she said, this man makes me
feel so alive and he is everything
that i have ever wanted, but
still he is not enough, and
still i need more, and
i don’t know what it is, and why do i always have this thirst in the middle of my heart, and how
do i fill it,
if not with love?
and i said, as gently as i could, because some words are spiky and need to be unwrapped with gentle hands, and
i asked my friend, with the father-shaped hole in her heart,
do you know the difference between honey and water?
do you know that there are men who will pour you cups of honey and oh, it will be so sweet on your tongue and you will feel all your holes fill up with golden stickiness, and
for a little while,
perhaps if you are very lucky,
and if you learn this lesson quickly, then
you will only believe this for a short while, and
you will think that honey is
but it is not.
and it will never be enough.
and you need to wait for a man
who is running water,
pure and full of life, who
will pour himself out, and into your cupped hands, and over your head, dripping down into your bones, filling up that thirst in the middle of your heart.
flooding it with the one thing
that always gives life, and
only then will you know the difference between words that fall sweetly from the tongue, and
the men who use them, and
words that will make an ancient thirst go away, and
they are not the same thing.
honey and water.
and what you should really know, is this,
it is not the man
who should heal your heart, and
only one man is shaped like your father, and
no other man can do that,
fill that hole,
fix that hurt.
although some men will try,
if their hearts are big enough for two, and
if they love you enough.
but it is not fair to expect a man to lie down in a hole made by another, so that you can walk across him to the other side, and
you have to find your own way out of that hurt, and when you finally manage to swim to the edge of that hole, and
you finally manage to crawl your way out through the mud, only
then will you know the difference between honey and water, and
you will know which men bring life in their hands, and
which men don’t.
and you will never confuse
them again, and
you will teach your daughter
how to sniff the air for the scent of rain, and you will show her how to walk away from things that do not flow over her thirst with life, and
she will know how to swim
to the edge of her pain, and
she will grow strong from climbing out of holes that were made by others, and
she will stand on the edge of that which wanted to drown her,
and water will run down her limbs, and drip from her skin, onto the dry dusty ground, until
everything under her feet blooms green.
and this will be your gift to her.
— honey and water.
© Liezel Graham 2019.
Photograph by Nicholas Githiri.