By: Dee Rimbaud
When he left I was a mix of sad and happy. I was sad because it was all spoiled and I was happy because now he was taking all his shadows away with him.
When the bus came all the tears burst out of me. I hugged him big and tight to me and I almost said, don’t go, but I clenched my teeth to stop it coming out because I wanted him to go. His eyes were wet too, but he did not cry. He never cried. And then he just kind of shrugged me off as he was always doing. Like I was a blanket or something. His eyes stopped being wet and became empty. He got on the bus and sat down, and then when the bus started up, he gave me a little wave.
I cried all the way back to the caravan.
But when I got there I felt better again. I looked in the sun porch, and he wasn’t in there reading and being grumpy and chain-smoking his horrible cigarettes. I went into the sun porch and I opened all the windows, even though it was March and it was still very cold. Then I collected some wood from the shed thing and made up a fire in the sitting room and put on the boiler for a bath. I thought to myself, I can bath as many times as I want now and there is no-one to stop me and tell me all about money. He was always talking about money and worrying about it. He even shouted at me because I bought some Avocados once. I wasn’t thinking. Back home they are so cheap.
He made me sad like that lots. It was so strange because he was so the opposite when we first came together. I can’t figure it, and my angels will tell me nothing. I remember when we had to leave The Place because of all the complications. We were hitch-hiking to an island where there was a refuge. We only got as far as The Town before it started to rain like in the monsoon times. I got soaked through all my jumpers and my two trousers, right into my knickers and bra. He was very tender to me, and he took me into a sports shop and he bought me a plastic trousers and jacket. We then went into a café and I changed into my dry things in the ladies room. Then he bought me a tea and he took my wet things to the laundry shop and put them into the tumble dried thing before he even had a coffee himself. He was always drinking coffee and smoking those horrible cigarettes. Even though I told him often I could see the dark brown ’round his kidneys. He was still healthy in the lungs, but I think that was because of the yoga and the swimming.
He was so kind to me then. And I knew he didn’t have much money. But he knew I had none and he did not want me to go back to my sister in London. He was always saying it’s a bad place and it would damage a sweet innocent like me. He was always thinking like that. I think he really cherished me then. But I am not really innocent. I know there is many bad things in me. It was bad for me to take him from his girl.
I am sad always when I see his girl. I can see her anger in a big cloud ’round her every time she meets me. She never says nasty things, but there is a strangled sound in her throat like she is holding all the bad things she wants to say back. I think she would like to hurt me, but she is also so afraid of breaking into her sadness and also, a bit, of losing her dignity.
But I could not help taking him from his girl. I saw the special light in him, and I knew he was for me. The first day when we arrived I noticed him. He was smiling a big huge smile and he had this feeling that he had arrived in a special place. He was all excited. He was noticing everybody and he noticed me, but not in the same way as I noticed him. I’m very small and don’t get noticed much, usually, not until people get to know me.
During the week he was noticing me more and more. There was an awful lot of sharing at The Experience and people were opening up like flowers. When they arrived they were like wee closed buds, but towards the end of the week, each of them was an explosion of amazing colour. And he was the loudest, brightest colour of them all.
On the fifth day I talked with my angels about him and they told me not to make anticipations, that I was to be quiet and watch. I asked what to watch for, and they told me to watch for the making of synchronicities. So, for the last two days, when I was not deep into my meditations, I was looking at him and waiting for the something wonderful to happen. But it did not happen.
On the sixth day I was thinking about the leaving and the returning to London and my sister where she is not happy and always talking about home. And I knew in my blood and bone that the city was not the place for me, that I must stay here. So, I took almost the last piece of my money and bought another week at The Place. It was not to be like The Experience, they said, it would be more like a grounding or an earthing. A gentle return from the higher realms of spiritual experience. There would be working in the garden and the kitchens and some meditation and every day, some talking with the group leader.
