(Photograph by Carla Ten Eyck)
Two months ago yesterday, my father died. Two months later — yesterday — I finished this short story. The parts I play in it are true. The rest of it is just true to my dad.
On Saturday, I made a special trip with Other Husband (Legal Husband was working) into New York City. We were going to Gramercy Typewriter, and it was going to be just like being in Ollivander’s wand shop: the right one was going to choose me. I viewed this moment as a rebirth of my busy, writerly self… but why? Why would a typewriter make any difference at all, especially to a lady who got her start on Microsoft Word?
No, but really, I will. And it’s not just because it looks cool.
I know that I’m you, but if I weren’t there’d be all sorts of things I’d tell you now, right now.
I struggle with depression, and I grew up hiding my feelings and thoughts because voicing them usually didn’t turn out so well. It was/is hard for me to speak up about myself because a) I often think I’m being ridiculous and b) the people around me often thought I was being ridiculous too. But to hold your tongue when you are hurt is like watching a flame turn into a fire and not doing anything about it: you threaten your own happiness, and your relationships, the longer you let the secret burn. This is how I learned to just say the things, even when it felt difficult.
I recently had reason to see myself on video. It really hurt my feelings. As far as I have come, I still look like a disabled person. It had been so long I guess, since I had seen myself in motion, that I forgot: the person behind my eyes is not the person presented to yours.
I suppose this sticks out in my mind because it is unusual. Normally, people are surprised to find that Other Husband has a wife (me), because for much of his life he has identified as gay. Recently, this happened instead:
When people hear that we all live together and are all in love, their thoughts turn pretty immediately to sex–whether it’s about jealousy regarding sex, or what sort of sexual configurations do or don’t exist in our house or, more negatively, that we are hedonistic sex-fiends who should be ashamed of ourselves. Any of these people might have been shocked to learn that, for a trio of lovers, there wasn’t very much physical loving going on. In fact, sometimes for months, there was none at all.
It feels wasteful to write about writing. If I’m going to sit here and type, shouldn’t I type the things themselves instead of typing about the things? Yet, up there it does say that this is in part a writing blog. So I’ll bite. Or rather, you bite. I’ll tug.
I didn’t want to bother my mother—that’s what I remember most. I was choking on a lemon drop in the back seat of her Dodge Spirit, but she was driving and I didn’t want to bother her.