The phone rings, I do not recognize the number, but when the woman begins speaking I know exactly who she is. She is nervous and apologetic but I am myself wanting to put her at ease, as open as a french door with gauze curtains in the summer breeze. Always. We speak of the slow retreat of life to death, the small treasure of generations passing one on to the next, the desire, the will to heal rifts that are bitter wounds. I plead my case with a kind of deep sadness that I know I cannot convey the depth of both my guilt and culpability, and also my pity and frustration. She speaks of standing in my defense, the life that has not grown up, the life of not taking the responsibility necessary to do what is right. Odd that it comes when the current events of my life, the constant questioning is so strong. Like gravity in a dark star. I struggle so.
Later as I am processing the old gloves, and shoes and jewelry and thinking of the blackened face of a raggedy ann, and thinking of books read and unread and of the slow shrinking of the body the crippling effects of scoliosis and the years lost to a bitter feud that leaves me always exhausted. When will my view be seen? For I have seen the other point, and yet still I am left with nothing but pity for it is view as though of a hairy spider, lots of eyes, emerging from under some dark thing, but it is not truth, though it is defended like a dragon at it’s lair. And my own view, the one that says I could not support a child and a man. Even though I did another man. The one that says, I will not raise a child with drugs and alcohol and eating out of dumpsters. The one that says why could you have not been a man when I was full of baby? Why could you have not been a man even despite our agreements, why couldn’t you be a man when I needed you in my darkest hour? Why must you always live in pride of your poverty of spirit, your poverty of existence, can you not see how your strict adherence to this poverty of heart has left you bereft of all you could have had?
I tell her of the struggles she has with abandonment. The struggles that echo in my own life. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride? Always the cool chick, never the one you fall hopelessly in love with? Always the evil one who has wronged you, when my own heart breaks a thousand times a thousand. Always the one sitting on the front step in the darkness, the cool breeze blowing, I turn to my right and wish for a companion to be seated beside me. Day upon day night upon night, the lonely days the lonely nights. I am content as a grasshopper lands on the lit doorway, as a lady bug lights on my arm a sign of good luck and then lifts its beetle wings in the darkness and flies away. But I want to rest my head on a strong shoulder and comment on the clicking of the bats, and how quiet it is as the cicadas rest. Who do I turn to? I am left alone. I think of the footsteps prayer and wonder if God really is by my side, if he knows that my heart is in love. As usual he has made my heart too big. I cannot hate him for it. I can only chastise myself for falling and not being brave enough to admit it. I can only sit in the breezy night with my beer and wish for a person who cared enough for me to show up at my door in a surprise, to call me on the off days and tell me that they miss me. To put their arm around me as I rest my head here. And whom does she turn to? She has never really had anyone but me. And look at me? What is to be seen here? I know I am a good mom, a good woman, strong and brave and smart and creative and kind and generous and hardworking but for some reason it isn’t enough. Just as for her, it wasn’t enough to be born, it wasn’t enough to ask and not receive, it is not enough for her to be expected to know and obey the will and whim of another and yet the expectation exists. And still in the end it is her that is fatherless, or full of would be fathers who will not pick up the slack. Not for her, nor apparently for me.
She is far away in the arms of her love. I am here with my grasshoppers and bats and lady bugs and other flying insects, sirens blaring in the once quiet night, and then naked in my bed with a tear on my cheek.
I open my hands to the heavens. I know. I know. Do not do with the expectation of result. Ask you shall receive but be careful what you do ask for. Be patient. Accept what you have. Be thankful. A lifetime of doing this and not asking for results. And yet still, a yearning for companionship. Companionship that doesn’t come, or only comes sometimes, on someone else’s terms. Never on mine.
I feel so so so sad. This phone call has left me feeling like melted ice in a heat dried dusty lawn. God please talk to me. Tonight. I really could use your advice. And I really could use the strength of you carrying me for a little while. Because right now, I am pretty sure, no one else really cares to. It is the long and unending story of my life.
This is so much to process, particularly when I am so spectacularly alone.