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The Encounter

Beneath the surface lies a past I recognize. It is a pulsating beat, the rhythm of a force field, the web of a thousand spiders glimmering under moonlight. It is more familiar than my husband. Where did it begin and how will it end? Stemming from the cavity I call subconscious wisdom, I am fully aware that I am in The Struggle.

The presence haunts me because it is a call to action. One moment I think its humility and the next I think humiliation. Is it the same thing?
I’m riding a roller coaster. Below my feet, the rumble is the steady. I belong to one destiny. It’s as if hands have already molded me and I’ve awakened to discover I am a sculpture being chiseled out from the mountain that is my surrender. Surrender to who or to what exactly?
I confuse God with the Devil these days. I thought they were two separate entities but now I know that each is the side of the other, both intertwined and engaged in the primordial struggle that is both inside and outside me. Either way, I am thirsty for it now that I know I don’t have to push passion aside to be good.
I recall the moment I realized I was no longer in possession of my soul. I could see the shadow behind him in my dream. He had many arms writhing this way and that, like the Indian Goddess Kali. They say Kali is the Goddess of Destruction, but the Destruction of the Ego is what she means. His legs were crossed at the ankles, which made him innocent and vulnerable but not in a child-like way, but rather the kind of softness a man develops after being devoured by demons but lives to survive.  Like Kali, he is soft, but in an instant can be taut like a black whip.
There was nothing transparent about that first moment, and yet—I was being exposed to more truth than I had in a decade.
Shortly after that moment, my life became more fiction than fact. I know now this is a stage of the soul.

 

 

Still Thinking About Running Away

There’s a plant in my upstairs hallway dying. The plant’s been with my family for almost fourteen years. Almost as old as my eldest child. Older than some marriages. My plant’s dying and I wonder if I’ve done everything in my power to save it. Save her. My husband says there’s a life span for everything. I bought her a bigger pot and watered her a little less, then a little more.  I whispered to her as I passed, caressed her long green fan-like leaves— I did all I could do and she’s dying anyway because there’s a life span for everything.

Some things are beyond me. There is, after all, some great decision maker. Don’t mock this talk of fate, just accept it as part of life. I mourn her and watch her wither away, curious how she’s reduced me to a child again. My tears well up and my lip curls into that tiny pout of a mouth that should only be seen on little girls of two and three– not forty something, not me.  I don’t want to let her go because now she’s part of my home.

Funny, I think my sadness must come from the world. This monster like grip, scrape in my throat.  We are not under a spell, oh no, we see it and wave it away with disregard, smug-like and disrespectful like, yes. Or we sit in it and wallow with shame.
Me? I’m learning to flow with this melancholy. I blow like a reed or fall into the rhythm of dance. It’s a ballet. On and off the stage, I float, from tragedy to joy. I am alone in effortless beauty gliding, then struggling to break free, a villain’s grasp. This dance keeps me in. It allows me to weep, off stage. It reveals beauty in life and a sardonic justice because at least it’s not static. It’s like watching the air ruffle under fabric— gentle and subtle but captures your attention.This air is the only thing that matters. It’s change.
I’m getting old, perhaps, when I see things this way.
What do I have to hope for? My children? Who will they become in this world so slight, too slight for their beauty? Will they get swallowed up or will they dance?
Yes, it is true. I’m getting old when I see my plant dying and I compare her death to my life and a ballet and in the end I fear for my children and simultaneously glow in the thought of their beauty ever on my mind.
Then, I wonder when I walk down the halls of my school— do the people there see the energy of my soul leap outside me? Do they feel my electricity? Or do they see a woman, emptied and cold like the numbers on the computer, data lines? 

A Fly On the Wall

If I were a fly on the wall, I’d see you sitting there straining to see why his neck tie is tightened too tight or why his knuckles are fist white wrapped like five bullies around a sharp number two pencil.
If I were a fly on the wall, I’d see rows of books lined up in a dark wood book case; books that tell the story of how we do teaching and leadership and all those things that schools say they do but sometimes, you know, those things just remain bound up between a hard cover and a bibliography.
If I were a fly on the wall, I’d see five side glances that speak one unspoken truth. It is the riddle of one relationship multiplied by every school identified and categorized for transformation.
Who can blame you?
If I were a fly on the wall, I’d see the empty box of tissues propped up against a brand new binder that’s half full and half empty with promises and hope and distrust and simply, a binder is just that. Black and white words and numbers on a page that tell half lies and some truth too.
If I were a fly on the wall, I’d see compassion waft over us like the sweet aroma of roast pork on a Sunday and then in a quick second a foreboding sense of despair.
If I were a fly on the wall, I’d see you and me and him and them and all of us, caught up in one critical moment of suggestion. The art of deep listening and trying to make sense out of  non-sense and the perennial battle of freedom vs control.

Things stay the same when they should fall apart.

The endless shuffling of roles.

But I’m not a fly on the wall. Not this time. This time I’ve been chosen to sit beside you; to hold your hand and bear witness to your suffering. Perhaps it was my higher-self that chose for me but all the same it’s me. I’m close enough to breath in the same air you breathe, to share your human-ness– as if– in fact, I am just a reflection of you in the mirror…or so it seems.

Have I gained perspective or is it loss?