many discoveries there, and wrote them on the walls. But always we were in my room, in the citadel of my mind, writing thoughts on the walls.
And then we discovered, you showed me, you let me discover, an inescapable truth. My mind was going to kill me, almost certainly, and there was nowhere left to hide. No deeper sanctuary, no more secure walls, no more elaborate defenses. The enemy was within and always would be. In here is the courtroom where I sentenced myself to death for the transgressions of loss and failure and grief, and in here is the scaffold.
We retraced our steps, out through the keeps and curtain walls, libraries and beautiful gardens, to that monstrously strong gate.
Only in my last and deepest refuge could you have convinced me to come out and step through that gate, and back into my body.
So I’m in a chair, not lying on my couch, sitting up straight, not curled around my pain, breathing deeply, not sipping at air through a clenched throath. I’m so far outside what I have come to know as myself that I can only understand it by going back to a time before the first stone of the fortress was laid.
While my mind is screaming “Disaster!” and promising safety and offering doom, you and I are reciting together this poem and enchantment and unspeakable heresy:
Your mind is wrong. Trust your body.
Your mind is wrong. Trust your body.
Your mind is wrong. Trust your body.
My mind wants to die. My body is hungry and wants to eat and drink. My mind thinks my life is shit. My body knows that this bed is warm, and the skin of my lover feels good against mine. My mind can’t believe anyone could love me. My body smiles back when you smile at me.
Start again. The gates can be open, I can come and go, the citadel doesn’t have to be a trap. I can stop work on that scaffold, and maybe one day use the wood for something more worthwhile.
Yesterday a man died. One of many.
He was swept off the rocks and died in the ocean. I wished I was him. Dying in the ocean would be like going home. The only part I didn’t like is that they found his body and tried to revive him. Interrupted his peaceful sinking and the nibbling of the fish. You can’t blame them. But it seems disrespectful.
He didn’t want to die. Well, there is no justice in the world, is there? If it could be arranged that death came for me, and I could spare you the pain of my choosing; well, that could work. Not exactly win-win, but it could work. Tell the angels: spare someone else; take me.
But wait: someone is slamming their fist on the table. “HOLD THAT TELEGRAM!!”.
You, my beautiful catcher, reminding me of your ferocity.
“Live. First because I want you to. Then because you want to. In that order.”
Psychic mirror neurons: you are there each week, so I am there each week; you don’t give up, so I don’t give up. My heartbeat slows to match yours, and the steady rhythm of your breathing becomes mine. And then your anger reminds me that I have fire in me too. Not only rain.
“Is there beauty in the world?
Is there love in your heart?”
Yes. And yes. And so?
“What other reason do you need?”
https://christinastrigas.com/2014/05/19/epic-poem/ – Christina Strigas