Do you remember picking dandelions after they'd gone to seed? Holding the white, fragile, round cloud to your lips, and then blowing hard? The tiny segments come alive, and having been released from their parent, they sail freely into the air. Now airborne they would ride the breeze, being tossed this way and then that way.... At times I have felt as segmented and as free floating as the dandelion seeds. Instead of the winds finicky ways, it would be the fickleness of my competition, the mistress.
Whether complex or compromising, heavy or free floating, life can be a paradox. My husband had a teaching contract soon after we wed. At the last minute he changed his mind, saying that the confinement of a classroom wasn't for him. No, he's an outdoor man, an independent person. Earlier I had made the statement that I did not care where we lived, or what we lived in, and that his happiness would insure mine. Little did I know what the future held for us.
Shortly thereafter he took a mistress. Everyone knew. Everyone but me. The signs were there, but being young, and confident of his love, I was the last to know. The last one to know? How trite, everyone's heard that one! I did notice that when he came home his eyes seemed haunted, as if he was looking backward into memories that I could not share. Our world suddenly seemed unfamiliar to him, foreign, alien. He would always need time to adjust to me. When enough time passed his eyes would change and I could see he had returned to reality. Only then would I have his full attention. The strange look of unfamiliarity would be gone. Soon though, she would call, and he would leave me. I would get him back, but only when she was through with him. After he was with her I could smell her unique odor. It would be all over him, in his hair and on his clothes. Her smell was special, unique. Unlike the scent that I wear. My scent is a mixture of fern, wild flowers, and earthy fiords. My scent is called, "Diamonds in the Snow". I do not know the name of hers.
When I would see the need in his eyes, and I knew that she had called and he would leave, I would pretend not to care. You've heard about this kind of man, the kind that cannot decide between two loves. A heart divided.
I will try to describe his other love to you. My competition. It will be difficult, as it's never easy to describe a sunset, or a rose, or moonlight, or even a tree. One can use all the descriptive words in the world and still fall short of describing his mistress. Yes, she is that beautiful. She's flawless. Perfect. A changeling child who always looks different. Her kind has always lured men. She's exciting, but she can also be serene. Her voice is one that you will hear in the pulse in your throat, feel in the blood of your limbs, know and keep in the deepest recesses of your mind. Her voice can sing you to sleep, and lull you into a sense of security, or warn you off when she assumes a tone of ripening anger. She smells like an odd erotic mixture of life, and passion, with a tincture of mystery for extra zest. Her touch can make every fiber in your being keenly alert, soaking into your pores and entering into your very blood.
How can I compete? Am I flawless? No. Perfect? No. I could enumerate my faults but I don't want to bore you, lets just say I'm a woman who's a 'country mile' from being perfect. Could I be as exciting as my rival? I could change my appearance. I could cut my hair, or perm it, or dye it, and wear a different outfit every day, but in the end it's still me. My rival will always be more exciting. No, I know that I can not measure up to my rival. I could never measure up. I just go on, taking my share of him. After all, in some ways I have more. I bore his children. I'm the roller coaster ride he decided to take, and that he says he wouldn't want to get off even if he could. But still, it will be just a matter of time before he returns to her again. Leaving me.
You're thinking, where's my pride? Where's my dignity? Have I lost them? No. You see, my husbands mistress is the Sea, and she will always have a large part of him. She is in his blood, as the Sea was in the blood of all wanderers and travelers on her mighty, salty, vast, endless, pitiless life force. An ever changing color chameleon, this life building great body of water. She, the Sea, is so powerful she makes her own weather. Is it the moon having power over the Sea and her tides or is it the other way around? There's a great amount of salt in our blood. Is that the connection, the umbilical cord that ties him to her?
The Sea is his siren mistress, his other love, his ethereal love.
I'm his touch stone, his love for something solid and exclusive. I'm the one he shares the morning paper with, and the cross word puzzles. The one who smells of ferns and far off wild flowers and earthy fiords. He is one of the last cowboys, a sea cowboy, and I am his land locked mermaid. We share him, the Sea and I.