Obligatory Warning: This is an ongoing, solipsistic account of my very own divorce. If you don't like personal stories, why are you reading daylogs anyway? Shoo, back to factuals with you. Go on, shoo.
Also, I am retiring Lucyboo; she feels false and tinny. From now on I will daylog as Mitzi, as Ashley.
I never thought I'd miss the wet spot, but I do, goddammit.
That's the thing. Your mind goes soft when confronted with this much loss all at once. You start missing the things that drove you batshit.
But mostly I miss the warm things, the solid things, the things that provided the framework of my former life. My life as Wife.
He used to wake up with a song in his head. Every single morning. If I slept through his waking I'd ask him later, what was your song this morning? He would reply: When Doves Cry, or I Kissed a Girl or Bittersweet Symphony or Oklahoma! (which mystified us both, because he detests musicals) or sometimes a fragment of Mozart.
He never, ever remembered his dreams; they slipped into the ether along with the stars, they evaporated with the night. But he woke up every morning with a soundtrack. I liked that about him.
I take long showers these days. The memories crowd in on me there, unbidden but welcome just the same. I watch the steam collect on the glass door in a bathroom that isn't mine and I watch the water cascade like temporary diamonds, like a million tiny goodbyes.
A lot of weirdness took place between us in the shower. He kept a can of silly string under the sink, and when I was particularly pissy he would lurk in the hallway until he was sure I was unsuspecting, then bombard me with sticky gunk.
Other less weird things took place in the shower, too. Since he worked at home we had a system where we could go for hours in our own spheres, working and functioning in the same space without ever talking or interacting past the occasional absentminded touch. We'd reconnect in the shower. I'd wander into the bathroom and peel off my clothes and step into the steam. I like the feel of water on my skin, the luxurious amphibious experience of sheets of wetness licking me with a thousand tiny tongues. And then Sam would be there, wordless still and also wet and sleek as an otter and his tongue would join the million other tongues (and I was always, always surprised that I could be wetter and slicker still, but I was, and it was good), and we were suddenly together again and the silence of the day would be washed away, spiraling down the drain, and we would laugh and gasp and laugh some more.
That was nice.
He teased me a lot. I hate that this is past tense, too, because he knew how to keep me from the dangerous kinds of serious. He had a dry wit, a wry way with words. He was an adroit teaser, skilled in the ways of the tease.
He fed me. He was an astoundingly intuitive cook who understood flavors and textures, the sensuality of food. He cooked for me daily. He didn't want my company in the kitchen - cooking was a meditative act for him - but he would dart into the living room where I was reading or writing with spoons and ladles brimful of fragrant broths and tidbits, for me, for me.
He fed me. Do you understand what that means, the barren enormity of that loss?
We had a lot of sex in the beginning. He was a watchful lover, and I could sense him tucking away details for future use. When I touch her there she mews. When I lick her like this, she gushes. His knowledge of me was encyclopedic, it was terrifying.
We dated and fucked for several years before breaking up in our mid-twenties. During that time he met a girl who wrote erotica for a living, and he learned things, dangerous things. (Let us now praise old girlfriends, for they gave us much. Skoal!) When he left her and came back to my bed he was sure of two things: that he wanted to marry me and that I had faked many, many orgasms in the past. He was absolutely right. I have in common with many rape victims an involuntary wariness at my core, something tense and coiled and deeply suspicious that takes effort to soften, to soothe, to placate. His stubbornness is rivaled only by his patience. With time and languid peaceful persistence he coaxed wave after wave of molten pleasure from a place I thought was calcified and beyond repair.
He fed me that way too.
He understood in an instinctive animal way how to touch me. I worried about his silences sometimes - sex with him was a mostly wordless affair - but I came to realize that it was concentration, devoutness, an atheist's deepest and most fervent prayer. He was present in his silence in ways words would cheapen.
I went through a mercifully short phase where I did all I could to get him to spill his fantasies, to let me into his quietness. He looked at me uncomprehendingly and said don't you know that I am here, right here every time, can't you tell that? Why would I need to go anywhere else? And I believed him, and I settled into that truth the way you slip into a hot bath, relishing his is-ness, his immaculate attention, his watchful and rapt silences.
