These two things happened:
My marriage ended.
These two things are not related, but both left me dislocated as if my skin no longer fit. It explains my silence. The words disappeared along with the surety of my future.
I am sitting on a bench at the edge of the Hudson River. Manhattan is just before me— a jungle of high rises to my left and then a relatively low trough of mid-size buildings. If I turn my head slightly to the right, the Freedom Tower rises to a point. I am grateful to be a new resident of this very spot, not afflicted with memories that would likely never leave. That I live here now is ironic as it was my husband who always craved a life by the water.
I watch a tugboat pull an empty barge south. It seems like too much effort. I felt that way after I left my home. My friends. My family. My husband. Everything was more effort than it was worth. Yet there were heavy doors to open, connections to unwind. It took every bit of my strength.
I live with my daughter and her husband now. My grandson, a ball of toddler-fire who delights every morning that his grandmother is yes, still here. And a granddaughter on the way—a child I will have the joy to know intimately. It is impossible to see beyond this event. Impossible to know how my life will turn in the coming months, just as it is impossible to see the country’s path at this moment.
Manhattan. The heart. I feel like a swipe of plaque just on the periphery, threatening to break away without learning its secrets. Often I train into the city, no destination in mind, the journey the point. I walk a new neighborhood. Note the coffeeshops. The boutiques. The pattern of streets that I commit to memory. Adding a brick to my shaky self. I plan these trips randomly. Is that even possible?
Frequently I assess. How am I? How much have I learned? How will the next day be? The next month? The measure of progress is foreshortened, but steady. I accept that.
My laptop is open. The cursor blinks at my unfinished manuscript reminding me of a story I wanted to tell. Still want to tell. I am drawn back to it.
The words are returning.