Sometimes, the tsunami.Posted: November 20, 2015
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.”