Writers, really, are machines that convert caffeine into words.
Before, when we are still at the hotel table, chamomile tea and flickering candle in front of her, she tells me this: “Nothing has turned out like I expected to. Some things have been better, and some things have been much, much, much worse.”
I ask her whether everything she’s been through has changed how she thinks about love.
“Like I said, there’s not an area of my…there’s not a cell, not a molecule. No corner is untouched. You know, it’s like a reorganization of everything. Everything is different.”
She explains that a year or two ago, she was putting herself under a lot of pressure to find someone new to spend her life with, for a particular reason. “Because I really wanted, and I really expected or imagined, that Matilda would have siblings that were close to her age. I wanted that for her. But I couldn’t make that happen. And now that she’s 6 that isn’t even a possibility anymore. So something that was making me feel impatient, that’s been removed. For whatever reason, that’s not our luck, or our path.”
A further thought. “You know, as hard as certain things have been for me, it’s been harder thinking about how things will be for her. I have a lot of things that she doesn’t, and some of what I have I can give to her—the memories that I have, the objects that I have, the physical reminders that I have, the stories. But she won’t really have any that are solely…” And that is where that sentence ends.
There is a question I have been wanting to understand the answer to, but have been feeling that I simply can’t ask. Eventually I just ask it anyway:
Do you think there was a part of you that imagined the two of you would somehow end up together?
Immediately, I wish that I hadn’t. The look on her face—a kind of juddering visceral alarm at what has been said…I don’t wish to see that look many more times in my life. “That would make me way too sad to answer,” she says quickly, and I hurriedly begin another question, about something completely different, hoping that if I say it fast enough these new words will chase the old words away from where they are hanging in the air between us, and maybe she will let me pretend that it was something I never said.
“No, no,” she says, and I can see the tears forming, and I think she means that she doesn’t want to answer any more questions about anything. I mutter some kind of apology under my breath.
But, even now, I’m wrong about everything. Mostly she is just trying to stop my new question. She has something to tell me.
“No,” she says. “I said it would make me too sad to answer but it’s also…”—and she nods even as her voice breaks once more with tears—”…one of my favorite things to imagine.” And through the tears, a beaming, almost beatific smile stretches room-wide across her face. “It’s actually one of my favorite places to visit.”
And this is where I say: NOT EVERYTHING IS FOR CHILDREN…
I don’t know when we changed as a society, but why must everything be palatable and accessible to children? Why aren’t some things just for grown ups?
…I am becoming increasingly frustrated that it seems certain sets of society feel that being a parent gives them some kind of higher voice, greater cause, an excuse to wag their finger because little Johnny may hear the big, bad words. Being funny is hard, speaking truths is difficult and that this ridiculous war between those with children and those without has got to end.
Anonymity is not dumb. The only people who say it have lost it.