Fall Semester 2009
I’ve been watching this movie, Iron-Jawed Angels with a class. It’s about the young women who, after 68 years of their predecessors’ work, secured the vote for women in the US. I would love to teach a whole class on this film…it has so impacted me on every level. I see myself so profoundly in the protagonist, Alice. She is intellectually gifted, an intrepid ideologue, passionately focused and yet emotionally disabled at times. Alice has a best friend, Lucy, a first mate who she heralds as ten times more valiant than her. I so see my best friend, Karen, in her. I would have many times been, as Alice, “lost” even in victory, without her. I watched the two young women on screen, the subtle interchanges, the tears that seem to come for Alice only when Lucy is near and turns the key to laughter and consequently grief.
I have cried, gently through my free periods this week, especially today. I just keep playing the soundtrack to this movie and I can’t stop crying and I don’t want to.
When the movie plays, I want to fall on the floor and pound the carpet… for… I don’t even know what…and cry until my lungs burn hot.
Karen, my Lucy, sent me a Facebook request today. I wrote her husband a while back and begged him to sign her up, incognito if necessary, for just me. It seems every time we make contact anew, I am pounding some floor…
Jeremy asked me the other day, “Who do you talk to about things? Who gets you?” I smiled a sad smile. I made up some less sad story, about the many women I regularly talk with. And I do I talk with women here, it’s just the not real me talking. I miss being real with friends, being scary real and vulnerable…and making fun of nearly everything that is so off-limits…and being exhaustingly serious…. and that being okay, too.
I watch the young girls who truly have what I did with those sent to me in college. Sometimes, I think my heart will tear apart in gratefulness and pain watching Millie and Allison or Melanie and Haleigh. I am so glad for them, that they have what they have and at this age. I would pay any price for them to have it/keep it. And yet, my heart hurts on a level I can hardly bear when I see them together and the memory of my like friends slips across my mind.
I just wish that she was here…that she’d just waltz back in the way she always does whenever I am hiding, and grasp a strand of my hair and hold my eyes to hers… and I’d let it all go… against her…and there would be time enough, she’d make it so…and I’d believe everything that she told me… because I believe her.
It’s time to grieve some things lost for now…like her.
She will respond to my facebook greeting, she will tell me she misses me, she will offer to come if I need her. She has been a marvelous understudy for Jesus all these years. When God needs to get in deep, deep and I won’t come near, God sends Karen to do what can be done.
For years, Jesus has been My Husband, for a while now, truly, my family… but my friend, my stick closer, know me better than anyone, including myself, Karen -friend…No, I have not been willing to go there.
Sometimes Rob or the kids ask me,” Why don’t you call some of your friends from Georgia? Why don’t you call your friend, Karen?”
Because, I do not answer, I know what lulls about deep in me, I know what would roar free, surge up my throat and bellow the unspeakable. I know the monstrous pain that would greet her coming. I feed him daily, doses of necessaries to keep him lain low. But her coming would throw every necessary to the wind.
She Who Knows (me) is coming. Ghost, not flesh. Ghost of God, that sent and sends Karen will come, Herself.