To I, the Mistress.
There was a time I thought I would die, choking. Brittle words like splinters wedged in my esophagus.
How I could not breathe or speak to save my life!
My heart, starved of oxygen and blood, would ache long after I would retire at night. It pulsed with hurt. Your ears were closed to anything I had to say, the love I wished to express to you.
I was left in the dark, to swallow glass.
Everything I touched for four years bore the seal of your name, your scent. The tighter I shut my eyes, the more my other senses compensated for what I was blocking out. I began to seek a world of sensory deprivation. Dreaming in black and white, hands callused and gloved. Running, always running, from you. From us.
Do not ask me to recall the winters spent snapping twigs to build my nightly fire, every branch a living meditation of memories I resolved to break and burn.
The nights I bathed, empty of joy, shriveled from the salt of tears.
Sleeping with your ghost reaching out to me between the sheets. Living with your ghost that continued to place flowers and tiny bird skulls on my altar.
And then one day, standing waist deep in the sea, I looked around to find I was alone for the first time in years. I had nurtured and carried you, just like a child, and you had left me, suddenly, just like they all do. Inevitably.
I stood there, watching grief, release and elation, a holy trinity, dancing together in a spectacular, silent symphony. You were not there to witness it.
And as I dove beneath the surface that day, seaweed tendrils draping themselves over and around my hollowed out body, I thanked you.
I thanked you for carving me out so deep that I became light enough to sing. To sing a song of love won and love lost, of salty lips that made naive vows, for limbs that wrapped around each other in life’s most sacred of dances.
Your leave was my welcoming to myself. Long overdue, perhaps, but finally, I have reached home. My baggage stands on the porch, waiting to be offered sanctuary, to which I will play a most generous host. They will be seen to tenderly and honorably, not relegated to live a life in the dark under the stairs, for fear of my future loves finding them. I am proud of what they contain.
This home, that has stood patiently waiting for me, has its windows open, the fire burning. A true ceremonial welcome. My altar is adorned with flowers and tiny bird skulls, with scars and seaweed. All are blessed. All are reverent here in my house of hearts. The floorboards are scrubbed, and smell of pine and Spanish rosemary. It is empty, and yet it is full.
Tonight I will feast, in my own exquisite company, salty lips making vows arcane and devoted to I, the mistress of my ship, the captain of my soul.
To these arms that will forever carry and nurture me, never to leave.
Imee Luz Kristensen is a lone wolf raising a clan of feisty, opinionated youngbloods. Exiled from a religious sect as a teen, she discovered a love of words by reading rotten newspapers in toilet blocks all night while hustling as a street kid. She now resides in a Frida Kahlo-esque beach shack in Adelaide, spotting stingrays and wrestling with her writing desk on a nightly basis. Imee is currently writing a children’s book, harvesting roadkill to make body jewelry, and researching medicinal plants from the Amazon for her next life as a herbalist.