Around the time of that last haircut this piece was written. This numbness persisted until the fight to the surface began on the Singlestream.
Morning walks with Julius and Lola are becoming a little haven in my day. The evening walks are different – a part of my routine of chores – and I’m begging Lola pleasepleasePLEASE just pop a squat. But in the mornings the sun has been rising early and by the time I’m out there with them hell bent and arrow straight on their taut little leashes the cool of night is a whispering ghost and the air is moist with the breath of summer. In the shade of the odd little tree on the walking circle the smell of rain lingers and the dew lines are cut clearly by the bright sun spots. The dogs focus on the task at hand – Julius smelling and then obliterating every marking of every other stud with yellow streams and Lola’s special mission of pulling till she chokes with the odd burst of speed after a wild chicken.
In between the poop stops I wake up in increments. I wave at the neighbor who seems to have the same dog walk programmed into his smart phone. The dreams of the night before shake out with each sleep-heavy step like dust. I fight the creaking knees to bend and pick up the odd spot and my mind wonders.
It is on these walks in recent days that I have come to realize that I have no fantasies.
From my experience and in the experience of every woman who has shared pieces of her life with me I have concluded that a woman is driven by love. As a child she dreams of Cinderella dresses and glows at the thought that a handsome someone will think her beautiful and want her for his princess. As a teenager she struggles with the fight between her innocence and fear and the messages of society that tell her that with inch of skin she reveals she shall be repaid in love. As a young woman she will go to sleep at night re-living the attentive conversation of a nice man looking for clues and snuggle warm into her fantasies of what could happen if he were to turn out to be “the one”.
And so it is easy to feel myself somewhere in the neighborhood of the shadow of death to feel no thrill and to find no fantasy waiting at the end of the day to rock me to sleep…
Have I finally taken the bullet square in the chest by my last heartbreak that I have been taken off the battlefield entirely? Has the last healthy nerve ending been soldered off so completely that nothing and no one has the power to move me? Is this God’s answer to my prayers that “if it is not Your will for me Father please take away the desire”?
If so, it has come with more pain than I imagined. I imagined a clean break and inner peace. Now not only do I feel the void created by loves lost but by the loss of the ability to love itself. The death of the idea, if this is in fact what it really is, is infinitely worse.
Perhaps it is more like a coma. I think I would prefer to believe that. It must be! Death would leave a ghostless void wouldn’t it? Not an echoing chamber of voices and photographs of loving moments frozen in time. The heart still has its ears. Isn’t hearing the last sense to go? Isn’t that why families hold on to hands with desperate grip and pour out their souls’ secrets to their loved ones laying white in hospital bed and gown with the only sign of life the beeping of a monitor?
The heart hears still. It is frozen, waiting, listening for words warm enough to melt, real enough to slice, and strong enough to last forever. The lock on it’s casing has a code that only one other soul should know and many thieves may attempt to simulate. Many will speak to it, beg it, cajole it to no avail. Like Excalibur it waits for one hand – the right hand – to dip into the icy stone and pry it free.
I much prefer this to the thought of a death of a piece of me. I suppose the preference is in itself evidence of some truth to it.
Meanwhile the empty moments before sleep are not filled with fantasies. They are not hopeful and trembling, not listless and lusting. They have no images of smiling faces and quiet moments and beating hearts. No sounds of sweet nothings. Memories have been completely banished from these moments – they are even more painful. The minutes passing are simply… empty. For a few days now they have weighed heavy and empty – so heavy in fact that I am moved to fill them with wine and company or stories of “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men”.
Is this what you would have me do?
Deep down, after passing through the flailing of a despairing brain short now of balance from its emotional counterpart, after passing through the stress barrier of the demands of my work and of my life obligations, past the frozen silence of my nighttime moments and the dew spots of my morning walks, under all that sits the knowledge that this is a time with a purpose. It has to be.
Every moment of despair in my years has been used by my Father to prepare me. He has used childhood grief to bring reason to my life even if from the strange starting point as a vehicle through which my dying friend could live vicariously. He has used failure to open doors that success would have persuaded me to ignore. He has used heartbreak as an earthquake to move me from a place of danger into safety. Illness has been the medicine used to bring me back to spiritual health. Loss has brought me moments of intangible and incalculable wealth. This knowledge is my foundation, my rock bottom, a low past which he will not have me go. It is the hand in which my world rests and as deep as I dig I will only go this low and no lower than his hand. This emptiness too must have a purpose…
Today, with a cup of coffee in one hand, the sheen of the morning’s walk on my brow and the dogs sat by my feet still panting after coolness, I am praying for guidance. I cannot see the map but I will take instructions from Your satellite navigation system. Turn me right, bear me left, teach me, stretch me, trim me, make me. Serve through me. I will trust You to fill my emptiness.
Be my Fantasy.
- Flashback I: Truth and the Shell
- Flashback II: Julius
- Flashback III: For my Daughter
- Flashback IV: Little Favors