My Heart is a Fig Tree


After sex in his back yard A expresses anxiety.

“I don’t want to be your boyfriend,” he says.

“You’re not my boyfriend.”

“Oh good.”

There is a fig tree in A’s back yard.  It got too top heavy and fell over.  We propped it up with a board and tied it to the fence.  Then buried the roots up and gave it some water.  It shines jade green in the moonlight.  You would never know how lightly it grips the earth by looking at its fat, plentiful leaves and tight-skinned fruit.

A says, “I can’t have an emotional erection right now.”

I jump out of his van in the intersection and watch him drive away.  He needs to make things right with his last love.  He had breakfast with her this morning.

“Are you going to get back together?”

“I don’t know…”

I’m holding my heart in after it toppled for him when we first met.  I’ve found a sturdy plank and some rope, have got it mostly secured for now.  It just can’t get jostled too much.

A is an orphan.  He has disowned his father, and his mother died a few years ago.  The few times I’ve asked about her his face became pained and he went mute.  I know that she was a painter and he has bought a house to hang her artwork in.  I have urges to take care of him.

Before I became a mother I wanted to find a daddy figure in my lovers, or maybe it was a mommy.  I wanted to be taken care of.  I wanted to fall asleep on the couch listening to the sound of someone doing dishes in the next room.  Now I long to take care of my lovers.  It wasn’t this way at first.  When I first had a baby, I had nothing to offer anyone else.  100 percent of me poured into the baby.  And then I grew, I suppose, or something happened, so that now I have endless nurturing for the world.  I want to give my lovers baths, comb their hair, trim their nails, rub their feet and hands.  I want to spoil them with attention, with love, with care.  I have become the Mom I suppose.

I think I know that A will be helpless to this kind of nurturing, because he needs it so badly.  So I refrain from spoiling him.  I want to wait until I am sure he wants me to love him, and is ready to love me back.  And maybe he wants to be with his old love, or alone, or with somebody else altogether.  I can do this now, I can give him space to choose.  It is good to be a grown-up, finally.


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