Sometimes, the tsunami.


Last week, I was on the treadmill at the YMCA late at night. On the TV was Lisa Ling’s show This Is Life, with an episode about coroners. I was watching passively, until they started showing a scene of a body going into a crematorium. I thought with a sort of dark humor, “Oh hey, that’s what happened to my mother’s body,” and kept running. And then they kept showing images, of smoke coming out of a smokestack, and the ashes and pulverized bones being scraped into a container. I started wringing my hands and shaking my head violently side to side to get whatever was coming up to go away, but I couldn’t, so I stepped to either side of the treadmill and doubled over.

I stayed that way for a long time. I was aware that everyone on the floor was looking at me and calling to me and waiting. But so much had come up that I had to get it all out, first, before I could say anything. When I finally opened my eyes, I tried to tell them, “The TV, they showed ashes, that happened to my mother, I wasn’t ready.” They were confused but very nice. They offered me a towel to dry my face. I left quickly, and drove home, and screamed a lot on the way.

It was fourteen years ago, and still.

Sometimes I think about how losing my mother young and my being solo non-monogamous are related. Not that it’s pathological or unhealthy, but just to acknowledge that there is a connection. I don’t remember very much about my home life from ages 8-16. Which is strange, because I remember everything. I was journaling at the time. I recorded all the intimate details of my school life from that time, for example. But I very rarely mentioned my mother, even though we shared the same house and the same dinner table. I shut her out, emotionally and physically, for years. I was so angry with her for getting sick. And by the time I was mature enough to try to build a better relationship with her, she was far too gone for it to have anything like the meaning I wanted it to have. She died when I was twenty. It took me years to process the guilt and regret I had (and still have) about that.

Sometimes I think that that pent-up love got saved somewhere in my body, and is coming out now.

And it’s free, and never-ending, for those who would share my skin. And sometimes I feel like no one lover could ever be able to take how much I’d want to give. Which is why I have to have many.

“Here, take this worship, displaced in time; drink deeply, it will never go dry.”


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9 Comments on “Sometimes, the tsunami.”

  1. shanadubois says:

    Sending hugs and love. I lost my mother when I was four and feel the same way as you regarding no one person being able to withstand/survive/weather the pent up love I have within me…

  2. Donald Byrne says:

    The deep mysteries of being human. An unrepeatable life on this magnificent earth. You are some she here now.

    I had an encounter with Mary Anne recently. Sad and funny at the same time. Niko and I and Laxmi were discussing family. Laxmi began crying about Grandma Mary Anne, who died before you were born, I told her.

    “I’m sad about Abuelita” Laxmi wailed, “because every time I try to see her, she’s always dead.”

    I told her Grandma Mary Anne is loving her and is so proud. And she probably is. Though it may be that the new adventures are so enthralling that the former life is but a dream. Who knows. Vamos a ver.

    I wish Mary Anne could hold the kids.

  3. Yes, the body remembers. Sometimes things the mind cannot. And it expresses itself, all it longings.

  4. Julie E. Byrne says:

    Bless bless beeb! I get it. It is a connection and, now, a liberating loving one!

  5. jamjarhead says:

    Although your words describe a personal epiphany they brought me to a deeper understanding of my own behavior and I thank you.

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