She slipped into the Mystic on the morning of St Valentines day. I lost my words.
A hard coarse vegetation formed a skin around me. I had a pain that could not be expelled. Because the pain had no direct name or reason. It was more than the death of my friend, my lover, my mermaid. It was the death of an era. The who of I was, to the after of what remained.
In a complicated love triangle worthy of a Shakespearen treatment or a Maury Povich episode we had twisted ourselves into an eternal knot. Each of us loving each other at a separate time and on a few occasions, all together. Then three became two and The Queen left The King of the River, so that he might love the other SHE, who bore sea glass eyes, raspberry lips and a need to reside by the calm.
Sepia toned years before I had stood at an altar with his child inside of me, in a wedding dress with all of our hometown to see. I survived him leaving me there, I survived all the losses that came after. I forgave every hurt, every bruise on my soul because he was my River King since the time when I couldnt speak. He gave me a family. He gave me a legend. He gave me undying love. He ran barefoot with me in the mist of a New Orleans morning and kissed me where the sidewalk ends. He fought my battles, my demons and my temper.
He was the kind of man who burned t0o bright.
They started with me. On a birthday many years ago, Kiks shyly kissed me. IN the most erotic n loving of gifts, coupled with so much merry laughter we all three became one. He and I had been together as lovers off and on for ages. But as she seared my skin with her touch she won his heart. The man who could remain faithful to no one, fell completely and irrevocably.
He waited years for her. Refusing to be with anyone for longer than a dalliance. His heart kept chaste for her. It used to burn. It used to hurt like slicing glass. It was messy and storied. But we, we were t0o much alike. Two shafts of light. Two children of the river. What made us inseparable in the end was what kept us apart. We had a damage inside that drove us and the reality, was that we needed a calm. A solid. We romanticized normal and swore how we would be, when we grew to know better.
The darkness ate him in the grey time of my life. And the man who always was… was no more. I came home. I saw Kiks and in her there was a spark of him. A continuation of that love. A personification in his children… I drowned my demons, I opened my heart like he taught me to when I was wee. I stood the regal brave Queen and let nothing deter me, nothing. I ran that river now for the memory of all the love we had shared.
There is nothing like the death of a piece of your identity. Age feels heavier, My body misshapen with it, grief clouds my actions like clogged arteries. It’s in a way, as if I don’t know me anymore. The me after them.
Today, after weeks of unending rain, the sun shone. The mountains glistened under a Maxfield Parrish sky. Top down with me driving, Sully and I drove the river of where my home is now and my shell cracked. We bought fresh Dungeness crab and local beer. We bought Hydrangeas plants like we grew up with in the South. We kissed in the foyer and wound up naked and entwined on the rug. We were two flawed and aged people who could only see the beauty in each other that remains. As we danced n cooked in our kitchen, there was a feeling of calm, of normal.
A picture came thru from my Monsignor, then one from Teddy of my Lie n Die team, then from Beau my child’s father via his sister, then Kyle-Kevin’s brother… All different angles and distances… Yet all showing the same thing. My Son playing the saxophone on the bank of the very River I ran, when I was Queen to my King. In our Hometown… the symbolic baton was passed.
Because he has known me for near 20 years, Sully put his arms around me as we sat out on the deck watching the sun go. He pet my hair back from my face and said…..
“There are new rivers to run and you will always, always be the Queen of them.”
I am not young anymore, I am in the middle. I may have a child’s glee but I have a woman’s past. I may not be beautiful but my face has character. My heart has room. My body has passion. My soul has so so so many stories. I am grateful for the fortune of all the loves I have had. That I survived the losses n knocks. I could have had less and I always had more.
They are here. In the mist that lingers at dawn. In the budding green of the new spring. In the lingering cold that caps the mountain. They are beneath my skin, forever enshrined in the unfinished and unfinal portion of my heart. They are the bones of my story. They are and will forever be…. to continued.