you do not have to be good


Sunday nights are the holiest, hardest times — I have let go of everything the last week asked for but I feel in my stomach the request to pick it all up again. There’s no way I can carry it all, so I panic. Yet the quiet softness hasn’t left yet… the pellet stove hums and the vegetables get chopped and the laundry gets done. It feels manageable until it doesn’t.

It’s a Sunday night when you come home happy and smiley and somehow (how?) get red wine all over the wall in the kitchen and that does me in. The weight of the week is suddenly insurmountable and as likely to fail as the wine bottle you tried to open in the kitchen. I’m mad at you and I’m mad at this condo I never imagined calling home and I’m mad that I can’t go home. To visit or… you ask as tenderly as tender could ever be and all I can tell you is that I’m tired of half lives and the missing that never ends.

I’m frustrated with you and the wine on the wall and how could you not see it, how could anyone not see everything, and this is your flaw, maybe, but here mine is roaring and vicious and relentless — too much seeing, too many metaphors, too much of the world internalized. The book my therapist gives me says prone to overthinking to the point of not acting and I am weeping on the floor on a Sunday night and it’s all too clear — both of our weaknesses, the things that make us difficult… exposed and present and loud. There’s no ignoring them.

While you’re sitting with me on the floor I hear something dripping. You get up to see and a goddamn candle is on fire in the living room, the flame a foot tall. It’s only a moment but it stretches out endlessly and somehow the water I pour on the hot wax doubles the fire and we’re on either side of it, our faces glowing, two tiny babies who have no idea how we got here or what we’re doing, and then it goes out. It’s quiet again and my heart’s racing and feels smushed under the relentlessness of us being who we are and the world being what it is. How are we going to make it? I say sobbing and shaking and shocked that I so nearly caught the house on fire and yet we are standing here like nothing happened. Because nothing happened.

We just have to stick together you say, admiringly unfazed by the whole thing, and soon we fall asleep and wake up the next morning to no evidence of the wine or my meltdown or the candle fire. It’s just our home, in the morning stillness, the glow of the pellet stove and the sound of the coffee pot. When I started writing this I couldn’t stop laughing, what the fuck happened, how are we going to make it, why can’t I get my shit together, but during the third paragraph you called me and when I answered I said I was just writing you a love letter and I see now that it couldn’t have ever been anything else.

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