absence

“I want you to be fast asleep when I get there.”

This is the text he sends, in response to my letting him know I’m in the city.

It’s a little game we play. Although, honestly, I’d forgotten.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, and there is no guarantee that the unknowing which once existed between us will still be enough.

Even so, here I am, unlocking the window and sliding it open.

The beautiful spring air its own caress, I guide my body to the wide bed.

Lay it down on its side. The long, slow arch of my hip an unspoken invitation.

How he noiselessly ascends the fire escape, I’ll never know.

Silence is a gift very few have.

The sheet loosely covering me lifts, as if by a breeze. And for a moment I wonder if he’s in the room with me now, or if simply, in my wanting him so, I’m imagining it.

But then his warm lips meet the skin on my inner leg.

Ever so delicately.

And again.

This scenario, without fail, is its own seduction.

The sun is low in the sky. The room, behind my closed eyes, will now be cast in long shadows.

And by the time I open them, will be filled by darkness.

His pace is slow, patient.

This, also, is rare.

To be clear, this man is not my confidante. We will never share long conversations in which he uncovers anything about me.

Instead, he bears witness to my body when I’m unable to conceal its tremors. And this is somehow, for me, a more profound and necessary intimacy.

His velvet-soft tongue grants him access to some hidden place, within me, that seemingly belongs to him.

I experience it, occasionally, as a betrayal.

“It’s okay,” he intones, his deep voice hushed, as if in secret.

He stops, waits long moments for my staccato breath to lengthen.

Allows my fingers to entwine reassuringly in his.

I don’t know how this man learns to do what he does.

Nor how two bodies are able move together so effortlessly.

In due time, I’ll marvel at it. But for now, my carefully-assembled mind has already begun to collapse.

“Are you all right?” I ask, wanting to make sure, before I’m gone.

“Just let me take care of you,” he answers.

I think I’d find his generosity unbearable, were it entirely altruistic.

But ultimately, there is undeniable evidence that it’s not.

Afterwards, we lie together in the darkness I prophesied. He smooths the damp hair from my temples, and again pulls me towards him.

His kisses oddly become even longer, deeper, more searching.

As if there’s so much he’s yet to say.

But when he stops for a moment, I curl up in a nest of myself, and fall instantly and very deeply asleep.

For real, this time.

I suppose he leaves the way he came.

Some time later I wake, my mouth looking for his.

~

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our legacy

airport

This week my son, Django, went off with his dad, The Piranha, to the islands.

This was a big step, I guess. Because there have been years, off and on, that the two wanted very little to do with each other. And that’s in addition to those years when I shunned The Piranha altogether, finding my son’s innocence too precious to spoil.

Those were the years that I wished The Piranha would just go far, far away. Which were contrasted by many more, when I wished I knew where he was.

It’s a lot of years, is maybe what I’m saying.

Though the general themes are pretty well established, I’m not sure that we’re any closer to finding the ending to our story, we three.

But tonight, as I wait at the airport for their plane to arrive, I find myself rolling back to the beginning.

It’s a beginning that precludes Django, naturally. Back when it was just me and The Piranha.

Or perhaps just me and my incredible love and adoration for a man whose grittiness was palpable.

Or perhaps just me and my fascination with myself, ultimately.

That does seem to be the determining factor in so many of my relationships. “Do I like the character I create for this particular man?” being the defining question.

One forever-night ago, the character I’d created for the Piranha was in an airport just like this, in a short brown suede skirt and motorcycle boots, waiting on his arrival.

She was smoking a cigarette outside the terminal and scowling openly at every single person that passed.

And I suppose it makes sense that I loved The Piranha, from that perspective, because I love that girl.

I love how good she is at pretending. Because I know for a fact that she’s as delicate as they come. But tonight her act is so fucking convincing.

And I wish I could talk to her. I’m curious about her mind, her maturation.

About the long, falling-down path that will lead her to me.

But instead I watch as a scruffy man with a great strut sneaks up behind her and grabs her tight in his leather arms.

