When Mt. Redoubt erupted we bought masks and bottles of water, and put wet towels underneath the doors to block out the ash. The radio said that the volcano had exploded sixteen times or more. The earth’s crystal insides were falling, covering the snow, filling lungs and irritating noses and eyes.
I kept thinking about the books on Pompeii that I had read just months before. About the bodies curled up and fossilized in eternal embraces. I thought about the homeless camps in the woods, which would soon be crawling with grizzly bears and ravens picking at glistening red remains.
I thought of lots of awful things, until I stopped thinking about much of anything at all.
Today I passed several fire trucks on my way to work. There’s a huge fire at an organic mulch facility near downtown that’s been smoldering since Sunday morning (the local independent newspaper is calling it Mulchpocolypse 2012), and firefighters have been working round the clock, dousing the noxious mountains of mulch with foam and water, and lashing at the weight of the mounds with bulldozers. As one of the trucks passed, I noticed a dashing young firefighter in the passenger seat. His forearms were covered in black soot and sweat, and his damp hair fell into his eyes. I could see someone falling deeply in love with him on the spot, and feeling like they were being rescued from the ashes when he kissed them.
I think that’s part of it, isn’t it? The cool down blanket feeling of being protected by someone, of coming home and knowing that there’s a man there who will throw himself into a fire not just for you but for others. A man with strong arms that will press you onto your bed and smother your fears away with his mouth, tongue, eyes, arms, legs.
I have a man like that.
I was thinking about when we first met, about how calm I felt around him. How blissful. I was awfully young, only nineteen. He steadied me. He calmed me. He made me feel protected.
When you have someone to love, someone good and with a passionate heart, you can show him your darkest, reddest, bloodiest parts and he’ll show you his in return. No one has to know what goes on in your bed or your head, and what the two of you have is yours alone. With someone like that nothing is off limits, no desire is left unexplored.
If you meet someone strong like that, hold on to them. If I could whisper any words back to myself, back when I was young and afraid and felt alone, I would say these:
He is capable, he is beautiful, he will fix your life.
I know it’s not fashionable or advisable to give yourself over to love so hard. Women aren’t supposed to want to feel small or helpless, but I don’t think it’s about that. I think I make him feel protected, too. I think it’s supposed to feel like puzzle pieces fitting together.