05.12.2004 - 5:16 p.m.
The turtles weren't there this morning.
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Maybe it was the overcast skies, the lack of yellow sunshine to warm their shells. Maybe a heron had plucked them up only moments before I drove past, winging along above 520, the turtles peering down at the cars. Maybe they were all busy crossing the finish line in front of the hare.
Every morning as I come along over the bridge, I gaze into the wetlands on the west shore, searching for one particular piece of wood in the water. On most days, there are three turtles perched on that piece of wood. All in a row. Craning their necks upwards as if checking out what's happening at the Husky stadium. They make me smile. Always.
The turtles weren't there this morning.
She is MY sunshine, she is what I care about, she is who I think about before I submerge the lake, the one I dream about, the one my heart pains for the second I get on a plane to go the wrong way. That little pain that makes me ignore the attendant about putting away electronic devices (INCLUDING PHONES SIR) and finger tapping a message away on my phone. Remembering the early days of a self taken photo of us walking down the street, the camera reflected in the sunglasses she is wearing, the sunglasses I loaned to her. Revos. Her fumbling about asking me to stay the night; me loving that she has told me what I want to hear while she squirms with that look of oh god what is coming out of my mouth? Comedy clubs and waaay too many Beam and Cokes. Believing and saying she was so beautiful with no flaws. Glowing. The most beautiful girl in the room.
My heart is heavy today. A drumbeat of sorrow in my chest. Running over the same painful currents, looking at the footsteps I've left. Wishing that I could cover them with the sea, erase the things I've done.
What is honest, what does she want, how do I know what is real.
That's not the way life works, though. The path under my feet is the path I've laid before me; there is no magic wand to make the wrong turns disappear.
Why did we let it get this way?
I hurt the one person in my life that cares about me more than all others. My best friend, my soulmate, my partner in crime. The one who makes me laugh so hard that tears run down my face. My lover, my husband.
I feel like damaged goods, even though it was I who did the damage.
There is this photo in its own frame that sits next to my monitor. Hand in Hand. Together. Both smiling and looking like we own life. I have a couple prints of this photo. One of them lives in the bag I take to/from work; because it is also the bag I take to/from Asia or anywhere else that might have me away from her. I love that photo.
There is a truth about me, and that is I have never had faith in myself. I've never been proud of the image in the mirror. I can spend all day listing my faults, and still have enough to keep me going through the night. There's nothing unique about that. Self esteem issues don't make me a hauntingly complex puzzle.
I'm not pretending this is interesting.
Take that person, that mirror-hating fault-listing person, and give her the greatest gift, the most beautiful, strong light in her life. Someone with integrity, someone who loves her unconditionally, someone who can be trusted with every molecule of her soul.
Why would you fuck that up?
The turtles weren't there this morning and I cried. We saw those turtles together not too long ago and he joked that they were fake, that kayakers put them there to fool motorists. They arrange them in different positions every now and then, he told me. If I could get my hands on those turtles, he said, I would paint messages on their shells.
I'm not pretending that I don't deserve everything.
I would lay my life down for her because she is the most important thing in my life.
You can't erase your footsteps. You can only try your best to make sure the new ones are going in the right direction.