Saturday, April 28, 2012

'Til Death Us Do Part.

Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
-Celtic Woman

I didn’t see her sitting there, dressed in her finery amongst our family and friends, twisting our lifelines between her fingers as we vowed to build a life together. I did not see how mine trailed from her fingers alone while his was caught short in her palm.

I saw white tulips and snowy irises and felt creamy chiffon and the sweet smell of orange blossoms wrap around me in the warm dusk of late April. I heard strings in the air and gentle laughter. I saw our children in his eyes and I heard our future in his voice.

I wonder if she wondered as she held our fate in her hands.

Did she see how it would end? Did she know he would slip away without warning, without reason? Did she hear the questions they ask, and the innocent things they say to strangers? Did she count the tears that dropped and the sleepless nights?

I wonder if she watched me.

Did she see what trailed from her fingers? Did she watch me standing there in white and see me standing in black, Pachelbel on the violin fading to the mournful cry of Amazing Grace. Did she see the flowers in my hand and the flowers resting on the ground each April?

Did she watch me wrap myself in quiet dignity while anger seethed inside? Did she see me alone in the dark counting the minutes until morning? Did she see the food untouched and phone calls unanswered?

Did she see that moment that escaped me, when the bruises and angry scars began to fade? When tear-stained cheeks dried and sleep returned in part. Did she hear my laughter rejoin theirs, and did she smile softly as she saw life return to a life interrupted?

I wonder as she broke his string and twisted mine—did she break and twist with them?

Did she see my steps grow stronger and bolder? Did she see me archive the pages of chapters written and watch as ink began to stain the pages yet to be written? Did she watch as I stumbled into choosing a life not yet lived? Did she smile as she watched us laugh and love and live while she held our lifelines in her palm?

I wonder.

Did she see me watching her defiantly and silently across the gravestones as I laid white tulips in the grass again?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cavity Search.

“Why is it that when I come to see you, I always leave with a referral involving my body cavities?”

Staring up at the clinically white ceiling tiles as laughter bubbles up from below the flimsy paper precariously draped across my stirrup-ed knees, I now know how exposed the Coyote feels when he steps off the ledge. Except that today the Roadrunner is wielding a two-sided shoe horn.

And I am … um … not.

(And we all know that if I make any sudden moves on this uncomfortable little slab, whatever is in that glass of yours will be spraying out your nose and onto your keyboard while you read about it. So I am staying put to avoid telling you about the medical process that would be required to remove the shoe horn.)

This is déjà vu all over again. One year ago I was staring at the same clinically white ceiling tiles listening to a disembodied voice tell me that my intestinal tract needed a thorough review. The year before? Nurse Broomhilda promised that everything would bounce back after she let me out of her mashable torture chamber. And now this.

Another spelunking expedition. Inside me.

Listening to her talk about microscopes and tissue samples and sedation, panic wraps its familiar fist around my chest and I close my eyes against the fear rushing through my head in an angry roar I’ve known before.

I’ve hit the genetic jackpot, putting me on the fast-and-early track for highly undesirable procedures. The odds are not necessarily in my favor, but they aren’t against me either. But as the only factor in the parental equation, they are undeniable and unavoidable, and this one is a little less preventable and a little more exploratory. My children cannot afford parental stupidity, which is why I begrudgingly push aside my stubborn streak and cash in my doctor’s tickets to the not-so-fun house.

But it is not today and the roar vanishes into the hum of the fluorescent bulbs, and her voice returns.

“So, nothing can go in there for at least two weeks.”

I assume that includes marbles.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Through the Looking Glass.

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll

Staring at her, she is the same woman that I have always seen.

Her eyes are still the color of leaves in the rain when she cries and freckles still dust the bridge of her nose. A silvery white scar still crosses above her left knee and her hair still falls down her back in long, dark waves. She still tucks it behind tiny ears, running fingers through long strands when she is lost in someone else’s words.

She still bites her lower right lip when she is anxious, her hands flying nervously from task to task when she is awkward. She still questions decisions once shared but now shouldered alone. She still fights to protect and conceal what lies beneath the surface—long to trust, longer still to forget the bruises inflicted by life.

But she’s changed since we last stood here silently looking at each other, diving below the surface that we both hide behind.

The heart pounding beneath the gentle rise and fall of her chest no longer bleeds pain. Laughter has replaced silence and contented calm has replaced frustration and anger. Things once important are no longer, and those once unconsidered are considered and embraced.

If eyes are the window to the soul, the soul gazing back at me is no longer weary and wounded. It is restless and hopeful, patient and determined, awkward and unsure.

Standing alone at the fork in the road.