The kid turned 12, we sold our place in NY and my dad kept jumping out of my purse. I had meant to navigate this journey of divorce with more poise. With at least a modicum of grace. I tried thinking of it as commencement into a new life, filled with magnolia blossom promises and caterpillar re-imaginings. But I kept stubbing my toes. Back when I should have been developing my pas de deux, I was busy snorting lines of Shakespeare and skydiving into Tennesse Williams. If only I’d been born under a lavender light. Instead, I was born a real girl who had to keep running to catch her train.
I saw my hot yoga instructor at Erewhon today. The one I would kiss if I were so inclined. She’d dyed her hair blonde, but no question it was her. Lisa. A name that has been retired from the baby books. Long, lean, lovely Lisa. She is the only one of my yoga teachers that acknowledges when I cry. (If the weeping and the wailing that I do in yoga, can be referred to as crying.) She is the only one who tells me it is nothing to be ashamed of. (Which makes me feel it is definitely something to be ashamed of.)
“Don’t be embarrassed,” she told me one particular day when I couldn’t stop. “I cried for the first six months that I practiced.” Yeah well. Good for her. For me, it’s been nine months. Nine months and I’m showing no signs of drying up. Nine months and it hurts just as much today as it did the moment my husband and I decided to call it quits. "I ain’t no quitter" used to be our motto when we still smoked cigarettes. But we were wrong. We were. We are. Quitters. Super-quitters. At least when it comes to us. Us. What a weird word. It's really not all it’s cracked up to be.
I keep trying to think of this phase as commencement. A time of rapturous revision and rebirth. A quest to create a salvaged life. And someday, when I grow up, I want to be the mountain. Not the tree on the mountain that blows in the wind, but the mountain that that tree stands on. The mountain. Strong and stoic and stable.
I wonder if a person who was born a real girl can transform into a mountain. I wonder if someone who cries every time they go to hot yoga can find her way. I wonder if you slow yourself to a crawl, and make your way across your breath and under your garden to inspect your roots, if the blood of your efforts can water your soul. In the quiet of my red clay earth, I asked my Dad for help. I think that’s why he's been jumping out of my purse.
This week, his DMV card, the one I took him to get when he came out here from Texas to live with us, the one that I keep in my wallet so he is always near - has jumped out of my purse 5 different times. In the year and a half that he’s been resting under the pecan trees, his ID card, which is tucked and secured in a secret pocket of my wallet, never jumped out. It couldn't jump out. But this week? I found it on the carseat. I found it loose at the bottom of my purse. I found it wrapped in a $5 bill in my back pocket. And when I accidentally dropped my purse at Nordstrom’s, the only thing that slipped out and onto the floor? Dad’s ID.
He sees I’m lost and hears my questions. I know this. Dad is trying to tell me something. I know this. He’s trying to show me something. Trying to help me find my way. I know this, too. I feel all mudbugs and spelunkers. The only undeniable truth is that I am deaf and blind to my dad’s message. Can’t even guess what he might be saying. It’s almost like I don’t know him anymore. Is he leading me to refrigerator meat smokers or just chumming the waters? Maybe he is telling me to look for the answers in my hot yoga tears.