Love Will Always Be There, but Sometimes It Goes on a Holiday.
We’ve just enacted our shivery-skinned, soft-lipped, sensual supplication to love — love that leaves a big hole when it goes on vacation, and fills the house to overflowing when it returns.
Love that turns a potentially tragic life into a dream. Love that makes sense of everything, imbues with meaning, and can turn every action into purpose. Love that reminds how everything is connected and created, following the slip threads of every other thing into love.
Kids safely bribed with cups of tea and a cartoon, we close the doors and settle into each other again. Hello, eyes, and lips, and that strong band of arm, and our hair entangling, and that warm, moist place where only we connect… the electric touch, the building friction of warm soft skin.
Hello again, my love, wrapped in this cocoon of us for a snatched moment in a life surrounded by younglings and small limbs and fractious cries and nappies and feeding frenzies and tiny fingers and border disputes and infectious giggles and the elephant stampede of small feet bounding and rebounding over bouncy wooden floors. Hello again to the pull of our bodies that created so much life shimmering through the corridors around us.
That unrelenting sinking into each other which never seems to have an end. The plummet into eyes and skin and lips and limbs and soft hair and hard man… the ancient magnet of mammals to create life in the cycle of birth life and rebirth, ever rounding circle of life through its stages, the young, the fertile, and the diminishing. And then bodies sated and satisfied fit together so snugly that there’s no beginning or end.
Limbs draped gracefully and sharp shoulders form so soft a pillow that no slight movement is required to make it more comfortable. Everything slows to minute detail — the blood gently lifting a pulse in a wrist, cool breeze drifting through the window, bird calls clear as a bell ringing outside, body’s sanguine reposing in layers, the slow drift of a dust mote, resting in that endless moment.
All of it makes sense, all of it has meaning, all of it is perfect if it led us to right here and now. Of course we love, and we love so deeply that there is no end. There can be no withholding of the great big love that we have for each other and our lives and our children and our friends. Nothing can damage or stop the strong driving river of our shared experiences and lessons of each other and our places in the world.
Which isn’t at all how it felt only a few days ago. Stopping still in a home at last, after a long and arduous journey through fear and betrayal, judgment and heartache, jealousies and intrigue, threat and defensiveness, deep and gnarly patterns surfacing due to the stress. Ugly bits of ourselves that we didn’t want to show, dragged out by excruciating circumstances. Long hauls of personal strength and heroic efforts done alone.
Isolated feelings of being unappreciated. Unloved down in the marrow of childhood aloneness. Hiding behind the barricade of our battered love, till great tidal waves swept over them, and split us apart to battle the waves on our own. Enacting the rituals of the love that felt faded, hoping that pretending would bring back the strength. Pushing and striving and hurting to leave the place where all the pain focused.
To leave the people who looked at us with grim eyes and snappy mouths. To leave the arched eyebrows and slimly disguised taunts. Pushing against invisible and seemingly insurmountable barriers that constantly seemed to be in front of us, blocking our escape.
Till we did escape. Fled from the harsh and lonely desert that was aching all around us. We ran and we stumbled and we fled through the bitter cold and the sultry heat. Cloaked in a magic tent that shipped us through the salty rocking waters.
Bits of our love bumped back into each other, and we started remembering who we were before the heartache, but the moments retracted like eyes on a snail, whenever the rigors of the journey became too taxing.
It’s easy to take it out on each other. Easy to blame one another. Easy to think that without that other, life may be easier. Wouldn’t have to remember so much. Wouldn’t have to try and keep healing those wounds. Wouldn’t have to be surrounded by children full-time. Staying in other people’s houses, and on other people’s floors, and in other people’s camp sites, and on other people’s land, and in other people’s headspaces.
Quiet, kids, and don’t swear in public, and stop hurting him, and don’t ask for food, and stop playing with their special things, and don’t keep asking questions, and stop and squeeze yourself in so you don’t take up too… much… space.
Dreaming of a sanctuary and a private space, and blaming ourselves and each other for being this old, and still not having all the ticks and ribbons that we’re meant to have as grownups in our culture. Still not having a home. A safe place to be who we are and take off the masks.
Let the kids swear. Let them make a mess. Let them yell and scream and bounce all the floorboards. Let them sound like harpies at each other, let them eat with their hands, let them smile.
Then we finally get here. Our home. Snuggled in by the owner of our home, who hugs us and kisses us, and thanks us for being here, and has left fragrant snippets of her life to surround us, and seat us, and feed us, and clean us, and keep our food cool. A sweet wooden sanctuary, perched on a hill, surrounded by colorful folk and rainforest, trees dripping with life and surging green. A home and private space at last.
The journey from heartache is finally completed, and found its solution in a place to finally let… it… all… go. Now that the fleeing and survival is over, there’s time to lick wounds again, and to finally feel into the new one we created, that’s been sitting inside quietly, silently promising to not be a problem. Our new child cradled and biding its time, the time that’s drawing nearer with every breath.
