a ghost just needs a home

a week before christmas i was on the ferry to vancouver island when i found myself in front of a large and unforgiving mirror in the poorly lit ladies bathroom.

my baby was being love hushed to sleep by my spouse and my three your old was running laps, quite literally, around the washroom- offending some with noise as he slapped opened doors; terrifying others as he bent down to peer in curiously; humoring grandparents who delighted in his high energy squeals, echo experiments, and relentless questions; and irritating those without children who were used to navigating their lives, or at least their time in the facilities, without the nuisance of interruption.

it was an early ferry, full of other families who don’t consider having to arrive 1/2 an hour prior to an 8 am ride unrealistic. i don’t much mind. i was always a fan of the morning and at this point i’m well used to waking up 7 days a week to bright eyes and high needs. i was tired, though, and looking at myself straight on i was undeniably pale and weary appearing.

it was the first time since my husband went back to work after our baby had come home that we were all together with no frantic functional weekend hustle to contend with. just us, just space. baby was fed and was learning how warm and strong his dad’s arms were and our big boy son was trapped near me, given the too heavy door back out to the open boat. plus, he was happily terrorizing the public. i kept looking.

it had been a long and grueling 6 weeks with my spouse away from the home from dark to dark and with me having over scheduled myself and the boys in fear of feeling suffocated by home life. it showed.

i remember that i felt very calm and that i perceived the moment to be very quiet, something, i think, the other women who were around me would contest. i felt as though i had time, one of the few reasons i don’t resent the boat travel as many others do, and i stood there for awhile, taking myself in. scene was the same: black tights, black tunic, black boots, black cardigan, black purse. hair straightened, hair up. shira bracelet on. no make up. lip gloss applied.

i recall that on that day i had planned it so i could at least stand myself. i had chosen a comfortable travel outfit that was also cute enough to allow me an opportunity to run into any number of possible ex people i once shared life without wanting to cringe, or feel like i had to make excuses for my life. i smelt good, and that goes a long way in me recognizing myself.

it didn’t work. looking in the mirror i found that i hardly made sense. it got quieter. i blinked, shook my head a little, eyes still fixed. this calls for water, i thought, and i lowered myself to the sink. my body whined as i moved or, rather, my back screamed and my pelvis ached, moaned, and shifted with an audible clunk into another gear. my hands, stiff and clumsy from dehydration and the damp, found the faucet- an irritating push and receive with no option for agency- and they were soon filled with a safe tepid water. in a routine gesture, i applied to face, rubbed eyes, blinked some more. i fanned away the excess and rolled my spine up, neck and head having no choice but to obey. there she was again.

the woman looking back at me wasn’t old looking, per se, but she was so worn. she looked okay, if you knew the context, i suppose, but she didn’t look happy. i winced for the immediate pang of guilt.

it was too quiet, suddenly. i shifted focus to the external, again. feet planted, i cocked my head, listening for the sound of boy child. he was quickly located, making friends with a woman changing her baby. my eyes shifted down and i stood, listening. “i have a little baby too. he’s max, he’s so cute. mommy pushed him out her ‘gina. her bum hurts now”.

a smirk found my face and a chuckle bubbled in my throat. my eyes flicked up. gaze met gaze. there, i thought, she looks familiar.

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4 Comments to “a ghost just needs a home”

  1. Holy hell this is beautiful, and haven’t we all been there. I love how you put into words the thoughts that float aimlessly through my head. Mommy pushed him out her ‘gina. Love. So Bella.

  2. Love this and you are more beautiful and radiant then ever!

  3. Very sweet post. The changes in ourselves become much more obvious over time. I’ve been doing some mind and heart adjustments, too, lately. I often dont’ recognize my reflection. I always know my heart when I see it though. xo

  4. I wonder if we have all felt similar – looking at that person in the mirror. You captured this so beautifully. I could feel your thoughts and hear the sounds in the background.

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