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"In Knots" by Sherrie-Lynn Maze

Sherrie lives in Brooklyn Center, MN.


© 2006 Sherrie-Lynn Maze


In Knots


"I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  It is okay that I am lost.  It is okay that I feel insecure." - Naomi Slonim Aronic


The wife and lover of fourteen years needed to know why he continued to steal away to his mistress near the Wisconsin border though he swore that it was over.  "It is because she is so pretty.  She has to be more cheerful."  This wife knew that she had always been rather serious -- that she spent fourteen years pointing out to her husband all that is wrong with humankind, as if he did not see that for himself.  He knew who she was all those years ago when he married her that her burdens lay on top of her skin.  And this wife knew her husband was the man who once purchased surround-sounds and creamy leather before descending into a blue station wagon.



Kirby is a boy made up of one hundred percent confection.  My prayer is that he stays very close to God's initial creation.  He is quite willowy, an aspiring dancer with a fondness for walking on the very tips of his toes, with beautifully extended arms, head slightly tilted as if he's being lulled by his own subtle movement.  If anyone should ask him what he wants to be, he will tell them that he's an amazing dancer.  Once, after picking him up from pre-school, he asked me if I thought he dances like a girl. I asked him why, and he told me that Christian, another preschooler, laughed at him and said that


He dances like a girl.  I told him that that it gives me to joy to see him dance with the fullness of his being.



The wife knew that the lover near the Wisconsin border drank MGM Gold because she saw the receipts discovered while searching through the pockets of his buttery leather jackets smelling of smoke.  She imagined him sitting at bars with his girlfriend who probably sat comfortably wherever she sat.  This wife would never sit at a bar with him or anyone else, except for when she is waiting for her take-out order at a neighborhood restaurant.  Then she would sit uncomfortably on a high stool, hating the cigarette smoke, and pretending to be interested in the Vikes.



Kinsey watches her brother and applauds, "Yay Kirby...Go Kirby..."  She is not built like her brother.  She is taller and thicker, with bigger feet and hands.  People tell me that girls develop faster than boys, which is why there is this size difference between my twins.  We take her to an Endocrinologist because the fear is that if her body begins to prematurely function like a woman's body, her height could be severely stunted.  They drew blood from my little girl and found that she will be just fine.  Black girls develop faster than most other children, we were told.   At almost six, she will tell me that she wishes she were skinny like her brother and sob into my lap because she can no longer fit into her favorite "fancy pants" and because a boy at school called her fat.  I curse the world that would give my child body image issues at five. 



"The lovemaking is always passionate," he confessed to his wife.  This he says is what brings him back to his lover near the Wisconsin border.  "I mean with you, it takes so much to get you warmed up.  With her, I just touch her and she goes crazy.  She just trembles."  The wife remembered when she was in her freshman dorm.  She remembers guiding his head, angling it in the opposite direction of hers.  Kissing him slowly -- it was a demonstration on how to kiss -- and months later, it was she who took his left hand and put it on her right breast, and later it was she who guided his hand underneath her shirt telling him that it was okay to touch her.  It was okay to touch her wherever he wanted to touch her.



Kinsey has frightened her Daddy more than once with her perceptiveness.  Her eyes would be luminous in the darkened room with only a small area of the small room lit by the miniature lighthouse I purchased to match the blue, yellow and red in their blankets.  

            "Hi Daddy," she would say.

            "Hi little girl, watcha thinking about?"

            Sometimes the small child would say, "I was thinking that shadow looks like Thomas the Choo Choo train."  But on more than one occasion the knowing child would scare her Daddy straight out of himself.

          "God sent me here," she told her daddy one evening.  "I will never leave you." 



Though this wife was a fat girl who momentarily sold out and went skinny, she still had her mother's African ass that trailed behind her like a train of glory.  She purchased two dresses, one black and one green, both tight.  She was going to surprise her husband with a hungry man's lunch of her spicy chili cooked with bloody-Mary mix and an excessive slice of homemade cornbread.  But most of all, she wanted to surprise him in that tight-ass dress with no goddamn panties underneath.  Her panties that she "accidentally" left in his lunch bag with an awfully filthy note saying something about finding dessert between her thighs.  "He wanted sex," she thought.  "How hard can that be between consenting adults who are also husband and wife?" 


Afterwards, she would crawl up into injured gathering of bones and naked flesh to sob from beneath her gut.  "Somebody kill me.  It will be a mercy killing." 


"I don't want to put you through this anymore."  The wife stood and listened as he talked.  He talked about how much he loved her, which is why he needed to leave her.  He talked about being messed up, sick, sorry.  His eyes watered.  He held her by the shoulders and talked about how hard this was going to be. 


It was Saturday morning and a Fourth of July weekend.  She chanted Elizabeth Bishop's words eight, maybe eighty, times. "'The art of losing isn't hard to master,' 'the art of losing isn't hard to master,' 'the art of losing isn't hard to master.'"  Then packed a picnic lunch and took her twins to the zoo. 



In that first year of her becoming my daughter, I would often hear of the alternate universe known as the Pink House.  There was a pink Mommy and Daddy, a pink car, a pink church and pink babies.  She would tell me, as a matter of fact, that she had to go to her Pink House and that she would be back for dinner.  I would try to redirect her attention to something else.  "Have a cookie."  "Let's play a game."  "How about you help me fold clothes?"

           "Mommy, I will go by myself.  You stay here and I'll be right back," she decided one day. I watched her grab her sack, pack a drawer full of underpants and some toys (including her first doll, Lucy), and head for the door.

        "Okay, honey, but I have to go with you.  It is my job to keep you safe.

Come on Kirby.  We're going with Kinsey to the Pink House."

          "We are?"  He was happily flabbergasted.

 "Yep."  And out of the house we went.  "You lead the way babe."  I stayed a couple of steps behind my three-year-old daughter as she traversed across the lawns of our neighbors.  We walked halfway down the block with Kinsey out front.  Abruptly she stopped, saying, "Mommy, I think we should go another day.  It's kind of getting late."

           Later, Kirby declared, "I have a blue house, you know."

           "Do you?" He is a boy often inspired by his sister's strength of will.

       "Yes.  And in my blue house I have blue dresses that I can wear whenever I want!"

 We played Duck Duck Goose in the basement and laughed and laughed that day.



"We are all asked to do more than we can." - Madeline L'Engle








All work is copyrighted property of Sherrie-Lynn Maze.






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