Sunday, November 9, 2014

How We Do It, Part L

Foggy Sunday Morning in Los Angeles
November 2014

I don't mourn things much anymore. The what ifs, the might haves, even the should haves. Last night, I changed Sophie, put her pajamas on, helped her to lie down in bed. I lit a candle to mask the smell. I turned off the overhead light and switched on the lamp, put a CD of world lullabies in the player and walked out of the room. I changed into a black shirt and a lacy jacket, my jeans warm from the dryer. I buckled the straps of my heels, brushed my hair, put on some red lipstick and a bit of perfume. I walked back into Sophie's room and blew out the candle, turned out the light and knelt on the bed, wiped the hair off her face and whispered, Good night. She pushed herself to sitting and lay back down, and it was then I felt the knife. She has never gone out at night, I thought, and what if she knows what she's missed? Don't tell me to give it a try. Don't tell me she lives a good life. Instead of twisting the knife, you can pull it out, wield it like a pen, type the keys to survival.


  1. That picture. Those words. This life. Your knife.
    You slay me.

  2. I do not have keys
    only words that
    you are heard
    truth, hard things, love

  3. I know Sophie can't go out at night, and I can only imagine that knife in your heart.
    But I smile a little at the thought of you going out. The red lipstick, the perfume, and how--somehow--I'm guessing your dark sense of humor found something that made you laugh.

  4. I have to be honest. I used to look out the window at our neighbor who is just maggie's age. I would see her sneaking out with boys and getting into all kinds of mischief when she was a teenager and I would quietly decide maggie's life wasn't so bad. Not fair, I know, but there you are.

  5. I know this pain.
    I suffer with you.
    In silent recognition of the life's breath it steals from you and a humble desire to blow a powerful and healing wind back into your soul xo

  6. In the early days of my life my mother used to come to me in the evenings to say good night to me and pat me. Then I laid still for a long time to preserve the trace of the patting. There are things one can miss and then there are other things one can miss.

  7. Sophie lives her life. I don't know if it's good or bad for her, I'm guessing it's good. She is loved. She has a mother who kisses her goodnight. She is cared for.

    Katie's never been out at night either. Or hit on by creepy guys, or made to feel like a piece of meat, or groped. There is an upside.

    Our daughters live cloistered lives but they have the most important thing, they are loved.

  8. Lily Cedar's "cloistered" is a good word for it; I do cling to the image of sanctuary, something high and beyond, more grounded and loftier than the usual social conventions. Still, there's ongoing accrual of missed experience, and after three decades I mostly hold it away from me. But I remember a rare weekend to myself twenty years ago, when I ran on a beach and climbed over rocks, barefoot and momentarily carefree,
    until the thought came: Amelia can't have this simple pleasure. Outwardly
    I didn't fall to my knees and weep.

  9. i felt the stab of the knife too when i realized that sophie has never been out at night, something i never thought about before you said it. and then i thought, reading the comments here, it's all interpretation. i love the interpretation that she is protected, loved, that her mother kisses her good night. I hope you had a fine time in your red lipstick and heels, and left the knife carefully placed back where it belongs, not in your heart. love.

  10. Sophie is blessed to have you, lipstick, perfume and all.

    X B

  11. Cloistered is such a romantic word for it, thanks <3 And thanks for putting it into words, again, Elizabeth. xo

  12. The unending process of learning to let life be what it wishes without sinking under the weight of it. We do it in moments. xo

  13. I feel that same knife right in my gut. I understand.
    Sending love <3

  14. Those knives, hidden in the most mundane, every-day moments. I am sorry you've been cut. You are not alone.

  15. i agree with all the comments above, and hope you had a good night out.



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