The International Writers Magazine: Life Stories
She needs to get out of there. That is what he is thinking on the other side of a locked door, knocking sweetly and frantically, seething, sobbing, slouching, sulking. He alternates between two methods: one where he is very sweet, and understanding, we can work it out really, you poor sweet thing; and one where he is angry, get out of there you baby.
I can remember a few months ago when he parked the car and I was getting out of the passenger seat and he was getting out on the other side, and he looked at me over the top of the car and sort of stopped in place, and I noticed, and tucked my hair behind my ear and said what, what is it, and he said nothing, just when we first started dating you were a little girl. I don’t know when it happened but you’ve become a woman now.
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He is less in love with me than he is with the idea of me. He would prefer me in a floral dress with my hair loose and messy and my socks wrinkled and me in a field of peonies reading poetry like some sort of adorable and perfect fairytale character. My stomach feels like it is turning itself inside out. My face is hot and my heart is pounding and I have tunnel vision, I feel an icy heat clawing its way out of a pit in my stomach, up to my throat, with white around the edges. Breathe in, breathe out. Not too much. My hands feel tingly and then they don’t feel, my hands feel as if they have disappeared and so do my legs and my arms. This would happen to me and sometimes it would happen when he was an inch away from me, and he said he never understood why I always seemed so far away.
How can I explain to him that sometimes my mind and my body become completely out of sync and I become something that doesn’t know my body at all, and I become afraid that this feeling will become so strong that it takes me, bundles itself around me and pulls me out of this realm and into something else entirely, where perhaps I will become something more solid, like a rock, or a branch, or a rain drop?
On the porch I would sit so that my legs stuck out through the rails, and I could swing them there so that the polish on my toes would dry, and he’d sit behind me. The porch was sanded down very soft wood and there was a bright cerulean blue hammock that hung on it, that I think someone got on a trip to Peru, or Chile. The humidity would make your glass sweat, so if I had a glass of iced water, or lemonade, drops would slide down the glass and darken the wood of the porch. That summer the cicadas would buzz in the evenings and the fire flies would come out at sunset.
I have this beautiful memory where we heard an owl and we were searching for it, in the trees. It kept making it’s little cooing noise, but we couldn’t ever actually find it. It was moving, we were chasing it. We could never actually find it. This was in summer, and in summer everything was completely perfect. I remember licking the blackberry juice off of my fingers laying out on the beach covered in sunblock with my big floppy hat, and him all brown and splashing in the water.
I was at the edge of something absolutely dreadful, I could feel it. My mind was teetering on this strange ledge, I could see over it, into blackness. I tried to tell him this once and he told me that it is impossible for anyone to understand another person’s emotions. He told me emotions weren’t real. I remember when he would make me cry sometimes he would say, I can see you’re feeling something, and it’s causing you pain, but I will never, no one will ever understand it, because it’s not real. It’s just something you let happen to you. This is the kind of shit he would spew. He can’t help it, he has narcissistic personality disorder.
“She’s no more a witch than you are a... a...”
I feel strong when I am by myself, and I believe that this is why people don’t like me this way. I can feel the loneliness welling up, into a deep, swirling mass of matter so dense and filled with hot energy, pulsing, overpowering, ready.
There is a strange part of me that is deep and difficult to access, but when I have been alone long enough, I am able to taste the edge of it, enough so that I know, there is something more vast and delicious to it just waiting to be discovered, and harnessed. Not harnessed, but experienced.
For every category on netflix, they offer a subcategory of that same category, but “with a strong female lead.” So, for example, “emotional midlife crisis movies,” or, “emotional midlife crisis movies with a strong female lead.” Do not ask me how I know this.
When I was a little girl my mother would tell me to go to sleep, she would say that I had a big imagination. But I swear I saw these things. I think it is completely possible that I had hallucinations as a child. I can remember them clear as day, there were these small little buggy creatures that would fly around me, there was a great beating heart inside the wall next to my bed that I could often hear and sometimes even see, there was a tall thin figure who was friendly and quiet. My mother said this was normal for children to imagine these sorts of things, but I can promise that I experienced them in the same way I am experiencing you now, and you are experiencing me.
My sister sent me a text the other day. It said, “black holes cud b the flip side of the big bang, and all the matter they suck in is being spat out n2 a parallel universe, meanin every black hole iz a new universe; a white hole.” Then she sent another text, saying, “black holes r everywhere.” She does not remember sending this text.
© Brittany Weeks Feb 2013
Brittany.Weeks at colorado.edu