"Are you coming tonight?"
Perhaps there was something wrong with me, in me? Why would I like JD so much and hate his coming to my house? To my space? I knew it was safe, so which was to blame between heart and mind? Why would I want to hear his voice everyday, and everyday switch my phone off just in case he calls? Am I an alien? And then when he kept quiet, was he thinking just the same? Was he thinking about my weird ways or about his? Was he doubting everything about our everything? When the other day he asked if I was okay with us, what sparked that inquisition?
“Are you coming tonight, JD?”
How did it happen; my coming to love the four walls of my house so much? Why did I survive the zip-lining two years ago after the rope cut? Luck? God’s work? Is it fear that had trapped me in the house? “Are you sure you are okay with us, like this?” Why this question again?
“JD, do you know you are the most important…” I started, and do you know why I couldn’t finish it?
I am falling in love and falling with some pain. I am blinded by light overhead. I am screaming, and tearing at the sheets. I am cursing and bleeding. I am pushing the reason out. I am trying. I am seven centimeters dilated and the doctor says, harder. I am trying.
When you first fall in love, isn’t it sweet? Isn’t it sweeter than a sweet? With a person or an activity, or a dog or a red sunset, isn’t it all sweet to love things and love completely? To risk a night out with a mask on your face, to risk death for a hand to hold in the cold, isn’t it a lovely thing? Isn’t it better to feel empowered anyway, whether by the lover, or the dickstraction? When a woman rises from her ashes, and survives a host of viruses that tried to eat up her lungs, and flips through her album reliving memories of the past; diving with dolphins and Saturday game night with friends, and, in flipping, chance upon an old friend, and call the old friend with the self-deceit very clear; ‘we are only friends’, and in a friend find another survivor of a familiar kind of painful regret, and one harmless drink turn to three and a second date: when a woman feels herself aflame with passion that had been buried so deep under cold glances and colder remarks, and in a new fire find herself desiring the burn of his flame, the arrow through the heart, and turns this second date into a sticky trap of feelings and shared glances and guilt pangs rolling in her stomach, and holds the man’s hand while her husband is at work, is it a lie to say that a woman’s heart is big enough to hold love for two, or is it an excuse to continue playing the game of fools?
When he said he’ll be at my house in twenty minutes, what I did next shouldn’t puzzle you, but maybe it will? Don’t you hate it when you hate a situation you love? Don’t you love a good rush? Isn’t that why you go sky-diving? Don’t you love a good man? Isn’t that why you marry him? Do you hate it when I say that I hid all of my husband’s pictures and took off my ring? That I cooked a meal for JD and watched him eat with my husband’s cutlery? That the bed felt too personal so we did it in the kitchen, or do you love that bit? Do you love the idea of my husband coming home three days early from his trip to surprise me and find JD inside me? Do you hate me for causing these two men immense misery?
I am strong like the tides of the sea, I can push this baby. I am a miracle in the act of a miracle happening. I am ten centimeters dilated, and very much near death. I am receding like the water on the shore, and coming back more fiercely than before. I am happy he is finally here to see this, to see his give birth to his.
If you feel sorry for JD, can I let you in on something? He knew everything, and what you can’t imagine, is that he was happy with my being married because isn’t that ‘the man’s dream’? To ‘hit it’ with no responsibilities? To love secretly? If you feel sorry for my husband, can I surprise you a little? He knew nothing, but three weeks before, he’d filed for divorce and told me nothing, for isn’t a perfect family the dream, to try your best and uphold it? A never ending union till death do we part? A responsibility (to who really?) to show stability is real, marriage works, look at us all in love and all that? Perhaps to try and fight for something real in a crumbling society or perhaps to ourselves individually to counteract our own difficult experiences with our parents/guardians? What if, eventually, life means nothing, our hurting, our dreams and vivid ambitions, our lovers and cuisines and songs we make up to relieve heartbreak? What if the tragedy is you die and then nothing, like love that’s ended tragically and years later called nothing? What if stars aren’t stars at all, but holes poked at the top of a container so we can breathe, and that’s why we wish on them and get nothing?
