Tuesday, February 14, 2012

thoughts of a single married woman, on valentine's day

well, as brutal as this first valentine's day is, at least i don't have to spent it with david! HEY-OH!

oh my. well, i baked 40 heart-shaped cookies (frosted in pink) at my bakery job, of my own volition, and wore red today, which i consider a triumph over my own bitterness. i do adore valentine's day, and always have. all those elementary-school cereal-box valentine's mailboxes, parsing the snoopy and scooby-doo meijers valentines for clues as to the senders' true intentions... what's not to love about love? though i did feel like punching everyone in the face today, just a little. oh, the speeches i compose, to david and his new girl, in my head as i chop walnuts or violently carve away at the blocks of raw sugar at work. but, they are fading away more and more in my mind, filed away in the good riddance/poor bastard sector, leaving so much lovely blank space waiting to be filled with....

Thursday, February 9, 2012


there is so much i'm thinking about that really can't be put out into the "blog-o-sphere" but still, i always appreciate the efforts of bloggers to let us (the slavering public) into their daily lives and heartbreaks. so, i will try.

it's a tough time right now.  it's hard to look at other blogs that i've always adored, with their lovely husbands and homes, and not feel a hard metallic feeling in my gut. i suppose i am just hardwired with this drive to love and create a cozy home and life for my loved ones, really more than anything else. after all, i turned a former crackhouse on the northside, where a prostitute was once found dead, into a cozy and inviting place, at least for a couple years. i spent all my christmas money the year before sho was born on the most glorious wallpaper for our bedroom, orange and gold damask -- not tacky, like you'd think, but old-fashioned and so warm. i washed our sheets every week, and swept in a daily battle against our mud yard and two rumbling dogs, whom i miss so much i can't even really think about it. david and i bought a crystal(ish) chandelier to replace the bare lightbulb in our room, an expense ($80!) that i used to marvel at once we had a baby and were broke, broke, broke. but the crystals were beautiful, and sho and i used to stare at them and the designs they made on the walls as the sun glinted through them as she nursed, in those eternal, lovely newborn days when time spun out like rumpelstiltskin's golden threads. i read aloud to her from the books friends had sent, lousie erdrich and john irving, and carried her out jubilantly into the rain during her first rainstorm on earth (she slept through it).

before anyone else knew we were expecting—we’d only been together for a month when we found out that sho was coming—david painted her bedroom with leftover golden ralph loren paint from my parents' basement, the old wood floors shining beneath us as i sat on a barstool and we imagined our futures, the three of us together and the dogs at our feet. i sewed fabric pennants to hang triumphantly on the walls, my swollen belly by then my dear and constant companion.

my old friend casey came all the way from green bay to paint our bathroom, which was at that point all drywall and rough plaster splashes. she made pasta and listened so carefully. sara brought a soft stuffed elephant--sho's first gift ever--and peppermint tea. rosie came to mop the entire house, as i (this is how i recall it) sat at the kitchen table and sobbed. david was working for three weeks in california then, and i worked so hard to make the house nice upon his halloween return that i made myself sick. i wanted to show him how beautiful our lives would be together.

my thighs grew so thick it was impossible for me to sleep; they rubbed together incessantly. my cheeks were chubby for the first time in my life, and i reveled in this new juicy version of myself. our babe would get hiccups in the womb, and i was sad about them because i couldn't comfort her through them yet. i was sure she was a boy then, and so was everyone else. we decided on the name solomon. it's so strange to think that solomon will never happen, now.

my parents came to paint the closet in sho's bedroom--although she always slept with us, still i had that intense hormonal drive to make hers the coziest nursery i possibly could.  my mom and i deliberated endlessly over color combinations ("you don't want her to wake up and be scared of monsters in her closet") and finally decided on moss-green with a brown trim. i bought tiny hangers and stocked her closet with the softest clothes i could find and sew myself. the cradle my grandfather had built thirty-five years earlier, with big wooden beads running along the sides, was ready and waiting beneath a mobile of paper cranes my friends had folded.

the morning she was born was warm and bright; she came into the world just as the birds were singing, after a night of hard labor in the bathtub and on our living room floor. david helped me upstairs, and sho was born an hour later. the moment we saw her face was too beautiful to really describe in words. the brown curtains embedded with jewels i'd sewn fluttered in the breeze. the dogs ran into the room just before she was born, and were there waiting happily, quietly, so i forgot they were even there until long after she had arrived. david's face was beaming and brilliant. our midwife left most of the labor to us, and he was in it--all of his best qualities came to the surface and he was calm, steady, and true. we were best friends then. 

i remember when our midwife stopped by for our ten-day checkup after sho was born, except we didn’t know she was coming until suddenly she was there, in that orange-and-gold wallpapered bedroom, with two out-of-town friends (one who’d flown from new york city that day to surprise me) surrounding the baby and I on our bed, gifts and tea on the nightstands. david’s friends, rowdy and boisterous, had stopped by at that moment as well, and she took one look at us (at least ten people there) and said, “I don’t need to be here – you’re all set,” weighed the baby, marveled at the weight she’d gained already, and left. the room was bursting with love.

but you know, I’m writing all this as a way to say goodbye to it. because all that doesn’t include the the knocked-over bookshelves and holes punched in walls.  it doesn't include the grinding difficulty of poverty, the endless worries and struggles, which were no one's fault; we tried so hard. it doesn’t include my own enormous imperfections and mistakes, and all the shouting and yelling and endless anger to deal with, his rapid acquisition of a 22-year old girlfriend, my true relief to be done with it all….

neither of us were perfect, and it’s just…time to let it all go. i finally am starting to feel ready. maybe i am already there.