February 11, 2013
Today I saw Lauren for the second time in just a few days. The first time was almost as hard as I thought it would be, but not quite. The first time was at one of those postal stores, the kind that are positioning themselves to scarf up the task of stamps and packages upon the downfall of the USPS, the kind you didnt quite understand as they started to pop up, “Doesnt the US Postal Service do all this? And for less money, probably, right?”
The men staffing it, I decided that they owned it, and that they were gay. I also decided that they could read me and her. They could read the averted eyes, the shaking hands, the audible breath sounds and know we were married and estranged. At one point, she and I leaned up against a counter waiting for the guy to call the tag and title office because he didnt know what to do with the out of state title. She and I waited there for almost a minute, breathing and shaking next to one another and I began to imagine we were in meditation together. Her breathing was louder than I remember — anxiety disorder, asthma, she’s gained weight, she does that when she is happy – and I thought about how unattractive that kind of breathing is in a stranger, and how one might love it in a love, and wondered if I would love it in her now. I took a deeper breath and waited to hear if she would breathe with me. She said, “I’m going to go sit down,” and took out her phone. The guy got ahold of his friend at the tag and title office who said we didnt need a notary, that we could just come into the office.
When I got into the car, I could feel my insides, the girl ones. I was suddenly aware of my clit and my lips, and everything they lead to. Briefly, I marveled at how attached I must still be to her and or maybe just how attached I am to making a baby. Then I remembered that sometimes men get erections when they are scared, I realized that the fullness and readiness I was feeling was just the byproduct of my heart beating blood into all of my endings, that it wasnt about love or sex or babies.
Today, at the tag and title office, it was easier and briefer, but still unsuccessful. The loan company shouldve sent the South Carolina title to Raleigh so that Raleigh could send me a North Carolina title, but they didnt. The lady said that she would send it, I would get the right title in a week or two and then we should come back. No breathing, less shaking. Lauren said, resigned, encouraging, “Third time’s the charm.” I didnt look at her or respond to her small talk, but I realized that I couldve, so I will next time.
November 10, 2011
I have a blog project called Food Funeral, where I’m collecting stories about grief and food. The tagline is “Stories About Love, Loss and Stuffing Your Face” because you gotta be pithy about death, right? Tonight, I am really loving the experience. It’s so funny, because it always seems like everything takes so. much. work. And I have these amazing ideas, but because everything always. takes. so. much. work, it’s a drag to pester people into following through, or to be brave enough to bring it up in the first place, or to spend time worrying that I’ll let peoples’ submissions sit too long, or that I’ll drop the project before I get to my goal of 60 stories.
But tonight, 25 people have gone to the blog since I posted a new submission to my Faceboo page 25 minutes ago (as opposed to the daily average of 2), I have my first follower, and another submission that is very close to completion. And the conversations and connections I am making with strangers and friends alike are so satisfying. I love creating this little tribe of people and their stories. I’m doing my idea some justice tonight. Yay, moi.
October 7, 2011
The other day, I was at the park with Cherry, my dog, and the kid I babysit, Buddy. I had to go pick up some poop and one of the women at the dog park offered to tend to Buddy while I scooped. When she held her arms out telling me to put the baby in them, my heart broke a little. Then, today, I was driving with a friend when an important paper flew onto the floor of my car. She picked it up and put it in a safer place. Again, another hairline fracture.
For the first few months of the year, it was all I could do to breathe and drink water. Then, when I started leaving the house, I remember that if I had something to do, I would check to make sure it was the only thing I was doing that day because ”things to do” were special treats that had to be drawn out over the course of a week like a candy bar hidden in a closet. I wouldnt schedule a hair cut and an oil change on the same day, for example. I had no wife and no friends. I wasnt convinced that eating was worth the trouble. I was a stranger in the middle of a mountain town in the middle of winter. This wasnt an altogether terrible way to live, actually. I got places on time. I was happy when I arrived. I was present while I stayed. I could stay as long as I wanted.
Since July, though, my days have become fuller. For example, I leave the house every day, sometimes more than once. I meet new people every week, sometimes more than one. And I have appointments, sometimes back to back. While I am happy to be living something like a real life again, and to even mean it a little, I’m overwhelmed sometimes. I’m getting re-acquainted with lateness, being unprepared and making mistakes again.
I wonder if I’m still wounded and trying to do too much. Or if I am by nature tender and slow and distractable and shouldnt have more than one thing to do per day regardless of who has or hasnt left me. I wonder if it’s really this hard being single. I wonder if I can really handle the responsibility of living my own life well. I wonder exactly how much stress I am under or how alone I must really feel if such small acts of kindness, such simple gestures, bring me so much relief. Sometimes, I am so touched, I have to hold back tears.
Last night, I had dinner with a new friend from Meeting. We said grace before we ate. She made me lentil soup and offered to be on my birth team. She was as excited and awed and mystified by the idea of me having a baby as I am. She told me a little about what it was like to grow up in Nigeria. She taught me a new word. We talked about marriage and divorce and black people in Asheville. She’s lived in Rockville. Turns out, she went on a blind date with the owner of Tourmobile, a DC tour guide company I have fond memories of working for. Firmly held by the lentils and the presence of a white lady who can talk about blackness without twitching or apologizing, I felt very grateful and didnt even need to cry about it. I’ve decided that this subject, the subject of giving and receiving and needing and wanting help deserves its own tag, what with me thinking about becoming a single mother and all, what with me treating “help” like a four letter word for the past 33 years and all.