There is a wretched smell in my bedroom. This morning, my roommate and I moved all the furniture, cleared the drawers, swept, mopped, scrubbed, cursed, incensed, aired. Still, the stench. It is the smell of sadness, skin tearing, open-unkempt-wounds, the deep burgundy brown. Tonight as I returned home, I thought to call the police and report a dead body in a neighboring apartment when a text from my roommate assured me it was a mouse, that I should camp out in the livingroom, call the super in the morning.
A year ago, around the end of February, shortly after turning 27, I began having nightmares. This lasted a couple of weeks until I had an encounter with love, as if for the first time. I’d like to share that experience here, as I wrote it then, with the clarity that the, then, decaying bug that sat suspended in coconut oil is synonymous to the smell emanating from the tile of my bedroom floor -a small carcass keeping me up at night.
While all three of my roommates are off exploring their valentines, I sit here, in the silence of my dimly-lit apartment. Lights still up from Christmas to adorn my walls with miniature halos, I embrace the futon sofa, and laugh out loud at how Saturn is masterful!
Here I am, on a black-sheeted futon, pajamas, fresh sheets, detox tea, lemon, honey, and I look up to see the same charcoal drawing staring at me, the same one that, a year ago, allowed clarity to surpass fear and transform into love.
Instead of wishing my lesson on relationships didn’t leave me single this time, this year, I rummaged to write, and fell upon this letter I wrote to a lover, about my first real encounter with love. It involves a dead carcass, a futon, and sleepless nights, one year at the very beginning of my affair with Saturn.
When I was young, to comfort myself at night, I would sleep very closely to my futon, folded up. I’d lay within the folds of the fabric, warm, and then speak to my grandmother. I’d tell her about my day. I’d ask her for advice. I’d cry to her, and pray to her. This was my nightly ritual since I was 12 years old, the year after she died, and the same year that I first had my own room.
I stopped talking to her when I got my first place. I moved out of my mother’s apartment at 17. I had a two-bedroom on Rogers Ave. My futon came with me, but a month didn’t pass before I allowed a woman to move in. I couldn’t talk to grandma with someone else in my bed. And somehow, I lost touch. I think that perhaps, her and I spoke a few times since my 17th year (ten years ago, to be exact).
So, that was me recalling the past at the beginning of the letter. I wonder two things, one, whether I was aware of the patterns in my life then, as I am now; and two, how my grandmother is fleeting, until I am in an embraced silence, against a back sheeted futon. It continues…
Last week, I had a few nightmares, a few bad experiences. I have a friend who helps guide my spiritual path. She told me about what I needed to do to cleanse myself. The nightmares got worse. It came to a point that I was unable to fall asleep, because someone was pulling me towards them. When I would wake, I could still feel the presence, see the shadows. The night when it was really scary, I woke up in a fright. Hysterical, I ran off of the bed, and jumped to turn the light on. There was a huge cockroach suspended in the center of the coconut oil that sat by the windowsill. It was the first thing that I saw.
After that night, I had been avoidant of sleep, or my room, or my own issues. It’s true what you said, that I’ve been softer. I honestly felt as if I had been overcome by something larger than myself, and that I was going to lose myself inside of this force.
I thought back to the last time I actually felt safe and comfortable. I went to go shower but bumped into my roommates and had a great talk with them until about 1am. In good spirits, I went to bed, and without a second thought began to talk to my grandmother. I asked her if she remembered me, and if she didn’t mind a little conversation. I also told her that I think I had a broken heart, and wasn’t sure how to fix it. I left it at that, since, I figured, she may have been inaccessible. The next thing that I remember is waking up. But, I was in the tail-end of a dream.
Before I go into the dream and my first actual encounter with love, I’d like to take a moment of pause to acknowledge the patterns of my Saturn: we’ve investigated the sleepless nights (it’s 3:34am and I’m still blogging), but the broken heart, the fleeing from my own room, and where the H are my roommates anyhow!!! Okay, the dream:
The parlor of a house. There were people, who were familiar to me, in their very best comfortable clothes. All of them had smiles. As if waiting for an announcement to call dinner, or an event, we all stood around saying goodnight (in a hello sort of way). There were side kisses, hugs. Men and women of mid-forties, early thirties, all black, and so so happy. A man grabbed my hands, “Shawnta, so nice to see you”, and he held me. He was so large, and warm. Then a woman taps my shoulder, “So glad you could make it, we’ve missed you” and she whispers this in my ear, as she spins me around and gives me a kiss. This happened, as I roamed through the room. I was ecstatic with thankfulness. Finally, a woman in the near end, young and so perfect to look at, she smiled at me. She was the only one not moving or talking to anyone else, but just smiling, as if she had been waiting for me. She hugged me as I went to her. I felt her all over my body. The light of the parlor darkened into the night of my eyes. I felt my body, her arms, her legs close to mine, as if she were inside of me. I was stiff with her presence in my bed. I didn’t want to let go, but slowly, I felt her dissipate. The last of her, clutched onto my heart, and stayed there until I was entirely awake. I let out a breath, and her voice spoke through my mouth. She simply said “yes”. It was when I heard her sound, that I let go, or she let go, of my heart, and I felt her wisk away, above me, then out. I was left there, with this feeling of intense love. So powerful. As if everyone was holding me. I was being held by a million arms, and yet, released, so that I could fly. My heart finally began to beat. Hard, and fast. I laid there suspended, and looked around my room.
And you won’t believe, I could SEE!
I looked at my carpet, and my walls, and through my tears, I could see her, like a blurry tinkerbell the size of, I dunno, perhaps a large cat, but not in actual form, but, like the way a barbecue grill looks when the smoke rises above it. Everything else was clear, except for the movement of air in the shape of a woman, floating, traveling, going. She just left the room. And yet, I still felt her release. And all the while, I am not wearing my glasses, but I saw as clear as across the street. I was hysterical. I looked at the clock, perhaps after a few seconds. It was 3:53am. And then, it all became blurry again. My drawing on the wall, turned to charcoal fuzz, and my sight regulated. I through my head back into the pillow.
Never had I felt anything so tangible. I went back to sleep and woke up at 10am by a phone call from my friend who often gives me spiritual guidance. I told her what I just told you. She was happy for me, and wasn’t a bit surprised…actually, she was a little unimpressed.
Here, I ended the letter with three small sentences.
I’m still a bit sensitive. I want to cry and laugh and feel and LOVE. But it is all so okay, so amazing, so right.
I’m going to use this as a mantra this valentines day.
And as I sleep, between the folds of my black futon, I invite my ancestor’s spirits who something like one year ago, allowed me to feel Love, stronger than the pull towards death, or fear, or loneliness, and today, can only be described as the clutching of one’s heart while being led home.