I am wet with sweat, full with a barrel of love for who I am holding in my hands. I am somewhere between dizzy and overwhelmed, cradling a gallon of hope, and a pinch of laughter spreads around the room when she farts. I am smiling a teary smile because she has marked her territory upon my chest, but unbeknown to her, she has only illuminated what was already present. I am enveloped in the arms of my family after he walks in. I am being reminded that there are many different stages of growth in one’s life, that it is okay to outgrow the skydiver if she no longer fits in your shoes, that a week at home does not mean you are suddenly unwanted by your friends, that submission into temptation can awaken a stagnant part of your past into cataclysmic action and tear apart the very fabric of your life and emotional health, and bankrupt your mental wealth. I am fighting against the invisible darkness in my head, against the starless sky, and my tears are mixed with love and grief.
If you want me to tell you one true thing about loving two men, can you take these few words to your grave? One will hate you, the other will hate you too but want you still, and everyone will hate themselves, but do you know what’s funny in all of this? Do you know that the expectation for consistency expires a relationship most quickly? That for better or worse carries inside its waves a, ‘I never thought you had this in you’? What if stars really mean nothing? Is JD smiling down at me from the sky? Forgive and say I love you, believe and be thankful, trust and speak kindly, apologize and search for the stillness of water in a cup when angry, the flow of the river in living, laugh out loud on restless and patience-filled days, burst in all your colors like spring, do you know you are much more than this? What didn’t kill me killed JD, is that our slice of pain? Pain I can’t shed, knowing in a couple of years your face will begin to blur, and God forbid in months; can you imagine a horror like that?
Baby girl, I love you so much, that is why I leave you alone with nanny, for my well is deep, dark and dungy. Why? Has there been scarcity? Why? Does runneth over flow just a little too wildly? Why? Is it a bland something, a dull nothing? Why? Is it painful risk? Why is heartbreak like this? Why? Is this my choosing or just the life I happen to be living? Why so many why's with answers I keep on missing? Am I living by purpose or chance? I am grabbing on to every branch or waking up, sometimes in time, to grab hold of something? As I’m holding on to my baby, in silent nights by her crib under the moonlight, I find I am mindless, questionless, hateless, seekless, lawless, mother and beast wrapped up in blankets and an endlessness of a loving feeling, and here I ask one thing, “How can I have more of this?”
You know how it is in the social media streets, right? One minute left, next far right under @user321, and the other, ‘why are we letting a cursed woman live among us?” When your back is against a spear of hate from the mass, because first it was JD, and then it was my husband, you yourself begin to wonder about your supposed miracle heart and why would you assume you are anything more than ordinary, anything less than cursed? And when you remind yourself, “You are strong for your baby,” you think about the missing angels, their wasted potential, their replacement, and you wonder why that is; why you’re the ball that’s always being kicked in the field, and then you feel guilty because you are alive and they are not, you have moved on but are stuck and other tragic magic tricks like that, and then you think, ‘Is love a curse?’ Have our forefathers lied to us? And then you try to fill the cries of the baby and the absent night of the new daddy, and you crave a holiday alone so badly, somewhere on an island grand and lonely, somewhere removed from noise and grandiosity; a simplicity the city cannot carry except island living; where the cell signal is low and the wind is billowing around your cottage, but every time you want a piece to yourself, something inside you whispers about your unworthiness, you doubt your magnificence, your compassionate motherhood, and in all this, isn’t love innocent? Your authentic self did not take the plunge when you left the feather of the extroverted ways laying flightless and silent, I have closed my eyes with rest and am resisting the resistance of change, what more can you tell me about Maya Angelou and growing chia seeds at home?
For every viral attack I survive, I lose a love of my life; is sticking around fair enough, and fair for who or mostly whom? Love is something that revives, until it dies, in which time flies as danger flashes everywhere, don’t the gods care?
I am trying to be loving. I am not trying to forget anything about our everything my darlings. I am also a daddy now as much as I am a mummy, and baby girl is flowering into a child that likes the mud and the running around, the kind that might fall in love with skydiving. I am shocked everyday by the so many broken promises to ourselves and others. I am not objecting about the weight of my grief over my relationships’ back after losing you two in a five months span. I am weak when I think about it. I am weaker still when I think about the ghosts of that year, their presence in my shadow, and their facial lines which I thought would blur, grow clearer and clearer each day. I am daddy and mommy, I repeat. I can’t leave my child with nothing. I am not nothing myself in my thirties, in my forties, in my fifties, my child must become something, greater, more disciplined, more open, something at sixty? My life couldn’t have been for nothing…heaven, if you can hear me? I am cursed and calling still, for your ears are everywhere at the same time always.
What if stars aren’t stars at all, but holes poked at the top of a container so we can breathe, and that’s why we wish on them and get nothing?