It isn't all misty eyed reminiscence, of course it isn't. He sweated a lot, and not just at the right times. His taste in clothes ran toward t-shirts, some inappropriately ratty and peppered with silly slogans, and tattered jeans. He went commando with utter stubbornness no matter how many types of underwear I pointedly bought for him. He wasn't particularly well-read and didn't much care. He spent too much time on the computer and not enough time on me. He had a keen aversion to doing laundry and left to his own devices would never change the sheets, ever ever ever.
Something that disturbed me deeply: he never called me by name, not ever. Now and again when he was inside me I would chant that ancient creed, pray that ancient prayer, Say my name, Sam, please say my name and he would oblige me, but my name was foreign as Sanskrit on his tongue and I always felt ashamed for having to beg something so elemental from him.
I look forward to the day when the warm memories are ghostly wisps and all that is solid are the Bad Things, the Dealbreakers, the Nights I Cried Alone While He Pretended To Sleep Because He Just Couldn't Deal With Any More Fucking Drama.
But now it is all showers and the slow spreading fire of good scotch and the diffuse light beneath the covers during afternoon lovemaking. It is steaming bowls of homemade pho and the way he always held my hand in the movie theater darkness and the filmlights flickering on his absorbed and watchful face. It is his scent on the pillow and the tangle of our legs in half-remembered sleep. It is rain on windowpanes and breath on my face and when I wake up now in the middle of the night it is the ghost of him not sleeping there beside me.
Some nights I wander. The house is still, the silence broken only by coyote howls and the desert wind in the sparse trees. I wake up thirsty and pad to the kitchen for a drink and then, and then a sense memory jabs me so hard in the ribs I can barely breathe:
We are sweatsheened and flushed and it is velvet dark all around us and we laugh, we always laugh after sex, it is a gigglefest. It is so amazing, this sex thing, the grace and awkwardness ot it all, the bolts and waves of pure pleasure that make us gasp with something like wonder, a benevolent warm musky tide that washes us up here, on this strange and familiar shore, together and laughing and always slightly amazed that we can do this, we can do this anytime we want to because it is our home, our bed, these are our bodies and they were made mostly for this and that is worth a giggle or ten.
And he brings me a warm wet washcloth and a cold sweating tall glass of water (always a glass, it feels cooler on our swollen lips) and he cleans me gently with the warm wet cloth and the water slips down our parched throats and we kiss and our tongues are cold and that makes us laugh again. We light the cigarette that we always share because it tastes better than any other goddam cigarette in the history of cigarettes and it is meant to be shared, like the water, like our sweat. And we drink and smoke in a contented sleepy silence that is more than merely companiable but that is also companionable, and that is sweeter than anything I could have imagined, this comfort, this friendship, these moments that are scented with the musk of us and made sacred by the quiet awareness of we.
And the water I have now in my plastic cup is lukewarm, the temperature of tears, and I am being mauled by this memory, and so I wander and smoke dry and meaningless cigarettes that taste neither good nor bad, that taste like nothing more than smoke.
Sometimes I literally run from the memories, ignoring my smoke-scorched lungs, sprinting in bursts along the riverbank. Sometimes I sing (loudly, off-key, nonsense songs) to chase the memories back into their proper caves. Mostly, though, I sit resigned and let them drift over me with their million jellyfish stings. I stare at the sky and try to empty myself of this emptiness, but it is no use, the emptiness always wins and the memories spiral to an empty heaven like smoke, incense offerings to dead gods.
I hate that he makes me maudlin.
If I forgive him all of this - this abandonment, this leaving, this arctic silence, every stillborn tomorrow - if I let all of that fall from my grip like the first handful of dirt over a coffin - I still and always will never forgive him for making me write bad poetry in tearstained clothbound journals. I will never forgive him for making me sing Dan Fogelberg songs in the shower (Another Old Lang Syne, anyone? Sweet bleeding JESUS.). I will never forgive him for making me cry over 70's power ballads on AM radio. I will hold him accountable for these things.
I hate that he makes me miss the wet spot.