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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Thursday, Jul. 23, 2015 @ 8:35 pm
I spend the week with my stomach, heart, clenched.
I constantly rub my fingers together, a replacement habit for nail biting. It soothes me but somehow also stokes the fire, and when I'm present enough to still my hands, there is an immediate sense of silence. It takes a massive effort, to sit there with still hands.
And I realize at some point that there are times when my hands are still, and those times correspond with my most intense moments of joy, of inner calm, of beauty.
My hands are still when I'm riding my bicycle to work in the morning, the city still waking up, the sun not yet fully warm. My hands instead steady myself, guide me swiftly across the city, seamlessly shifting through gears as if the bicycle is an extension of my body, another sent of limbs.
My hands are especially still when I'm doing yoga. The studio becomes this place of calm, a place where it's safe enough to quiet my mind, to still my hands. I move through the poses, and my hands stay quiet and pressed together in prayer. Something is released, and the urge to move them vanishes. I no longer need it here. It is safe here.
The substitute teacher asks me if we've met before. I look at him and study his face and say no. We have not met. I don't tell him that I know with certainty because I don't meet very many people. That without a doubt I would remember him if we had met. That I would remember his presence, his calm, his gentle spirit, the complex layers simmering beneath his surface. I like the way that he teaches. It's different from some others. My hands remain calm. At the end of class he smiles at me and says that he hopes to see me around.
I leave yoga with the usual sense of yogic high. Everything is so crisp and perfect, and I see and sense every detail of the world.
My feet on the pedals, the chain gliding silently around, I coast past coffee shops and families out for evening walks, and the thought that filters into my head is I'm in a difficult relationship.
Of course, my stomach is clenched from being around Chris. He breeds so much doubt in me. The doubt builds and doubles, and oozes out in my nervous fingers.
He emailed me first thing the next morning, thanking me for dinner. And later that morning again with a link to an article that was related to something we talked about.
I think about how it felt, standing beside him on the balcony watching the sun go down. His hair various shades of golden, shimmering slightly in the breeze. His voice loud and congenial, his smile, the crinkles around his eyes. How he asked me a million things about myself, things that my own family never bother to ask. How I am starting to know him better, to see a crack of vulnerability in his otherwise happy-go-lucky exterior.
I think about him riding his bike in the morning towards my house, and me riding my bike towards his office. And somehow we cross every day, me below on the seawall and him above on the bridge. And then again in the evenings, our trails braiding together day after day.
I think about why I like him. How he's close to forty and still single. Why nobody else never wanted him. That he's never told me about dating anyone. I wonder if he's ugly to other people. I wonder why other women don't love him in the way that I do. I wonder if he's gay.
I like his optimism, his relentless sense of adventure, his easy smile, and his incredible intelligence. I admire the value that he places on family. I appreciate his strength, his caring spirit, his worldliness, his lack of possessions. I admire his congeniality, his ability to listen and engage, and his constant curiosity. He is never lazy and never takes short cuts. He is honest, moral, and upstanding. The world would be an incredible place if everyone put as much effort into life as he does.
I'm in a difficult relationship.
The yogic high begins to wear off, and my stomach again begins to clench. I begin to feel the anxiety returning.
I try to hold onto it for just a little longer, but it's slipping away.
And Daniel walks in the door.