going back and forth and to and from Kate Zambreno’s Heroines, caring for my son, and my own scribbling in my journal. I write down that “i found a way to write again.” Lucky me. Lucky for the pain.
“He’s not coming, Les.” I say to myself. I hear Kate’s narrative woman-ness in my head. All the loneliness of all of our stories coursing within my silence. It’s catchy–it’s catching. I remember that I never forgot how to write fiction because I am living this. Always living this. And he is never coming.
I lock myself up in the bathroom to cry so my son won’t hear me and be worried.
I think about Kate’s living characters. I am one of us. The men, they write me and they write to me. They hold my voice up somewhere inside them. Such is a public woman writer. “What if i don’t need you to tell me how it’s going to be? What if i don’t need to be saved? or fixed? What if i say maybe someday, but i can’t see past today?” Because maybe i don’t want to. I wanted his arms. He was my only cage. I chose those bars; I know their silence. and i want him.
I clean cat pee off the laundry room floor, tears drowning the freckles on my cheeks (cheeks you used to want to pinch and rarely did), and I think about how people are really places and that we never really leave a place once we’ve been there.
Or maybe women like us don’t. Do all men leave? Kate reassures me that it isn’t just me. That my loneliness is mine but it is also yours.
i’m in this place and i thought i was alone. and i am in most senses. i’m trapped here. i need you. i never stopped needing you. my vulnerability has been read like a flaw throughout all of history. my madness has been read as insanity. all these men love to look at me from far away; my brilliance and my mastery of the pen bleeds into them somehow. but, up close, you know what it’s like. and you left. all that brilliance isn’t easy to read every day, is it?
i remember that i need someone stronger than every man who left me. you’re added to a list i never wanted to see you on. i keep ending these sentences with prepositions because you’re a place not a person. why are you nowhere? i need to go home. i need to find out where that is now. because it was here and now it isn’t:
i put this computer down; i stop typing. he needs me to help him to the bathroom. i said once something about language being the things we carry. i’ve been carrying him everywhere for two weeks now. i just want to put it all down. i want to hear your breathing while i sleep. i want these words to mean more than memory.
but they don’t. and i’ve bled on the page again. maybe all the sound will stop if i keep bleeding out. maybe i’ll make peace with your silence and your gone. maybe, just maybe, i’ll be a woman who is held while she cries because she can’t find the place where she can be herself. and i take a small bit of comfort in knowing it’s not just me, and many of us women have to die alone. goddesses, we bleed.