I am compelled to come to this place today to grieve, to write, to take another step in this process of moving on. Whether I am here or not this feeling, this fear, hanging over me, is with me-I must shed it like a new skin. I haul my scooter out for the twenty minute ride to the beautiful apartment we rented on the beach. Driving along the promenade the wind dries my tears as quickly as they fall.
Along our road I stop to see Shabeer’s pigeons, he asks where is my *husband*, I say we are no more. Difficult in this little fishing community of Muslim and Hindus, the lack of understanding is clear on his face. Like so much in India I don’t bother to explain. The newly widowed woman is no longer on the corner tending her fire, I wonder where she has gone. I turn the corner and two little girls come running out, hello, hello, they yell, it has been a long time-indeed it has.
Around one more corner, there, down the beautiful lane is the beach and our home. I park my scooter and go upstairs anxious now to confront my pain. I sit. Sweat pouring off my body, tears streaming down my face. I remember. I remember our first time here, how blessed we felt in the midst of so much change and horribleness. A jewel, the view of the Bay of Bengal, that day all seemed bright, beautiful and hopeful. Few good memories in this final year but those that remain are a reminder of the good that was us. The day we swam, many months in, so much pain between us and it seemed alright again. The day we met a skinny little blonde dog and you named him Noname. The few nights you left your room and we sat on the terrace together.
They were only treats though not enough to sustain life. Maybe in your effort to right your internal self you needed an external being, I became your whipping boy. You rented another place, an *office*. I told you that day it was an omen, we would not survive this adventure together. Your place, a place for you to escape to and for me, a place to kick you out to. You and I, we couldn’t see this through. We never saw how fragile we were.
I sit here, listening to our voices, the crows loud as ever, I look at your door which remains shut, as it did for much of the time you were here, and I feel. I feel it all, the failure, the love, the hopes, how we abandoned each other, the nightmare that was. I look at pictures and marvel at how little time we spent together, how little you left that room. I wanted to believe we could do this, hung hopes on fragments of belief, ever more scattered in the pain our dream was fast becoming. The more time apart, the more illogical your story lines became-there was no combating this world in your head. When I could tolerate no more my response became our pattern, to fight back, to ask you to leave, over and over.
For six years I walked a line between wanting you and leaving you. Some part of me always felt you weren’t enough, the rest of me loved you to a point of weakness, willing to endure your treatment. Willing to suffer between the two and the chaos it created in me. Until I became too ashamed of me.
I throw myself headlong into the abyss of your hatred toward me. My way of toughening myself against the pain. Assaulting myself with the flashes of what destroyed us and grieve the loss of our love. I refuse to back down from the pain but confront it head on. I determine to walk this through, on the other side so much awaits me.
The little good of the last year could be overshadowed by the bad but that is not acceptable to me in this place of peace, hope and beauty. WE feel a world faraway from my life now. In my mind I hear my voice call your name but there is no answer. I decide today that you are dead to me, inaccessible-as I can not cross the divide of life and death I can not/will not cross the divide that is between us. Our dream died here. I will take a break from this place I love so much, this place we loved, our place, our first place. The ghosts remain to haunt more than is bearable.
Sophia Kapusnik Lewis