I think I’ve forgotten how to write. And how to read. I thought I’d forgotten how to cook, too, but tonight I got home from work, melted some coconut oil in an iron skillet, threw in onions, peppers, frozen kale, and tamari, and ate it over brown rice. A bona fide hot meal. So there’s that.
Maybe I’ve forgotten how to blog, which is fine, considering it means I’ve been too busy living my life to stop and record much of it. But then again, this space has never been some kind of virtual, public journal–that’s what journals are for. It’s my place to practice. To synthesize. To land. To remember.
I’ve forgotten what it’s like to come home to someone other than my kids, a babysitter, the dog and cats. How was your day? I ask my reflection. Long, I say, then pour Comet on the bathtub where the sugar scrub has coated the sides with a sticky film, and scour. Put on water for another cup of tea. Start in on season four of “Breaking Bad.” A girl’s best friend–that, and the spicy concoction my acupuncturist had me brew, that I drink in the morning and again before bed. Just a week in, and it no longer makes me gag.
I’ve forgotten how to play. Make plans. Pay bills. Obsess. And mop. I’m nobody, who are you? Emily Dickinson may have been reclusive, but she never actually lived alone. Or had a Netflix account, a pint of gelato, and cats who like drinking straight from the faucet.
There’s a simplicity to all of this forgetting. Or maybe it’s more like surrender, to winter nights when snow turns to rain and rain to ice, to the rhythm of work and homework and lunches, to the plank walk of puberty, the lacing of sneakers that won’t last for long, the wake-up call after wake-up call and the running for the bus and the bawling and the sorry later.
I’ve forgotten how to worry. I’ve forgotten how to touch the sky. I’ve forgotten the color green and the milky way and the headlong rush into made-up lives in parallel universes where one of us calls, Honey, I’m Home. I’ve forgotten how to lie, invent, cheat, and hide. I’ve forgotten how to defend myself. I’ve forgotten how to believe my worst thoughts and deny the true ones. Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how to cry, and sleep, but that self-soothing I taught my babies made a mother out of me.
Clearly I’ve forgotten how to run. I walk now, slowly, and recognize all the other walkers on this country road, know their routes and routines, their gaits, their accompanying breeds at daybreak and dusk. I’ve forgotten how to wish, how to squeeze my eyes shut, how to whistle, how to dream of any life other than the one right here, girls down the road with their dad, messages from boys on my voice mail, texts from the other side of the country, the cat practically making out with the blanket tucked in tight around my legs.
I’ve forgotten my Russian and I’ve forgotten my laugh, so both surprise me with their fluency when I overhear two women talking and understand every inflection. I’m still shy, you know. But a few nights ago, a child sat on my knees and I was jiggling her up and down–she had on sweatpants but no shirt, and the sight of her made us cackle. That was a kind of remembering. That was a kind of bliss.
I have not forgotten how to forgive. How to love.
In fact, these are all I have left, after so much forgetting.