Happy Valentine’s Day – A Racing Brain At 4am

wchbwLaying there, one fleshy pale leg resting on top of yours. Layers of blankets hugging us to the bed, I pretzel and twist – one of my arms over my head, one of yours, over yours. I find your fingers with my left hand and you squeeze them, even though you are mostly asleep. I try to touch as much of my skin to yours as I can, curved like a bean next to you. I lay my head in the sweet spot that your body has made for it. Was made for it, long before I met you. When you were born, maybe. I put my right arm across your chest. I know you love this – a woman resting on your chest. “There is something so…satisfying…beautiful, about it,” you once said. Or something like it.  And even years later there is an impression there, and an image in my head. It’s faded like a washed-out photograph. You know the one. And it doesn’t hurt anymore, but it’s there. Maybe it always will be. I decide it doesn’t matter and I start a poem in my head. God, it’s almost 4 a.m. and I am composing words as I feel you breathe. None of the words are good enough. Some of them don’t even make sense. I will never be good enough, my brain says. But you already are, I counter. Your thigh is twice the circumference as his. And it feels good for that not to be something I hate. It’s a non-issue. I take that back. It’s a celebration.

I think of him, a swat on the bottom in the kitchen – I laugh and turn to kiss him. The way he takes handfuls of me like worship. Nothing but praise for my flesh ever passes his lips. It’s the way it always should have been. It’s what I needed when I was a teen. To be given the message that I am good the way I am.  Hell, it’s what I needed as a young woman who’s wounds were rubbed raw by a man. One I don’t talk about or know anymore. Though he ends up in my Timehop sometimes. Like yesterday. What was it? Oh – something about his love of the word “nefarious.” The day before I think it was something about science fiction and the day before that, a discussion on love, seven years ago.

Ghosts. Ghosts of ghosts, because they don’t haunt any longer. They are sluggish, thin versions of themselves.

So I just lay there, warm, feeling you breathe and I let things flood in as I try to find sleep. I don’t even know all of what they mean. I hope they become jumbled and incoherent and lull me to peace.

I am all dry bones and wet lips. Hungry holes. You are warm skin and heartbeat.

Dry bones. Wet lips. Hungry holes.

Dry bones. Wet lips. Hungry holes.

Dry bones. Wet lips. Hungry holes.

It repeats in my brain. Dry bones? What does that even mean? I like the image. Bones, cleaned and dry. Down to the most basic of what I am built on. Dancing, clicking together. Maybe a bit macabre, but not the way it is coming to me, so warm and cozy and like the stem of a flower rather than a dead one. I can see them clanking about. Hear them in my head, making a funny wooden xylophone sort of a noise. Is there a special name for a wooden xylophone? Part of me wants to look it up. I swear I had a conversation about this very thing on Facebook recently with a friend…Rob I think. He’s a musician, that makes sense. I don’t know. It’s too late and I post too much. I’d never find it. I like to get it right, but surely you know what a wooden xylophone means, even if I don’t use the right word for it. If that isn’t the right word for it.

Is there such thing as responsible dairy? Is that chocolate made with child slave labor? You made sure it wasn’t. Because that’s who you are as a person. You’re better than me and I know it. But that doesn’t mean I’m bad. It just means I have something to aspire to.

Why did she lay across your chest like that, then take it back and blame me? I’m pretty sure she blames me. Even though she wrote to me and said she was not, and never would be mad at me. Why would she be mad at me, I wondered? I was never anything but sweet and enthusiastic. But she said a lot of things that turned out not to be true or real. Why am I still talking about this? I don’t want to think about it anymore. I’m not even mad anymore. Just, so confused. Still, so confused. Stop thinking about it. Why am I thinking about it? I’m just…ghostbusting? Do you have to bust ghosts that don’t haunt? I mean, the ghosts aren’t causing trouble anymore – not sliming anybody, or ruining chandeliers, or haunting paintings and stealing babies.  Is it too much to expect I won’t ever think of these things? Yes. It is. So they’ll be here, showing up like thin watercolors, barely coloring parts of my life, but there. Always, I guess.

Scalia is dead. So much division in this nation right now. It’s reached the point of inability to function under stress. Getting older isn’t what I thought it would be. “Nothing ever is,” the waitress says to Frenchie, flicking the light switch with her elbow and missing it by a mile.

I inhale you once more, kiss that spot right at the top of your breast, before your shoulder – there really needs to be a name for that part. If there is one, I don’t know what it is. I throw off the covers and here I am. 4:21 am. Thinking about how much I’ve let go and moved on from the hurt and resentment and being grateful there is nothing left but a ghost impression. Glad I’m here celebrating us. You tell me all the time, how glad you are at the way we stuck to it. I still am amazed at how happy I am. This little nest we’ve feathered. Even errands aren’t a chore when I am with you. Too many red stop-lights? Doesn’t matter, it’s just more time to talk to you. Ok, I’m not so good at the hardware store. I turn into a child. But you don’t even hate it, and how can I not appreciate that gift that you have to love me that way?

Theo “organic fair trade” chocolate – thanks love. Salted. Almonds. It was for today anyway, right? Needs bourbon on the side. And probably some sleep.

Happy Valentine’s Day, lover. We are what we are. All of these things are part of us and live alongside us. How lucky we are.


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