In nine months, I am happy to be the first to present to you a healthy, though squawking birth, a weird congratulation for the act of insemination of a thing that is meant to be more than a thing, a failed bird, a busted egg, an omelet if the bird-part sticks faster than the fall. It is an opportunity to give you back the child here, that crawling learning language of you bit by bit by bite. Your words are delicious. Your tongue laps the shores of my dry mouth.
But you echo, often: we have only seen so many beaches and so little sand and how there are waves of goodbye we have yet to know. This relenting dismissal is known already, of course. We fade. We depart. Suckling sadness has become so common we have forgotten we are sponges. We have become unaware of those leaky pores as holes, rather than as entrances inside.
To what? To what you told me in New York, what you mirrored in Italy, what you made me hold in my arms, my heavy, weak, breaking arms: you are not happy.
Not every baby is, naturally; sickness swells in some. All parents wish for a healthy baby or else, why would they put up the fuss of such a curmudgeon creation. Papier-mâché is easier. More lucrative, too.
But still, they lick their fingers, wet the hair, fix the spots, carry the soul, dress the knees, kiss the forehead, promise the world, give a small portion of a home that can break by the emotional or physical or just by the drywall. They do what they can so what they can’t is only done in abstract. This, ultimately, and perhaps inevitably, is what you have also shown in this giving, granted months: you are afraid to love.
I will not go on here to why this may be the case. I will not add that this is a gross simplification on a life that is more than it, that is a result of it, that believes love is not enough love for love. Rather, what I want you to know in this undulating, meek diagnosis is that same parenthood you have perhaps found in yellow sweaters, some with flaps, in flutes, brisk books, the quiet of your walks, your sundried exhaustion, and your voice that says you will not will today: there is something you are searching for you, and it is not the search itself.
For me, it is simple. All this prose is a ruse. If I were to be in a big room, alone, I would look for you, hope for you. In showers, I see your body among mine, the first wash, the last one. Bars of soap take your endless, beautiful form. Pillows beckon your name. Sunrises battle my snores when tied to your resigned, restless acquiescence. There in my hand is yours, even when empty. I can hear you among me eating, saying om om, slurping big powerful gulps of joy. What wonders are there around a corner, in an arena, in my own home that has taken a liking to your notes. A life dresses in your shape; I gaze at all shadows, wishing they lay at your feet like the sun that bows each day to your figure. Days take on significance for they can belong to you, can share a few seconds like leftovers. Leftovers, too, become weighty – they may be heavy with your family’s fingers, a small sample of a cooked together living that has shown me the love.
I suppose you do not see this in my laidback mirth and pisspoor idiosyncrasy. I did mention papier-mâché here, so such obvious myopia cannot be unexpected with such sticky, slimy artistry. But you, my heart, are my heart: you you you you.
I have used this in other letters. I am using other letters here to remind you again: you you you you. You my whole. You my want. You my happiness, even if I am not it now for you. You. You. You. You.
Where does that leave us, then? Ideally, not left. I will not. I cannot. I learned the heart with you. What else does it beat for, besides the music you sometimes play for me longingly, adored by the dark and stars, where I realize that if this – the bed, the sound, your breath becoming the lives of millions, including my own small baby of a being – is not happiness, what can be?