I was sad to see them all going on the seventh day. I was crying some, and being small, was not getting as noticed as the others. I was thinking also, they think I am sweet, but they do not think I am deep because I am not full of the self-hating like them. I was sad about this too, but even at that, it did not rankle as self-pity. I was not wishing I was taller or more interesting, just that there was a bit more of me in their hearts.
I had to go to the bathroom to get some tissues for my tears. Then when I came back, the bus was gone. It made me sad, but only for a moment because he was still there and so was his girl. Then he came up to me and smiled his biggest smile and asked if I was staying and I said yes, and then he smiled an even bigger smile. And then that night he came to me and asked if he might sleep with me; and without thinking, I said yes.
He came to me that night and I could see the stars that were jumping out of his face as he took my clothes off in the bay of the window with the full moon shining in. He took his clothes off next and I saw that we were luminous and beautiful in the moon-goddess’s light. Then, when I wanted to throw myself upon him, so strong was the rush in my blood, he held my face in his large, fine fingered hands and he kissed me gentle kisses on the forehead and the cheekbones so that I thought I would faint. Then he looked at me and looked again like he was doing a double-take, and he said that he was seeing the stars coming out of my face. And I knew then that he was the one for me. And that was bad, because I did not think for once of his girl.
And I was wrong too, for he was not the one for me.
When the bath was poured I took some clary sage oil and put it in to try and stop me from thinking about him. It didn’t work, but sometimes these things don’t, if it is not right. During the bath I realised it was right for me to grieve, for a break up is like a small death. So I let myself cry some and think about him some more.
Mostly I thought about the nice things, especially at the start. Even though that was only four months ago.
I thought a lot about that first night and how tenderly we made love and how I felt so much like I had come home. He gave me a feeling of comfort that I had never had, even if he wasn’t the best of my lovers. When I looked in his eyes I could see him melting into mine, and I knew he was loving me with all his heart.
All during the bath I thought about the times when we had made love and when he had loved me with his deeds and his words. There were many different things I remembered.
But when I got out of the bath and dried off, I had run out of memories that were good and I started thinking about how it all went bad. It is like all things you are inside, you cannot see clear enough to make sense. I tried to find out what went wrong by picking over things I remembered, but it seemed to me, it was like picking up sands from a beach and trying to see which is the grain that was the cause of it all to go wrong.
I knew I was doing it all silly, that it is the disease of the brain to try and break it all into little pieces to understand it. But I couldn’t help myself.
What I remembered most was when he started writing The Book. He would leave the caravan every day at five o’clock and go to the office where they would let him use a type-writer after closing time, and he was allowed to stay there till ten thirty when it was to be locked up. I think writing The Book made the change in him. He would always come back in strange moods, sometimes very happy and sometimes very sad. But whatever it was, the mood he was in, I was not part of it. And yet, still, every night he would make love with me with tenderness and care, like I was small and fragile and precious to him. It was very confusing to me, and it made me sad to feel I was losing a part of him.
After a week of it, in The Sanctuary, I asked if he was going to break the bonds that were between us. The angels didn’t answer me as I thought they might, but they told me the book was precious to him because it was him and they told me he would never finish it. So, I hoped he would stop it. And when he didn’t, I asked him if I could read it. He was very pleased, and he gave me a folder with over a hundred pages, straight away, even though I didn’t actually mean straight away. So I made some rose hip tea for me and a coffee for him, then I sat on the sofa and started reading it while he sat in the sun lounge and smoked a lot of cigarettes and read a book. I saw him looking at me through the glass door many times. He looked nervous.
The Book made me very scared and sad. It was full of anger and hate and shadows. He was disappointed when I asked why it was that he couldn’t write about beautiful things. He tried to explain to me why not, but he put on a voice of a teacher and made me feel stupid. I tried to tell him that he had much beauty in him, and surely it is better to share that with the world than his sorrows, but he just looked at me and said I didn’t understand. So, I didn’t ask about The Book again.
After my bath I realised that there was no food for lunch, so I decided I would walk into The Village and get some shopping. I caught myself going through to the bedroom to see if he was there to ask him if he wanted anything, but, of course, he wasn’t there.
