THAT THING WITH WINGS
Niama Leslie Williams, Ph.D.
Copyright March 2008
She is finally getting tired of it, exasperated, dissolving into tears. It has gone past wearing her down; she has begun to wait for the truck that will barrel her down, the semi that will make her a grease river on Main Street. She’d like to flow seamlessly into the little bit of water by Taylor’s on the Olde Mill.
It was the shower that did it. One more morning of wheezing and gasping and groaning in the shower. Cleaning one’s body should not be such exhausting work, but when you have eaten your way to 400 pounds, where can you point the finger? The voices said night before last as she put another dozen in the oven, “cupcakes are not bread,” and you were grateful for that insight, you understood that they were trying to help. You needed that pointed out.
Yes, cupcakes were an improvement over the cakes you had taken to baking once you discovered he liked homemade sweets, sweets period. Then he had to face that the icing was ripping his stomach to shreds, so you stopped buying icing and reverted to plain cupcakes.
You are a gifted cook, so your cupcakes are moist dreams. They melt in your mouth. He laughs about their calling him from the kitchen.
And yes, you were grateful night before last about that bit of vocalized insight, and you resolved to once again bake oat and wheat berry muffins, not cupcakes. Cupcakes for him, but not for you. Because you want this weight off your body and why, for God’s sake, won’t Donna return your calls? If it is a simple matter of Eccoes not wanting to deal with anyone who insists on using their insurance, fine, Donna, say so, but at least have the decency to call and say that. The Health Partners Member Services person insisted that a morbidly obese diabetic who got her doctor to write a knowledgeable letter just might have Eccoes paid for, and I want, I deserve that you and Dr. Feinstein at least try. I deserve at least that the two of you collude and write a decent letter. I am tired of, and cannot do, everything myself.
I balance his checkbook, I spend his money, I pull out all of the stops working at my business the week I have off from substituting, when the money still does not come in I apply for more jobs and more jobs and more jobs.
I am tired of broke. I am tired of no money. I am tired of my locs looking frayed and broken off because I cannot afford regular maintenance visits. I am tired of no lipstick when I want to dress myself up for an interview. Can’t even get together seventeen dollars for one tube of Mac sinful red.
I am tired of wheezing and not being able to reach my crotch and straining and no breath as I try to do the right thing and lotion my body. My poor skin crying out for moisture and I finally treat myself to lotion and get myself to apply it, but this morning, this morning the reaching and the straining and the windedness too much. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve to be ignored, Donna. If Eccoes doesn’t want me as a patient then just call back or email and say so and I’ll take my miserable ass to …… Byetta. Stupid me wants to believe in diet and exercise. Stupid me wants to believe that a good diet, a good eating plan and regular exercise will do it. That the cushion of massage and chiropractic and psychotherapy would hold my hand as I embraced weight loss, the concept of a Dr. Niama at 250, 150, not 425. That now with the dissertation finished, the Ph.D. done, I can focus on losing weight, something I never placed in the hot seat before.
I’m lazy. Getting to the gym harder, much harder, than working out once there. The ideal would be private yoga instructor a la the one who used to come to my home in California. That woman knew how to work a large woman out and make it fun, change it up so I never got bored, encourage me when I thought a posture impossible. She helped me feel good about myself.
I can’t even successfully pay for one visit from the personal trainer I was going to work with. Can’t even pull my budget together to pay one $43.50.
I am tired, God. Tired.
I would like to come home now.
Because I realize that Jim isn’t coming, ever; oh, I’d like to believe but why, God? Why when the silence is so deafening? He had eighty years without me the time before and I know that was harrowing, but ten years without him, full of the angst and anguish and longing ….. it’s harder on a woman, God. We are tied into the earth, the seasons, every moan and groan of Mother Nature. We feel it more deeply and it rips us to shreds much, much faster.
I would like to come home now.
I would like to come home and wait for him there. He will probably be afraid, ashamed to face me, his reluctance having brought me once again to the brink. It is merely that I am tired of the alone, tired of the ache, of the wanting. If it is to be a love of the spirit then at least let me love from the spiritual plane and not this earthly one that breeds such palpably empty arms.
I would like to come home now. I don’t want to do the job-hunting thing again. I am tired of trying and trying and trying with my company and people not even having the decency or thinking I matter enough to call or write back.
I am sure Wideman will feel only one small moment of regret that he did not get back to me about The Journey, will probably put me down as oversensitive bipolar who made too much of one kindness at a conference. We sensitive ones, we mystics, even when we pick out and lovingly support, with all of our spirituality, the gifted, are frequently ignored by them. I have hungered too much for acknowledgement, for assistance, for a loving glance. Still want that loving glance from a father, a brother, a lover. This incarnation, not to happen. The Massey is the closest I will get.
I hope I can pass from the Massey without too much of a blip. He’s had enough pain, and I hope he can put me aside without grief or anger or too much investment. I just wasn’t strong enough, Papa, but I will remain grateful for the love you did share. It is my fault, my wayward hoary ego wanting more, wanting complete satisfaction. A job that paid me enough, that would allow us to live without worry or juggling, a job that allowed us to buy a home and one for Kim. I follow your daughter in tears only because I have failed, failed miserably, Ph.D. and all. It is the only thing I have accomplished and puts my failure in grand shocking relief. The failures began once that great mission accomplished. Had I not been interested in learning, had the gift of your fatherly love not delayed this transition a moment or two, I would have missed thinking that love was possible. That satisfaction was possible. It was not for me this time, love from a man of my choosing, but that is not why I leave you, Papa. I leave you, I ask to leave you because the weight and the unsatisfactory employment and the ugliness–the not well kept hair, the not keeping the apartment vacuumed and the dishes washed, the slovenliness in my housekeeping when there was plenty of time and not much house …… I have not measured up in so many ways, Papa, and now, now I just tire of trying.
I have revered the color purple when I saw it, Papa, but perhaps the die was cast too early: the grand sweep of The Temple of My Familiar was always my favorite.
I won’t go by my own hand, Papa, I know God has no love for suicides, but I withdraw from here on in, Papa. I ask my God that if He loves me He end my suffering and bring me home. I asked for much too much this incarnation and not even my ego can cash this check.
Let me go, Papa. Close up shop and head to Monroeville to that daughter and granddaughter you love so dearly. I am a lost cause who was touched by your kindness for a moment. But my moment has stretched too long and the elasticity of my sensibilities has frayed beyond usefulness.
Go forth, Papa. I will smile at you from Heaven and beseech God on a regular basis to give you all that you desire.
Love and blessings,
Dr. Niama L. Williams