I have a special love of terrariums. The self-contained atmosphere. A jar of world. Moss. Layers of rocks, charcoal, peat, ash, dirt and green. Staring at the terrarium, I sometimes find myself daydreaming of living in this humid, wet, mossy world cut off from the outside. The smells of loamy earth and damp existence. I breathe it in and ingest all of the greens and soils.
My terrariums are slowly dying. Be it too much sun, or water. Too much neglect. Too small of a jar. Too big. I fumble. Spray it. Move it to the office. I add a glass ladybug. Sing to it. I put my kitchen gnome in one. Spray it again.
Why are you dying, Moss?
Part of the appeal of terrariums is that only idiots manage to kill them and I am just such an idiot. It is simply moss. Moss grows uninvited between the bricks of my patio, or in the wood under my deck. And yet, in this space, they are sad, wilted, angry. Glass keeps them safe. Glass separates out the bad air, wind and water. Glass separates life. Glass separates the other beings who may trample their delicate, unnoticed beauty. They are not thriving in this world of separation.
I have layered a glass with dirt, water, air, love and planted my heart, far away from the reaches of those who ignored the last crack right through its center. Now my heart's edges are turning rust-colored, drying out, and smelling of emptiness.
Shit, my chat is on. A name I remember like a dream. We haven't talked in two years. A lot has changed in two years.
"I had a dream about you."
"Weird. What happened in your dream? Please say I wasn't naked."
"Well, you were. We all were."
"I am married and can't have this kind of chat."
"Ha, no. I was a polar bear, and so were you. Well, all my really important friends who I have known for twenty years were polar bears."
We have known each other twenty years and you said nothing when my daughter died?
"We were all speaking polar bear which I understood. And the cool thing is that even though every polar bear looked exactly the same, I knew which one was you."
"Yes, everyone was arguing about which ice floe to be on. You were wise."
"Polar bears are good mojo. I heard about your friend's death. I am just so sorry."
"Yeah. I am really angry. I don't know why he did that when so many people loved him."
"Love doesn't always penetrate that kind of dark place."
"I know. I owe you an apology. I'm sorry I didn't say anything when your daughter died. I didn't know what to say. I'm an idiot."
"I didn't know what to say either."
It is just too much energy anymore to be angry. Perhaps this is a good place to get to. People trickling back into my life are met with Defeated Angie, not Raging Angie. Or Confrontational Angie. Or Raw Angie. Just Defeated, Slightly Bitter, Angie
For so long, I was obsessed with this idea that my friends didn't realize how much their silence hurt. That they didn't get it, or me. That my daughter's death was among the tragic events they heard of everyday, but not something that required anything of them in particular. Sometimes they seemed to react as though it were my job, and not my daughter, that I lost. I was not sacked. I was stripped of my safety. I birthed my dead daughter. I was robbed of the family I had always dreamt of.
As friends sheepishly contact me again, I realize that they know exactly how much they hurt me and how big of a deal it was that they said nothing. Nothing seemed enough, they say now.
Nothing is enough and anything is adequate.
I have no more energy for umbrage. I have no more patience for living in the State of Righteous Indignation: Population 1. I have a lot of single friends. People already confused how to deal with the choices of me with house/wife/kids. Throw stillbirth into the mix. We no longer speak the same language. We stand facing each other like the Victor dog. Heads cocked.
I feel like declaring some kind of Angie Amnesty Day. I am in a particularly forgiving mood these days, willing to translate for those on the other side of the divide. "If you didn't know what to say after my daughter died, come. Say something now. Let us get that one awkward exchange out of the way and get to the business of being friends again." But am I? Am I going to be able to really forget that they said nothing? I will never know unless I try.
And so, tell me, what are you willing to forgive these days? What is the name of the land in which you reside?