Because she, like you, was raised on the hard side of life and when this giant of a woman folds all of herself into you so small at night you want to keep her for good – safe from all that was and ever will be. You want to take her away from everything that ever hurt her or still can * Because neither of you know your daddy’s voice. You know first name and surnames and little facts like the country hers was born in and that yours had puppy dog eyes that cut through your mother’s stubbornness like knives but as for his shade of black and the way your hands might feel in his…you may only guess. Both men left somewhere between conception and first trimester * Because you joke that perhaps they were the same person– that would explain so much and would also make you illegal, but some of the best loves have been * Because you knew her past before she told you – those were all of your mistakes too, happening in a different town aged sixteen with grown men some of whom had grown wives * because your bodies always betrayed your young selves making you smell like you shouldn’t, giving you a scent you weren’t yet old enough to own, doing women’s work when you were barely old enough to stand to bear a mans weight, a heartbreak, or a child. This is why you love her.
So you’ve got to hold her with both hands at arms length. Say there’s too much of her inside of you already. Feel like you cannot stand any more. Tell her no, pull back, it hurts. Know that she scares you and you’re far too used to life as a lone wolf crying at the new moon and marvelling at its orientation in every single new country. Let her know the relief of leaving things behind. Tell her it’s a pain you’ve grown to know. Tell her you’ll come back. Visit. Really mean it. Tell her she is better with someone else. The kind of person who stays in a place and builds and knows how to stay put and doesn’t drown in black seas, doesn’t gargle with poison. Know that her mothering isn’t something to get used to. Tell her you stopped relying on this age six, waiting for a ride home that never came and a stepfather whose love was never pure. See her happy in the future with someone better than you. Feel sick when you feel it but know that it’s true. Tell her you love her but swallow any hopes you have for the two of you, any dreams. Don’t let her know. Do not let her hope.
We could do this forever. You with the will and the grit and me with the damn doomed romance of it all. We could do this forever. With the late nights and the hours on the phone and the almost leaving. With the strangers on trains and at parties who take one look and tell us we should never part. We could damage each other. Worse. You with the warm why not and me with the shut down cold. Love, most nights I anger myself. Lets not do this forever.
(c) Yrsa Daley-Ward 2012