Shaken and staggering
Tired and drowsy
Voice a little lower
She could have been stuck
Between heaven and earth
But she is a fighter
She is faithful
As in full of faith
She is awake
On her own
In spite of
What they said
Two weeks ago, when I came home from work my Louis Vuitton luggage was sitting in the entry hall, covering the mourning bench but no one was in sight.
“Dalia, what the hell is my luggage doing down here?” I asked storming into the family room; the scene that greeted me stopped me in my tracks. My mother in law Roxie and my mom Eva were seated on the khaki colored twill sectional. Both were dressed casually in linen and lightweight sweaters. They were alone; Ryan, Dalia, and the kids seemed to be out since the house was unusually quiet. This room is Ryan and the kids domain, I rarely come in here preferring to spend my time in the more immaculately dressed rooms of the house like my home office and I quickly wish that I hadn’t rushed in here today.
“Mom, Mama Roxie what are you two doing here? Where’s Ryan? Has something happened?” I asked, not understanding why both ladies would make the trip from Montclair, New Jersey and Orange County, Virginia respectively on a Sunday afternoon.
My mother smoothed the legs of her linen slacks and looked at me without expression before saying, “Happy Mother’s Day, Noelle.”
Instinctively I responded, “Happy Mother’s Day to both of you.”
She looked very disappointed before saying, “I’m not going to mince words or waste time, obviously Ryan has done enough of that” my mother continued “your bags are packed because …”
“That’s enough, I can take it from here ladies” his voice appeared from behind me and I quickly turned to assure myself that he’s ok.
I’m going to let you all in on a secret. I stockpile posts. Seriously! I write a lot, especially poetry or just little ideas and thoughts that often become posts. That’s how The Library Adventures were born. Anyway, I try to remember that I have written something or what I have written for the times when I am caught up in my literary addiction or classwork or chauffeuring my grandmother around but I don’t think that I’ve been doing a good job.
This all stems from the fact that I just discovered a piece that I apparently wrote in November of last year. It will be making an appearance here soon. I’m a bit ashamed to admit it but this piece, a poem; well I’d forgotten that I’d written it. As far as I can tell it’s never appeared on the blog. Granted that was a busy time for me and I remember thinking that I should have a few pieces written because I would be busy with NaNoWriMo but… So although it was not one of my original 2014 writing resolutions I will be devising a spreadsheet so that I can catalogue new pieces and discern whether I’ve posted them or not. The one problem with this brilliant idea is that I’ll have to update the spreadsheet. But apparently my previous system of tagging the written and saved material as a blog post was faulty as well. Hopefully my new system will work.
I hurriedly closed the journal as my assistant buzzed the intercom to let me know that my next appointment has arrived. My therapist, Moira, feels that journaling my thoughts will be helpful once I start group therapy next month. I’m not particularly excited about the prospect of pouring my personal thoughts and feelings out to Moira yet alone a bunch of strangers. However, this is one thing that Ryan is adamant about before he’ll even consider seeing me, not to mention reconciling.
My career is the one aspect of our lives that that has continually caused us to argue. When we met I made it clear to him how devoted I was to building my career. Back then I was a lowly marketing assistant, I put in the time but my work went largely unrecognized until I started working with the PR team promoting Ryan’s second book. Which is how we met, at that point I was working more in the community sector but I’m now the Executive Vice President of Arts & Culture for Ruder Finn where I work with high profile clients like the Olympic Committee, all four major sporting leagues, and museums around the world. That’s another source of discord among us, my husband is an activist I’m a businesswoman. The things that originally brought us together, that made us laugh and commiserate over are no longer the same.
Ryan’s a tenured professor at Columbia, he’s also a published author and noted scholar which led to a contributor position at CNN. A little over three years ago, he started teaching distance courses to spend more time with Ryan and he continued the practice once Brock was born so he has the freedom to devote to the kids. I don’t, and I can’t say that I wouldn’t find something else to do if I did.
My husband has the ability and desire to spend hours at a time with the kids, entertaining them, taking them to the zoo and the park, planning their birthday parties and I’m just not interested enough to help or share in the duties.
This week I am sharing an excerpt from one of my pieces of fiction. It is a piece that I’ve been working on for a few years. It was created when I was pursuing my MFA; hopefully I will be able to devote more time to it this year. At the center of the story lies Noelle Griffin, a reluctant mother, whose lack of interest in parenting (and her children) has pushed her husband beyond the breaking point. I plan to share the complete first chapter with you via excerpt if I don’t get distracted by poetry.
I remember when we used to lie in bed together all day, making love all weekend, ordering in and hardly ever getting dressed. He would look at me like I was his queen, bring me breakfast in bed wouldn’t answer his cell phone or the door. Now everything’s changed; we’ve both changed I guess, but fundamentally I think he looks at me differently and wonders how he married such a cold creature. Yes, I truly believe that he thinks of me as an alien being.
Let me start at the beginning, eight years ago my husband and I were happily married newlyweds with our futures laid out in front of us. I know that it seems cliché but we were so in love and I have looked back over those years trying to remember how and when we lost the feelings. It all comes back to one thing, the kids. My husband Ryan is a great father; I mean he is truly wonderful, according to all of our friends. He is the one who gets up with the kids, gets them dressed, does their hair, feeds them breakfast, takes them to school and he hired their nanny, Dahlia.
Ryan and I are the couple that everyone views as perfect; high powered high profile careers, two kids, two vehicles, beautiful homes but everything is not as it seems. I am functionally incapable of mothering his children, I mean our children. I say things like that all of the time and even though I carried both of them, gave birth and provided them with half of their DNA I still feel as if they are his children. Ryan, a five year old girl and Brock an eighteen month old boy are his reason for living now and I cannot compete with them. I have never had a bond with them and although I agreed to bear both of them, I do resent what they have cost me.
“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
-James A. Baldwin
I have given you everything
because you would never accept
I have parceled out
every piece of myself
to you as if I were serving
The point of sanity
And still you ask for more.
Which I continue to give
because I am unable to
I will always say yes
I am a ruin of my former
It was unexpected.
Set upon us without a bit of warning;
No sirens, warnings or watches predicted its impending arrival.
It just suddenly appeared,
Upending features and the living room furniture.
Carried me from the sofa to the bathroom floor.
Bloodied, battered and bruised
Wondering if I would live through the next storm.