I wonder if it’s possible to change so much that you awake one day, or evening, sometime, as an entirely different person.
I would say I’ve been unfaithful, but that would mean I was writing on some other blog and that isn’t it, that isn’t it at all.
I always feel strange when I return, suitcases in hand. I’ve never been so far before. Is that true, exactly, or just how I feel? I can’t tell. I can’t tell if I’m returning triumphantly or with my tail between my legs, and isn’t it all subjective, after all, and don’t all my adventures take on the flavour and texture of a dream, isolated from where they took place?
And then there are the adventures, the experiences that will always seem like dreams, no matter where one stands.
I’m back, for whatever it’s worth, for however long it lasts – and whomever I actually am, nowdays.
I guess I should say something about why I was gone so long, but am back now. I guess.
Did I write that book, after all? I did. It wasn’t about daycare, remotely. It’s in a drawer, and will probably never see the light of day. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the maturity to handle the aftermath of it being published, but you can think what you like to about my reasons. Everyone always ends up thinking what they want, anyway.
The other day – trite but true – I looked at this page for no reason, passing curiosity, and saw the number of followers had actually grown. I felt a little sorry and a little sad, because even if all those people aren’t waiting for my eventual return, it sort of looks like it.
I wanted to begin with a phrase along the lines of ‘can’t keep a good man down,’ but there doesn’t seem to be a place for it. I wanted to say something short and clean, but –
I’m back. I guess that’s it.
Sometimes I remember it and there’s a quick ball in my stomach that bounces up to the back of my throat. That was really horrible, and not as long ago as I’d like to imagine, I think.
And suddenly I feel inconsolable, and stop myself from picking up the phone.
“I need a man in my life,” I told Vicki, poking at the green foam in my glass with my straw. Green. Inventive. Her eyes widened. “Oh come on,” I told her, “a guy. You know?”
“You need a man?! Like,” she leaned in closer, “Like your body needs a man? Or like, marriage?”
“Oh my – ” I choked before I could finish. Maybe green was not an indicator of potability. “Is that all that men are good for? I mean, I clarified, I said a ‘guy’, and that’s what I mean – a guy. A friend.” She seemed confused. “To fall in love with slowly?”
“No, when I say a guy I mean just a friend, a dude, a bro. I’m just tired of talking to girls right now.”
“That means me too, doesn’t it?” She frowned. “Did you just drink that whole thing?”
“That’s what I’m talking about! Every time I go out with you and your friends,” I sighed, rephrased. “It just seems whenever I go out with girls I’m told how inadequate I am, we all are, and I’m sick of it because the minute I challenge any of it I’m told I just don’t understand yet, or accused of being anti-girl.”
“What?” She was completely still, watching me.
“I’m tired of hearing about diets, and surgeries, and body modifications, and what this or that article says about when you should biologically reproduce. I don’t want to make the point of my life – why did any of us go to school or do anything other than embroider if it all leads up to this? I don’t want my life to be this one huge search for a ‘wonderful man’ with the right lifestyle it’s just sickening it just . . . My life needs to mean more than a huge diamond one day.”
Vicki looked at me steadily. I was looking down at my folded hands but I could feel her eyes pass over the bridge of my nose, my glasses, the top of my head like a hot searchlight. “You can get a sapphire, you know. They’re beginning to be in style so if you wait to get married it’ll most likely be in vogue by whenever that is. Sapphires are really pretty so you shouldn’t feel badly about not wanting a diamond – ”
“Was there some poisoned well I neglected to drink out of?” I interjected, even though I knew there was no stopping her description of wedding trends.
Or reaching her.
All the feelings I have about him are protective. From there you already know where I’m going: warm, tender, emotions that envelop like arms.
Sometimes, very late nights, I worry about him. I do not want him to disappear one day and come back, three days later, a changed man. So I put it out of my mind very quickly and think about something else.
“Do you remember when you were successful?” she asked me, turning her face to look at my hair separately out of each eye. I looked at the ceiling. Sometimes it’s easier to disappear with my eyes open, I thought. “Of course I do,” I whispered back, eternally obligated to answer even when I felt like turning over, wrapping myself in my fluffy cotton blanket and kicking her off the bed with my legs.
They’re strong enough to do it, too, even if I never could make them.
I’ve found out that there are a lot of good men out there.
Should I insert ‘self-styled’ before ‘good’?
Sometimes when I think of him I want to spontaneously burst into tears. I didn’t say ‘cry’ because it’s different: one cries out of sadness, frustration, joy. It isn’t like that. It’s different.
I just think of his face and I feel like there’s a river behind my eyes, matter-of-fact body of water that’s about to leak out. So I immediately banish the thought of him to the back of my mind (wherever that is) and the next time it floats to the surface of my consciousness, this idea of him, is months later.
And perhaps that day I feel something entirely different. I usually do.
I am attempting to teach Havana how to high-five me.
She does not see the use or the humour of it.