It’s me, calling from the all-consuming void of motherhood again. I can see you there, just under the beams of daylight piercing through the darkness at the other end of this tunnel.
I’m calling because I found the remnants of your last visit, the last pieces of us. It was just a bit of eyeshadow on the counter and the corner of an old Taco Bell sauce. Must have been the last time we went out. What’d we have? Probably a daiquiri.
Guess what! I think we may have some time, you and me. Maybe it’s just the extra energy. The baby has been sleeping a little more and he has been nursing less. Still, I think I see it, our old personality.
Maybe we can get her out for a bit. You know, get the girls together…
Yeah, I’ll bring the stuff, everything we need. Think you can bring the fun, but only the good kind? You know? I want the old stuff that used to make me laugh till I cried and the carelessness that let me hang out till midnight and then watch the stars from my driveway when I got home.
God. I miss her. And you…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m great. My kids are beautiful and I love having a sense of purpose. I like feeling needed.
I just wish I could weave the tattered pieces of you into me. But the balance is shaky and tedious and sharing this personality, our history, is like tug-of-war. We never knew moderation, did we?
I watch the people that used to be our friends go out, spend time together, laugh… I can’t relate. Maybe they don’t wrestle with their past and present the way I do. Maybe their “her” never left them, making them a shell of themselves.
It’s just that—just that the divide between us is so wide, it doesn’t feel as though we ever occupied the same body. There’s you and there’s me, but there had to be an intermediary. Was it before or after the postpartum? Maybe she got lost in there… It was quite dark.
Either way, I think she’s ready to come out now. I fixed my hair today and put on lipstick. That had to be her. It’s been so long, I forgot how to apply it over the sharp peaks of my Cupid’s bow. It’s strange how things that used to feel so natural can become awkward without practice.
Maybe it will get easier, if she decides to stay, that is. I’ve been fooled before though. There will be a day where my body feels whole like it’s completely mine, and the next it’s split, caught in a feeding frenzy between needy children that view me as nothing more than a means to a goal.
A popsicle. A cup of milk. A new toy. That’s what they see when they look at me. It’s not that I fault them for it. That’s survival and that’s how their little brains work. I know they love me, or will when they can grasp such a concept. For now, though, they only want or need.
But maybe—perhaps, this time she will stay. I’ll throw these old ratty clothes out with the trash and buy something new. I’ll feel brand new, like a gift with a fancy bow. I won’t hate the drab vision of myself in the mirror next to their faces laced in perfection. Maybe, if she comes back, I’ll feel like enough, like I deserve to be their mother.