Cancer Chronicle, Part 18

A friend spirited Matt and me off to a lovely wooded place where the air was clear. And the day after we arrived, it turned smokey. More smokey than where we had just left. It reminded me of a story my friend Sally told me during the mudslides in Santa Cruz years ago: Her good friend Molly, afraid that her house would slide down the mountain, rented a house that she felt would be safe from the slides. During the second night Molly was there, the house to which she moved slid down the hill and was destroyed. I wish I could remember now whether Molly survived, but all I remember was that we keep trying to find a safe place out there, out there, and it turns out that there is no safe place out there.

Yes, I know, my friends on the East Coast tell me the skies are clearer and that Matt and I (but what about Izzy!) should come, breathe the clean air, see the falling leaves. And another friend is planning on leaving California for the D.C. area. My friend in Wisconsin tells me we could move to her farm. My step-sister in Maine tells me we are invited to move to her farm. And it’s not that we wouldn’t ever move, it’s just that I know there is no safe place. Not because of air or the coronavirus, but because I’ve spent so much of my life searching for the next person, teaching, house, relationship, achievement that would provide love, security, safety and no matter how loved or cared for or successful I was, it was me that I had to wake up with, me that I had to go to sleep with. Before Matt wakes up in the morning and after he goes to sleep at night, it is me. It is always me. My mind. My heart. The stories I tell myself. And that, only that—my mind, my heart, and my willingness to land here, fresh, after questioning the rants, the narratives, and my history of trauma and abuse—is my safe place.

To read more in the Cancer Chronicles, click here.

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