There have been many beginnings here. I begin and discard and restart endlessly, searching for the words that best hold my meanings. All I can find are tight-bound sentences, stubborn and refusing to unfurl. Words that wing away before my eyes can alight upon them. And I am left in this amorphous now, and past hoping that this beginning will make sense. My beginnings never have before, I suppose. So this is a new thing, and a known thing, and I am stood here, hoping for an opening small enough to crawl through.
There is a specific type of hesitancy that comes from knowing what you do must be done, knowing what must be done might be hurtful. Perhaps I hold the words away and keep them deliberately unclear for you. Perhaps this aversion is for me. Either, no matter. Some wounds will always gape. Best, then, to get on with the telling. I pull the words close, and stare them down, and belong them to me, for a while.
So. A beginning. A hastening, surely. After many years gone from my friends, away from myself, this particular one rushed upon me. And my past could not reach out for me soon enough. A moment too late. I was quickstolen into the brightening now of myself.
I don’t think… no. That isn’t to say I was in darkness. No. That word is too muscular, too restraining for the slightness and freefall and yearning of my days. Darkness implies a doom that I could not rightfully and retrospectively own. Darkness is being lost, with neverbeing found.
But as I look at those days, submerged and a bit under my own ground, I am compelled to honesty. This page is my new beginning, and I cannot smear the white with lies, however intentioned.
So now, yes, I say, perhaps I was, a bit.
Here is where I hesitate. Here is where I write these words.
I was together once, you see. I was together, after a lifetime of being apart. I was together. And I can’t say in any adequate way what that means, meant. I was neverever together even to myself, but I was, for a long and lovely, lonely moment, together with someone else. We would say, in the still night, that yes, yes we were broken, but our jagged edges and strange shapes somehow matched, and filled in our long-empty spaces. We fit.
It wasn’t all that I wanted, but it was more than I had hoped for, so I sat down in the middle of an uneasy truce with my dreams and my nightmares. I tried, oh, how hard, to keep myself down. Settled. This is what I should want. This is what I should be okay with. This is what I should ignore.
I was together, yes, with him. But only a part of me. There was that last errant piece, the one that wanted every single sanctified mouthful of life and passion and a wanting so deep, oh, the tears I held in my head. The tears I could not afford to fall. So instead, I placed that piece of me, sweetly and with such careful regard into the ground. Down, sunken just deep enough to mistake depth with one eye for perception. Can I blame him for making me into this half-ground creature? Covered in crawling insects of regret and pierced by a thousand blades of neglect, rooting into me? No. I did this. I did this because even being partly together was better than returning to the past. I could not return to the division of myself.
I tried. I tried.
But I realized, it was sudden, yes, a bursting inside, that this… this shouldn’t be so difficult. I should be more of myself. Why wasn’t I more? Elevated? All my skin pulled closer together, all my fingers working to make me whole again. Why wasn’t I winging to my future, sure sighted and full of all my pieces, at last?
So. I pulled as much away as I could, having to let some bits go, farewell to them, but a sacrifice necessary for this division. For the divining of myself.
The year, already cooling and creaky with age, found me alone. And, without him at my back, it began to envelop, stealthily, creeping upon me until I caught its breath on my neck, irregular, far too familiar. I had no limbs to fight it. I had no claws to gouge its heart out. And it wrapped around me, tight-gripped hands and poking bones and the smothering, smothering whispers that never stopped. It told me I was back. I was ended. In the dark. It said to me, low, You will never go.
But in the darkness, I stilled. And in the shadows, I saw my true form. And oh, oh, I wept. My pieces knitted askew, akilter, I couldn’t recognize, couldn’t find myself in myself. And oh, oh, the anger! The encroaching years had bent me down, crooked my back, clipped my wings, and I wanted to gnash at the thing upon me, and wrench it down, and wring its neck.
So I did.
I found strength in limbs made of past mistakes and bones of memory. I flung myself as far as I could toward a screamingbright future, and hoped I could survive the pain of coming into, finally being, light.
So I climbed.
My fingers became talons to pluck beauty, my mouth held the good words tight, my heart burned, burned for all the love I found in myself. And I began to right myself. And I began to write myself.
I found my long-ago words ghosted on the page, wavering, and re-inked them, re-linked them to me, now. I made them stretch farther than they were meant, kept them going, going, yes, until they wrapped themselves around me, a supple new covering to protect me from this sun, blazing, within and without.
So I am born.
I find my own ashes. I rise.
I set my own fire. I rise.
I am all my parts. I rise.
I am flung. I rise.
Screamingbright and pointed straight at the sun.