Today I found some six-year-old writing hidden beneath an innocuous document title that spoke truths I’d yet to realize, but that’s not really the point. That’s not the place in my heart that’s aching, although it does ache when I think of her name. The point is in the truth; in speaking it, in all of its glorious, naked vulnerability. I wasn’t naked then. I wasn’t naked in my body or in my words, and I spoke through filters and tempered my moods and presentation. I’ve since stripped down to my core, stretch marks and dimples and imperfect flaws and tan lines, beaming with pride because it’s mine. I filter only when necessary and smile through the pain of obligation.

I found dialogue I wrote; the times he called me “sunshine,” and “darling,” and the way he watched me put my makeup on in the front seat of my car. The oranges we ate before the wedding in the woods, the phonetic spelling of the chants I learned to sing with women named Marianne and Willow and Chelsea and Sheena, the French I spoke after smoking from the long tobacco pipe at the wedding ceremony from a small Apache man named Tomas, the stacks of crepes made by the groom, Youann, and the brand new dress I found in the trunk of my car. I found conversations I recalled from the elder women who grew to know this man I loved, simultaneously surprised and filled with a profound sense of excitement that he not only had friends but that this friend who joined him here in the woods was a woman, and I came to this place for him. I found reveries of when he had a key to my place and kept his hockey gear and dress shirt stowed in my closet and if I close my eyes now, even after six long years, I can still smell him, and these closed eyes fill with wetness and my ears stop working, because I’m listening to him call me “sunshine,” and “darling,” that deep baritone vibrating on the chest I’d lay my head on when we watched movies like the one where Robin Williams died and fought for the life of his soul mate in purgatory and they found each other again, and he paused the film and said to me, “That’s what we’re doing; we’re finding each other all over again.”

I can’t bring myself to watch that film from start to finish. Our roles would be different, where I’d be the one living past his suicide and once I die I can try to find him again, channeling through rivers of tormented souls and bargaining for passage. Except he peers through his dimension into mine from time to time and it torments me, but I love it. Every wretched second of it. Masochistically, I wait to hear his voice ring in my ears and to catch his scent like I did when I checked out at the store and managed to refrain from asking the clerk what soap or cologne he used because it triggered that receptor that brought me back in time seven, eight years, when I was much softer and my words more hopeful.

Originally written April 3 2018, in a tap room in Fort Myers, Florida. 



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