I fail her. We are at war. A war that fuels us both. We are as necessary to each other as air. Twins locked in battle. I imprison her. She frustrates me, frightens me, seethes inside me. Tries to drag me out of myself. Saddled with my caution and reserve, she whispers –
let’s get drunk, let’s go anywhere, look around you, grab what you have never dared want
ignore rules and convention and pursue
She demands. I refuse.
When I dream they are her dreams. Empty rooms full of you. Your abandoned shoes in the hallway. An electric guitar propped against the wall, strings hanging loose. Or you are chasing your daughter through a bomb-torn tenement and I follow after trying to console you. In all the dreams you leave me, and her.
Where is he, you let him go. Find him and bring him back to me.
She has no patience. No time for doubts and excuses. Her spirit is pure desire. Shame is not in her nature: hunger, thirst, desire, an endless burning is all she knows. Often she complains that she is dying.
For months on end she is capable of hibernating, plotting revenge. She has had enough of dreams and an empty bed. Yet sometimes I think she is glad of a rest. She needs sleep and all those wide open dreams because really it exhausts her when she gets her way for a time. Then she sees how much effort desire and company are, the toll they demand – she is a lazy creature at heart.
Her attributes are foolishness, sentiment, greed, desire, despair (or is that me), jealousy and anger (is that both of us?).
Really I do not know her at all.
I know that we are inseparable. The inside and outside of the same skin. Neither can survive without the other. And I have tried, really tried, as many women have, to rid myself of her. We are taught that early, this denial, this split. ‘Either / or’ instead of ‘both / and’.
So the war continues. I sit and write. She sulks and agitates and threatens to kill me if she is not allowed to have her way. She has no memory of the past or concerns for the future: for her there is only this moment and in that moment she is so close to you she can almost touch you –
Leona Lee Cully, 2014.