Under Covers

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Under Covers

I always hated being under covers.
A frightened girl, tucked in bed
scarves tied to keep everything
in perfect place.
Believing in ghosts,
hoping for vampires,
I hid in corners, closets
and once in the back of my best friend’s mom’s
rusty hatchback.

But never under covers.
At least not all the way.
It’s awful under there. Scarier than out,
close and hot.
You can’t see what’s coming
until it already has you.
Covers.
NIghtmare-making fabric coffins.

But here I am
asking and
grateful for and
happy under covers.
Someone else’s covers.

His aren’t the heavy, damp clinging ones
I always knew.
Where your own sweat constricted and pulled and tightened
your own suffocation.
These, his, are loose and linen
light and kicked off and
breathed through.

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Covers I want under.

And I don’t understand.
I’m afraid of covers.

I know I can’t survive under there.
Febrile and scratching and anticipating
worse than what really is.
And I know I can’t sleep above them
lying above them, raw, exposed
cold and threatening numb.

But under covers?

So many arms and legs
throats and necks
dark rents
So many.
There can’t be space for everyone
to exchange,
because my ribs are always convinced
that there’s not enough room and
a cover might as well be a corset.

Am I learning to breathe under there?
Because I am
washing sheets and tumbling dry
watching them fall and
willing the corners to curl around me.

Under covers seems finite
Only so much air
only so much pushing protection
enveloping escape
releasing rescue.
One day, some day, the air may be gone.

May.
But today
I want to crawl under.
I want to stay and listen
for ghosts.
No longer hoping for vampires.

Instead, wanting
the quiet and heat and feeling good
feeling me, reaching us,
allowing our under space
wanting to last
as long as the covers will hold.

 

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Healing

He wanted matching toes. This kids steals more of my heart every day.

He wanted matching toes. This kids steals more of my heart every day.

There’s something humbling, and pretty filthy, if I’m honest, about having a kid with the flu. It gives you some damn dirty perspective.

The stupid, insignificant garbage that usually fills your brain evacuates immediately and your obsession turns to an obnoxious bitch of a lymph node on the right side of his little neck. A lymph node that has the audacity to be swollen enough to concern the pediatrician. The jangling warnings of him having not one, but two grandfathers ,who have been diagnosed with cancer. The younger of whom,  held the prideful place of being the reason for this sweet child attending his first funeral.

It is the current alarm ringing in my ears, which drowns out my own pathetic fretting in favor of real fear.

I’ve been in my head for a long time. A right and proper long time. I have tanked relationships with really good people. One at least among them that might have been ‘The One’ because I chose to stay like a fish in the salty water of my head. Only seeing and perseverating on the same view, the same problems, the same dusty shelf, the same askew and inaccurate reflection of myself staring back at me from the glass, instead of the clarity of the water-less possibility in front of me.

Was anything ever big enough to stand up and shake some sense into me? Apparently not.

Art and passion have tried. I lost a nice acting gig because I gave one of the worst call back performances in the history of acting. No hyperbole. Worst. When you are brought in for a second-tier, lead-ish part and instead of rising to it, you be-shit the reading so throughly that they don’t even want to read you for First Waitress? Yeah. Time to get out of your head and figure things out. Numb actors are unemployed actors.

People have tried. When you are again and again asked, and requested, and finally demanded and at long last are just left left standing and staring, alone on a sidewalk? Again. Time to get out of your head. Numb girlfriends are ex-girlfriends. Who go insane. And say radically implausible and hurtful things. And buy underwear no one will see. And spend exorbitant money they don’t have on self-help and relationship healing books. So much money on so many books.

So then, you throw a fit, and get angry and self-righteous ( and wrong) and angry again. Which doesn’t change any minds, which doesn’t get you the control for which you are subversively angling. I just gets you angry. Which, thankfully, is better than numb. You can’t act with numb. But angry? That you can work with. And if you really give it free reign in an audition room, you can get a really angry part in a really angry play. Some maybe not a terminally unemployed actor.

I’m starting to suspect, to my chagrin. that all the therapy and all the books do nothing, if you sit there robotic and numb, waiting for the fix and the help and the magic, hurt-stopping unicorn to come to you. You can pencil in workbooks and make lists and comparisons, but the fix doesn’t come in your room. It comes out there. In the big scary world, with big scary people.

I’m lucky to know some of the biggest (metaphorically) and scariest (that’s legit. I would not cross some of these broads) people.

Maybe instead of having things or people try, it’s my turn to try the shaking. There are a few girls in my life have helped more on this fool’s errand than they will ever know. I’m calling them out:
-Erin (my forever friend, with me from our last lives and gods willing, into the next)

-Carrie ( my role model, stronger than I will ever be and forever my hero)

-Heather (my organized inspiration who is as funny as she is smart and fierce)

-Joanna (my dear girl, what can I say? My partner on the road of sorrow and laughter)
Yes. Putting names down for my warriors because they deserve it.

And then there’s a boy. Isn’t there always? He would hate public naming more than he would despise a hug in public (or private, for that matter) so ’ll leave him anonymous and thank him for the lessons and the logic and the encouragement, in the myriad forms all those learnings took, to push me to always aim for better than I am. Progress is slow and I’m just not there yet.

There is no partner of present, personal or business and art,  to cajole or entice or encourage or just bloody make me see what I’m missing by being trapped inside my blonde head. Which isn’t the worst thing. Many people have accomplished incredible things with only themselves for reliance. I know I can do better. And I know there is support if I only look at it sqwaking its offers in front of me, if I am not fool enough to push it away. I can do things. I know I can. But that won’t happen alone. I need to remember that. Because, maybe that’s not a partner’s job.

I’ve let a number of dreams go. Which hurt. So I’m determined to not let anything else slip away, especially the things I am lucky enough to have in front of me, if not in my very hands.
A barking shame it takes things like grievously swollen lymph glands to appreciate the fragile magic circling our faces. Or sparkling in green and blue on the toes under us. But now, I see it. Not in my head, but right here with me. Close enough to touch. And then douse with sanitizer because everything is slick with germy body ooze these days. But it’s there. And now I finally believe it.

So, thanks, flu.

Next,  comes healing.