And she sinks into him, rests the back of her head on his chest.

“Did you bring me something?” she asks.

The man laughs.

“You know, I forgot until the last minute,” he says. “But then I found this.”

He lets her go, reaches into his pocket while she turns and watches expectantly.

The man pulls a thick silver bolt from his pocket.

When he says he found it, he means it literally. In the street, beside a puddle of grease.

And it’s for this, of all crazy things, that our character has reserved her smile.

She fits the bolt over the knuckle of her thumb.

“I love it,” she says.

And she actually does.

Silly little waif.

I don’t have the silver bolt anymore.

But tonight the memory of it is oddly precious.

It almost makes me want to go outside and rummage around in the gutter, to see if I can’t find something to give The Piranha when he lands. I wonder for a second if he’d remember.

But he would. I know he would.

Because I once overheard him telling that exact story to Django, a mixture of nostalgia and hurt in his voice.

“Your mom used to be so easy to please,” was his master conclusion.

“Wait. You gave Delilah a dirty bolt you found in the street?” Django asked, confused. “Are you serious?”

I laugh now, remembering this, too. It’s all so gorgeous and stupid.

~

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tagging the surgeon

So the surgeon suggests, three consecutive times, that we go out. Like on a date, I guess.

I have a fondness for the surgeon because, despite having my number, he only ever corresponds with me occasionally. This is a good quality in a man, if you’re me.

So he’s got that going for him. But I only ever met him once, very briefly. At one of those celebratory events you attend when your friend beats cancer.

It’s not the best circumstances under which to meet a man. Because there’s the whole gratitude vibe happening, which makes it’s hard to gauge what people are really like. You know, when they’re not pretending that they have a concept of life’s preciousness.

Oh my God, I just realized that I’m saying this about someone who cuts people open for a living.

He just came off as being so nice, is all.

Nice being a trait to which I’m unaccustomed.

I’m not even sure how to respond to nice.

So I ignore the surgeon’s suggestions that we get together until the third time, when it kind of starts to seem like he’ll pick up on my ignoring it, and stop asking. And even though I’m not sure I want to see more of him, I’m not sure that I don’t want to either. I’m probably 50/50.

“Look, I should probably tell you something,” I announce, and already it sounds more dramatic than I intended. It sounds like the warm-up to letting someone know you’re married, or wearing an ankle monitor, is what I think.

But he just says, “Please do.” Which kind of puts me at ease.

“It’s just, you know. I don’t really do dates.”

“How so?” he inquires, which wasn’t what I expected.

He’s surprisingly solid, this one.

“As in, I don’t know how,” I say, for a start, and then decide to risk exposing more. “As in, the idea of sitting across the table from someone and trying to get acquainted that way sounds hideous to me.”

I fight the urge to follow up what I’ve just said with a statement that would imply there is something wrong with me. Something like, “There’s probably something wrong with me.”

Because it really doesn’t matter what’s wrong with me. Not yet, anyway.

The surgeon takes me off guard by not putting me down.

“You don’t do dates,” he says instead, restating what I’ve just said in that kind of way therapists do when they want you to know you’ve said something important.

It’s oddly validating.

“Are you a therapist, too?” I ask, suddenly suspicious. I’m pretty sure I’d have to draw the line at therapist.

He laughs. “No.”

“Oh.”

I think about how, when the surgeon asked for my number, I picked up the sharpie that was on the kitchen counter and wrote my number in large digits on the inside of his forearm.

“He’s a doctor, Delilah!” my cancer-free friend scolded, about the sharpie thing, after he’d left. “Not a character in a John Hughes movie!”

“Right,” I responded. “Roger that.”

It’s not as though I’m behaving badly on purpose.

Is it?

“You should come over to my house Thursday,” I say to him now, impulsively. “If you want to. But don’t try to talk to me while you’re here. I mean, if you have something to say, say it. Of course. But let’s don’t do the whole forced conversation thing.”

“We’ll converse only when necessary,” he reassures me, perhaps teasingly.