We finally have the time to turn our attention inward. To redress what we can, and let all the ragged bits of skin that had to be pushed down unfurl, and set about soothing them. And then all should be better, shouldn’t it? All should magically fix itself when the home’s been found? And it is and does, to a certain point. We know that we’re lucky, and we know that we’re doing the right thing, and we know that it will start to get better.
But unnoticed by us the heat keeps rising, and the humidity sweats on our lips and drops from our brows, and feels like walking through water. Our internal temperature gauges start to boil. Insides feel like they’re slowly cooking. And it feels like I have a heavy hot water bottle strapped to me. For weeks on end it builds and builds. The heat. The sweat. Unrelenting apart from brief downpours of sub-tropical intensity.
And unnoticed by us the rise in temperature mirrors the rise in our unease with each other. I remember things that hurt. I spend hours in tears. All the hurts and pains come bubbling up, simmering to the surface, feeling so alone and betrayed and wondering how to forgive. Can I forgive? Has something been broken? An unbroachable gulf between us?
And with the bleaching of love, the children seem harder, and more difficult to deal with, and the reality of another one popping into our nest starts to seem silly. Like we’ve gone too far. Gone over the edge of practicality and manageability. Everything seems difficult, in the sweaty reality of a beautiful home that’s void of all of our personal treasures that we left behind in our dash to get away.
Taking love out of the equation leaves a dusty, slightly macabre and messy life between two former colleagues. Two ex best friends. Two comrades who lost faith with each other in the battle’s dying glow. Love leaves a sad shipwreck on the sandy desert floor.
On the last night of heat, I slip away into town on my own. To a women’s dinner.
He’s been trying hard to mend the gaps and spaces between us. Asks me if I’m going to be swept away by a long-haired lovely and back into the arms of a woman. And I throw a I wouldn’t leave the children over my shoulder, as I shimmy out the door in my red velvet pants and drive through the cool evening breeze and thank everything I can think of for this break in the sultry heat.
Driving on my own, feeling sad for my hurt bits, and glad to have this moment all to myself. I remember Me. I’m always there. Always willing to make the best out of everything. Always wryly observing myself and loving all my bits. Loving the sense of Me. Driving through the uber green I feel a sense of peace and ease. Forthcoming adventure. Sliding down the road into town I slip into the hall and haunt around, looking for a familiar face.
A few women who have met me take notice and introduce me around, seat me with them, wrap me in friendship, touch my burgeoning belly. A string of talented and passionate women perform for us, sitting sweating in our seats, by our tables, with our plates of food and glasses of wine and water. Poems and songs and words of women and their places and their skills and desires and attempts at finding love.
Stories float around me from the tables nearby, and faces speak tomes of love held and lost, and optimistic love spreads its wings over couples, and all seems to be a promise and faint hope to the potential of love. I listen to women talk about how they’ve been loved for a year and it still keeps burning. I listen to how they’ve decided that love has become a worthwhile and surmountable path to follow.
I hear the reasons why they think love is worth the gamble. And the hollow ache that sits beneath the surface for the ones who have given up the challenge. Decided the odds are too great.
And I sit, hiding the blood-red heart of a love that’s been burning hard and singing our skin regularly with lust for a full-blooded 12 years of lovemaking and yearning and babies and birthing and erotic dreams and fantasies lacing each other in the quiet unobserved moments between child interruptions. Knowing that I have it. I have the love that gets songs and poems and yearnings aching for it. A bit of perspective is always a good thing.
The next day, the heat breaks, and clouds hover, and suddenly everything seems better. I hear mention of how people go troppo in the buildup to the wet, and how extreme behaviors come bursting out in the heat. And I wonder how much of a part that heat played in our drama.
With my newfound perspective, and remembrance of how lonely and desolate life can be without our love, we bribe the kids with cups of tea and cartoons, and submerge ourselves in our love renewed. As it always will be. As it always has to be. As I will ever keep it. Untattered. Unbroken. Buoyed by the long-distance haul of shared experiences and traumas and birthing and babies and walls scaled and hurts healed.
Love is. And always will be. Even if sometimes it seems to go on holiday. Love won’t let us down. We won’t let love down. It’s ours for life.
Hellena Post is a mother of eight, fiber artist, spinster and creatrix, weaver, blogger, writer, and claimed by Athena. Being also Stubborn and Friesian, she has refused to do just about anything she was told, and has always had a desire to find her own ways of doing everything. Most of all, she has found it impossible to keep secrets or lie to herself or a loved one, which led her into pursuit of The Shadow, in herself, others and institutions, and also into the profound path of self-organization, and finding the power of being herself. Drawing heavily on Quantum Physics, non-Roman World History, her hereditary Witch ancestry, and being led by the energy of fiber itself, she has discovered a rich world of metaphor, self-healing and alternative meditation, and a way to feel herself back into her body. Check out her webpage and find her on Facebook..