The conversation was fun. I sat across from this young woman still partly a girl in her innocence -- but her body full and heavy enough hinted at -- and then with words – languid explorations with her ‘boyfriend’. Her body unselfconscious and she with no idea, no idea at all, that her body spoke and spoke the opposite of her shyness and the preoccupation that her self, her words, might not be good enough for the world. Her socks and shoes, as the cross of her feet precise. Her nails, a woman’s hands strong and unaware.
The conversation was fun and I smiled and drifted, and I drifted on the passion of it all, the passion of reading a new book, of hearing a young woman make her sense of the story, of what her friends were saying – ‘did I see that. . .” ? I drifted back to a summer’s day, pushing the stroller down Princess Street. The warmth had been with us a couple of weeks now, winter ended. The baby had played at the park, his exploration, his wonderment at the world, his new ability to walk and to make me run, made me smile. Life was full and the baby was fun. I got to share the unselfconscious joy but also the devastation at the loss of a leaf.
I remembered crying out on the balcony, in the dark high above the street – the cigarette smoke reaching out to the world, my love to be in the world, especially at night sitting on the edge of the lake, shoulders touching, friends laughing, slipping on rocks, the purple twilight, and the warmth of the breeze from the lake – the frigid wind from the lake that could turn my body bleak. I cried because my baby, had been happy with the new release of running feet and he hit the wall, the corner. He was hurt: the bruise, the swelling, the rocking, the comforting, and the ice wrapped in a facecloth to soothe. I cried because I couldn’t soothe, I couldn’t lie, that the world could hurt, that being caring, loving, open, kind, and happy are not valued – being smart, knowing more, making pronouncements of people mattered – not the longing of an outstretched wave, to touch, to reach -- to connect – the touch -- the acknowledgement of the overture – parodied.
My want of contact seen as silly and contrived – my openness -- shut again – by a more knowing – judgment -- my body giving my want away again and again . . .
Baby’s Dad gently slides the door open: “what’s wrong?”
“A world made of hard edge, corners, why do we have to have sharp corners, why can’t they be rounded, so such sweet innocent faces don’t get hurt, why doesn’t it matter that people get hurt, why don’t peoples’ feelings count” I sob. I stop. I am on the verge of saying too much, letting him see that I am lost in the world now, lost from him for a while, he travels the world I used to be in -- the new world of baby drawing me away and I no longer draw him toward me. My mind reaching forward into the night to rest in the blue and to rush on the wind from tree into open space reaching out to whirl --
The suffocation starts, the strangling in my throat – the rejection of the expansiveness -- I must be polite, respectful, take the others perspective, watch people take my openness as naïveté and my outstretched hand as novice. I must learn to get along in the world.
The teenagers on the street were kissing, kissing with such abandon, I knew it was rude to stare, but I wanted to take in the moment, remembering Grandad’s words – why do they have to make such a meal of it, made me laugh out loud – not in distaste – I laughed and felt happy for their abandon -- I started to feel sorry for me, for loss, for gain but I stopped thinking before I took the moment from them and reject what they gave me – a wave, a smile, reaching out to me across the street -- in the sunlight -- protecting me and the love I want to share, in the abandon of the moment.