I like being teased. Almost as much as I like being taken off-guard.

And tomorrow is Thursday.

Which means, very soon, I maybe get to find out what else I like.

~

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narcosis

narcosis

.

are you

feeling

this night

and me in it

breathing its rain air

as you dream, wide-awake

of vacating your boyhood home

.

to trespass

as man

my body

.

which sleeps, even now

quiescent, tranquilly coiled

in wind’s savage embrace?

.

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final frame

The last time I saw the photojournalist, we scheduled a tearing apart.

I was so dazed afterwards that it’s been hard to find the words.

Even now, with a few months distance, I doubt I’ll be able to do it justice.

I wore a blue and gold dress for the occasion. Silk. It was beautiful.

“That dress is beautiful,” he told me, accordingly.

“I thought it was befitting a proper conversation,” I responded, slightly betrayed by the fact that by then it was all bunched up around my thighs, my black stockings more the highlight.

I planned to wear my hair down but, at the last moment, pinned it up high. On this he did not comment, but later did his best to take it down by grasping the single knot affixed the top of my head and pulling as hard as he could.

I was straddling his slim waist at the time, and enjoyed the tension.

When he finally relented, unsuccessful, I sat up straight atop him and removed the pins myself.

Long hair is a beautiful thing, in moments such as these. A very form of communication.

The loosening of my hair served as a transition between scenes.

We were, by then, moving from animosity and hurt towards connection.

So I took my time.

Prior to that night, the photojournalist had warned me about his propensity for anger. Hinted at it from time to time in his physicality. But that was the first time I experienced it in any kind of personal way.

And oddly, where I probably should have been put off, shrunken, I was instead fascinated.

This came in waves, between the crests of which I was in fact crushed.

But I just couldn’t help rising back up.

The interaction itself brought out so much life in me.

For a while afterwards, I couldn’t figure that out. For a while afterwards, I didn’t try. Just wandered my life in a state of wonderment. Careful not to speak of it, lest I disturb its memory.

And slowly, like impossible petals unfolding on a blind world, it dawned on me.

This was love.

Not the love in which I was trained to believe, not the love that was marketed to me.

But my love. My version of it.

Mine.

The photojournalist screamed in my face about all the misdemeanors I had committed. He had never, before then, looked ugly to me. Not even for a second. Jeering at times, yes, but not this. This true unveiling of who he was. All his horrible judgements of me reaching a peak.

By all rights, the photojournalist shouldn’t have had nearly as much on me as he did. I’d been, I thought, very careful. But I suppose, in his quiet, serious way, he’d been paying more attention to the details than I’d realized.

Filling his library of me to bursting, only to come to this very place in which he could hurl the books off the shelves so that their pages would fall open in front of me and he could say, “Look at this! This is you! This is what you do!”

There were issues about which he was absolutely correct, and in these I felt more seen than I’d ever felt in my entire life.

But then there were issues so rooted in some combination of his own narcissism and damage that they simply didn’t belong to me.

“You wrote those stories yourself,” I wanted to say, but didn’t.

I guess because I was trying to protect him. Much, it turned out, as he’d been trying to protect me.

“Why have you been so polite, all this time, when these things were driving you crazy?” I asked.

It seemed a reasonable question.

“Because I fucking love you!” he shouted, and I thought he would throw over the table, he was in such a state.

I’ve been afraid for my safety around men, before. I’m familiar with the loss of control they occasionally experience.

But with the photojournalist, I somehow always felt free from harm.

Even when he was slashing me to bits with his words.

I don’t know if that’s rare, or special, or anything at all.

I do know that I miss him.

“We’ll see each other tonight,” he prefaced. “And then we won’t speak for a few months.”

“You’re dumping me?” I asked.

“Are you actually going to play it that way?” he smirked.

That night, the photojournalist needed to get angry, needed to get himself fired up, because in the shadow of being a person who felt forced to maintain perfect control, he was legitimately suffering.

And vulnerable.

About this, I’d been deliriously unaware.

