I am thoughtful about the lies people tell themselves and tell to others and how there are tells that let you know when something doesn’t ring true, it is like an instinct. I think sometimes that when I feel insecure it is because there are tells, and over the long term of that wrecked relationship what I began to accept as normal, undermined my confidence, undermined my sense of well being, though I could never quite put my finger on it. I always knew something was not right, he always told me I was crazy, and needed help. I really didn’t. I was just seeing clearly and he didn’t want me to.
But in the now I find my mind drifting to the tells I am seeing. A heart shaped venison sausage pattie, the softly whispered words in the dark, when the teasing gets too brutal and I insist he say something nice, the you look beautiful in the light of the setting sun. I want to believe these are my tells. But I have a tell of my own. As I step up to my door to unlock it, the pumpkins and jack o lanterns shining in the porch light I know that I am still so afraid, I fear rejection, that somehow I will not be good enough. Though I am certain of myself, I am uncertain of the other. And that uncertainty makes me feel squirmy and uncomfortable.
The following is an excerpt from a private journal entry:
He baits my hook for me, though I have dug night crawlers from the muddy soil on many a rainy night. His golden eyes sparkling and skin crinkling up as he teases me in hushed voice. The evening is silent, we cannot even hear cars, all I hear is the rustling of some animal across the road in the wooded and rocky area there. The stream is quiet, the current is soundless. When he hooks a fish at the culvert that passes under the main road, I can hear it flopping and that is how I know he has caught one. I turn and look at him, and he gives me a thumbs up. I stand and watch my bobber bobbing. Nothing. I fumble with the reel, that I am familiar with but have never used. I keep making rookie mistakes. I get my line caught under the bridge and in the weeds. I keep calling his name, helpless which of course annoys me and I worry that it will annoy him too. I thought you said you had fished before? I have I whisper, but its been thirty years, and I used a different kind of reel. You mean the idiot proof kind where the line is enclosed? Yep. That’s the one, I say. The night is getting colder but I am warm under the worn, and slightly musty smelling camo jacket he has given me. I kiss him and he tells me my face is cold. He shows me the deer tracks in the sand along the edge of the road. As the night falls and it gets darker and darker he catches a second fish. They are not terribly big and he tries to save the first one, but the fish won’t swim and he throws it in the creel instead, the second added to it would be big enough to feed us both, if we were the only ones eating. As we get in the truck to go, I tell him, this is the good life right here. As he guts the fish in the stream that runs near the house, I am telling my friend that when I am with him fishing, I feel like I am home. I am grinning and my cold cheeks feel warm in the wood stove heated house. It is my fault we didn’t fish in Lake Champlain first thing in the morning, and he is annoyed by it, but I wish he could see inside my memories, and in my heart and the feelings I have fishing here on the bridge in the darkening night. I almost wish I had a bicycle to ride back to the house, or that there was a smell of Seagram’s 7, gingerale and pot roast in the house when I got home.
There is the tell of my own heart, I keep coming back to it, he feels like family.
And though I do not want to let him go, I realize that non-attachment and comfort with the uncertainty is key for me right now. I cannot trust my tell, nor his tells. I am having a hard time trusting my instincts. I am having a hard time trusting that I will be good enough, not because I am not, but because I know how people judge.
It is freezing in my house, the cat leaned against the cold heater and meowed at me, I know I say, give it a minute. My nose is cold and the dog is cuddled up close. And two of the three cats are suffering each others company because this is the warmest room at the moment. I feel a kind of peace, and at the same time a kind of deep irritability. I do not know yet what this feeling is.