My boss looked over smiling “How was your weekend?”
Immediately I began internally monologuing:
Meals cooked – 6
Loads of laundry – 2
Times I laid on the ground so overwhelmed with my own emotions – 5
Tears in church – 26
Moments where I romanticized suicidality – 78 and ½
“It was good, lots of laundry, cooking, and hanging out” with that mask I wear as if it were my own skin.
I am cracking along all my ridges.
Not really inward….
More of a chipping away at the jagged sharp inches of wall I have grown around myself.
I linger in a limbo unsure if this is beneficial or detrimental.
My mind wanders to hours before.
Sitting on the floor in the kid’s room.
Illuminated with the purple glow of the black light they have had for years.
I brushed my hand behind me to clear the book and toy debris from the night before.
Then I feel that same familiar smooth.
Slight indentations where it has worn through the years.
Pulling my knees into my chest.
Sliding it closer.
Cradling myself for a second.
I know it’s THE book.
Even in the darkness.
When Cameron passed his mother was kind enough to bestow fragments of his life into mine.
It’s hard when you’re an addict.
You lose everything and document nothing.
The very few pictures I did have were from the precipice of despair.
One day a very heavy box arrived in Arizona.
I opened it to find books from Cam’s childhood.
Aj squealed with excitement, at four months old this was one of the very best of things.
Plus it came with a box included.
Though Aj never knew Cam their souls are so similar….
Dave was a good man.
He never held my love for Cam against me.
Really Dave was the first to ever watch me grieve.
That grief was so stuffed and deceptive.
Is it irony? Ugh you know what I am saying.
Over the years we have landed on a favorite from our stockpile.
“Red fish, blue fish, Cam fish, You fish” is what we call it.
Even when Dave was alive.
He valued my ability to love beyond time constraints or physicality.
Whether he understood or not.
I have learned since his absence that he accepted me exactly as I was.
When I assumed he would want me to be more ______ he loved me.
In spite of my own self loathing.
Something one seldom experiences.
If you can love me in mania and depression, fits of laughter, tears that seem unending, then that love is pure.
I am not easy.
Back to the book.
There are small rips in certain pages.
Scribbles on others.
I tell myself those were his favorite pages.
So well loved that the paper could barely take it.
And some doodles from a very small man I would grow to love years later.
I remember the night Dave died I grabbed this book.
Curling up with the only thing that felt real in those first few horrific hours.
I left this book in my bed when I moved back to Arizona for months.
My tears have dried in those pages.
When we moved back across the country in late October 2016 I had a panic attack thinking that I had somehow lost it.
For being inanimate this object holds so much for my soul.
I must have focused too much on my walk down memory lane.
Steven and I have an awkward interaction and then he leaves.
We are still learning each other.
The things each one needs or does not in the trying times.
If I were a course on how to relationship it would be doctorate level at this point.
As he walked out the door I felt no deep reaction.
Usually I have to catch my breath.
Steady my footing.
Not this morning.
Just tears dripping.
Aj sitting next to Izzy and I reading “Brown Bear”
So she won’t squirm while I put in her pony.
Another book I hold dear.
I can still hear my husbands voice as he laid in bed tickling and joking with Aj
“I see a green frog… Mama? You ok?”
“Yes baby.” As I smile that smile his little heart knows all too well.
May he not remember this time as I struggle to find solidity.
It takes a strong man to sit in the silence while the one you love suffers in way you are not allowed to touch.
So much of me wants to tell him “I am broken. Fuck I am so broken at this point. And I am sorry.”
He seems to know without me needing to qualify or justify my erratic behavior.
The gratitude I hold for his ability to hold this space of uncertainty while I rummage through is unparalleled.
It is exactly what I need as I maneuver through this cloudy abyss.
“Oh but I’m quite small and I never have it all together
And I’m just a girl who doesn’t have any diamonds or pearls.
But don’t give me your pity ’cause there’s more to life than pretty things
So I’ll just give you me.
Yeah I’ll just give you me.
And I’m not even five foot three” -Five Foot Three (Flannel Graph)