~

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taken

taken

My son has his high school orientation this week. We arrive early, so I steer us to a row of side seats in the far back where I can monitor the influx of people.

It’s my job as a good mother to suss out the scene and liberally narrate my findings for Django’s benefit. So I’m busy calculating the ratio of girls to boys when a man in a track suit approaches and asks, “Is this seat taken?” of the empty next to us.

And it’s nothing short of unbelievable to me, because there’s a whole auditorium of other seats available.

It immediately reminds me of the time at the amusement park when a single tried to join Lovey, Django and me on the ferris wheel.

“You are not riding with us,” I told him, straight up.

And Lovey and Django were embarrassed and were like, “Delilah…”

But I said to the them, “Look, guys. We don’t know him, right? And for all I know he’s the type of  person who throws kids off the ferris wheel when it stops at the top. Do you really think I’m going to just let that happen?”

This somehow made their embarrassment worse, but I turned to the man and said, “It’s a safety issue, okay? I’m sorry. The answer is no.”

And at that I closed the little ferris wheel door, because the attendant whose job it should have been was just standing there uncomfortably and not doing it for me.

The single sat instead in the cart right behind us. The kids claimed it ruined the whole ride for them. And to be honest, it cast a negative light on my experience as well.

But no kids were thrown from the ferris wheel that day, so it’s pretty clear I did the right thing. Except for that I maybe should have also added, “And you can’t ride in the cart behind us, either.”

This time I don’t make the same mistake.

“All of these seats are taken actually,” I say, throwing my arm wide.

Referring, apparently, not only to the seat next to Django, but to all of the seats in the nearby vicinity.

“All of them?” the man echoes.

“There are plenty of seats up front,” I point out, helpfully.

The man in the track suit looks confused for a second, then retreats. As soon as his back is turned, Django literally does a facepalm, because that’s a real thing teenage boys who have mothers do.

“You are so embarrassing.”

Django has trouble being as direct as I am. This concerns me, and I make a note to review it with him later. But right then and there, I just make the teachable moment as short and sweet as possible.

“I’m sorry,” I say to him. “But did you want that man who is at a high school orientation sans an actual high schooler to sit next to you? Because I didn’t.”

Django shakes his head, but not in the way that means no. More in the way that means he can’t believe this is happening.

He’s had a relatively easy life, my son.

“Just stop, okay?” Django says, fighting a smile so that I will hopefully take him seriously.

He’s cute.

“I love you so much Django,” I let him know, loudly. “Sometimes it’s everything I can do not to scream it out at the top of my lungs.”

“Oh my God, Delilah.”

I laugh.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sympathetic to how embarrassing one’s parents are at his age.

But when it comes down to it,  I have been personally surveying the arrival of dozens of other mothers, and with all modesty, I’m for sure in the top two percent of moms you wish you had.

Unless you’re Django. But whatever.

“It’s okay to be embarrassed by me,” I tell him. “It’s part of life, totally normal. So you’re right on track. But really, boy, when you have a chance, check out some of these other parents and count yourself lucky.”

That’s what I say. And it’s within probably thirty seconds of that comment that I see The Piranha walk through the doors.

I grab Django’s arm.

“Oh my God. Is that your dad?” I ask him.

Django’s head shoots up, and before I know it he’s waving his hand in the air.

Like in that come hither kind of way.

I fight the urge to grab his hand and pull it down.

Besides, Django has already caught his attention, anyway.

The Piranha gives Django a chin nod, and begins the ascent to us.

There are a lot of sudden revisions to this situation on which I should probably focus in order to stay sharp.

But wouldn’t you know it? I’m instead hypnotized by The Piranha’s approach.

Despite how wrong things have always been between us, the man has got a great strut.

It has long since been my undoing.

“Hey,” he says, upon reaching us.

And then he does a surprising and weird but very cool thing, and takes a seat in the row behind us.

If you’re into reading too much from gestures that probably mean nothing, his taking the seat above us kind of says that he’s watching out for us. That he’s got our backs.

You know, like how I thought he was supposed to have done from the beginning?

