Wanderlust by Dona & Lou

Posted on March 10, 2013 by

2


Canto I: Awakening

I am a tree with roots in every corner of the world.

I am burdened and blessed both with an inability to stay grounded; my soul resides where my body cannot, scattered and spread all over God’s green Earth. I am infinite; the world is an expanse I wish to traverse every inch of. As long as I’m on my feet, they will never stop moving, never seek to cease.

At least, that’s what I always thought.

Lately, the legs I imagined would carry me forever have begun to grow weary. The spirit that once loved to soar has begun to sink lower. The home I always thought I didn’t have seems to be beckoning me more insistently with every step I take.

I never thought I would say this…but I think it’s time for me to go home.

Home: same streets, same neighbors. It feels like a castle I have built around myself.

To tie his shoelaces, my son had to trip with his own knots till he mastered the trick. Now that he learned how to do them, doesn’t mean he can go on everyday without his parent’s supervision. I don’t know how a husband doesn’t even ask how this routine goes.

After all this time, it’s still hard to be separate. A presence is proportional to the person’s belongings. As long as his pillow is there and his left side of the bed is there, I still feel his presence. I can’t be with another.

At times I reach out my hand to feel the smooth surface of his pillow. Today I just lay still, watching the disrupted fabric with both disbelief and caution. Absence has become a new enemy to me. But whom am I fooling? Maybe my emotions aren’t even true. Or maybe this’s all happening because I’m unworthy of anything.

It’s time to change.

Canto II: Routine

I frequently forget how beautiful my wife is while I’m away.

I’ve never cheated, if that’s what you’re thinking, though Lord knows there have been opportunities aplenty along the way. But it’s not pleasures between the sheets that I crave…the kind of adrenaline rush I seek out is the kind you can only find cliff diving in the gulf of Mexico, or crossing a tightrope stretched over a gaping Arizona canyon. The holiness and solemnity I want are the ones you find in the Buddhist temples of Goa or the majestic structures of Mongolian monasteries

But the sight of my wife always takes my breath away…even now.

My son is six…and a brief flicker of shame makes me turn away from his smiling face. I have not seen him in two weeks. He holds out his hands for a present I have not brought him, and I can barely dissuade him with the promise of something when my suitcases are unpacked. I’ll have to buy him something later, when he is asleep, perhaps.

I just hope I can remember. Because it seems I’ll have many other things to remember as well.

But it’s okay …because I’m home now. And I’ll have time enough to let my memory revive itself.

It’s irritating how an unspoken prayer is finally answered.

I wonder about redemption. I wonder about change. It even feels weird trying to explain things now that he listens. The memory of him packing this suitcase he just unpacked is more vivid than the reality I had lived to witness. But seeing him kneeling to reach down to our son, then trying to work things out by this gracious smile of his. I look into his eyes to find the stranger dissolving out of him. I see months of guilt in his gaze, it softens me.

Tonight is the first night we prepare a table for 3. He strokes my cheek as he comes in to have dinner. Somehow, I perceive his thoughts of “this is not just tonight”. I lose track of food, thinking about what will every night now be like. My son’s words take me back to reality, “Mom, is dad staying long this time?”

Canto III: Guilt

(One Month Later)

Today I learned that I don’t even know the name of the school my son attends.

My son. My only son.  And I had to spend twenty minutes rootling around in his bedroom until I finally found an old school form in a desk drawer. And then another ten minutes while my GPS got me hopelessly lost. I was late picking him up. I bought him an ice cream to keep him from telling his mother, and he smiled and pinky-promised with the sweetest gap-toothed smile.

He collects seashells. I found a box of them under his bed, all shapes and sizes. I never even knew, or else I would have brought him some with me from my travels.

But how would I have known? I rarely ever see him.

I’m learning new things about my son…and I’m suddenly grateful and ashamed that this is the longest that I have been home since his birth. He has a lisp. He wants to play professional baseball in the future. He actually wakes up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. And he has a picture of his dad on his bedside table, which he bids goodnight before every single slumber without fail.

Which only makes my heart ache more when something at the back of my mind tells me that this simply cannot last.

 Especially if things with his mother stay the way they are.

I still can’t forget that first night.

Just like any stupid woman, I fell for him again. I fell for his eyes; saw them for the first time with recognition to the light that has always knocked me down. I undressed him, trying to mark my territory, again. Trying to relive every moment we wasted in his absence. He touched me with same grace, and at one moment, everything was good again. The next moment, I fall as hard as I have risen. I realize, in the middle of all this, my husband fell asleep.

I’m the stupid wife, lying in her husband’s fragile grasp, the husband who now solemnly sees her. How can he just sleep in the middle of it? I can’t help it; right there, closer to him than ever, all I thought about is the Businessman I catered for, last month. I haven’t seen him since that night. “Take a break from the kitchen”, he said and then he offered me a glass of wine.

That man awoke in me what my husband had left abandoned for months. However, I remained faithful to the sleeping corpse beside me.

Right now, more than ever, I realize that I want my husband to be honest, and be gone again.

 

Canto IV: Relapse

I cannot stay. My son’s wide grins simultaneously make me overjoyed and irritated. How can he be happy with my misery like this? Is he selfish to want me here, at home, when all I wish for is to be away? Or am I the selfish one, to want to be away from him, when all he wants so dearly is for me to be here?

My wife has isolated herself from me completely. Her manner, her speech, her actions…all have become as frigid as the ice floes of the Chukchi Sea…the very same ones we once watched from the deck of a boat long ago…as we held hands and swore to each other that as they were, we would be too. Solid. Strong. And never, ever parting.

And I miss it.

I’m afraid this can only mean one thing now.

It’s time to pack my bags again.

I am not acting God, here. I have once wanted to be everywhere, just like him. Our love had lived on the fire that wandering gave us. I felt in control, and I know he felt free. We were both endlessly together. I always liked the change, but there are things in life that we cannot change.

Just like how I can’t change my son’s gritty smile. His messy words, the way he asks me to decode the unknown to him. I can’t change the way I like him to look up to me, know that I know, and be really safe with me. How can a son be raised in the ruins of an adventure his mom and dad had once recklessly created?

But there’s my husband, suitcase packed again. Memories don’t conflict me, now. I watch his back so intently this time incase it’s his last.

Canto V: Silence

“Different earths, different continents, but same constellations. I stopped wondering about these once you took my heart away. Holding your hand under the sky, it doesn’t matter where home will come to be.”

His words. Silenced me with love, back then. Now I’m silent for loss.

Despite my broken heart

Despite my pain and anguish

Despite knowing that this is the end

I have only one thought now.

“I am free again.”

(Parts in bold are by  Dona

Parts in italics are by Lou.)

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Posted in: Wanderlust