Some days look like a tsunami. I feel it in my bones these past days. This never-ending cycle of financial ruin amid the recession and after that unexpected redundancy, the need to woman up against it when I just wish to be swallowed by the ground, depression, loss, craving love – the kind I used to give to and, at times, received from him. All these coming together like a massive wave. I’m a helpless mess with a kid to raise, along with 10 pets and two persons with disabilities under my wing. Most days it’s as though I am tiptoeing on a road of broken glass with a ball and chain attached to my feet, my eyes blindfolded, and no other soul in sight.
Right now, I want nothing but to be left alone and talk to no one. Yet, I also feel utterly lonely and aching for comfort: arms, a chest, wise words, even someone’s sigh just to remind me there’s another life out there. On days you catch me like this, you let me soil your shirt with tears for as long as I want to. On days like today when you’re at Daddy’s, they just pool under my chin.
I reopened a manuscript that has been on a halt since September last year when he and I parted. I took a break from it, perhaps because it reminds me of him. He once volunteered to beta-read and edit it. “Whatever you need for your book, and I mean ANYTHING,” he assured, “I’ll be happy to do it.” He always encouraged me to write one, telling me I have little faith in myself and I had no idea how good I was at what I do.
“Take the leap!” he urged. He promised that when and if I do, he will pre-order sets for family and friends, “even hold a sign while screaming your name at the book launch”. None of it occurred. He didn’t even glance at the manuscript.
It’s a hurt I do not wish to harbor against him any further. My anger is tired, Lia. There’s no more space in me to rage. I am working on forgiving fully, see – both him and myself.
I arrive at those 100+ bareboned pages again to edit it, because I thought of entering it into a book prize (kicker: I didn’t push through due to red flags. This manuscript is really close to me. It deserves better).
The first page reads:
I flip through the pages and re-read it. Even in its still developing skeleton, it fills me with stars and moons. I am reminded I am not alone. Your body might be elsewhere, but you are always here – in these pages, in my careless memory.
You often say that at 11, you still don’t understand the things I write about. I do hope, however, when you are a bit older, you will understand that many of them – the poems, essays, and fleeting thoughts – were written for you. I hope when you feel helpless yourself (existence is both light and darkness, after all) you will remember that you are someone’s eyes and warmth. That someone is truly grateful that you happened in her tribulation-filled life. It would have been a starkly different path if that woman didn’t have you in her world. Maybe she won’t be here at all.
I shall return to these pages often from now on whenever I despair. I promise, when I arrive, I will remind myself: In pitch-black spaces where only blind pain awaits, it is you that these soles will find and come home to. It is you that make the struggle worth every sharp sting of breath.
With all the love in the world and all the worlds after this lifetime,