This morning, Jeb wakes before 6am to answer twenty-two questions for Reading Mastery.
I’m here working on my Writing Mastery. I think both of us have our heads in our hands.
It’s been a two-day writing pause for me to live without commentary. The days swirl with the honey in my morning coffee. A collage of details sealed by emotion that seeps between the images.
The Bohemian emerging from centipede infested crawl spaces, shirtless and smiling, as he coils dead electrical wires in the rafters.
The splitter he presents me for the hose (I’d said I wanted one). Now I can water the plants at my door. He gifts toothpaste (the same brand) for my back stock in the bathroom.
Rose water. Coconut milk. Melting chocolate from the cacao pod. The gift from my neighbor of a gold garnet ring that fits my finger perfectly. How I remind myself to put it on my right hand.
Filling sandbags to hold a 10 meter kite, seaside. Blustering gusts lifting strong while the carabiner holds and white waves crash.
His Chinese astrology book in Czech confirms my greatest fears. I am the steady ox, plodding (and likely dreaming of all things stable). He is the horse with the mane in the wind. The book says he is a kaleidoscope, bringing light wherever he goes. This I already know. And the horse, it needs to be free.
Later, I’m still digesting this truth with my lunchtime burrito. The tears rise from nowhere as we sit together at the table. I may wear my heart on my sleeve but this I cannot risk to show right now. It must be the salsa. If he notices, he does not let on. Offers to make us tea.
Over dishes the words have passed the fill line and slosh in my throat with a flood I can’t hold back. It spills out, “I have to tell you something and get it off my chest.”
As soon as the words meet air I want to take them back. This tidal wave of truth may be the final undoing. I am amazed to see my fear. I must be crazed and dysfunctional. A living wreckage feigning womanhood. Attempting to love but merely grasping as I scrape scraps into the compost bowl.
I never do this. Say I need to tell you something, then say “never mind”. But I was such a coward, “never mind” is exactly what I said.
It’s absurd I’m telling you, my cyber-audience. These things so tender. I know not what I’m doing.
He lets me make the U-turn. Water boils. He wraps the tea bag around the handle of the mug in simple practicality. It’s things like this about him that I adore. We read the fortune.
“Let your heart guide you.”
My heart is breaking in my chest before he’s even said goodbye. I know I’m living the loss before it even happens. I know this is ridiculous and wrong. But it swells so real in me, the fear. The beauty of these moments I love so much are tainted bittersweet.
How can I express to the horse that’s running free the burden of worry I carry? I feel yoked, yet I want to cast off all harnesses and run without inhibition into these present moments.
Laugh with full abandon over who’s better at chopping ginger. Smile wide at how he disregards the dishwasher, hand washing every plate. Watch, together, with unrestricted love as the basil grows in the garden.
The fear and sadness – sourced from who-knows-where – flood my chest and throat and want to break free. But the last thing I want to do is pool in a murky surge of weak and heavy muck at his feet. I just want to enjoy a cup of tea with this kind and beautiful man.
“Let your heart guide you.”
I breathe deep. Smile and vow to deal with all this feeling later when I’m alone. I affirm and nod to him with a “nice” in response to my heart-guiding fortune.
He looks at me and grins. “So what’s this on your chest?”
I wish I could say I was brave enough to be completely real. I wish I could say that I told him before I told the Archives. I do not understand how I can write these words here but could not say them in my kitchen.
But I couldn’t and I didn’t. And now I’m leaving breadcrumbs here with you.