Oh how she grows and changes at every turn, how her limbs and spine lengthen or shrink depending on her conditions, and how we love, or try to love, her inability to rest, that great instigator of drama, and trauma, and pain and tears, which then rise from her in great lunatic waves of laughter and the tiny girl she is erupts, once again, from the form of woman that houses her.
Even though loving sometimes leads to pulling our own hair or pounding on the chests of men or hiding out in bathtubs or staring directly at the salesgirl as we unapologetically steal something pretty for her.
Only to rise the next morning and watch her take such jubilant and adoring care of children. Breezy. As if nothing happened.
“You are the least inhibited person I know,” he tells me, as a way, I think, to try to make me feel better about my behavior last night. “My kids will never again have exposure to a woman like you.”
He kisses my neck and rubs my hair. Oh how well he loves me.
“I love you so much,” he whispers. A beautiful mantra, although at times I wonder if my relaxing into him is like opening the tent doors wide on the circus of the insane.
Historically, I develop my character only to outgrow it, or to become bored or saddened by the plot. At which point I start all over. Rifle through wardrobe and try on a different man, among other things.
But this time, my character just keeps gaining momentum. Almost as if there’s a character arc at play. Almost as if we’re delving further and further into a, well, a me.
This the result of having one man as a constant. Not just any man. One highly specialized man. One highly specialized man and his constant provocation, which he thinks goes unnoticed but doesn’t.
“What’s going on in here?” he asks, sliding open the shower door last night to find me curled up on the bottom of the tub.
“I just feel better in here,” I tell him. For whatever reason, the top half of my body has that overwhelming longing to cry. I raise a hand and slide the shower door back into place.
It’s the middle of the night. We’re on a ski vacation with the kids. There was an unfinished argument that lit up my brain with the unsystematic madness of a thousand fireflies while he slept.
“Come to bed,” he quietly requests.
He is still for a minute, then leaves. I try to force the tears to get out of my body so my chest won’t hurt like this.
Soon he returns, with blankets and pillow. Cozies up on the floor next to the toilet.
“What are you doing?” I ask, alarmed, sitting up in the tub.
“Going to sleep.”
“What? You can’t sleep there!”
Already he looks obscenely comfortable. Eyes closed. He’s very good at sleeping.
“No,” I say. Reach out an arm and prod him. “You can’t sleep there! What if the kids come in? What will they think?”
“Shhh. Lie back down,” he instructs.
“You’re acting crazy!” I tell him, sidling clumsily out of the tub and taking all of his blankets, yanking the pillow out from under his head.
“Get up!” I demand, and guide us back to the bedroom, where I’ll hold onto him tightly.
“By the way, I see what you did there,” I want to tell him, when everything stops hurting. But don’t.
I have no idea what he gets out of it, the development of this me character. I swear at her core there might end up being something much too terrifying and surreal for either of us to handle, so I try to be gracious in my offering of outs.
“Let’s keep going. See what we find,” his wide and oddly easy smile responds.
Maybe he wants film rights.