Aside 18 Feb

Last night the lights from Manhattan back-lit a cobalt sky, illuminating creamy clouds skittering across the skyscape. I walked alone the length of several blocks to meet my husband for dinner at our favorite Italian place. It was cold – temperatures in the low 20s – and I walked staring up at the night sky because that’s where I look for you now. You are the moon and the stars; the inky sky and black tree branches criss-crossing it; you are the shadows of the geese flying south, more heard than seen; you are the airplane lights blinking blue, white, red and disappearing into the distance; you are the moon and the stars and I carry you with me.

I was bundled up against the February weather, weighed down by layers and my heaviest wool coat, but my steps felt light as I recalled the time, after a marathon session in bed, I was demonstrating my forward flip skills on the bed. I can hear you laughing as I jumped higher and higher, gaining the necessary height to perform my flip for you. It took me three times, but I finally nailed it – landing on my feet before dropping down beside you. I turned my head toward you, my nose almost touching yours, and you were laughing and crying at the same time.

“This is everything I want and can not have.” you said.

And then I was bathed in the warm light of the Italian restaurant and searching the tables for my husband.

 I was always better than you at this, navigating the realities of our double lives – fully inhabiting my role in the lives of two men. You, though…you occupied a sometimes haunted existence in between N and me. It was like that right from the beginning. Sometimes you were better at handling it that at other times, but it was always a struggle.

June 3, 1997

I think I am not resilient enough to play the game that, I admit, I started. I’m feeling things too deeply for the casual flirting and fun I’d originally hoped for. Finding you has made me unable to be content with my life here. It has made what I thought was a comfortable fit – one that I could live with – suddenly cling and strangle me like a straight-jacket. I neither have you nor have my life and live these days somewhere in between. It is a lonely spot – and the vista is largely barren and unbroken, almost lulling and I think, “Yes, I might linger here forever.” You are all the forbidden fruits and the promises that were never kept. You are the long night with a soft breeze – and the hot sun driving me into the shade – telling me it is more “sensible” to snooze – to wait this out and all these wild divergent emotions will pass. But I have been asleep a long, long time and another side of me wants so badly to wake up.  And if this doesn’t sound conflicted enough….i love you madly. You are such a rare and precious gem, K, that I just thank the nearest gods and goddesses for bring your life in touch with mine. You are a constant source of energy and inspiration – the most beautiful thought I entertain each day – the sweetest, most luscious hope I cherish for every tomorrow. I couldn’t, even by design, create a woman more perfect for me in all respects.

Should I have let you go? Are you angry with me, I’ve wondered. Before settling on the night sky, I looked for signs of you everywhere. A few weeks after you died, when I was still feeling very raw, I was sleeping late and I was alone. I woke up – or at least I think I did – believing that we were having another east coast earthquake. My bed was shaking so hard that it was difficult for me to actually roll over and sit up. I was grabbing at the pillows and sheets, trying get out of the bed and run to safety and then it stopped. I picked up my phone, checking facebook for posts about an earthquake…but nothing.

Was that you, angry in spirit? Did I make it impossible to be fully present even in death? You were so sick in the end, but it’s become clear to me now that you were making preparations for your death, covering your trail. And from the letter Jason gave me, it’s also clear that you were terrified that I could not handle this.

I know you worried about me a lot – I hate that you had to do so on your deathbed.

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