It's funny how in the midst of so much crafting a new life, the old one lurches forward and slaps you in the face, forcing you to pay attention to the pain, small and keening in some dark corner of your consciousness. You've left it there to die, but it refuses, and despite your best efforts, and most positive thinking, despite your stoic and sometimes joyful forward movement, you still hear it over there, and the sound reminds you that you're broken hearted. You're angry. You're baffled.
I blame myself most days. He was thin and beautiful. I was fat--the classic "she let herself go" girl. He could get out of bed, depressed! I wallowed there for days, weeks, months. Years? I'm 46, but I walk with a cane a lot of days. I should have
made more money--I should be making more money. I should have been a better house keeper. I should have learned to play bid whist. I should have given more, been more, cooked and cared for him instead of writing books. I should have loved him almost as much as I loved that sweet, brown-eyes carpenter who won't stop wooing me, my Beloved. And in the end, I couldn't take it all back. In the end, he didn't choose me, he choose a life without me, and why should he have? I say.
But I loved him the best way I knew how, and lovies, I didn't really know how. I tried, and now it's over. I mean really over, and the way that slap in the face releases tears you thought were all dried up, it's me in that dark corner right now, not some distant knot of grief I can't quite get at. It's me, Claudia Mair, crying all over my iPad, and writing because I can't seem to get through life--through pain--without wrestling words from my heart.
Not too long ago, I used to think our love was like a strand of pearls, not a uniform and comely adornment, but a wild, crazy, unexpected funky piece. Each pearl unique, each one born of grit, mystery, and friction that our passion polished to a high gloss. And despite ourselves, we were a kind of strong and lovely, fine, fine thang. But now that strand is broken, and pearls are scattered all over the ground, and BE CAREFUL! because that's my freakin' marriage down there, and you can't just trample it. For what?
Don't make me answer for what. It is a most unsatisfying response.
Now all that's left are the pearls that are mine, the one's I brought to us. And on closer examination, they really are breathtaking. They're amazing, because the odds were always piled high against me. I shouldn't have been able to love as long and hard as I did with what I had to work with. My love was a bonified miracle.
I've mentioned before how much I loved Ntozake Shange's FOR COLORED GIRLS. Usually I quote the poem in which one of those gorgeous ladies says, "I found god in myself and I loved her fiercely." But in this wee small hour of the morning I'm thinking of each ladies declaration of the worth of their love, imperfect as it was/is. My love is too... and they filled in the blank with their bold and bodacius declaration that ended with the words: to have thrown back on my face.
My love is too important, too resilient, too passionate, too dignified despite a remarkable ability to get down and dirty; my love is too joyous, too precious, too real, too alive, and did I say too important? to have thrown back on my face. My love is too offering-from-God-high-and-holy to have thrown back on my face. My love is just too inspired.
I needed to remember that this morning, when sorrow threatened to wash me away and it was easier to resort to useless self-pity, than to move forward with my head up and shoulders squared, knowing I would have done anything to win him back, except be the battered soil beneath the swine. No one who loved as much as I did deserves that. I needed to remember the power of my ragamuffin love, and it's glorious poverty that proved once and for all that I am, indeed, a diva. I have to carry that knowledge in the same exquisite soul sanctuary I now carry my once scattered pearls in. See, I may need to make another fine work of art with that love, another wild and beautiful treasure. Knowing its worth keeps the hope of new and better love alive in me, and trust me when I say I plan to sashay my wide and fine behind into my future with all the hope I can stand.
With fierce determination,