Dear U(nicorn)… Something from a long time ago, and cherished…
Crazy If You Like…
Everything – all things – the cold, white tiles under my feet… the temperature of the water in the tub… the song that plays somewhere on the radio… you, reading this now… all of this has meaning! Meaning, specific to me. And God makes it all that way – and he tells me things through these things… like the way the toilet paper blows gently on the roll – He tells me to love men for that. To love them for the effort and love it took to create such a convenience for me.
But most of what God wants me to know I just feel. I can feel Him loving me. He loves every movement and thought and subatomic breath of me. And I lower toes into the water and feel his heat close around them… Do you see how He loves me this way, too? I am perfectly adored. I am perfect. He feels me that. I am all I’m supposed to be – right now and always. I admire my breasts; fluid and familiar (and recently hated). I touch my doughy abdomen and love its pale, soft kindness. I push my head back and feel the hair heavy and wet. I am God’s mermaid – basking in my holy water. And farther back I let my face receive the water’s caress and I breathe some in, just because I know God is there.
They sent a man to watch me shave. I don’t mind. I love him. His name is Kenny. I always make him smile. “I love you, Kenny.” He’s like a vanilla ice-cream cone with sprinkles of dark curly hair. His face is a crinkle around the eyes face. “I love you too, Noelle.” I am thoroughly fed when I hear it because I feel it, too. God keeps loving me and he always will. I’m blessed to see it now. Kenny and I watch the soapy soldiers fall away in razor-length regiments on the battleground of my calf. “It looks like suffering, Kenny… all the death and cruelty, but in the end it won’t mean more than a mosquito bite.”
My bed is neat as a pin. I always make it as soon as I wake up. My stuff is all arranged in my drawers, too. I’m damp and cherished. I grab purple socks, my green plaid skirt and a stripy shirt that shouldn’t go, but God said it would. I’ve got big jewel earrings with shiny diamonds and rubies (they’re all real in here). When I pull the socks on… I cry. I am so beautiful. On the way to breakfast everyone says so, too. I smile at Willie, and he winks back. He’s cute and Puerto Rican and way too young for me, but we share a secret. A kiss. Joel, the nurse tells me he’s going to follow me around today. He thinks I’m better with the patients than he is. He’s good with us but I am better. People can see me here… They recognize that I am a real princess.
What will the food teach me today? I sit next to Dora. Dora’s been nuts for so long that she has the act down. Her eyes wobble behind thick, old-man glasses. Her pants have no zipper and the fat of her belly sticks through a large safety pin. “Hiya, Dora…” She won’t look at me, but she bobs welcomingly. I lift the plastic lid of this morning’s treasure box. At once … I see… an egg! I’ve been given the gift of a glorious, dazzling, white egg! I feel a pressure of new tears. God shows me what must be done, and that it’s right to have Sugar-Pops… now.
After breakfast a young, red haired guy named Peter is surprised at his own E.S.P., but he knows, so he comes to my room to tell me, that company is coming. I’ve been sitting on my egg for the right amount of time, and when my visitor comes, I show him. “I’m hatching peace,” I explain. My visitor thinks that I’m “so sweet”… but then I fumble and drop the egg and its surface shell cracks. It isn’t perfect any more (except it is), so I toss it in the trash and say, “Oh, well.”
When visits are over, I look to connect, in love, with others. There is a man named Bobby who sits by the window. He is heavy and pasty. He has a lecherous smell. His hair is matted with white crust; I offer to brush it. We are like two friends in a snowy meadow when I finish; his hair gleaming like horse flanks and reaching nearly to his waist.
We die for cigarettes lots of time a day here. They only take us outside now and then. It’s a terrible winter, my visitors tell me, but God, we love to be out in it. We draw deeply to take the life from the cigarette and joke about our unusual common denominators. We breathe God’s air and touch God’s cold and see God’s snow. And I tell them how good it’s gonna be – really soon. I am the queen of outside. Everyone wants to borrow or have something of mine, and I always give it. I have a royal fur coat, and a royal fur hat, and royal purple gloves with bows on… and of course my jewels and my Private Stock cigarettes… (And that’s what I am: God’s private stock!) Sarah wants a glove to keep her smoking hand warm. Debora wants my rabbit skin hat because I look cute in it and she will, too. The only thing I haven’t shared yet are my royal boots or the muc-lucs that line them. I laugh down-to-earth human laughter, while God helps me convince everybody of the greatness of themselves. I am so happy.
During therapy this evening, we are holding hands in a circle. There is a small, oriental woman facing me. She is blind. When she talks her voice is small, like a bird’s and her accented words are so sorrowful and lonely, my heart yearns into hers. She breaks the circle and cries at the pain of the beauty of the feeling. God is so amazing.
The lights are off in all the rooms but they let me sing. I’m so happy they let me sing. This is truly a beautiful gift from my father, God. I sing and sing and my voice is like a wild thing – part horse, part bird, part typhoon. I follow the notes deep into the thick, rich places of my misery and out into the hummingbird heights of stars in their fiery brightness. I thank God with my voice, by giving it all to him. I hold nothing back for fear, embarrassment or shame. He’s my Creator. He’s my Lover. He’s my father. He’s my dream and I’m his. Goodnight, I sing.
I dream of a whale. I walk along the banks, next to him. He is my loving protector. He is, and also a symbol of the hugeness of what remains for me to discover and do. Amen. Love, Noelle