writing to survive
. . . only the retelling counts

The wild rover returns

So, here’s a change that has been sneaking up on me over the past several months: I sleep, sometimes even past 6:00 in the morning. I no longer hoard my morning alone time or stretch it out by waking up in 4:00 a.m. cold and darkness, tethering myself to the computer until the household comes to life and I’m on my third cup of coffee, jittery and stuck in my own head. I don’t wake up at 2:30 a.m. with thoughts that build and twist, the what ifs and what did or didn’t happen and what was she thinking and who does he think I am, anyway, the kind of thoughts that feed on themselves, anxiety for anxiety’s sake.

Also – I am cooking again, making those complicated meals that take too long and sully many pots and pans, and sure, only my husband and I eat the results, but I take joy in the process anyway. On Sunday night, the boy even helped! He peeled garlic, picked thyme from the garden, and stripped the leaves for me to mince. He smeared bread with garlic butter. He tried a thin slice of breaded and fried eggplant and pronounced it good, not that he was eating any more, of course. I can tell he’s bored with his carb and cheese diet and sometimes he even asks for what we’re having (like this
asparagus and goat cheese tart – if you make it, double the cheese) and enjoys it. A broader diet will come over time. I think.

Yes, the boy is a picky eater, and yes, we haven’t challenged it. I’ve never wanted to make mealtimes battle times, for reasons of personal preference and history. It also takes a certain stalwartness and resolve to push new things and sometimes I just don’t have it in me, especially in an emotionally-laden context (because food=love and rejection of it can feel like a rejection of my love, though I know it isn’t the case, but if he only knew, only knew, how lucky he was . . . ). Besides, he’s relatively easy to feed and on occasional tries new things, though he always wants his backup grilled cheese or pasta with butter and cheese or macaroni and cheese.

More sleep. More cooking. What is the change? Am I the change? Were the last several years just one of those life troughs (or canyons, in this case) that seems never-ending and suddenly becomes level with the surrounding landscape? I’ve been slowly climbing out for a while now and sometimes a blizzard hits and I’m not sure if I will make it, especially when it’s just me on that ledge, except that it never is just me. I am unaware of your presence, temporarily snow blind. The weather clears, I start again, one muddied, bloodied pull at a time. After a painful heave ho that uses almost all of my energy, I reach a vast plateau, meadow grasses swaying, a copse of gnarled trees to the left, redwoods occupying the hills in the distance. A stream announces itself as a quiet rush along the path. I’m back to what was once a crime scene, remade into clear-lit reality, where there is room for both joy and pain.

Beyond the copse lies a village of my people. They are waiting for me.


Image of a woman in Belgium in 1958 scanned by
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