Do you know the story of hippo? How he has to open his mouth wide every few minutes to show Papa God that he hasn’t eaten any of the most favored fishies?
I feel like a similar fate has fallen upon me. Like every few months, I have to shake out my hands until Papa God is sure that I have held onto nothing.
That I understand I have to be willing to let everything go.
If I don’t, the world does the shaking for me, and in that crumble I seem to lose more than I ever consciously had.
I am always starting over, and I’m tired of it.
If we were having coffee, I’d probably tell you about starfish. How they regenerate their arms. How some even cut off their limbs preemptively.
I wouldn’t explain why I was thinking about this. I wouldn’t explain how, right now, I look at everything in my life as a very temporary thing. How I throw things away, so I don’t have to when it’s time for the shaking later.
I would ask you if you think the starfish would use the same name, even after more than half of it was replaced with something new. I’d ask about identity, and how many regenerations it can withstand.
I would ask about your arms.
The oldest one.
I’m fascinated by the people who have been allowed to keep. Tell me how it feels to hold something so long it tires you.
If we were having coffee, I might yawn. I’m not bored with you– I could never be bored with you.
I just tire easily now. I yawn because I can’t have caffeine anymore. I yawn because I’m healing and my body is borrowing breath.
I yawn because I didn’t eat any favored fish, and I want to open wide– and make sure Papa God knows.
I want him to trust me, so I can stop having everything shaken out of my heart. I lost my walk that way. My freedom, once. My name, a few times. I lost a husband and a father and a village too big to list.
I lost my ability to read.
But I have a new cadence now– a new cane and a steady limp. I am far away from caged. I have a boyfriend, a kind one, who lifts me up even when I am holding the weight of ghosts.
If we were having coffee, I’d read the menu without help. I can do that now.
Slowly. Oh so slowly. But I can.
I can read.
I might point it out, but I might not. I’m terrified I’ll lose it again if I hold it cherished.
It’s been years of shaking. I’m terrified of holding anything.