Attachment Theories

You have been teaching me how to disappear for such a long time. Friday nights at first, then weekends, then that entire summer when you flew to Pamplona for the running of the bulls. I was twelve, took care of your other offspring. There are so many ways to cook oatmeal—

Then the following years, when you conjured threats, later the delusions that eventually held you captive, when you sold the house and spent the profit on ounce bottles of perfume and Channel scarves, little luxuries befitting a millionaire’s ex-wife. Only there was no millionaire and soon you were homeless—

The disappearance became intrusive. If you phoned, we would meet in cafes, play acting on a normal stage. But your hunger was only for fugue, parts of you had gone missing, as though erased by an animator’s pencil. The other parts would make a scene, bristle against reason, become agitated by the proximity of lunatics—

I left for Asia. Millions of things were happening in the world, I could choose. But still your waters, the sputtering, your ocean always lapping at my nostrils, always the undertow on my legs, as if the sea sought the mouth of an interior creek that had long ago had its destination severed, blocked and paved over—

In Bangkok, at Poste Restante I collected a package with a Hawaiian postage stamp. You were on Maui, the lover to a Hawaiian shaman, his whole body covered in tattoos, his people’s legends being kept alive on his skin. Included was my birthday gift: a beige garter belt of satin and lace, tiny roses like warnings in Braille. It was thirty-five degrees Celsius and my body felt riddled with bullets of light—

One fall when the leaves were blood red you moved across the country to Halifax. The day you came to say goodbye, I stood with my hands thrust deep in my pockets, refusing to feel abandoned. There, my fingers found a chunk of raw quartz, which I offered, a talisman, a transfer of power. You ended up under observation in the psych ward—

Now you are here for good and yet more invisible than ever, thanks to the medication. You have sunk far, far from view and I look at it this way: you were never lost, you just kept taking wrong turns. And I rarely see you, I can’t, as I have learned how to disappear, too—