@ 2014 Mary Anderson Parks
This may be the path to my own destruction, this idle dreaming, pining on a summer day. It may lead to who knows what. The buzzing of bees around cherry blossoms has infected me, the memory of the plaintive yearning of country music, the scent of jasmine and the blue sky inviting, but no one here to be with me and take up the invitation. Even if he were to come home and suggest a ride there would be the getting into the car, each of us in our places, he the driver, I the driven, the question where to go and we might end up snarled in traffic and fumes, the whole point of the day lost. There is more poetry in our walks.
We’ve started walking together in the long evenings. We just go out the door and walk. He talks to me then, as if the open air gives him permission, as if he knows the house has ears (or hidden microphones) but out in god’s green earth there’s nothing to restrain him. I love that. Even when he talks of his work. I hope he isn’t going to clone those little microbes. He wouldn’t be the one who’d do the actual cloning, he just comes up with the ideas. I think he feels safe living among ideas. About things too small to see. I don’t know if he thinks enough though about where it might lead. Microbes running amok.
Best is when we lie down and comfort each other with the quiet nearness of our bodies, a quiet that flames into passion. We satiate ourselves and then finally find rest. I want to be loved by him when we are out of bed though. Why does tenderness get supplanted by a strange long-simmering resentment that I feel is directed at himself as much as me? Or maybe at what he wishes were and isn’t.
Would it help if I try to tap into his yearnings? He keeps them carefully under wraps, so far down and buried I wonder if he knows they are there.
I dream and hope like a child playing in the yard until the sun goes down. Wanting to keep the sun from setting and disappearing. I’d like to absorb the glow of afternoon in my very cells. Where, where do I look for love? “Don’t take your love to town, Ruby,” the song says. No! I don’t want to take my love for him and his for me and shame it. It glimmers there in the ashes, still alive.
What I fear is this vision coming true: this vision of myself dead or dying and he at last crying out the love he feels. It would be too late. I might not get to see the love in his eyes. Is he afraid to be gentle for then he won’t have the hardness he needs to keep standing? He keeps a shaky balance on that structure he builds through his work. I don’t want him to fall off and be hurt. I try not to say wrong words, but some secret part of me wonders if he’d like me better if I chattered, petulant, demanding more spending money, buying expensive clothes, getting my hair styled. Maybe those distractions would keep the wolf at bay, for the wolf is there, not far from the door. His howl is shrill and sends a deep tremor through me. Is he coming for us? Can we keep on with what we hope is not a pretense? Can we be an authentic hero and heroine? I want love to come and touch us with its grace. I want to make that happen. But each time he comes home, my husband, habit kicks in and kicks us around with its bulky shoes.
I sigh, half dead already, only my soul achingly conscious. We are together still. Is that enough to be grateful for? Repose of angels, playfulness of cherubs — please bring redemption. Maybe I (like nuns?) confuse love of God with love of man. Maybe my heart will lead me to the place in the garden that is the source and I will dig bare toes into the dirt and live richly enough to make up for a lifetime of holding back. But how to get the other to join me in abandon? How to run wild as a pair?
Do you think I don’t know I am a mass of contradictions? Don’t underestimate me so cruelly. No. I am aware. Or half aware. I could even go back and sort some of them out, the ones that pop out at me and glare, but that sounds tedious, like working in a garden. You’ll have noticed I don’t. I hardly work at all. I worked in earlier lifetimes and even in this one, raising a child. How that draws a deep heaving sigh. To have finished with your work and to have done it all wrong. It’s almost as depressing as the evening news. I keep hoping they are making it up. That it’s an April Fool’s edition. But it happens every night. And no one ever suggests that the news is a dirty joke.
I’ve found a solution. I don’t watch. Instead I dance in the tulip bed.
. . . . . . . .
Yesterday I was a lovelorn thing. In love with my own husband. And I have been hiding from the gardener. He peeped in all the windows today, wondering what has become of me. I watched him from where I concealed myself, flat on my stomach behind the big chair. He doesn’t know to look for me as close to the ground as a cat lies. That very fact of his looking for me too high shows he doesn’t know me at all and I am right to hide. What am I to him or he to me? Or Hecuba. I risked a literary reference there and most likely got it wrong but this is between you and me and the gatepost and I ramble because I don’t know which way to turn.
Someday things will get even worse. The announcers of the evening news will have scabs on their faces, strange marks of disease. They will not sit so straight as they do now because their bodies will have weakened. They will tell us more about AIDS and cancer because they will be among the victims. They will need a garden to come to. They will admit that oil is running out, that maybe the car ads are obsolete. They will tell us whether it is safe still to go outdoors or if the sun is burning so hotly through the hole in the ozone that even the criminals have left the streets and gone inside. I for one cannot bear to go on with this line of vision. I will focus on the garden and on learning that it is not just for me. I can expect only a small corner, no bigger than the other plots. The garden must be for all.