my ex raced catamarans and then monohulls. that's how we met. i crewed for people and was fearless in the butt bucket. i'd hang out on the wire and call out what i saw; the play of the wind on the water, watching for sudden gusts as the heat of the day would build and bring about possible precursors to thunderstorms. the wind could get iffy very quickly on the lakes throughout Texas and Oklahoma where i am originally from. i was, if i may say one thing positive about myself, a very good tactician. i would crawl out on the bow of the cat and straddle it to balance my weight with the skipper. on the monohulls, i was foredeck and could alternately hoist or pack a spinnaker in record time. i could climb the mast without benefit of a halyard. but my main use was reading the wind.
when my Dragon and i moved to Rockport, it was a true blessing watching the wind throughout all the seasons. there could be a heavy storm far out to sea and the wind from it would slam into us without any rain or snow. just wind gusts that would rattle your teeth in your head. i loved it. i would stand as far out as i dared letting myself be buffeted by force 8, force 9 gales, as strong as i could stand, literally stand erect to take pictures. my Dragon always had my back.
dark water. when the wind is heavy and low the water turns dark. you can see it coming at you. there can be a very clear demarcation line streaking at you across the surface of the water. i see one coming now but i don't have the Dragon at my back.
the holidays are coming. Halloween is Saturday. Thanksgiving. Christmas, and then New Year's Eve. i get heart palpitations when i think about it. Halloween, i'm working on what i call the silly quilt. the woman who ordered it changed it and wants it 8' x 9'. enormous. so i'm settling in for the long haul on Saturday. i want it done before Thanksgiving so i have the money. not being materialistic, just being pragmatic. i'll be in front of the quilting frame in front of the television for SyFy Saturday. Thanksgiving i'll have my son and his girl and my daughter and her new husband plus his father. i won't be alone but i will be because my Dragon's absence will be deeply felt. i cry every time i think about Thanksgiving, and then the time when everyone leaves and i will once again be so very much alone. i'm not touching Christmas here right now. i cannot.
dark water. the holidays. then it will be my birthday. and then the one year mark. by then the wind from the storm of grief will be screaming in my ears. i don't know if i'll be able to hear anyone. he's gone and i won't be able to see him again, not like he was. and i love his face. i love his muscles. i love his hands. i love his beard. i love his eyes, his laugh, his warmth. i can't sleep from wanting him so. i get so cold at night. during the day. first thing in the morning. i stay so cold all the time.
there was one time that i had been hired to do a photo shoot of a very old cemetery just over the town line in Gloucester. there is a part of it that is half forgotten with graves over 300 years old sitting on the hillside overlooking the ocean, just this side of Lanes Cove. it was right after Thanksgiving and there was only about 2 feet of snow on the ground but the wind had carved and drifted areas of snow over 4 - 5 feet around the graves. it was beautiful. and cold. the wind chill that day was minus 18 but i kept pulling my mitten top back to use my fingers to manipulate the camera. suddenly i was stricken with an exhaustion that was crippling. i was so tired. and cold. i wanted to be warm and it seemed like such a good idea, random, but simply the right thing to do; lay down and rest in the snow. such perfect white insulation from the wind blowing from the approaching n'oreaster headed our way that night.
he didn't see me. suddenly i was gone. i never heard him calling my name. i just remember suddenly being half carried through the crunchy snow to the car. i remember saying i wanted to take a nap. i remember him talking to me but i don't know what he was saying. he did seem upset. then i laid down to sleep in the car and my head was in his lap. the heater was on and he kept trying to put my fingers next to the blowing heat while he drove. i didn't want to because it hurt. my next memory is of being stripped down and put in the shower, both of us. i thought how nice and i laid my head on his chest and wondered why my wet, cold clothes were off and his were still on. and then the pain hit and woke me up. he was rubbing my hands, my fingers and the pain sliced through my brain like a thousand knives. i cried and his voice came through so soothing.
a fuzzy towel. one of his old Marine sweatshirts and sweatpants. his heavy climbing socks. hot tea with Scotch in it. then he was back with me on the sofa, his clothes changed, a fire in the wood stove borking, crackling, so toasty warm. he moved me to lay himself down on the sofa, then pulled me back to settle in his lap. his legs wrapped around mine and he pulled one of my quilts over us. ironically it is the one where i hand appliqued old clipper ships to it and embroidered "a calm sea never made a skillful sailor." i fell asleep in his arms, tipsy, warm, safe, with his voice crooning to me that i was "alright," he'd "take care of me," he'd "never walk off again, or let me walk off like that again." i fell asleep and had the best sleep of my life with the storm breaking all around that old, old house. it creaked and shuddered as the wind rushed up from the ocean and across the headlands to pound on the glass with all its fury and ice. but i was safe with my Dragon.
i'm cold again and i haven't been able to get warm. not since that night when it was 4 below and my Dragon stopped breathing. i want him back. i want to crawl into his lap and get warm again. i'm cold and i can see dark water headed my way. i don't know what to do. cry? humor? i can only manage dark humor. it will match the dark water that's coming.
do you think maybe Sylvia Plath was only just cold?