Lady of the House

I wasn’t selected. I watch for knee-jerk thoughts. The shame at failing. The thought that someone out there might think worse of me. Foolishness at trying for something at which I didn’t succeed. All these characteristic, tired thoughts rush forward. Always. No matter what it is I try for they always come. Perhaps it is my hopefulness, my fingers-crossed idealism. It might happen, throw it out there and it might come. What might come? Something that will tell me I’m good enough? That I am chosen? Ridiculous, I know. But I need to write it out. To see it for what it is.

There is nothing to achieve, she says. Nothing to achieve. Think about that a while. Nothing but a breathing in and out. How beautiful. To have nothing that one must do. There is nothing you must do, he whispers to me as I fall to sleep. There is nothing you have to do. Can I believe it? Can I let it all go? What will happen if I do?

My back is hard. Rigid as steel. Fear. Fear about telling her what I think. What will happen? What will the truth bring? Well, my truth. Her truth is different, I accept that.

I wasn’t selected.

Was that my real goal to be chosen so that I could add another exhibition to my CV? I wanted to be seen, my work, or is it really me? I wanted my work to be seen, rated. I wanted to be told that it was good. Why is that necessary? You wanted to make something. The Open was an opportunity to work towards, a deadline, an impetus. That is all. The making was the thing. Always. Let it be. Let the failure be no different from the success. It is just experience. You have nothing to do but experience. Experience being alive, sentient, aware. Alert to all things, experience all things, without judgement.

I’ve been away. So no writing. I feel askew when I don’t . It’s been too long. And then when I get back there is so much to do to ground myself again. My back carries it. My board, my rigid board. Poor love. But I’ve been living. He and I, close. And the interviews and the meetings. All good. All valuable. All experience. The Oak, the restaurant with her and her soft, watery eyes. That was a good thing. Her loneliness is palpable. She is used to joy. She is alive to it. A quivering bird of life. I wanted to do more. And for her yesterday morning on the phone. I’m weepy today, she said. And I had to rush off.

Little notes to remind me. The four youths on the beach in the early hours standing round a lit fire, Latino music playing on a ghetto blaster, laughing like hyenas. And the girl that stopped me by Pier Pressure night club. Have you seen a girl? She’s called Eleanor. My friend, Eleanor. Have you called her? She’s not picking up. We’re really worried. I’ve seen two people, a boy and girl down by the bandstand. The boy was shouting. Yes, that’s her boyfriend, he’s really worried. If I see her I’ll tell her. Thank you. Her name’s Eleanor.

I’d heard him shout. A bellow, a howl out at the sea. Eleanor. I hadn’t known what he was shouting then. Did they find her?

Dreams. Bits of dreams. A chatelaine. I was a chatelaine. I was married to someone else’s husband and held domain over a large busy household. The servants were bullish. One in particular. I’m the lady of the house, I said to her. I was strong. And there was a boy, a step son who kept wetting the bed. I took the sheets down to the laundry. I remember the wetness but there was no smell, just water and water. And a later dream. Thank you, I said to him, my love. Thank you, for the embroidery. Yes, the embroidery. Then afterwards I dreamt that I told him of the earlier dream. We laughed at the ridiculousness of it. Thank you for the embroidery. I didn’t mean that. I meant thank you for my life.

So much kindness, openness. And amidst the fear of no work and broken cars, abundance. It is alright. It is always just as it should be. I am open. Open to everything without judgement. Alive.