Thursday, August 13, 2009

cruel summer


It is strange to be sad during the summer. The sky here in California is as brightly scrubbed and fresh faced as my daughter's, the sun is hot and sweet on my face and shoulders, my freckles bloom despite sunblock, my children laugh, fight, grow, the kittens pee in the corner and clap flies between their paws, the dogs pant and leave trails of slimy water through the kitchen, Bruce sings on the radio. I can see all this. I lay next to Lola tonight and her delicate boned, minature arms wrapped round my neck and ribs, her mouth above my nose so that I could smell her honeysuckle breath, her little feet pressed against my thighs. I felt my heart pound in it's suspension, against the rib cage, the same formation of arteries and nerves and electical impulses that is failing my friend Cathy. Congestive Heart Failure- her diagnosis. It's terrible. I am afraid to write more in case...what if she finds this one day? I have known her five years. She has given Lola stuffed toys from her children's childhoods, complimented Dakota on his height and good looks, passed on shirts to Mr. Curry. She in her early fifties and found out one week before her hospitalization that her daughter is pregnant with Cathy's first grandchild. She has irritated me, frustrated me and been irritated and frustrated in her own right, and I have worked with her for five years, day in , day out, eating lunches, telling jokes, coming to work in silence or in smiles, picking up trash, complaining about aches, burping and hugging and changing and loving babies, five years. The passage of time alone is enough to bond me to someone. That is how I am. For five years we shared the same air and the same molecules and the same sunlight and rainstorms and fatigue and laughter and ' here take this baby she spit up all over me'.


I come home and I am exhausted. I lay down and sleep, a half hour, three hours. I wake, eat a little, read with Lola, play with Lola, miss the boys at camp, lay down with Lola. Mr. Curry is different right now. He is in the place he goes where I do not understand even the look on his face. Everytime this happens I am reminded of the mystery of marriage. We are bound together not just because we love each other but because we share our children, our dogs, cats, our past, our present, our future, promises, loss, hope, secrets. Most of the time these connections are a haven. When things get like this, those connections are exhausting. I wish for a break, to be more individual, to be disconnected for a while, maybe just to be a mother, like when I was single and raising Dakota, or just a woman. Just me. I pull back, I wait. I try to take care of myself, I take care of my children, the pets, the house, go to work. When the evening comes his mood is worse, has more of a shimmering, vibrating quality: I can feel it prowling in the house. Everytime this happens I am reminded of the mystery of the mind. I can feel it and I know if the wrong thing happens- if the cat jumps on him, or the kids make a huge, unauthorized mess, or I say something the wrong way- then he will be very angry, and his eyes get mean, and his jokes get mean spirited, and his tone of voice is mean and loud and I don't have the energy to try to figure out how I'm supposed to be to make this better. I just hate this, and I'd like my husband back.


Something about this summer is slow and simmering. Losing the baby slowed everything down. I feel slow, and heavy, and I have gained ten pounds eating less than I was before, my thryoid slowing down, too. I just stopped bleeding, four days ago. My stomach distends and hurts, IBS, brought on by stress, I'm sure. The days of July moved even slower than June. So hot. So humid. Our cats meow, fight. The dogs lay in the corners of the house. We swam, Mr. Curry and I made love over and over, we spent the weekends arbecuing, sleeping, watching movies, maybe visiting the bookstore. I could not find it in me to do the other things I'd planned- the trips to hike, the ocean, downtown. I just feel so heavy. So tired. So sad.


Dakota came back from SeaCamp and had an amazing time. He had his first kiss and it was as amazing as any mother could want for her son. The girl was sixteen- he is fifteen- beautiful, she spoke five languages and was FRENCH. She spoke only a little English and flew here just for SeaCamp. She kissed Him. Oh my beautiful boy. My firstborn. My beautiful, smart, deep, soulful, passionate, brave, stubborn, beautiful-hearted boy.


Lola sleeps. Dakota sleeps. Ian sleeps in another house, sweet faced, still much younger than his older brother. Mr. Curry sleeps, and I love him. I love that he remembers the first time he saw me, at fifteen, and that I remember the first time I saw him, and that the first time we hung out- at nineteen- he was so nervous the only thing he said for three hours to me was ' OK ' when I asked him to hand money to a homeless man. I love that I can look at my naked body and remember being so much younger and giving it to him, as the gift that sex is, and him accepting it with the proper reverence and joy and gratitude and respect and shyness that I wanted, and knowing we had something special. I love that he moves his hand over the curve of my rounded stomach and has exactly the same gleam as he did when I was twenty-five and my stomach was a flat, inward curving. I love that he loves Will Ferrall for the same reasons I do. I love that opens doors for everyone, but especially the old, sick or female. I love that he has great respect for the elderly, even the riduculously disagreeable elderly. I love that he once jumped in his car and drove straight to San Francisco to kick his sister's boyfriend's ass who pushed her and threw things in a fight, and I love that he didn't hunt the guy down when he wasn't there, but instead simply helped his sister move out. I love that he loves to travel. I love that he thinks I am the most brilliant writer since anyone, ever. I love that he is completely and totally sure that one day my novel will be published. I love that he is in his thirties and still growing, still changing, not stagnent. I love that when he is himself, he is kind to me, and patient, and I love how we work as a team, and how I am kind, and patient with him, and how when we are not, we apologize and try again, and I love how underneath our anger there is still a gentleness that is borne of deep love. But right now, I hate this. I hate all of this dissapearing and not knowing when to expect it back. Can you send me a card? Can you RSVP:


sorry for delay, will be back at the end of the month, love you


It is summer, it is hot, my children are healthy and happy and I have a home and food and I just bought new jeans two weeks ago that look great on me, and I know these things make me lucky. I grabbed around Lola's tiny rib cage tonight and lay there awake as she slept for twenty minutes, just smelling her, just looking at her nose as she slept. Then I held Dakota, listened to his voice. I am blessed, and I am sad.


