Nonfiction by Madlynn Haber
You carry a bag of mulch to my porch, just as you carried the microwave after it had been fixed. When the microwave broke, I carried it to the car myself so I could take it to be fixed. I yelled at the universe. “Don’t I deserve someone to carry the microwave for me? After all this time, all these years, where is the partner life is supposed to provide?” I demanded an answer!
The next day when the microwave was ready to be picked up, you drove me down into the town where the repair shop was. After only one blind date, arranged by a friend, I hadn’t expected you to call much less offer to give me a ride. You carried the microwave from the shop to my car and then from my car to my house. I winked at the universe for providing this reprieve from my lonely independence. A week later, I asked you to carry in a bag of mulch for my garden. It pleases you to help me. I am grateful. I thank you. I tease you. I smile.
You carry a bag of mulch for me but you never make me laugh. I think about the best moments of my life. Often, they happened in a bed. Skin on skin, warm, cozy, cuddly, body to body. Kissing in between laughing, holding in between talking and touching, feeling and thinking out loud. In the daytime, in the dark hours of the night, in the morning when it’s too early to get up. I remember those times from not so long ago to way back when I was young and my body was new to love making, when my skin was unmarked and so very soft.
Laughing, loving, and feeling so close to another person that you don’t know where one ends and the other begins. It’s an ageless sensation. No different now from how it was then. That way of being entwined, of one person connecting with the being of another, in body, in energy, in laughter and in love.
It’s not that way with you and me. You carry my microwave. You haul bags of mulch for me. You send me simple words and smiley pictures on my phone throughout the day, a gesture, a pull, a reaching out in awkward hesitation. We rarely touch. I sense that laying down in the middle of the day would be dangerous. The energy of my desire might throw you off course. The delight of our bodies might drown you. You walk a straight and narrow path, keeping time with tasks and responsibilities. You fit me in, between two hours. I accommodate with respect, asking only once or twice for you to carry this or open that or fix a window and a shade.
I long for the melting of flesh on flesh. I remember the melding of souls and hearts. I have lost myself in the arms of passing lovers, in moments of joy and bliss. The universe laughs at my dilemma now. I can’t at all imagine what lies inside your skin. The skin I only accidently know as your hand brushes past mine when you lift the microwave to the counter and drop the bags of mulch on to the porch.
I promise not to touch you, to seduce you off the trail that leads where you are going. There’s danger in getting lost, in following an uninvited touch. I thank you for your kindness for helping carry my load. I smile just a little and promise myself not to try to make you laugh.
Madlynn Haber is a writer living in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her work has been published in the anthology Letters to Fathers From Daughters, in Anchor Magazine, Exit 13 Magazine and on websites including: A Gathering of the Tribes, The Voices Project, The Jewish Writing Project, BoomSpeak, Quail Bell Magazine, Mused Literary Review, Hevria, Right Hand Pointing, Mothers Always Write and Mum Life Stories. You can view her work at www.madlynnwrites.com.
Image by Frank Wittkowski