I fear fires, disasters, endings without goodbye-- the storms of the shore with wild, whipping winds, tearing at the screens of the windows that look into my world and all that is precious to me. I fear headlines telling a tragedy befalling us, when just yesterday we were so blissfully living, unaware of what was coming.
I want us to light on blades of grass like butterflies just outside our door- safe and normal, weightless and free, and then retreat back into this cocoon, this womb, that houses all that means anything to me.
I fear losing any part of it, watching him suffer, leaving him behind, or the heartbeat of our house gone silent. I tremble at the thought of any of those things, yet can't and don't keep the terrifying images at bay, instead inviting them in to fill the overly safe and secure parts of my mind and heart.
My body is unwell and imperfect, scarred and wracked with pain at alternate moments, and I am suddenly in a room surrounded by the smell of sick and loss, a room that has been mine so many times before- in all those cities when I was the deepest shade of alone. The same bright lamps and crinkling paper in lieu of bedsheets. Eyes peering into mine meant to cure, but instead judging my small complaints in the midst of the larger tragedy just down the hall. I will be back here again, alone, they think.
But, I am not. I am achingly comforted by the graces of love that surround me in dark chasms, sad memories, daily triumphs, and the lighting of birthday candles.
I am here among the living, finally, the white dress on sand, the veil aloft in the salt-kissed air, taking flight- the lift of Chagall's brushstrokes, a memory- my hand being held by his heart.
I am transported from one life to the next in the instant of a shutter click- the warmth of the camera's flash against splashes of sea foam after decades and decades of landlocked thirst.
So here we are and I tremble at night in fear of limited time, lost moments, taking for granted the scenery in between slow-cooked dinners and shared laughter. I fear regret for every misspoken word, or missed apology.
I see the world's pain, a new chapter each day, reduced to type-written words beneath a byline of someone who knows nothing but dates and times. Nothing of bonds and secrets and private languages of breathtaking fluency... all that is truly lost. It is a greater deep than all the ocean's measure, it is unspeakable, haunting, unimaginable.
I want to keep it all from our doorstep, from the moments he is in the car on the way to work and a siren seems in perfect unison with his route to safety.
I want guarantees, I want promised safety from a force bigger than me, bigger than us.
I want the assurance of more years here than back there. It is not an order we can place, choosing the span of years we will be given like wedding china patterns. No agreement can be drawn airtight to protect us, signed in blood with years of safe passage...a future of nothing unplanned or shocked with pain. Growing gray and wrinkled together is not a preference to select, just the silent hope of our vows.
And it makes it all more beautiful, more precious in the fragility that is the uncertain and unknown.
All I can do is breathe and sleep, and give love deeper than I did before I had these delicious moments, more than I loved even just yesterday.
Whatever is coming will come, in smoke and flames, forces of nature, the lottery of disease, or some other soul's greatest mistake.
And whenever the clock hands slow and halt for any part of what I have now, I will always have the moments before that, sandwiched between alone and now, deep in my heart and here on paper. All lovely, all precious and uncertain, broken and beautiful, until I too am just someone's memory- fleeting and perfect, finally safe and remembered- a part of all that was treasured.