I brought a palmfull of water to my face and let it drizzle where it may. My hands rubbed over my closed eyes and across my mouth for good measure. Sometimes I wish I was absorbent, where water would never run down my neck or drip onto my blouse. It would seep inside of my pores and...
I imagine the water droplets making passage into my skin, and like white blood cells they begin swirling through my being, fixing and protecting me. If that's actually what white blood cells do.
If I was absorbent it wouldn't matter what they did. The water would fix me.
But as my reflexes lead me to wipe my face dry of the water that hasn't run down my neck or dripped to my blouse, I know there's no easy way to fix me.
She keeps saying I remind her of herself when she was younger. I'm tempted to scoop more water to my face but stop, knowing this time I am no different than moments before. I am not absorbent.
I panic so much because if parallels are the way she claims, destiny has written me a widow who never had a mate that could die: an old maid.
That's what she says I am.
I have to stand up. This kneeling by the stream is killing me in more ways than physical taxation on my lower limbs.
I always thought the first male to be truly interested in me would be the one I wed, not due to a sinking feeling that no one else would come along and I better take what I was given, but that no one hitherto approached or acted as though he would. It gave me reason to believe the one with the strength and desire to stick around would be the only one in the universe. It was not a matter of succumbing to fate, but that of accepting that I would be a fly on the wall until someone came to pull me into the action.
It falls back to romantic comedies from a young child's perspective. It stems from Disney and true-love's first kiss and one-take love stories. I idealized it so with dolls that it has cemented itself as fact in the core of my heart. Someday my prince will come. And unlike my mother and the majority of females the country over, I would not require a list of 64 Mr Wrongs that marshaled with pointing lights to the prince. Mine would come when he came, and he would be the only one.
But soon I began to panic that those who have thus shown interest are those I am not...of want to wed. It suddenly occurred to me through my own clumsy way of handling romance that I would need at least a percentage of the 64 so I may cognate how to respond to the prince. But the seed I planted at a tender age has been nourished daily by each cycle of my blood, and now towers indefinitely in my foresight, obstructing all but the notion that he who comes first is him that remains. I've choked with the idea that I will end with a second-rate companion because I am doomed to be sealed to he who comes first.
This is not so, but I cannot uproot this false truth out of my being.
Try as I might I am not absorbent. Water will not fix me.
I slump beneath a tree, wishing the breeze would lift me up to that Virginia in the woods where I could write and muse and sing in peace. Where I would walk with wilderness and thrive under branches and canopies or green. Where I could do all I dream to do without the prying eyes and responsibilities that cascade around my failing body like a landmine of clutter, choking with each tendril that reaches my shaking frame.
But in the depths of my quest for solitude, I do not wish to be alone.
In my mind her voice echoes again, like a bitter cricket continually causing friction between his legs.
If I am her, I will be alone.
The thought drowns me more than being permanently siphoned to a man not fit my make. In reality, along would not be secluded in a forest glade with no concern of taxes or the obtaining of food. Alone would mean in public and in bed. Alone would mean being auntie to the merry spawn of my brothers who fulfilled their one true task as males by carrying on the family line; this would only serve as comforter if I was a carrier of hemophilia and knew b not mating I was sparing my children and theirs from the condition my blood most fears. Alone would mean a general shame to the girl of yesterday who only ever picture love, who made movie after movie in her imagination with her dolls apexed on the ideal of it.
Alone would not be an alone of peace and creative plundering of the mind.
Alone would be hell.
I find myself staggering to the stream, whether I will attempt another prayer of absorbency or merely submerge my head until the constable lifts me out by the hair, my spirit floating off to the only place alone means not alone, until I find I'm sen to a sort of purgatory where those who left before their allotted time are sent, with no husband to follow my acrylic painting landscape like a map to my resting place of despondency to drag me from it to his arms.
I suppose I have decided neither; my fingers curl around the bank but I neighter plunge them nor my body in.
The air breathes the tender word Patience, and I know it's right. It's the action potential of my mind that bring the panicking to pass. I will survive this the way I have health classes and airplane turbulence and learning of FGM. It's a matter of focusing my eyes, breathing at a fixed and concentrated rate, and pleading with the God above to spare me.
And as he has in those near-breaking moments and the moments I now fail to remember, he will lead me safely again.
I will not be her. I will not be alone.
Water will fix me.