point a to point b

wake up so softly that you can’t tell when sleeping ceased and consciousness seeped in. don’t be surprised that you are okay. do be surprised to find a message from him on your phone asking where he can buy kale. realise maybe he needed you more than you needed him. he needed to realise he wanted kale in his life. write back. then let it go. don’t tell him you’re letting him go. don’t tell him it’s not because he’s not worth holding onto. that confessional urge has dissolved. you know that this is part of being a woman. you do not need to prove that you are okay.  tell him without telling him that you’re sorry you’re okay. it’s not him. he is good and beautiful and you could have loved him deeply, but you’ve explored every back alley of the alphabet and you know your way from point a to point z off by heart. you get where you’re going much faster if you know where you’re going and you’ve got no space in your life for someone who doesn’t want you.

you are the sofia. accept it. this is an excruciating role but it is crucial. excruciation is crucial (look at the letters). you are the one that makes them need kale. you are the teacher. you are the one that dies. and this is a gift. you wouldn’t be this person if you couldn’t take it.

GENDER: Feminine
OTHER SCRIPTS: Σοφια (Greek)
PRONOUNCED: so-FEE-ə (English), so-FIE-ə (British English), zo-FEE-ah (German)  
Sofia is a female name derived from σοφία, the Greek word for “Wisdom”. The name was used to represent the personification of wisdom.

this is what happened.

he came and the two of you stayed in bed for twenty-four hours. somewhere near the beginning you started talking and somehow you broke up. but still, you both stayed in bed for the whole twenty-four hours, fused, even when you cried, and when your bodies unravelled in sleep, he grabbed you. you watched a movie that rattled both of you in different ways. you kept saying, i’m the sofia. i’m the one that dies. in the morning he said, i don’t want to stop holding you. and you were confused again because this isn’t the first time a man has held you with one arm and pushed with the other.

you called a friend (those lifelines are unconditional and infinite) because you were wild with hurt and you were worried you’d start weeping on the tram. you said i’m not even tired of this happening. that’s how many times it’s happened. you saidbut i am so tired of falling in love, always soclose but never really in it. always allowed to dip my feet into lakes of love, just enough to remind me what it’s like to be drenched with intimacy, and then i’m back on dry land, alone, with all these holes where people used to be. 

you wanted to have a tantrum. you wanted to say, but you told me i had a reason to stand still! don’t. instead you said, how was your flight? oh you made a new friend? how lovely. you didn’t say, i took a shower but i still smell like you. i brushed my teeth but i can still taste you. i’ve stripped the bed, but making it overwhelms me and the notion of a naked mattress doesn’t horrify me right now (there is almost a perverted pleasure in sinking to such despair).

but maybe he is too young to know about the frenzied kind of grief that has you crying until you throw up. i know you, he said. you will try to find a way to blame yourself for this, the way you’ve done with everything else. but i won’t let you this time. this isn’t happening because of you. you hated him for saying the right thing when you were trying so hard to hate him. you said, i hate you so softly that it sounded like love. you didn’t ask him if he knew what it’s like not to want to exist. you didn’t admit you know why people want to kill themselves and it’s not because they want to die but because they don’t want to exist and you know that dying and not existing are not the same thing. he knows this about you.

you stood in front of the mirror and burst into tears, your eyes bulging slits, your cheeks pink and hard, your mouth bending ugly, saying again and again, i don’t deserve this. later, you wailed under the naked duvet, grateful that tears aren’t countable because the number would scare you.

you didn’t turn off anything, the laptop, the light, because you were afraid of being engulfed by grief in the dark. you tried not to try not to think about it because the trying gets you thinking about it. remember telling him, there is not a single consistent man in my life; only the women stay.

then you reminded yourself to trust the universe. you didn’t hate yourself when that trust didn’t make it hurt any less. you didn’t hate yourself at all. remember him saying, it’s difficult to like someone who doesn’t like themselves, and you were confused (maybe you’re not quite there yet).

the thing is, you do trust that you can handle everything life gives you. trust life. acceptance eases much suffering. yesterday the shock bred pain. but if you trust life, if you trust that every disappointment is a necessary pebble in the mosaic of you life, then you don’t need to suffer. everything that happens to you is for the better. pain is inevitable. accept. let go. flow.

hold on tightly, let go lightly.

obstacles are just pebbles for your mosaic. every x is  pebble. wisdom is seeing someone as a pebble instead of the whole mosaic. you are the mosaic. you are the sofia.

Ocean of Emotion

Earlier this year, I had an eccentric lover with a romantic name that kissed like a European. We used to sit on my balcony getting drunk off wine and each other, talking about love and space and grief. We shared an immediate intimacy, and I was so grateful for it, having just gotten out of a relationship with a cold, emotionally-stunted boy. My lover was tall and wild and sensitive. On the sixth day, he told me he loved me.

He doesn’t speak to me anymore. My lovers are divided like that. Some of them have become my friends and we write to each other from time to time to say hello and I miss you, but come to think of it a lot of my lovers never want to see me again. As if they want all of me or not at all. It’s sad. I am not like that. I don’t understand why the intimacy disappears when the relationship ends; the person is still there. But I am beginning to realise that I have an exacerbated capacity to emote and, as such, have learnt not to fear feeling.

Earlier this morning, waiting for my take-away coffee, I watching people brunching in the sunshine and felt a little sorry for myself. It’s been one of those days when I need to be around people, and there are no people around. And then I thought, “I am amazing, ” and it made me tear up and smile at the same time. Because look at me, living without emotional padlocks. Letting the loneliness waft in out. Sometimes so anxious I hit myself. Sometimes so joyful I speak to strangers. Me, who cries on the floor at least once a month. Me. I do all those things all the time, and yet I am not bitter. Like Louis Armstrong, I think to myself, what a wonderful world. It’s kind of sensational to sail through storms of emotion, to have almost drowned in them so many times…and still not be scared of the ocean. Especially since I know people who don’t even dare to swim.

My January lover was like that, was like me. He suffered a lot, but he was also alive. I think he’s working on a vineyard in New Zealand now, with a girl he fell madly in love with. Sometimes people are there for you in small but pivotal ways. I hope he’s happy.

This song by Dustin O’Halloran reminds me of him.

In the Nucleus of a Balinese Night

I didn’t remember it until the next morning, but in the middle of the night, half-asleep, he pulled the blanket over my bare body. He is named after the god of war and weather and it suits him, with his rocky eyes and stormy hair.

I fell asleep at 8pm. He tucked himself around me when he got in. His hands are so big that they can cover two sides of my ribcage. Am I that small? 

He wakes up in the middle of the night to kiss me. I don’t want to sleep with him yet, but my body surges. He roams me. Hungry. He doesn’t care that my mouth is thick with sleep. When I put my hands on his chest–no–he lies down next to me immediately. He curls himself into my side and doesn’t complain when I twirl his curls in my fingers. 

Two-hundred and Sixty-six: The Perfect Breeze

It’s the evening of The Perfect Breeze.
The one that feels like kisses and safety.
I am walking on a road framed by neon signs,
one little anonymous atom in a big city pond.
There is honeysuckle to my left,
scents leaving trails of sighs across my cheek like a lover’s touch.
I long for these streets during the day,
for the songs of life that helter-skelter through me like a spontaneous, relentless tune.
I see beauty parlours, bubble-gum pink,
with late-night, last-minute customers primping and preening.
I keep going. I am a mess.
I am Johnny Walker headed for Johnny Walker (neat).
If I was a number, I would be eight.
Am I late? I don’t know.
When I walk, nothing exists except for the road.
Every now and then I look back,
searching for the beacon of a taxi cab and when I see it,
I’ll stab the air with my hand to beckon it to me.
I reckon it would rock if we could stick out our arms
and hail cabs for every problem.
But here, surrounded by fluorescent pollution,
I think: knowing how to get from Point A to Point B isn’t the solution,
because the letters always change.
I need to learn to jump on other trains of thoughts.
To fly into my imagination.
To ride ideas.
To find corners where I thought there was nothing but dead ends,
To search for names of places in my dreams,.
To brake when life throws me red lights.
If I can learn to navigate the map of my mind,
then I needn’t be so scared of this journey.