My bedroom, my bed, my comforter, me like a burrito, windows open, crisp air, already autumn in New York. Shhhh. Rest now little one, let your cares float away.
Yoga. Surprise, the wrong teacher becomes the right teacher, yes. The ego is loud, and obnoxious and annoying and you don’t have to listen to it. No. I am me, I am a bird flying over me. I am not who I was five years ago. No. I am not. No. I am not.
I miss you sometimes. I miss your smile, I miss your silly dance, the intense way you looked at me, the way you read aloud to my daughter, the way we read Anna Karenina together, the way you were before you got too big for your britches, the way you were when you saw me as a gift, the way you jumped the fence to hug me, the way you cried when I flew away, the way your eyes melted my heart, the way you gave up everything to be with me.
I float on the water, or more precisely explore the reeds and rushes in the shallow edges of this woebegone lake. A heron flies away before I get too close. Two turtles make love, turning slowly over and over on each other, until they see me watching them. They look embarrassed. And the Loch Ness monsters flip away as I paddle over them. Their giant striped bodies undulating under the thin hull of my carbon fiber boat, I feel them, on my bottom, sliding, giant ugly things. Last year someone caught a 41 inch Muskie from this place. Two women sunning on kayaks stop to talk to me. I hate my ugly life vest. I wish it were purple.
I sleep with the light on sometimes, ever since you left. I don’t know why. Especially now when I just don’t care anymore, when I am not the person you left anymore.
Yoga the right teacher. After we talk, I tell him how happy I was to live in the quiet solitary woods. Not to say I was alone, because I wasn’t, but when I was, I cherished it, adored it, loved it. I see surprise on his wrinkled and spotted face, so youthful, and yet showing his age, his impish smile and sparkling intelligent eyes. He tells me of backpacking alone in the wilderness where my uncle was born, of not wanting to return, and the surprise, that we are kindred, that we are alike in this way, a thing he did not know of me, nor I of him even after all these years, and friendship.
They sit across from me, shoulder to shoulder, as long as you are not behaving, he says in a co-dependent manner. Ha. I say. I am so not co-dependent. So not. Not even close. I am fully cognizant of my choices, of where I am and what I am doing. You can be alone, he instructs me, even in the company of others. Oh sweetheart, I say. I know that. Oh. Don’t I know that? He of course is at the gun show for the millionth time, and I am with men who know how lucky they are to have worked through the times that IN love was a challenge, buoyed by just plain love. Isn’t it funny how I don’t have any problem doing my own thing, going my own way and waving as he goes off to do his?
Kateri Teckawitha, I say, I cannot even pray, because I don’t even know what I want. Or I do, but I don’t know how to sustain it. But anyway, thank you for what you did for my daughter. Thank you. Thank you.
Hot tub. Me, wishing to get out, now that my limbs are warm. The music is so loud it hurts my sinus infected head which is dripping from the steam. My heart is pounding, I am a million miles away. I am on my haunches ready to spring, like an animal, like prey.
Do you know what it is like to sustain this? How hard it is, truly hard it is to make the choice to live alone, and that is what it will be, alone, because I will never put myself through this punishment again. Do you know this? That my ego tells me things, like you are so fat, you are a stupid fuck, you are a lazy piece of shit, you are ugly, you are not worthy of being loved, you are not worthy of time or attention. SHUT THE FUCK UP.
I love myself, you see, I do, this girl who makes herbal salves, this girl who paints driftwood for hours, stroke by stroke, this girl who knits until her fingers ache, this girl who throws the boat on the car and goes, this girl who would rather be in the woods than in this stinking place. This girl who is a great cook, this girl who recycles, this girl who loves her dog so much, this girl who cries, and laughs and talks in her sleep, and does yoga and rides her bike while reading a book eschewing television, this girl who loves star trek, and doctor who, this mama llama, this everything and nothing.
I do not love my ego though, my God, it will not shut up.
He climbs into my bed, and promptly falls asleep, taking up 2/3rds of the bed. He snores loudly, and grunts and farts and moans in his sleep. Not to say I don’t have my own animal noises, but to say instead that he is like my ego, keeping me from rest, trapping me in place, what if I feel sick from the chicken, what if I have to pee, what if I need my joyful cocktail of benedryl and melatonin? Oh please, I say, wake up, I have to take medication to sleep here, with you. He goes to his own room leaving the light on. An hour later I am still awake. Thinking of my ego. Thinking of the lesson. Listening to the sounds of cars on the street, and an airplane off there, flying in the dark.
And now I have nothing more to say.
Except this: Clark Reservation used to be a sanctuary to me. I haven’t been there in a year. I miss it. Can you please ask her to let me go back, to please leave me to it. Let me have this one small place. Because I really do need it, way more than she does.
And I dreamed of you last week, and I finally remembered why I loved you, and I stopped being angry, and in the dream, and for once, I didn’t even ask why you left me, but I told you this, you were my best friend, and I really believed you and I were meant to love each other for the rest of our lives, and it crushed me when you left.
But I am okay. Really. Really. And I actually don’t even think of you every minute or every hour, or every day any more. I only think of you now and then. Sometimes I am surprised how long I go between thoughts of you, driving, in the car, I think, oh my God its been days and days. What a relief. What a relief.
This place is a sanctuary. This place, this place inside me. This place. Inside me.