She was supposed to be here this week. I keep thinking about that. I thought of her this evening. We were sitting outside on our tiny porch enjoying our dinner made from the last of the food in the fridge, impressed that I had made it stretch that far, especially with my son’s appetite. The sun was setting to the left, my favorite time of day. From somewhere past the apartment complex we were facing, came a flock of blackbirds. I love watching birds fly. They flew overhead and disappeared behind us. Then more came. And more. And more. They were silent and determined and beautiful. They reminded me of a scarf she had given me. I was there when she bought it. It was the last one, and I secretly wanted it, but I said nothing because I knew she liked it. I had plenty of scarves anyway. It’s not like my neck would go cold. A few months later she wrapped a necklace with it and gifted it to me. These days it lives in the back of my car with all my other belongings in purgatory, but tonight it was flying through the sky overhead.
I try to imagine how this week would’ve gone if she had come to visit as we had planned. She wouldn’t have fit here though, quite literally there is no space in my house for anything else, let alone another adult human being. It wouldn’t have worked. It’s been a miserable week with this afternoon and early evening being the only bright spot in an onslaught of tantrums large and small and mostly continuous.
When I think about what happened with our relationship, I feel confused because we had a lot of fun together, and I miss her, but it just didn’t work. She kept insisting I wasn’t trying hard enough which is ironic because I don’t know how many times I have felt that way about the other person in past relationships. It really hurts to be on the receiving end of that, and I understand now just how incredibly self-important and discounting an accusation it is (sorry ex-partners). Of course that wasn’t the only snag in the story of us.
What I realized though is that sometimes you really want to make tiramisu, but you have all the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. But you don’t want chocolate chip cookies, you want tiramisu. So you end up spending all your time trying to make tiramisu with the wrong ingredients when you could have had the most amazing chocolate chip cookies on the planet. In the end the tiramisu sucks and you feel completely inadequate and foolish for ever having tried at all and the chocolate chip cookies can go F- um… bake themselves because you don’t want anything to do with any of it anymore. It’s so disappointing though. They could have been really good chocolate chip cookies and now you have no dessert whatsoever. And I really love dessert.
I don’t know how anyone is ever going to fit in my life. I worry about that. a lot. I feel like the only people who stand a chance are people who have children because they “get it,” but if I date someone with children… well then they have children too, so we will never see each other. It might seem like I am saying I want to be with someone who is good with kids. Nope. I mean, that’s a given, but lots of people are good with children. I want someone who knows what I mean when I text them saying I locked myself in the bathroom because my kid is acting like a pyscho pants and I cant fucking take it anymore. I want them to understand how painful and how very true it feels in that moment when I –who have only ever been sure about one thing and that is that I want to be a mother- say I don’t want to be a mother right now. They need to understand, not just conceptually, but viscerally how dying seems like a viable option in that moment. AND they need to be able to help navigate out of that hellacious place without judging me for it. The not judging part is key.
You give up a lot of things when you become a parent. Some of those things I knew going into it and some of them were a surprise to me. Some of them I am still learning. Some of them may even be unique to me and my circumstances, I’m not sure. But you gain a lot more than you lose. Mostly, I have gained perspective.
It used to be really important to me this ability to make tiramisu, but now I think maybe I’ll never make it. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Next time though I’d really like to at least not burn the cookies. Because it’d be nice to be able to call and say: “The sky reminded me of you. I hope you are well. Thanks for keeping my neck warm.” Meaningful relationships don’t stop being meaningful just because you are no longer in that relationship. The impact is still there even if it tastes a little burnt.