It’s hard to stay behind in a house where love has gone sour. There are so many memories. A new place is a clean canvas but an old place is a constant reminder of the past and all that was.

I’m sitting outside on the deck my husband built, looking at the angel sculpture he gave me three years ago on Valentine’s Day. Beyond are the raised beds of my garden which we fashioned our first summer, and farther still the well-crafted picnic table he built from discarded lumber. When I look at the hammock, I think of us in it. The tennis balls he gave the dog still hide in tall grass along the driveway, while the forest swing he climbed so high to rope waits down the hill.

Each sight is full of remembered stories, laughter and times of budding promise. I successfully maneuver around these emotional landmines by focusing on other things, but have no defense against the yellow plum tree. That one is unavoidable and goes straight to the heart. It’s a scraggly little thing that sits along the drive. I pass it when I walk up the hill. Most days I stroll past with only a gentle tug near my heart but not today.

Today it stopped me in my tracks, because it’s just now ripening and beginning to display its sun born fruit in radiant shades of delicious. Those plums defined his appetite and the hunger we had for one another. He could not walk past them without plucking great handfuls of over-ripe fruit. His was a balancing act as he made his way to the house loaded with a computer bag, files and tennis gear, topped with as many plums as he could manage – juice already dripping from the corner of his mouth. The plums seemed to define our sensuality and the ripe fullness of that first year when we found such comfort and solace in the body and spirit of one another.

My heart aches at his absence, as I sit trying not to think of him, trying not to dream about him each time I let go of the day and journey into night.

I saw him a few weeks ago and he looked great, much happier and more himself than ever before. Damn! Shouldn’t he be suffering just a little?

In the end incompatibility is no ones fault. It is just there, huge and sad, a reminder that life does not stop giving us endings.

I imagined you

I imagined you walking down the driveway this morning. As I looked out the big circular window in the bathroom, there you were. Just for a moment. You were wearing black shorts and sandals. Morning light danced in the silver of your hair; your head was bent and your arms overfull with all that you carry from truck to house. Your walk was distinctive and measured. You didn’t look up or notice me. Your gaze was on the driveway and the cases in your hand. I imagined also, before loading your arms that you had eaten yellow plums plucked fresh from the branch, a little soft and overripe. 

How grand and welcome you looked against that long gaze of forest drive, too preoccupied to notice the fields of clover, ferns and draped ivy that witnessed your return. The wooden piles that divide pavement from foliage quietly and firmly directing your path to our shelter and into my hungry arms. 

In that moment, seeing you there, a smile drifted across my face, my body lit with recognition. He has come back to me, I told myself, he is home. But you are not here yet. You will not come tomorrow or the day after or the next. I must wait for your return. But the plums will not be able to hang on much longer. They are already losing their grasp. It is hard for me to wait as well, but I can pass the time. I have fasting to do, clients to see, friends who visit, clothes to sew, dreams to dream, pictures to draw and words to write. I’ll spend a day of silence going in and in and in. 

I am a new person now that you are with me. I am a woman with a veracious longing. I am the desert and you are the water. When you are away, I return to my essence and know myself. It’s familiar, comfortable and rich. But when you are with me, I abandon the beauty of that place and reach for you. I can do nothing else, nothing. My longing has a life of it’s own and there is no stopping it. It’s a force running through me and its only path, surrender.

From nowhere you appeared in my life, changing it deeply and forever. Is it any wonder I have visions of you? My spirit lies open and waiting.

written 8-10-05