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More than 2,000 miles away, Sophie is overcome with laughter at the memory of their first kiss, so awkward, so lovely. She thinks how wonderful it would be to know something of his heart again.

More than 2,000 miles away, Sophie is overcome with laughter at the memory of their first kiss, so awkward, so lovely. She thinks how wonderful it would be to know something of his heart again. Photo by Arnaldo James

Sophie conjures the revival of love at her own risk
© 2016 by Binahkaye Joy

“I’m not saying this is true for everybody. Some people are really happy with the imbalance. I am just not one of those people. I think there has to be some sort of reciprocal visioning. Like it can’t just be me seeing into you, you need to see into me. And if you don’t see anything or if you don’t see anything good, or if I’m the one not seeing, then one of us has to say something. That silence is how all the life gets wasted. How many months, years, decades do we have to live overdrawn within ourselves? There’s no need to endure the performance of love. If the show is over, it can just be over.

I can’t hate anybody over not being able to see me. It’s not my place to dictate their eyes, their heart, their attentions. If I’m not the one they see, it doesn’t mean they’re blind. But this is not some neat thing either. I mean, for real for real, shit is complex when you start out trying to love someone purely for love. You leap into the potential, so heartily. It’s dizzying how overpowering the rush can be. You put it all out there, and you try to birth this union, the etchings of the beginnings of a union.

But it’s just an embryo, so delicate. It can’t yet stand on its own or take a blow like an eviction or the loss of somebody’s mother. It’s just barely gaining traction in your own sunrise sunset rotations. It’s so barely there for a long while. So, no. I can’t be mad if through the fog of his despair he couldn’t see me too. It seems everyone is grieving something or another most of the time. And just because he was laughing when we met didn’t mean his suffering was done. A smile can’t eclipse all the tears.

I saw the grief. That is what I saw first behind his warm and brilliant eyes. And still I continued to weave the insistent strands of my heartstrings around any place he would let me in. I knew long ago it was incomplete. Even before Christmas and all the family holidays hoopla. But still, I wanted to just be on stage, give my lines, finish our one act, at least.

We weren’t going to make it to Valentine’s. Even before I lost the baby, the pulse of this thing had already quieted itself. He was such a good father though for those few weeks we started to dream that we were still alive within each other. Once, over a brunch of Belgian waffles with mixed berries and maple chicken sausage, we considered a name. Tambor. Because we had been talking about how early in the first trimester the heart begins to beat, and how that one rhythm is the seed of all other rhythms.

He always wanted to be a musician. He was so passionate about music, but really he had never found his instrument. And I knew all along it was dangerous to plant my garden of hopes with an artist so starved for his art. I really thought my love could save him, become the melody itself that he so badly needed to imbibe. I just wanted to believe that I could be that relief to steady his waters, hold him over until the music became something he could touch and breathe and make on his own.

It was good love, I gave him, but just not adequate to seal the gaps. He waited for the bleeding to stop. Ever the gentleman. We took a walk that last spring morning together, back to the park that was equidistant between his place and mine. We hugged in front of the tree where we had first farted in each other’s presence. He had the welling of tears, but my eyes were sober and dry. He mumbled an apology into my neck, and it suddenly dawned on me how cold the walk home would be. Half hearing, half denying it all, I think I heard him say something about not being whole or enough. Something about a sweet Tambor.

It’s been a year, and I’m still not completely convinced there’s no hope for something to revive itself between us. I called him yesterday. Left a message. I don’t even remember what I said. I needed to lean into that void and place myself there just in case, at that moment, he was also there reaching out for me. Who knows? He might have found the music by now. It could be a whole new thing for us. I know, I know, it’s dangerous to stay in love with a possibility. But I like to think no one is getting hurt in my fantasy, really. Hope can break your heart, sure. But it can’t stop it from beating all together. Love is resilient, he would always say. And here I am, still a believer.” ~~~ Sophie borrows the phone charger of the lady sitting next to her at the cafe, and bears her soul once again.


Binahkaye Joy is a new mommy, writer, dancer, doula, movement facilitator, and fertility juju priestess. She lives in Washington, DC with her family. Read more of Sophie’s stories and those of others in the Embodied Character series.