I found solace in your arms. You held me and I was cocooned in comfort and security. I knew the only harm to come to me would be through you, sounds bizarre to say, I know. But your crazy was mine and I kept it safe. Without you I am exposed to the world in a way I hadn’t been for years. I no longer hear the truth when I wake up in the morning; instead I am subjected to life’s little lies.
The expected schedule I kept is lost in fond memories. I wake most mornings forgetting to remember there is no reason for waking at the crack of dawn to fire up the teakettle, ignoring the expensive coffee maker because you prefer instant coffee, strong, cream, nothing fancy. These halls are different from the home we shared, no stairs to climb as I sit on the side of the bed, kiss your forehead and wake you with the aroma of Tasters Choice and Victoria’s Secret. You’re not going to prop yourself up on one elbow, and look at me with love in your eyes, and I won’t run my fingers through your hair, you won’t close your eyes and ask “why do you love me?”
Now I sit on the side of this new bed knowing the brewed coffee will remain in my hands, your fingers won’t wrap around mine before taking the cup, sipping and saying “perfect SoKaaaaaay.” I miss the sound of your footsteps coming from the shower, half naked wrapped in a towel rigorously drying your hair, complaining of going bald. Turning to me and doing that ridiculous naked man with towel dance while singing “will you love me when I’m bald So-Kaaaaayyy!” You joked but I knew you worried about getting older. In all the years we’ve known each other I never relaxed with your comfort walking around the bedroom naked. My memories of your naked conversations make me smile now; you enjoyed my discomfort a bit too much. I never let you leave for work hungry. Not even when you had to leave earlier to pick up your friends. I miss being aggravated by that.
I skip breakfast most days and I no longer make pancakes. I tried shortly after you died but wind up pouring tears of memories and melancholy into a mixing bowl, cracked eggs and broken heart only succeed in whipping up emotions too strong. It was such a simple breakfast to prepare, you and your pancakes.
Most mornings I do not eat.
I am alive, I am aware but there are flashes when I’m just not here. From the tiniest instances of dressing for an important event, turning from the mirror to ask if I look okay to find no one standing there, gathering the trash for collection and no one taking it from my hands. The realization that trying to scratch my own back has become a Shakespearean farce to the seemingly insurmountable moments such as dealing effectively with three children who crossed the threshold of adulthood precisely as you crossed over, are difficult and lonely to process.
You were my provider, I trusted even what I couldn’t trust in you, my security and stability were managed by your charms and now my happiness dangles between hope and a hellish reality. Who do I trust? When is it okay to trust? Although I can provide stability I am wide open with insecurity. Everyone is a stranger, even those closest. Most take where you gave, most want where you needed and I worry if anyone can succeed where life failed me.
Time is at once my enemy and friend with whom I constantly confide.
I’m slowly letting go because I know I must. I’ve moved into a new space, shifting and stripping my life in an attempt to barter grief for peace. This place where I live holds no physical memories of you and me and for that I am grateful. I find bursts of tranquility here. It is my reprieve from you; an eclectic and artistic oasis from the back story of us.
Here I am cloaked in purity and possibilities in an otherwise life of languishing lament.
Iya Isoke © 2/25/11