Piety and Prayer

I wrote out how I thought my year would go. My own false prophecy.

I was a great many things that year. One of which was lost. Oh, I was lost. The year after losing my religion I found faith.

But I didn’t find faith. I looked for it under every rock. I thought they’d be lovers but they are late mornings staring at him while he sleeps. While he tosses and turns and kisses me every time he’s slightly awake. And then I smile into every nook of him.

I got lost in so many churches. Cathedrals with beautiful windows.  Pews packed with eager young adults taking up floor space to the edges of the room. Male choruses and burning incense that choked me up quite literally. Songs so poignant, so earnestly reaching for my soul that I choked myself up. Hot tears would cool on my skin as I stared at the wide ribbons strung up in the rafters feeling the least alone I had felt all week, every week.

In the beginning I did cry. And couldn’t point to a place on the map that showed me why. Just the feeling of the feeling of the feeling rolling out, down my face and perhaps you could love me and perhaps we could be happy- keep being happy but then maybe we can’t and we’ll be lovers who don’t turn and kiss eyes closed while we’re mostly asleep. And the tremendous fear rolled down my cheeks.

I got lost in people.

Well, that is true. I can’t remember a time it wasn’t.

In men but sometimes in women too because they were already there and they were interesting and usually more so than their boyfriends. I lost my body in my own sheets, washing them after every new smell slept there. I couldn’t bear to smell them the next day, even if I had liked them.

I can’t get enough of how the smell of him drowns me. Breathing in deeply his worn shirts, his bare skin, that hint of saw dust and rosemary covered up by how long he took to put on deodorant that morning while I rolled my eyes at him.

I got lost in others’ sheets too which was my preference because I worried they would smell The Others in my bed. I found my body again eventually, or more accurately I came back to it. Like a year long dream in which you half watch yourself go through these feats and half see them happening in first person.

There isn’t a losing though. Only a continual choice to move ideas and confidences elsewhere, like rearranging the living room on a Sunday morning. Sometimes you move everything back again just to question why you thought it should be there in the first place. 

And there is never a sniffing out of others. Only an honesty so insistent I worry we’ll miss out on romance. But on those nights when we’re giggling like school children at 2am, legs intertwined for hours afterward I am certain romance and honesty share a bed.

It was the year I fell in love with poetry, got lost in the rawness of words fit together with the cadence of crying and laughing and not having the energy to care but having too much pride to quit. I came home to words. After a life of homesickness, I came home and home came with me.

That was my only true prophecy. And the truest sentence I have.

After a life of homesickness, I came home and home came with me.

I thought this year would be a becoming. I’d be a changeling in a steady stream of lovers, taking, leaving, and lying as felt good. But instead I learned I was full of fear, often misplaced. It took me a year to fit these words together, to open my hand and show the world what I’m afraid of losing and what I’m terrified of keeping and the words we’re there. And maybe the words are my faith.

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