“Delilah has just been embarrassing me,” Django fills him in.

“Oh yeah?” The Piranha says.

These two. All these years later, and I’m still the main thing they have in common. But so it goes.

The Piranha leans back and spreads his arms across the width of the neighboring chairs on either side of him.

“You ready?” he asks our son. I assume he means about high school.

“Yeah,” Django says.

“Are you?” I ask.

It sounds about as snide as I intend, which is kind of too bad, because a part of me is actually glad he’s here.

“I’m ready,” he says, grinning. “Let’s do this.”

~

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manless january, the return

manless january

“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” -Oscar Wilde

So I forgot to tell you about Manless January, which is a holiday I invented last year to save my own life.

This year, Manless January acted more as a preventative. And I was surprised by how strong I’d grown.

Because sometimes I don’t recognize myself.

Which is really too bad.

I don’t want to sound terribly vain, but it’s almost hopeless, because I just am.

Or maybe it’s not vanity, precisely.

It’s just that sometimes, all alone, my heart swells so big inside of my chest.

And I burst out laughing, giddy in the middle of the street, as it refuses to be contained.

Because, when I let myself be, I am really so in love.

With myself.

Ridiculous, perhaps. Should I be embarrassed?

There’s just been so much lost time.

I’m not really sure how it happened, but I somehow went from being a boy-crazy young girl to a relationship-ruined adult woman, and then on to being a sexual lightweight whose love of the act became the equivalent of a meth addiction.

No, back up, that last part isn’t true.

That’s just something of which I was was accused.

Which plays into Manless January directly. Because part of Manless January is not accepting anyone’s definition of myself but my own.

It’s unfortunate, but in other months of the year, I’m susceptible to the random and perhaps innocuous suggestions of men.

I tried to whine about this with my girlfriends, but they wouldn’t have it.

“You act like you’re the only woman who gets reckless because of men.”

What? Am I not?

Either way, I’d like to be above that.

I believe in myself, and having one month of the year that belongs to just me keeps that belief strong.

And Manless January has a certain festive quality to it, anyway.

This year I launched out and purchased a Margot Tenenbaum coat, just for the occasion.

And I wrapped up all tight in it and had a great little month.

If you were to have peeked outside of my psychic window in January—and I  would never have suggested that you do that. In fact, I would have tackled you down before you could have. But if somehow you had gotten past me and my fervent determination—I’ll tell you what you would have seen patrolling my yard.

First of all, there was the big bad wolf. In all honesty I was far more afraid that he was going to hurt himself than hurt me, but even so. He was there. He’d been lurking around out there for weeks because I’d stupidly let him catch a whiff of my sweet maiden scent. I have no idea why I did that. I was bored? I guess. Anyway. That was A.

B was the mad scientist with the tortured brilliance to whom I’d accidentally turned over the reins. Um, that really didn’t go well. I’ve never in my whole life been yelled at quite like that. It was jarring and fascinating and oddly stimulating, but we all know I needed a little break after that.

C was just a light-hearted man that was all wrong for me. Well, a light-hearted man, and his stupid  muscles. Am I really still such a sucker for a man’s muscles? Yes, yes, I am. Sometimes all a smart woman wants are some stupid muscles wrapped sweet around her.

So there was variety. But I didn’t open the door to any of them, not really.

And now I’m all woman-strong and focused and happy again, just being me. And it’s been a whole additional month in which I’ve maintained that footing, even without being manless.

So we’ll see what happens now. I really mostly just wanted to tell you about it, so you could challenge me if and when you see it crumbling.

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shadow box

make believe

I don’t wonder what he is to me. Nor what I am to him. It’s glaringly obvious that I am a fantasy object that he believes would make his life complete, and absolutely wouldn’t.

Elusive happiness, and one’s rabid attempt to find it.

Nonetheless, I’m lured by the storyline he’s created for us. Not as a reality but as the bizarre plot it is. It interests me, from a viewer’s standpoint. Watching it play out, watching myself fail at the fictional depiction of what he thinks I could be to him.

