Some afternoons I sit here in this very spot that I’m sitting in now and I watch you on my computer screen: burning it with all your clipped words of white-hot love. It helps me sometimes…I think.
It helps me think.
And there you sit across from me in the screen, sitting the same way every time: being positive, elegant, generous and loving and all of the things that we all should be. We all should be…and yet none of us are. No one I know is. I try to be. I know I’m not.
But you! You are.
Even after the merciless and horrible things the universe has brought upon your tiny little head, still full of your shiny short hair at 73 years old, you are.
See, if I were you, Yoko, I don't think I'd ever be able to say I love you again.
And you! You do. You say it every day, to everyone and no one at all.
God, you’re so fucking strong, Yoko.
You make me entertain the thought that I, too, could maybe be as amazing as you are one day even though I’m admittedly selfish (and, quite simply, not as amazing; simply in that I never want to have to be). But I still entertain it. I let it loose up in my head, like hair that’s been confined from tight braids it’s been in for weeks, like a child who’s eaten nothing but Pixie Stix for days on end and runs up and down the block to burn it all off.
This kind of simplicity? It’s so nice to have sometimes.
I wonder, Yoko, if you too sometimes get sad or bored with yourself, and the feeling that you’re not actually very good at anything at all?
I try to be creative most days.
Most days I can't even tell if it's working or not.
Most days I think I could do anything at all and none of it would matter to anyone but me.
Or it could matter to everyone, but I think it would mean nothing to me either way.
What is being creative anyways? Just…creating? Well, I could create anything then. I could write you a letter, I could draw pictures of paper coffee cups piled up on desks with words like I’m so fucking sick of this scrawled over them, I could draw them over top of worse renderings of with tiny waists and long legs of extra-terrestrials spreading their fingers atop the open palms that face their audience in surrender, saying come in, I’m letting you in, have a fucking look and don’t fucking look at me and I could make a million dollars.
People make a million dollars making much stupider, much dirtier, much more inane things than these.
I wish my mind was clean.
I wish I could make a million dollars.
I wish I didn't wish to know everything all the time.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is…I feel like you must sometimes feel like I do, Yoko.
You certainly never show it. I'm working on that, too, the not showing of it. Not letting it get in me in the first place is hard enough, but at least not letting it out...it's kind of like those affirmation things that you’re supposed to do when you’re depressed. Someone told me to do them when I thought I was depressed, but I don't think I really was. Just sad. I did them anyways.
So tell me Yoko, please, because I actually need to know whether or not it’s true.
Do you ever get sad? Do you ever go on your early evening walks and feel nothing but loose street gravel below the soles of your little feet, do you alternate between conversations and shapes and numbers in your head, do you find yourself unable to speak of it, not because you don’t want to but because you don’t know what your insides are made of, let alone what words to use?
I hope you do, Yoko. I hope you are sad sometimes. I hope you hate sometimes. I hope you’re just as confused and fucked and afraid as the rest of us.
But as much as I need to know that you’ve got bad on your insides too, Yoko, don’t worry. I know you don’t. It’s why I like you.
1. Your water breaks. And the words, they come pouring out as though every major artery in your body (heart included) has just been swiftly and mercilessly slashed open. It's all kind of disgusting really, or would be if not for the fact that you're kind of excited because you're having a baby goddammit!
2. The birth commences. But you had to take public transit to the hospital during rush hour, and now that you're finally here, not one kind soul is being magnanimous enough to stab you in the ass with an epidural. Yep, this part fucking hurts.
3. Postpartum depression sets in. How on earth do you get this monster to go to sleep, or at the very least stop caterwauling at you for five minutes? You're approaching the beast from every angle, and it's deflecting your advances like a pro.
4. It is a screaming terror of a toddler, and there are moments, more frequent than not, wherein you believe that it is either you or it. Only one shall survive, and it's not looking like it's going to be you. You feel inefficient, paralyzed, and just about ready to put the thing up for adoption. Or kill it. There's always that option, too.
5. Alright, it's finally learning to talk and walk and is even starting kindergarten soon. Every day gets a little bit easier, and maybe you're learning to be good at this whole thing after all?
6. Ah, so this is why people do this. It's quite nice actually, having a little partner, a little consistency in the day, watching it grow into a more compact, recognizable version of yourself. You start to enjoy making it after-school snacks and tucking it into bed at night.
7. Nuh-uh. Wrong again. Did no one warn you about the terrible teens? It's become its own person, or so it thinks. Stays out too late with boys, talks back at you, is openly smoking cigarettes (and, you suspect, worse) and is its 'own woman', or so it thinks. Still lives under your roof though, and therefore your rules. Thems the breaks, kiddo.
7. Evil, evil teenage years. War of the wor[l]ds, every day. Where did it all go wrong? You need a vacation, from which you consider never returning. Or, once again, killing it. You brought it into the world, you can take it out. Right?
8. You can't help but sometimes marvel at what you've created, and the fact that, via some semblance of both a competence and will of your own, it's still alive. Holy shit! And really. It's quite beautiful, smarter than you usually give it credit for being, and objectively pretty damn cool. Still a pain in the ass sometimes, but who are you kidding? You love it to death.
9. The bittersweet day comes that it's accepted into college. You knew the time would come that it would fly the coop to go and become someone else's problem, and after all that you've been through, it's more than a little bit exciting. You'll see it on holidays and for the occasional visit when it needs money/attention/affection...but it's never going to be just the two of you again and you both know it.
10. "Hoorah! You're free! You're freeeeee!" chants a little voice in your head, over and over again. Yes, indeed. You are free. And you miss it terribly already. You sit back. You finally take that vacation. And you wish with all of your heart that it's being taken care of, that you taught it how to take care of itself, and that no harm comes to it. Ever, ever, ever.
Disclaimers: 1. No, I have never had a child. This is just what I imagine it's like. 2. I am currently somewhere around stage 8, occasionally reverting back to stage 7. 3. I think it's self-explanatory, but publisher/public = college/world.