Opening my heart.
Very early this morning, an unintelligible whisper attempted to enter through my bedroom window, as if pushed by the invisible hands of the dawn battling a deluge. On my pillow, with my dream still playing, I used the distraction to run to the front door in the living room.
Phew! My flower basket was still there, hanging securely from the magnet stuck to the centre of the big red door. I hurriedly closed all the windows and turned on the coffee machine.
Will I not need a man if the glass canopy blows off one day? Or if the flood drowns my proud lupines? Will I have the courage to go back to the fields alone, digging with a shovel to find new shoots to transplant on the island of land given to those now swimming in the mud? A man would definitely love the golden retriever I've wanted all my life but afraid I wouldn't love enough. With a man beside me, we could go deeper into the forest without fear of disturbing the deer and their young.
A man could tame the couple of marmots that spend their summers digging holes in my lawn. He could even teach them to live in an enclosure where we would bring them good food instead of eating the ill-fated chicks who fall from the nest or vegetables from the garden. Their underground tunnel network, with its entrances and exits all over my land and at the edge of the forest, scares me on some days. Fortunately, the house I have lived in for 33 years is built on a concrete slab, otherwise the family of marmots would have already moved into the basement.
A man could also climb onto the garage’s sloping roof and straighten the poor old rooster that has been standing at attention for 30 years. His left wing sags and his right is ready to fly away on its own. There are so many things men can do that women appreciate. Singing along with her when she goes a little crazy, calming her down when she gets excited, running out to buy chocolate when she craves it and taking the wheel when she wants to do a road trip through her native Gaspé. A man can answer tricky questions, resolve a big problem with ease and pacify voices in a heated conversation.
It took the imposed quiet of a global pandemic and confinement for me to finally reflect and realize that I could change my lifestyle. And I humbly confess that my own existence has been put through the agitation of a happy transformation. Today I am open to the possibility of welcoming a courageous companion into my life capable of getting close to me.
This new desire to open my heart makes me very happy. It was as if this heart of mine had been locked away behind bars for 50 years, and suddenly, a helpful angel handed it a magic key. Would this heart still be alive, awoken from Sleeping Beauty’s long somnolence? Yes, I had lived imprisoned in the sweet resignation that I had created myself. And work served as my faithful companion seven days a week.
Back then I would get out of bed like a sleepwalker, comb my hair and be conducted as if by magic to the door of the company’s head office by my Mini Cooper. I had excessive affection for this huge building. The pandemic left me no choice but to become more indifferent.
I had so much work to do during those years when I was still attractive and desirable. Underneath my thick mane was a head stuffed with results columns and I had CEO arms as muscular as those of cathedral builders on each side of my body. I realize now that I made a rather ill-fitting candidate for any man who might have regarded me as attractive. Especially with my noggin constantly bombarded by a thousand ideas as voracious as a battalion of ants in a cookie jar. I flew to Newfoundland, Vancouver, Halifax and, two or three times a month, to Toronto, which was a paradise of possibilities.
How could I think of anything else but the upcoming opening of the newest restaurant? What did I have to gain or to prove to myself? Especially since, after 15 years of clearing the way, we were firmly on the road to success according to the business experts. And yet, ravenous for conquests, I starved our immediate happiness in order to enrich my kids’ future.
“Insatiable,” said the younger one.
“Leave her alone,” retorted his sister. “She has nothing else to do with her life.”
She was so right.
I started in business at the age of 40, on the day of my birthday. Perhaps I was also in a hurry because I was aware that a large part of my life had already passed, drowned in a sea of multiple disappointments. It was clear in my mind that I had less time to succeed like everyone else; if I were ever to get there, I would have to eat twice as much. Was I aware at the time that this constant sense of urgency had its own consequences? The children’s frustration, staff constantly at attention, too many speeding tickets, an absence of pleasure that would come and go, strangling my joy of succeeding and leading to the gradual isolation of my battered heart. Any hope of meeting a soulmate diminished as my challenges increased.
Is this the price of female success? Not at all. Only if you’re extreme like me. A woman who believes she deserves all the blows that have befallen her.