“I love you. I love you. I love you,” he whispers, that first night. And it’s obvious how much this gets him off, so I let him, for a while.

But at a certain point that kind of nonsense is just too much.

“Listen. You have to stop that,” I tell him.

“Why can’t you just let a man love you?” he wants to know.

That’s so far from the issue that it defies response.

I don’t begin to know how to get it through his sweet head that the only reason he feels safe in this romantic delusion with me is because I’d never actually go for it.

“I just saw it so clearly,” he tells me later, pacing the room, running a manic hand through his hair. “I’m going to marry you.”

I’m lazy in bed. He’s gone out for three cigarettes in the time it’s taken me to slowly wake up enough to listen to anything he has to say.

I peek out at him from beneath the covers.

Marry me? That’s a laugh. No one is ever going to marry me. And I’ve definitely told him that, in no uncertain terms.

“You don’t believe me, do you?” he asks.

“No,” I say, patting the recess in the bed where he has every opportunity to be, if he could ever just accept what’s honestly in front of him.

“Well, I am,” he tells me, that crazy look on his face. A mixture of terror and delight. “I’m going to marry the shit out of you, Delilah.”

And at that he shocks even himself. His eyes get wider and he covers his mouth with his hand.

“Oh my God, I’m going to marry you.”

The man is not going to marry me. I’m not even a part of the equation that he thinks he’s solving. But there’s something adorable in his rant; I can’t help it. Marry the shit out of me? I mean, come on. That’s just cute.

We couldn’t be more opposite. If he’d ever slow down enough to absorb one single quality of my personality, he’d recognize how little he actually cares for my style. I am quiet, sleepy, demure, withdrawn, while he’s going a thousand miles an hour towards a destination that doesn’t exist.

“Maybe I should step right in his path. Go kamikaze on him,” I suggest to Eden, the next day. She’s the adorable pixie at work that serves as my assistant, the one person with whom I accidentally share everything.

“Yes, yes, marry me! Do it!” I satire, prancing around the office.

“Please! Please! Now! We belong together for all time!” At this I clasp my hands together and shake them, pleading.

Eden laughs, shakes her lion’s mane hair no. “You couldn’t do it,” she tells me. “You couldn’t pull it off.”

I laugh too, but then feel suddenly mean.

“It’s not even about me,” I tell her.

She shrugs.

~

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rock garden

rock-garden-sean-kirkpatrick

Shortly after Mum threw the hammer at my little brother, I was finally awarded custody of him.

It was a mixed blessing. Tripp, at 14, and I, at 24, were both relieved to have finally escaped Mum’s reach.

But Tripp was already suffering from damage that would take far more than my custody of him to heal. And, in hindsight, I didn’t nearly measure up to the great guardian I thought I’d be.

Within two years, he’d be taken away from me, too, to spend the rest of his adolescence in juvenile detention and court-ordered treatment centers. And I’d spend those miserable years keeping stride, nurturing for him the belief that his addictions were the acceptable result of being mistreated.

Not knowing that lack of personal responsibility doesn’t, in fact, help a boy become a man.

But at the time we were doing the best we could, and one way or another, that’s the story we wrote together.

This many years later, we’re only beginning to rewrite that story.

Be that as it may, for a short time my brother was in fact mine.

We lived first in a crumbling studio apartment on the ground floor of a dirty street. The place was truly terrible. Though we tried to fondly refer to it as the hellhole, neither of us could actually stand to be there. We’d take turns with the bed next to the window and the sleeping bag on the floor, and when I finally got sick of seeing Tripp in the same outfit, I called Mum to let her know I needed to come get his things.

Mum surprised me by conceding to this, the normal level of abuse caused by her own pain absent. Looking back, I know that she did so because she actually loved her boy. But at the time I felt like we were miraculously pulling one over on her.

I made the drive to her house alone, Tripp refusing to join. And as much as I hoped his stuff would be out front when I arrived, eliminating the need for a face-to-face,  it wasn’t.

