It's dark, but it's spring time. I swear I heard a new bird calling out in the cold.
In winter, I have a hard time feeling things properly. The world is frozen over and there is nowhere to be but inside of this very plain, very still body. I spent my life running from this... a little, perfect house, without a south facing window, maybe, but it's mine. A garden and a place to make a fire. There's room for all of us. It's small, but we'll make it happy. And I never used to be the kind of person to deserve a moment in the dark, alone.
I didn't know it when I was young, but I was deeply unhappy.
Now that I am happy, I see that it is work.
I have to earn my right to sleep soundly at night, and even then, even when I've worked hard enough, tiny hands are plucking at their blankets. Even when I've earned my sleep, a little cry wakes me in the night. I don't always know it at the time, but holding my baby while the world is dead is a holy thing. I press her against my throat and will her to sleep now, my love... and outside the dew is turning into frozen diamonds.
My husband and I, we were lonely as children, and sometimes I wish we had been born next door to one another. Surely I knew from the first moment I met him that he was meant to save me and that I would do the same for him. I think about it, search our years of friendship for a hint that we somehow knew what we would be. I must have known that he was the father of my children, my partner and my spine. What if we could have kept one another from the beginning? Imagine everything we could have been spared! But then again, maybe our loneliness earned us the need we have for one another. Maybe the way I feel amputated each day when he's gone is really kind of perfect.
Louise was three weeks old the first time we were apart from one another. Kurt took the girls to his parents' house and told me to rest and to heal, but mostly not to worry about a thing. I curled around myself in the window and watched them as they drove away. I was used to her. She had been mine, a part of me, bleeding my blood and now that she was born, she would be taken from me a little bit, every day for the rest of my life. It was almost more than I could bear, a sagging empty thing where I'd been so full and alive for her. I wasn't the whole world, anymore and I cried until I gagged. A secret kind of crying where I knew for sure that I would die of this sadness. I cried until the sunlight burned my eyes. My baby belonged to the world now, and how I will live without her?
Then, I got up, being careful not to strain my tender incision, the place where they had pulled her from me, and I decided to belong to the world, too. The terrible, unsafe world would eat up both of my girls, but I could bear it. The world had eaten me up, too, one day. Life was big and we were all alone, really.. and it was my job to make sure my girls grew a braveness to match all the bigness. If I couldn't keep them, I would love them until they were so big and make sure they were never lonely.
If you ask, "How big is Louisey?"... she knows, already.
She puts her little arms up to the sky and tells you, "So big!"