So I put on my woollies and my wellies and the plastic raincoat he gave me, and then I went out and I didn’t lock the door because he wasn’t there to ask me to. I walked the long way round, past all the painted caravans with their wee gardens with the beautiful white snowdrops sticking out of the snow and the daffodil shoots telling me it is very nearly spring. This made a happiness in my heart, to see the flowers all coming out. The birds seemed to be singing more too, and already, I was feeling like I was beginning to forget about him. When I got to The Meditation Room I thought about going in, but then I saw some small bright coloured flowers, a bit like pansies and I thought instead I would go to The Sanctuary because it has got windows that look onto a garden, and there are less people go who there. I was not wanting to meet anybody in case they asked about him, and I didn’t want to tell them all about how he had decided to go because they would be sorry for me, and they might make me sorry for me too. And I did not want that.
When I got to The Sanctuary, I opened the door very quietly and looked at the hooks to make sure there was no coats. I was relieved there wasn’t. So I went in and took off my plastic jacket and my wellies and then went into the room. I sat on the wooden bench with no pillows and crossed my legs and leaned my back against the wall. It felt very comforting, and I was deep into a meditation in no time.
In my meditation I saw a huge rainbow and an angel I had never seen before, but who looked familiar. He came up to me and held me in his arms and re-assured me that I would never want for love. And it was only when he said that that I realised my longings. It was only this morning that the bus had gone away with him in it, and already I was feeling a loneliness. It was not a big loneliness, like the type that robs you of your happiness and lays you down low, but a small one, like an ache that does not hurt too much but will not stop. After a while of being hugged by the angel I felt myself let go of that ache, and it was a strange feeling that came upon me, for I felt my spine to be growing longer and stronger, and I imagined myself walking in the world where I am as tall as everyone else. The angel told me that I am small because if I wasn’t the people would feel I was too tall and they might want to cut me down. He was meaning tall in spirit. So, I realised my shortness was a blessing, and not the curse I had thought it when I was teased and called horrible names at school.
The meditation made me very happy, and though I did not grow one millimetre I felt like I was two metres tall when I walked out of there. I passed some people I knew a bit, on the way out and they said hello and smiled and I smiled back, and I knew they liked me a lot. I felt like I could hear them talking about me when I was out of earshot and they were only saying nice things, and that pleased me a lot.
I walked past the place where you can get clothes and stuff for nothing and then along the road past the community centre to the North gate. Then I turned right and started walking towards the village. I crossed the road and clambered down the bank to the beach and the snow-covered sand.
The tide was in and the bay was full of ducks and geese, so I stopped for a while to look at them, and I marvelled at them for they were truly beautiful, and I wondered how anybody could not be moved to realise God when they looked upon a duck or a goose. And yet, so many people walk by them without seeing them, and I wonder if they would walk past angels and not see them too.
At the Spar Shop I stopped before I went in. I realised that I was just going there out of force of habit, because he wouldn’t be happy with paying more at the organic shop back at The Place; and I rejoiced in my heart that he was gone. So I walked back to The Place and went into the organic shop and I bought organic vegetables, soya milk, wholewheat bread, three different kinds of herbal teas and some lovely lavender soap. I felt like a princess and I felt like a naughty girl, all at the same time. It was a delicious feeling.
Then I went back to the caravan and ran another bath; and before I got in, I threw away the horrible soap that he had left behind.
It was lovely having another bath; and this time I didn’t think about him once. I spent all my time lathering the lavender soap all over my body and thinking about all the wonderful things I was going to do without him.
Dee Rimbaud holds British and Canadian citizenship. He’s currently living in Scotland and thinking of relocating to Spain (a country where they believe in summer). He does all sorts of different work to earn money, but he likes to think of himself as a writer and artist. His work has appeared in The Toronto Review, Kairos Anthology, Descant and The Antigonish Review. His art can be seen at http://visionary.writernetwork.com