one way to burn a bridge

Sure, you could say “Fuck you too. Have a nice life.”

You could say a lot of things. Lord knows they did.

Or you could try this:

“I’ve been thinking about what you said, and it’s sinking in that my email was very clumsily worded.  Perhaps I should have said [insert a different and less offensive chunk of the truth here]. I’m sorry to have added insult to injury. I can only hope I haven’t just stuck my other foot in my mouth. I am beyond tired.”

Guess which approach will lead to less future engagement (which is ultimately what you want).

Sad that it took me so long to learn this.  Better late than never, though.

In happier news, I am loving my newest girl so much today:

IMG_0721

exorcism

Shingles made it onto the canvas too. Of course it did.

IMG_0633

“I’m sorry you have shingles,” E said. But I’m not.

Shingles is an exorcism, driving the pain out from where it’s been hiding in the roots of my nerves. It blooms on my skin like phantom fingerprint flowers.

“Go in peace,” it says, as the scabs fall away.

There’s still an ache in my arm, my shoulder, my chest. But now it just feels like my own ache, and not the combined ache of generations of my ancestors.

Thanks be to God.

they don’t want me

Kathy asked if I had ever written that story on one of my canvas prints. I had not, which was both surprising and not-surprising-at-all.

So I started. It’s coming out in the disjointed way that these stories do. Not a straight line, but a zig-zag lightning-strike path.

when i was nine, my mother got very sick

Last year E suggested that I write a question with my right hand, then answer it with my left hand.

Q: What are these panic attacks about?

A: they don’t want me they don’t want me they don’t want me

I woke up at 3 o’clock the other morning, having put the pieces together in my sleep. Suddenly knowing that “they don’t want me” belonged on this piece of canvas with the rest of the story.

IMG_0629

Back in E’s office, after we finish laughing about the wastebasket, I pull up this picture on my phone. We pass the phone back and forth. There’s not much talking. I zoom in on the details, one after another, so she can see the whole thing.

it got worse. i decided to run away.

A list of the things I had in my pockets when I left:

  • two dollars and sixty-three cents
  • a girl scout knife
  • a small red and silver flashlight

Last, but not least:

i brushed my hair for once.

We’ve been working together for more than five years, but I’m not sure I’ve ever told her that before. I’m not sure I could have said it aloud.

E looks up at me. We’re both crying.

Some things can never be fixed, but maybe you can find a way to stop being alone with them.