Here is me above my body. In a kitchen. My kitchen.
If I had an apron, I’d wear one. I wish I had an apron.
Here is me looking down at myself as my hands wash a turkey. Wondering if I’m the only one with violence on my mind this morning.
My hands arrange the bird inside a disposable aluminum pan. My hands tuck the wings, and cross the legs where the ankles would have been and then tie them firmly together with rainbow coloured string.
I wipe my hands on a tea towel that was purchased in Scotland. I never knew there were so many different types of sheep.
The scent of bleach in warm water makes me want to vomit. My daughter is busy reading, so I sink to the floor.
Ass down, knees up. That’s the way we like to cook!
My grandmother sits beside me. She takes my hand in hers. She whispers, Everything will be okay.
I know, I know, I do. It will be. Just not now. Not in the present moment, the magical doorway to eternal fucking bliss.
She raises her eyebrow at me.
And maybe my ecstasy is different. And maybe that’s okay. Comparing my okay to another’s okay is not okay.
You look tired, Em, my grandmother says.
It’s relentless this week. 5:30am every day. ‘Til 10 at night. Every day. I get no peace.
Acht – no – you are not a victim.
I’m fucking exhausted.
It will be over soon.
I wish I could hear you tell me that every second of every day.
I wish that you could hear me. I’m saying it. Always. I’ll never stop. Not until it’s over.
I don’t want to cry now, g-ma, I have so much to do.
I know, Em. You can do it.
I wish you could help me.
You can do it.
Ya, I sort of laugh in a hard exhale from the side of my mouth, I get you.
My daughter is still reading. She has a story about monsters and ghosts in her lap. Her head is tilted to the left.
I start the dishes to keep the counter clear between the preparation of different courses.
There was a man once who would wing me as I stood over the sink. I’d throw on any rhythm and we’d dance.
He didn’t stick around and I would have seen that coming if I was paying attention. He always had one foot out the door.
We spent most of our time together at my house, but we watched a documentary at a theatre once. It was one he said he could take or leave, so I offered to pay.
I suppose I could have suggested more documentaries, but even that opening of a door felt to me like a manipulation of the man’s free will.
We both knew the choice that he’d already made.
So, now I stand above the sink alone. I do what I can to stay in my body and when I can’t, I watch from above.
It makes no difference in the long run.
Here is me chopping parsnips. I don’t remember pulling them out of the crisper or peeling them.
My hands are expert choppers this morning. The music on the radio soothes my limbic system.
I feel blessed to have stumbled into this moment of peace. The more that I focus on gratitude, the more of my true self I become.
But I fall off. I fall out. I fall down.
My left leg is hollow. When I’m not paying attention to balance, it collapses and I’m forced to put everything aside in order to right myself.
And then the old cogs kick in, that rot of believing there’s something wrong with me.
Today, of all days, I wish I had someone to share this thought with. Someone who would understand, and also someone who would not use it against me.
But soon, the smell of roasting turkey overwhelms the warmed bleach. And if I don’t pair it with an Australian shiraz, the more recent hurts will fade faster.
I remember when I used to joke that I’m no Martha Stewart. That was before she went to jail. Somehow, the joke stopped being funny after she was convicted of some corporate crime.
It’s okay to not be in my body today, I tell myself. It’s not a failure. It’s okay to need refuge.
It’s okay, like a mantra all day to block out all of that which is not okay.