Tell him I saw a heron in the park the other morning, on the bank of the creek, beside the culvert that runs under the railway track. I was so close that I could see the scraggy blue feathers on his throat and one yellow eye.
What can be voiced, to whom, and what must be kept silent is a recurring theme in all of my writing—and in my life.
When I set out to sail across the ocean, I hadn’t really told anyone how badly my marriage of 25 years had ended. I didn’t think it was my story to tell. I mean, I knew it was my story, but it was his story too. Did I have the right to tell it?
Don’t tell him that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, I don’t know why, and I lie in bed and look at the pattern the headlights make on the wall and listen to the cars go by.
As I stood my watches, tending the sails, looking out for other ships, keeping an eye on our heading, I let myself re-live what I’d been through. Finally, at the height of a gale, I told my new partner the whole story, about how by the time my marriage was over, I was afraid to look in the mirror in case there was nothing there.
Giving voice to my story freed me, somehow. Maybe I needed to put an ocean behind me to finally find the courage to do it—and to finally leave the past behind.
No, if you see him, don’t tell him anything at all. Just say hello.
Linda Kenyon will be appearing at the Writers of Non-Fiction reading event, Sat. Oct. 19, 10-11:30 a.m. at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.