Saturday, Jan. 05, 2019 @ 4:54 pm
In a dream, a tall man is standing behind me. He puts his arm protectively around across the top of my chest and starts to kiss me along the nape of my neck. I feel his facial hair prickle my skin, that I understand somehow to be greying, against my skin. I melt back into him... and then I wake up.
I return to yoga, after a year of absence. At first my body is resistant and tight. Weak and uncoordinated. And then, as my mind lets go, so does my body. Each class I run into local acquaintances. Each class my arms get stronger, my hamstrings longer, my mind calmer. I lay at length with a foam block under the top of my spine, opening my heart.
Time passes. Arguments peak and wane. There are time of cordial politeness. Yelling and crying. One morning, I sit on the painted wooden stairs that lead down from the attic where I sleep. My bare knees jutting from my robe, I press my face into my hands and breathe. Inhale, exhale. How do I want to be in this relationship? Inhale, exhale. I look at the car and calculate how soon I could be in Vancouver. Inhale, exhale. I could choose to shut down, pack a bag, and leave. Or I could be vulnerable, and pull the shreds of my heart together into something half functional, and go into the bedroom and say, "Good morning."
The counsellor gives us a package of reading material. I study it over and over, searching for answers. I know that lately I have shut down. That I have been asserting myself in unloving ways. I realize that I cannot expect him to change when I'm acting cold and aloof.
We book a weekend down in Nelson for my birthday. We go downhill skiing on the mountain, and then nordic skiing in the valley. We drink coffee and eat croissants. I pick a place for dinner and order the duck leg. I drink a cocktail that smells like a cedar sauna and tastes of alpine air: juniper, spruce, and pine.
The morning of my birthday, I dream of Chris. I lean towards him, and he bends down to kiss me. It's the best kiss of my life. He says to me, "I hate what he has done to you. We can fix this together." He presses his cheek against mine. We stand there together, foreheads touching, breathing in and out. In my dream, I am lucid and in disbelief. I can't believe that this is happening. My heart rushes with the thought of everything suddenly changing. I feel wanted and deeply loved. He pulls back a bit, and... then I wake up.
The gift of this dream on my birthday. I wake up angry that it was a dream. I lie there and try to fall back asleep, wanting to be back in that moment of bliss. Another year older. I feel interminably sad.
Later that afternoon, after skiing, I come out of the shower and see a small pile of gifts on the hotel bed. Daniel sits in the chair and grins. I hate opening gifts. I get anxious that I won't like the gift and that I will have to pretend that I like it to save the other persons feelings. I open the first one, and it's a set of chopsticks. I burst out laughing. It's a good one, and he knows it. It's sort of a joke but sort of not, and only he would know to buy me them. The second gift is smaller and lighter. We have a tradition with gifts, and I understand this to be The Pair of Earrings that arrives every year.
I open the cardboard box, and the earrings fall into my palm. I stare down at them and my heart clenches and tears form at the corners of my eyes.
I've been so hard. So cruel.
In my hand lay two long, delicate silver swordferns.
I'm sorry. I love you.