International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Reality Check
letter to my Wife: Part Two
Continued Apology Ten Years In The Making
I send this missive to press on the tenth anniversary of our marriage
from a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, where you lay beside me in one
of your rare restive states, mouth agape, right wrist resting awkwardly
on your forehead; your breath slow, but steady. It is the finest
example I have that you have survived me, something I did not predict
a decade ago in this space, when we were far away in Syracuse, NY
It was a cowardly
act; putting down every horrible thing I had wreaked on my loved ones
and those who were unlucky enough to cross my path in a pathetic attempt
to publicly expunge all this bile without your knowledge. But no jury
would convict me. I just didn't want to queer the deal. Ultimately it
was nothing more than cute and it brought me a meager pittance to submit
it, but it didn't mean a goddamned thing.
Turns out you knew all about it, didn't you? After all, you lived with
me, and not the Me that I rolled out at parties or professional jaunts
or even family affairs, but the real Me. What the hell does that mean?
Fuck if I know, but you do, and that's all that counts. I rely on that
instinct to strip away all my well-crafted facades and leave me a bloody,
emotional, blithering child. It's a good feeling to be "reduced".
Hell, yes. I recommend it to anyone with this kind of mind-numbing ego.
But you never ran from the tornados, darling. Not you. Not ever. This
is why you are the finest of women, which makes you the finest of humans,
because we all know a man could not begin to scale the heights you traverse
daily. It is always a trip to awe to watch you move. It is something
between cat and silk. I'm afraid to describe it anymore. I close my
eyes and see you dance and that's good enough, so that image will have
to be good enough for the reader too. Good luck with it. It's worked
So there is the toughness of spirit and the tenderness of your feminine
wiles, but it speaks nothing of what this crapped on, kicked out, undulating
sack of protoplasm has gained from even knowing you, much less being
"loved" by you. No one really knows what love means. I never
did. I thought I had it down and tore it up and dragged it out and caressed
it and sunk into it like a soft chair and was thrown from it like a
speeding car careening into a blind ravine, but I was mistaken. I know
that now. Love is nothing you grasp. What I have for you cannot fill
poems or splatter on canvas. You can't hum it like a melody or turn
it into a foreign film. It seeks no philosophy or religion. It is the
unspeakable, the unknowable and I sure as hell wouldn't reveal it under
oath or threat of torture.
I carry your love not as a badge but a scar. It ain't coming off. Not
now. Not ever.
And that is the nut here, huh? We put it on the line, you and me. Through
it all we hold the wheel and forge ahead boats against the current.
From that day ten long years ago when we stood before our beloved rabble;
beautiful people who make us whole, these friends and brothers and sisters
and comrades and all the DNA that reminds us that we've put together
a pretty good crew on the thinnest of rafts. Shit, we filled the loft
of that ancient theater and opened our threadbare veins and let it flow,
shaved our heads and sprint into the desert. And ever since we have
been lost at sea with no hope, strike that, no plans on returning. Let
the rest of the walkabouts walk about, we'll be on the bouncing waves
in our serpentine embrace. No one gets in, no one leaves hungry.
Just in case you weren't so sure, I put it all down on paper; scribbled
out something hastily and handed it to you in front of the woman who
married us, some local judge who butchered my middle name and could
hardly believe we turned the whole thing into a bohemian ritual. I don't
recall the exact words, but it said something about never letting you
down or always being right there for you and I am sure I have broken
that promise. Promises tend to have weak handles. It's something I once
read on the bathroom wall at the White Horse Tavern. It is something
I learned the hard way more than once. But one thing is certain; you
have never let me down and have always been there for me.
For that and all the things that make up this complicated, mysterious,
foreshadowing, caustic, sexy, drunken, hard-charging, pistol hip-shaken,
kick ass woman, I am eternally in your debt. I'd thank you if it weren't
maudlin and beneath the truth and could hardly carry the weight of this
infinite smile you put on my weathered face.
Ten years of marriage plus nineteen odd months of this impenetrable
bond; we've lived in three places and shared five cats and miles of
road and air and valleys of grief and mountains of joy and volumes of
music and rivers of booze and the kind of laughter that you can't trade
even on the black market.
And you still had the grit to give me one more thing; this person, this
girl, this piece of us that is without question its own uncompromising,
noisy, two-fisted shining spirit of you, a porcelain goddess with a
wicked grin and those special moves from heaven. Yeah, she grooves,
mama, and it shows no signs of stopping. Hope she keeps putting us in
our place, this place, the place where we got it going on; and apparently
on and on.
Hah! It's good to know nature has a sense of humor and it works overtime
I truly hope I've held my end of this bizarre bargain. Lord knows it
pales in comparison to what I have once again failed to impart in these
scanty words I pound out this morning.
Here's to ten more from the desert to the sea and all the rest of those
dark areas inside my beating muscle.
You've been there. You stay here.
© James Campion June 12th 2009
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