Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see.
I started to well up as bits of my life came before my teary eyes. It was these moments of unexpected tenderness that made me truly appreciate every facet of my existence.
A year ago, Keikai woke me up wheezing. He declared that he was going to quit smoking at 2 am but come 7, he was beside himself with anger. He refused to leave our bed. Feeling helpless as I often did when I cam up against such unwarranted hostility, I left the house to walk up the familiar mountain alone, frustration searing through me. As I walked, I waited for it to dissipate, but with every stride I became increasingly upset. The sky was blue and the weather was superb and all I could think of was why my beloved treated me with such disrespect, and a few days before my birthday no less. Upon returning to the house, Fernando, mom's assistant, told me in his broken English that Keikai left. Perfect, I thought. Yet another instance of him abandoning me with my angst for untold periods of time. I retreated to my room to attempt to tame the dragon inside of me.
I laid in bed staring at the ceiling. Keikai returned, but my eyes stayed fixed on the dark wooden beams, determined to ignore him. He walked past me and set something on my desk and looked at me. My curiosity got the better of me and I glanced over to the left to see a un-potted rose bush sitting in front of my framed picture of Marilyn Monroe and Keikai grinning smugly. The red rose stared at me as my expression changed from deeply unsettled to delighted surprise. Keikai walked over and kissed my cheek, his shirt stunk of cigarettes
I just finished watching The Duchess, a visually stunning film with a less then uplifting story line. Yet another tale of an oppressed woman who was forced to make heartbreakingly difficult decisions due to the tenacity of old patriarchal laws. Though I was filled with remorse at the struggles she endured, it made me feel immensely grateful for my own freedom. Freedom not only from the year and a half long relationship that my denial kept alive much longer than should have, but from my former self as well. Freedom to forgive Keikai for telling me he hoped that I lost the baby because I wasn't ready to be a mother because I will never forget the way those words stung my heart and they propel me to make a better life not only for me but for my daughter. My current state of mind has pushed me to favor my revery of the new love of my life rather than my bitterness toward past events. As this 7 year cycle draws to an end I am finally ready to absolve the instances of hurt I experienced and inflicted.
The rose bush remains, healthier and more beautiful than the day it came into my life, though I can't say the same for my relationship. It seems to be a metaphor for our time together, beautiful with inescapable thorns. Spikes that if ignored, could cause more harm than good. Though when Keikai first left, I couldn't help but scowl every time I walked past it, I can now see the rose for what it is, a beautiful flower. It took a while for my resentment to resolve, but I can view it as a reminder of our good times and a warning to stay strong, and I plan to. My daughter is absolutely the light of my life, and as I witnessed the Duchess give up her child in honor of the lives of her other 4, I felt her pain as only a woman who has given birth could. I sing Amazing Grace to Lulah every night as her eyelids waver in strength until they give in entirely, and I truly feel the words. She grips my finger and stares into my eyes until she submits to sleep and I do feel like I have been saved.