Posted by: alegra22 | March 20, 2013

again and again

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Where do I start?

Do I start with shoving my hip against our king-sized bed in frustration?

Piling clothes and blankets up like a growing mountain of all the things that don’t get put away unless I remain their diligent caretaker…the guardian of an endlessly multiplying array of things.

The small and broken.

The small and precious.

The small and only valuable for the attention my children give to them.

Do I say: I was trying to give my husband more time…I was trying to be a good wife and mother…but then my jaw started clenching, I started cleaning in that intense, focused way that I clean, when there is something else building inside of me.

I told him, “I need to get my assignments done tonight.”
He said, “Yep, I’m almost done.”
And then two hours passed.

The bed remains in the middle of the room. I was looking for a missing Tree-of-Life earring my mother sent me. It seemed particularly important, considering that my father told me tonight that my mother’s secondary cancer has been upgraded to cancer with a capital C. We spent a brief and superficial amount of time on skype processing the leukemia plus extra cancer.

My father and I take this sort of information to our private corners.

We process in our own way.

Do I say this to my husband?
Do I say, “Please, I need time. I need quiet. I need words.”

No.

I grit my teeth and throw things around and pick up the bodies of crickets from beneath the bed. I have a narrative unfurling in my mind about the cricket cemetery we have been sleeping above.

I find coins from all over the world. They’ve left marks in the carpet.

Beneath the stories I’m telling myself, I want to complain. Throw a tantrum.

I want to say to my beloved husband and best friend, “Our castle crumbles if I’m not patting the walls back into place and I don’t want to always be the one beating a flat-handed rhythm against our walls.”

At the point my heart begins to curl into a tight fist, Dan pulls himself away from the computer, and as soon as he is disconnected, he is there.

He is present in the way I needed him to be hours ago.

I know he can’t help the rhythm of his mind, the way it focuses, the time it takes to translate thoughts into sentences into emails.

I grab my glass of wine, balance my laptop, and Belicia weaves through my feet as I make my way down to the studio.

I sit with Belicia curled up beneath my feet and I find myself nurtured and disorientated by the quiet, the orderliness of this space that is almost all mine.

Where do I begin?

My children stampede through my mind.

Sol and his new tendency to walk around in a shirt and Spiderman undies because ‘it makes him comfortable’, and his constant request that I play basketball with him; these invitations into his life when I’m pulled in the direction of his brother and sister and father and the need to bring more money into all of our lives…all of it makes me squint as he walks away down the hallway, skinny legs leading up into a body that is beginning to look more and more like the teenager that will turn into a man.

Where do I begin?

With the student and her hair twirled between her fingers?

The way her eyes lit up when I walked over to her?

The way she quickly moved her backpack from the seat next to her and began looking for a pen and paper to lend to me…the shy smile…the small moments of honesty.

These sacred offerings we hand to one another without even realizing what we are doing.

Where do I begin?

I begin with the moment Dan trails his fingers along my spine before I head down to the studio.

I begin with the way he makes me feel beautiful because he sees me as I describe my third day at practicum… he really sees me, and he says, “Babe, I’m so proud of you. I knew you would fall in love with teaching.”

I begin with my children swarming around me, climbing up me, claiming me, tugging on me, surrounding me in everything and anything that will hold my attention for just a moment.

I begin with dreams of sharks; with dreams of their power sketched along my torso; slowly transforming into an ally not a predator.

I begin…

…and I begin again.

Again and again.

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