All I want now is to have back the time:
The time spent searching for the moment of the fall, the precise moment when having done, said, thought X must have led to Y. All I want now is to have back the time spent sifting through all the possible Xs in a silent frenzy; the time spent in a submarine madness no one ever dipped a finger in, its surface was so calm. And the time spent pushing the boat out: My beautiful friends spoke to me of fortitude and I loved them for it; I’d have told them the same had the need arisen. And yet none of it was true. All this forward motion was nothing but a refusal to look back when it didn’t do to be eddied up in misspent possibilities.
On the brighter days, you think it might make you a stronger person, but all you end up doing is mistrusting life for its willfulness, not becoming stronger but more indifferent perhaps. All I want now is to have back the time spent sleeping. I was unprepared for the exhaustion of loss; it came in outnumbering forces and I didn’t hold out a single sword. I fell asleep the way I used to fall in love – unthinking, unblinking, unarmed and undone. Sleep, it saved me. It gave me unconsciousness when every single of my waking hours was a cramp in the stomach, trying to keep my body from spilling in one turbid splash the confusion kept inside.
I don’t want him back, I tell myself, not anymore. He chose to go. He chose to go. I want back the love I gave for free, in vain, in exchange for the beating of an expectant heart. So much and so little, given and withdrawn in a heartbeat. He did love me though. Loved me in the only way he knew to love, in silence and isolation and denial, not capable of bearing the implications of his own emotion. However much I understand him, it wasn’t good enough. All I want now is to have back the time spent in anger. I spent half my twenties working and sleeping, trying so hard to rein in my anger that I went all rigid and placid and inoffensive. You couldn’t be older than twenty-five, people say to me.
But I am thirty-one. What I have to show for it are cracks in the wall where all sorts of stuff squeeze out. Tears and snot and vomit and gall. The body is no prison. It is the metaphor of self that I am learning to read now, a little late.