Lost That Loving Feeling

I ran 13 miles today. The night before I went to a lovely lady in my ward’s house for a potluck where there was a green salad with roasted brussel sprouts, goat cheese, sweet potatoes and walnuts, New York Cheesecake, Angus burgers, baked beans and potato salad. As I was there I looked to be the youngest but the one woman, new in our ward with the jarring Utah accent might be younger but looks older. Before going, I ran 7 miles.  After, the Autumn switch in the weather and naked, wet, out of the shower I searched for underwear and none were to be found but balled in the bottom bin were my garments. It is cooler now. I could tolerate and appreciate another layer. All Spring, Summer garments and I have been apart. We are like a battered woman, separated from her truck driver bridegroom and the long road is over and we make love again. That familiar tightness enraptured me, known to me since 20, when the wearing of the bra on the outside began.  In my 40’s now, 2 years in the humid, sickly bad breath of Satan, Alabama, the wandering truck driver husband beat it out of me. I stopped wearing my Holy Garments. I withdrew consent to his advances.  But today I forget. I feel hugged, snug, stronger, the feeling that they might even notice my garment lines and they might approve, subtly know I am one of them. Our romance is secret, like concealer on a neck hickey. I pull on skinny jeans, a sweater and bring my wool jacket knowing we will be on the patio. 

The party was fun. Fun like eight Mormon Menopausal women on a cruise talking about how they’ live in Europe if it weren’t for the socialism. The most patriotic moment she ever experienced was Mt Rushmore. Why do they have to try to erase that monument? And her favorite place was Disneyland where they had animatronic wax figures of the presidents, moving, telling her what to do. She loved it. And she has matching earrings for every outfit. And she just bought a bough for atop her mailbox at the craft fair. With tears in her eyes she shares that the two of them will be making double backed fleece blankets for the nine children at the orphanage. They won’t meet them because they just couldn’t but can you imagine the look on their faces on Christmas morning when they are showered with candy, gifts and a blanket, not forgotten, yet also, not seen? We played an ice breaker game. I love these questions because it keeps conversation flowing with women I realize are so much more different than me. More different than I had realized before. On the way they think and center the world. I learned the guy I find to be the rude commenter in my gospel doctrine class is a beautiful ballroom dancer. That visiting her sister in Ohio is all she ever really wants. That her pet peeve is dishes, toilets. That her favorite smell is chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. That she would not recommend going to Israel with a religious group unless it was LDS. They are reverent people. The others on the boat on the sea of galilee were irreverent, loud laughter, funny cause it seemed here, now, in this 60s styled, detail oriented house had loud laughter and it was good and it was very good.

I leave and I love these ladies.  

I sleep in and am out the door again at 7:30am and I run 13 miles. It is cold and I choose to keep my snug garment top on and pull over a running jacket. As I run, pace, tread uneven pavement, smell rot, see dead mouse, find trails only for me, notice butterfly I sweat and truck driver rears his ugly bat again and as if I am hiding my bruised eye with make up I peel off my jacket and shed my garment top, sticky, suffocating, wet. I weave it like a towel on my hydration vest. Something tells me I should knot it. The spirit? I do not. And 11, 12, 13 miles were the longest, the heaviest, the deepest, throbbing, pulsing penal force and alas, watch dings 13 miles. Ejaculation. Exaltation. I can stop the undulating rhythm. He has had his way with me. And I stopped running. Stretch, Cool down and notice my garment top is missing. It must be somewhere along the trail I made. Not a trail another would go. I made it. I meandered through the black part of town, past the confederate statue they won’t remove, by the cypress trees whose roots like phallic points seek air to breathe. They must erect, breathe or they will die.  So, it seems might be I. I must remove the Holy Garment in Spring, Summer. Consider it in Full, Winter or, my way, my footsteps, pained, sure, steady, might simply find its own way.  

Shannon Milliman

Dancing through life enjoying the beautiful moments, appreciating the jagged edges, writing about the dandelions of life. A working woman, mother of five, performer of theatre, sharer of improv. Lives in Alabama.

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4 Responses

  1. Katie Ludlow Rich says:

    Oooh—that push/pull of wanting to be seen and known and wanting to retreat. Of wanting those lines on your knee to signal in-crowd status, while this relationships is also private and filled with pain.

  2. So many stories here make me cry, each for its own unique reason.
    Part of transitioning, for me, was getting to wear women’s garments. It was part of becoming wholly me, a change from what I’d worn 3/4 of my life. but the bottoms didn’t fit well without hips (still waiting for them), so mens it stayed.
    Anyway, in the past 6 months or so there has been a different agreement reached – what of the things I now do, dancing, other activities, can I rationalize not wearing them? When I’m trying to flirt, I rather like showing my shoulders. Other flirting feels like wearing a very short skirt. Are these good rationales? No idea.
    But we are all what our travails in faith have made us.

    Thank you for the post. It was lovely.

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