I dream I am peering over the edge of a dangerous precipice, I lay on my belly nose in the grass, and look through the cracks in the black and fertile earth and see far down below into nothing. I am waiting here in this grassy area beneath a tall apartment building, my daughter is younger not by much, and we are waiting to take her on a ride of some fantastical dinosaur like creatures, when we get up to pay they tell me we must go to the large local chain of grocery stores to purchase the tickets. I send my ex husband off to get them.
And then he is not returning, and she has disappeared, and I am in a deep pit which I have somehow dug for myself that I cannot get out of, I cry out for help and he refuses to come. I am scrabbling with my hand to get out and suddenly discover a deck of cards we all buried a few years ago as part of some game with the Japanese Californian Punk, and the Willow Witch. The are pig cards and they oink when I touch them. I am crying in the dream.
And then I feel the softness of his big masculine hand on my backside. I wake.
In the darkness I curl up against him, my face against the long soft strands of his beard, he smells manly not of cologne or chemicals but like a man who works, like a man who washes before he comes to bed, like a man who loves nature. When I am with you, I am home, I say to him. Oh shut up, he replies but he cuddles in a little tiny bit closer and I can feel him smiling though my eyes are closed. Sometimes when I am teasing him, or when I feel a lot of love for him, I look at him and I can see this smile in his eyes, but not on his mouth.
I remember suddenly, like stepping from a small wood stove heated room out into a frigid well below zero windy night. I remember how he planned to leave me, but didn’t tell me, until he had left. How he surprised me with it. How could he do that to me? I ask God, how could You? How looking back I see all that I missed, but knew, how he denied the questions to my face, again and again. I feel the smart of tears on my eyes as I turn my face to the wall.
He is turned already so now we are back to back. I sniffle and after a moment he turns again and I feel his feet brush up against mine, and his hand on my backside through the weight of the blankets, I scootch back against him and he puts his strong biceps tight against me, holding me firmly. We say nothing and although I think I am awake for the remainder of the night or rather the pre-dawn, I wake only after the sun is up.
Later, in church, my hand on his arm and his arm pressed firmly against his side, I whisper, I like the church in Celebration alot better than this one. Me too he says. He says the Apostles Creed, but I do not. I cannot profess to a belief that I do not have, I will not as some philosopher once said, fake it, just in case. But I come here with him, because I don’t mind it, and I love that from time to time he wants to be here. He has gone up to take communion and I close my eyes. I like Zen better, its quieter, and I can think. But here with my eyes closed I ask again. Why did you have to hurt me this much? What purpose did it serve? Couldn’t we have fought like cats and dogs? Couldn’t he have expressed more strongly how unhappy he was? Couldn’t he have done something besides lie again and again to protect me from the truth? Couldn’t there have been some overt something? Why did it have to hit me so hard? Why did I dig myself into that hole so damn deep? And damn him. Damn him. Damn him.
Later in the hot tub, I ask him, if you were not happy, would you wait to tell me, would you not give me any notice, would you hide your plans to kick my ass out? I feel the long hurt of it as I wait for his answer it is like a million years are passing. Of course you would know I wasn’t happy, he says. I would never do that to you. I mean, I say, if you are not happy, just tell me. He is quiet for moment. I would be happier if you cleaned the stove top. Ok, I say, so that is all it takes for you to kick my ass out is something so small. Yeah, he says. But I am not sure still, I am afraid. And I know he has not made any kind of commitment to me, and really, I could be homeless next week.
After about five minutes I say, when was the last time you looked at the stove? This morning, he answers. Oh, I say, ok. Did you clean it while I was killing zombies? Yeah, I answer, I pretty much did. He laughs.
You know he says, coming over to me, wrapping his arms around me and kissing my cheek and chin 20 times, I am happy. I love you, I say really quiet and I am not sure he has heard it over the sound of his kisses, the water and Joss Stone’s pipes. I love you too he says really softly back.