Woman be Cool, a novel by Tanya Van Cott
I fell to the floor in pieces. Made of so many fragments that stopped making any sense individually. They needed to be put back together. Seen once again as a whole. I crumbled in front of a helpful appliance, surrounded by all the dirty laundry I never seemed able to stop washing, and prayed for God to help me but believed only when I was glued to the floor somewhere. No longer good for anyone, especially myself, I remembered that he reminded in the darkness earlier that evening that my children needed me, needed me to be whole again.
"Are you crying?" the motorcyclist asked.
"No," I said, but I was lying.
I was split right down the middle; insecurity and confidence, hysteria and stoicism, crisis and calm, hot and cool all over, collected yet scattered all opposing each other, desperate to unite physically. I was in the middle of a moment that could not have been more poetic, a true fantasy in which I had finally met my other half after years of searching for it. I had seen it for all its strengths and weaknesses and yet couldn’t figure out how to consummate the marriage of the parts. There seemed to be no other answer that day but to run, so I did. I ran toward myself, which I believed to be “that way,” pointing south; but I know now, bleeding and broken that it didn’t matter in what direction I ran, because I would be there in the end anyway, still alone and still myself. I knew that no fantasy, escape, or ideal held the answer for me but running away, was a desperate act to unite with the madness that had existed within me for a long time.
As I methodically moved through the rooms of my mind, making piles of only the most necessary items for survival I thought one last conversation with my alter ego appropriate. There we sat face-to-face, mirror image, developer-built, architect-designed suburban homes. Foundations poured, almost completely framed, waiting for our finishing touches. A few more weeks work was needed before completion. As we sat there among the other similar structures, along that linear patch of dirt that connected us all, striking up a conversation before our nakedness would be covered forever seemed only natural.
The Oped Files