The house was open, so I walked in. That seems funny to me, now. I hadn’t been welcome in that house for years. But I guess, having done some growing up there, it still kind of felt like mine.

It was the house that dad bought for his family, not knowing there wouldn’t be one.

I found Mum out back, kneeling in the rock garden.

She had a scouring brush in one hand, and a single rock in the other. The hose was nearby, lightly running water.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

It was apparent to me what she was doing, so I’m not sure why I asked.

I guess because I was avoiding the real question, the answer to which lacked logic, but would have been: “Why are you doing that?”

Mum wouldn’t look at me. She just continued picking up one wet rock at a time and thoroughly scrubbing it before placing it to her right. Some of the rocks she had already bathed were by now sun-dried, and bore the exact resemblance to the millions as yet untouched.

It hurt, watching her do this. And the message I received was that I had just destroyed the only mother I had.

It killed me. The lack of sanity. The lack of hope or life or love. The emptiness and hollowness.

I couldn’t help it. I knelt down next to her and took her strange hands in mine. I meant to take my brother from her, but I didn’t mean to ruin her life. The fact that the two were inseparable should have been obvious to me, but wasn’t.

“This is pointless,” I told her.

And Mum did what she always did in the face of love. Pushed me away first, so that she could feel that the choice had been hers.

“Get out of my house,” she said. “I didn’t ask you here.”

And the funny, horrible part is that I was glad she did it. It was easier to deal with her being villain than victim. It was easier to turn my back on her than to try to love someone so far gone.

It’s shameful to admit this, but it’s the truth.

From the beginning of time, I was her daughter. But I never wanted to deal with her depths. I never loved her enough to want to walk through life with her in a constructive way. I preferred her pushing me away. Even when I saw through it, and knew that she was really saying, “Please help me. I am so lost,” I always made the choice to pretend her words were what she meant.

So I left her, in the rock garden.

And let her die.

~

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2 hours, 9 minutes

59 minutes

He is, quite simply, everything. The entire rest of the adult male population means nothing to her, except perhaps in their contrast.

“You’re leaving?” he asks, when he comes back from the bathroom and finds her dressed.

“Yes,” she answers, and considers explaining that she prefers to leave with no specific ending, so that she doesn’t experience the month-long desperation to return that she felt last time.

But she believes he knows, or understands, and chooses instead to say nothing. It’s always the better option for her.

Right in line with the nothing she likes to give when asked to repeat herself.

“What did you just say?” he asks, frequently.

And upon that type of examination, scarcely anything bears repeating.

Besides, she often feels that the more words she uses, the further she gets from telling the truth.

Today, in bed, he swung a leg over her torso and sat comfortably on her abdomen, looking down at her.

“I’m in the process of monogamizing,” he mentioned, watching her carefully. “In an attempt to dechaos my life.”

“I hope that goes horribly for you,” she responded, without thought.

It surprised him, her saying this.

And somehow that tickled her in a strange way, so that she turned her face to the wall to stifle a giggle.

He bent forward, open palms heavy on her shoulders.

“What’s so funny in there?” he asked, right up close to her ear.

She bit her lip to stop the laughter, and fell into the descent of additional words that made her less honest.

“I’m teasing, B. I just want you to be happy.”

It was such a rote statement, had no meaning.

And she didn’t even notice until he thrust it back on her.

“Do you?” he asked, a menacing quality to his voice as he adjusted his weight to push back into her.

“You just want me to be happy?” This time an exact mimic of her voice.

She closed her eyes. Tried to truly weigh the question as he breathed hot on her face, massaged perfectly the most lonely places inside her.

“Is that what my good girl wants?”

Slightly cruel now. Relentless. Damning in his sexiness.

“No,” she whispered, and felt the unpent freedom of truth.

That is what he does for her. Exposes her lies, heightens her existence.

He’s got the fortitude to match, but his brain is the razor’s edge.

And no, she doesn’t want him to be happy.

Who the fuck would he be to her then?

Life is twisted, gorgeous, and alive.

~

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