The summer moves over me and somehow cannot penetrate, like being so cold your bones hurt and taking a bath and still finding the trembling of cold vibrating in your core. I move slowly, I breathe slowly, it feels like holding my breath. My ribs ache. Strange hives without itching creep over my legs. I observe them cooly. What are you here for? I think. I'm not taking any more messages. At night Lola is very afraid of the dark, of going to sleep, since she saw part of a scary movie at her friend's house. I have set up a system to help her: we pray, leave a light on, talk about the nature of fear, how everyone has to learn about it, how it is a feeling not a fact, how safe she is, and I lie in bed with her every night. I feel like a great fake. I am afraid, too. Maybe she knows this and it's my fault she's not getting better. That's parenthood for you. You are deprived of even the sanctity of your own horrible secrets, because even they are drawn out like metal to magnet by the power of our chlidren's connections to us.


I am waiting. My feet move slowly in the pool, kicking. I dive underneath the water and open my eyes and the sunlight is refracted so brightly my skin glows. I let myself go, and float to the surface. My body is boyant and the slick of my breasts rise through the water. Somehow, it is all reversed and instead of drowning I am afraid of surfacing. I am waiting.


Janet said...

You have a way with the written word. The way you write makes the mundane even sound interesting. Thanks for visiting my corner of the world. Swing by anytime!

Ms. Moon said...

To everything there is a season and you are in your own season of waiting and healing. This is hard and intense work, even if it doesn't seem like it.
Bless you in this work, Maggie, and for staying cognizant of it at all times, for recognizing why you are doing it.

f8hasit said...

I love reading your words. They evoke such emotion. Thanks for your post.
:-)

Becca said...

Whoa. Your words paint vivid pictures. You remind me of another writer I know....

http://www.isabellabasil.blogspot.com

I'm glad I found your blog. I would love to be able to write like you.

Captain Dumbass said...

May you have a long and peacefully healing Fall. May everyone be there.

bluntdelivery said...

This is beautifullly written, my dear.

I don't know the details of everything that is happening in your world, but it sounds like you are definitely facing significant challenges and changes.

It can be cruel, yes. most of the time actually. life is one continual change and there is no way around it. I hope you find peace.

www.bluntdelivery.com

Mwa said...

Just wanting to say hi I read I loved I feel your pain when you write it.

Glimmer said...

I am waiting and hoping too for something similar. It is hard.

krista said...

fuck.
i felt this, deep inside where the dark parts cling to ribs.
it's like you spoke to them and they rattled.

Kitty said...

i love that you told your daughter fear is a feeling, not a fact. i am sorry for your loss. it was a rather morose summer in indiana, too. then i felt worse because i have everything i need. everybody is happy and healthy. thank you for your perspective.

ButtonHole said...

I know all about that waiting, specifically the waiting for the return of a person of which you speak. It's very draining.

Just.Kate said...

Your words apply so totally...

"You are deprived of even the sanctity of your own horrible secrets, because even they are drawn out like metal to magnet by the power of our chlidren's connections to us."

SJ said...

Summer always moves over me this way, especially August...it's too hot and I can't take a deep breath and my brain feels as hazy as the steam in the air. You've pulled the words so well to describe it and it is, as always, compelling pictures you paint.

copiaverborum said...

I relate so much to what you've written. Brilliant.

~carpeviam

starrlife said...

Wonderful thoughts and writing. I too have a moody husband, you handle it much better than I!I feel hurt like a door is slammed in my face and want to punch him out- just to get him to come out and fight!

the watercats said...

alive.... you are fiercely alive! Your writing raises it's fists, challenges me, makes me confront the pain of others, demands that I understand it, imagine it, and instructs me to rage for you!....

Petit fleur said...

Sending love and peace your way.

molly said...

you are a damn good writer, maggie may, and lucky that you have the ability to express in such a beautiful way.

i often wonder, if i just let it all out, let it all go in my writing, on my blog...would that help? i can only imagine being that raw to an open space can feel pretty good and super difficult.

thanks

Dana's Brain said...

Even though we all are different people with our own mental things to deal with - I am always moved when you write so truthfully about marriage and how much work it is. I hope your waiting comes to an end soon.

Lora said...

I need to read things like this, to wake me up to the little things that people do that I love so much but often fail to notice

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

Today I visited this place your husband went. Thanks for the other perspective.
It is hard to disappear and then bounce back. At least this is what I tell myself. I just assume to kick dirt over my mess and walk away, but I know it's not always that easy. Someone will always ask questions. Me? Her? It doesn't matter. Time will Tell it all.

Thanks for this Maggie. You words are always so powerful. I have someone to hug.

Zip n Tizzy said...

It's so painfully hard to experience loss together. So hard to be grieving and not be able to fall into the one you love because they are grieving too.
You sound like you have a wonderful sense of perspective. Keep hugging your children. You and your husband have been together for so long, through thick and through thin, I don't doubt the tides will turn. Just want you to get the love you need while working through your side of the loss.

katydidnot said...

i felt everything i haven't wanted to feel in a long, long time. things i hope every day, even the days i forget to hope, never to feel it again.

you are just such a writer.

yolanda said...

i´m holding your hand, maggie.
but i think it´s normal your feeling sad after a miscarriage....

so sorry.

i think of youuuuu

jb said...

Maggie May, all I can say to you tonight is I love you. You words are like a blanket of pure emotions and i feel blesssed that you're sharing this with all of us.


Thank-you Maggie May.
jbxoxo

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Maggie,
I admire your honesty, as always. I think all human beings go through times like this, where things just don't feel right. Hang in there.

Sending you love,

SB

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