As I get older I find myself getting softer and softer. I used to wear all black, smear a rough line of burgundy lipstick over my lips, and cover my eyes almost completely with kohl. The result had the effect of an older woman painted over a young one. At twenty one my lungs will full of hot red smoke and coal black tar; at thirty three my lungs are pink and clear, and I can hike for miles without a hint of strain or wheeze.

My mind was darker, too, so full of petty jealousy and careless want. I wanted everything I didn’t have. I wanted the sky to turn purple; I wanted flowers to wilt under my command. I wanted everyone to love me but I didn’t want to put forth the effort to love them back.

The softening started when I got married, at twenty-three. The ground beneath me stopped shaking and I was able to look at my life plainly and clearly see the one who had chosen me (and I him) to go through life together. We were young, we were in love, we were beautiful.

I softened more when my son was born. I melted, then. I started to write more. I found that all the jumbled thoughts that filled my head could be soothed when I wrote them out.

There are days when I feel as soft as feathers. I can look at pretty things for a long time, and not just forget myself but find myself reflected back. Since I was so often depressed and low during childhood and young adulthood, this mollifying and expansion of spirit has made me feel younger now than I did then. I used to infuse a sort of manic desperation into every relationship, every action, every new task and new love. Now I feel myself approaching it all with a rumble and a hum instead of a roar.

My first love was a lopsided one, because he didn’t love me back. My second love was a lopsided one, because I didn’t love him back. My third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh loves are all twisted up in my memory now, with not one standing out.

But my husband, he loved me before I was whole. He loved me when I was very young, and very stupid. It very well could have a lot to do with the long, slippery body I had back then, but let’s pretend it was something much deeper that pushed us toward one another. Something soft.


3 thoughts on “softer

  1. Lovely metaphors, from the gradual softening to the melting when your son arrived. So glad you find yourself softened, loved and melted. Ahhhh, the transitions life sometimes creates for us. And such a blessing that your words have created soothing solace for those thoughts swirling in your mind. Keep writing, my friend!

"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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