Rehearsing Christmas

Christmas Eve 2018 

12/22/18 My thumbs move on my phone as I cling to the only connection I have now. A text. An old friend. No longer face to face, no longer direct text, or call. But third party information. My head swirls asking, asking, asking. My heart sinks and churns with every answer. This man who used to be my husband, now my foe. But not really my foe. Someone who, though I wish not to write these words, I care for. But do I? Maybe not. The words “he’s dead” wouldn’t shock me. I accept those two words, I am at home with them. Though my heart would be saddened. Shocked, at a life lost to… mental illness? I lie in the arms of safety, now. I kiss the lips of another with no fear. There is fear, but it’s different. Now it is fear of giving my heart away again, fear of giving my body away, or my soul. No longer fear of death, yelling. This might be normal fear, though colored by the lens of divorce. I show all those typed out messages, about him, to the new him. But it’s a different him, remember. 

I start reading poetry books. I pick them out at the library. Briefly reading a few pages before I tuck it under my arm to check out. Somehow the few I’ve chosen have been to do with love, breaking up, dying, abuse. Others wrote of animals, oceans. Those I picked up and put down quickly. I hear the words he might have cancer, though I don’t believe it. And what is the last poetry book in the bottom drawer of my dresser, the dresser we shared. That used to hold his clothes. A book about dying. A book about cancer. Called the final voicemails by max ritvo. He says “and my fear is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen”

I read, drank coffee, showered, did my hair, tried on my outfit. Now I sit curled up listening to music “the feeling that you get when your by yourself”….. my stomach churns and I go over and over in my head the details. I imagine him homeless, and think of how fortunate I am to have a home, a room, a warm bed, a shower. And think what happened to him? I almost feel guilty for what I have. And my stomach screams at me in sickness. Get this tension out. Stay in the bathroom. This song says “your the only thing on my mind”…. how do I get this off of my mind? Will I always be looking at life through this lens of… trauma? What if I was celebrating Christmas this year as a 27 year old whom hadn’t been married? What would that be like. Would my stomach churn in sadness I hadn’t been offered that. Would my heart be able to speak to the depths it does now. Would I be excited? How would I be spending my morning? What if, what if, what if. What if he didn’t get “sick”….? What if I married someone “normal”? Would I have a baby now? Be in my own home? Be quietly sitting on a couch next to my husband.. with my baby sleeping in the other room? What would my home Look like? What would my in laws be like? How long would I be married now? Reality slaps me back. I am divorced, living at home, spending a quiet morning thinking of the suffering my ex husband still lives and drags others into, waiting for my boyfriend to celebrate Christmas Eve. I will get up off this chair, put on make up, greet him with a smile. And the turmoil of fire will extinguish for today. To be reflamed likely tonight, or tomorrow. Maybe when my head hits the pillow. Maybe when I see the babies in the family. Maybe when I see the rings on the married peoples fingers. Maybe when I open my gift. It’s a constant coming and going, that fire of my soul. That fire that holds my pain, the stories, the memories. The fire may never be extinguished completely. It’s ashes color me.

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