Instructions on how to live
Take a walk. Breathe. Allow for sneezes.
Allow for phrases like gezundheit, salud, and even bless you.
And even god bless you.
Give god your best definition -- maybe it's here right now. Maybe it's paper.
This is what she was thinking as he yelled at her, as he screamed and she stood blinking, watching the white screen door rattle.
"No. I'm not going with you. Your screaming isn't making your argument fasten hooks on me any harder. I'm ready to leave you now."
That's what she would have thought, would have said, had his noise left any room for her to think, to speak.
His face coarse with stubble like grey and black pinpricks out to stab, his mouth toothless now. His words as foreign to her as his childhood Portuguese. She let the tears retreat into eye sockets as his words and violence threatened to vacuum them out, as he flung the lamp over as she retreated room to room through the haze of yelling. It had been a year of shouting by now, of shouting and selling and poverty and disaster. She was ready for a new ingredients list on how to live.
Walk with eyes open. Take long wandering strolls.
Write every day.
Eat enough to never go hungry but allow the pangs to come back now and then
to remind you what this castaway life was like with this abuser con artist you chose for a partner.
Live without judgment of others or yourself, as impossible as that may seem,
without apologies, as impossibler as that all sounds.
Call your mom once a week.
Buy a friend groceries sometimes just because, without expecting favors in return.
Go into the moonlight and just sit.
Cry in the bathtub now and then because you can.
Not like it saved you this year, but it emptied you out.
By then he backed her into the room she used for writing in that little triplex where they lived those last few months, pretending they could afford the rent. She was on the floor, fetal position, facing away from him, crying dry heaves into her silent chest as he bellowed and swore and left and slammed the door and motored away.
Only then did she let the tears fall, as she breathed through her knees and let her list keep building inside.
Leave a Reply.
Like what I'm posting? You can leave me a tip!
$1, $10, $100, whatevs :)
Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: