They don’t tell you about the queefing that follows a yoni steam. I mean, I guess when you consider the physics of it - sitting naked over a pot of steeping tea, steam wafting into the crevices of your lady bits - it makes sense that the air going up would eventually come down. Nonetheless, the vaginal farts took me by surprise at 6:43 am, a full seven minutes before my alarm was set to go off. I acquiesced (at least the baby slept undisturbed) and visualized each gust as an opaque image of the ghost’s face, brown, handsome, dimpled, incredulous. Or alternatively, as a round of bullets piercing his heart. Chopper city style. Sensual.
Why am I this person? This person specifically: who finds solace in dark humor, metaphysics, and Black women’s scholarship; who devises bug out plans should cell tower failure thrust us head first into the Purge; who shares thoughts and feelings loudly, broadly; who changes her mind often; who takes fortune cookies as gospel; who has only ever actually been able to have casual sex when conceiving a child. And what about this person who is me did he find less than satisfactory - so much so that he not only decided he didn’t want to see me again after sleeping together once but that I wasn’t even significant enough to communicate that to?
The question we lance at the backs of departed lovers only to be toppled by the force of our own efforts.
Here is the little I know and the lot I wonder. Twenty-six-point-five years ago, I was cut from my mother’s womb - a seven pound mass of choices and possibilities, beginnings, endings, and nerve. Twenty-six-point-five years before that, my mother married at 20 years old. She had her first child of eight at 22. Did she, coming of age in the 1960s amidst Civil Rights and Women’s Rights, ever consider an alternative path to marriage? Did she want all of us children, truly? Did she approach sex with enthusiasm, dread, or indifference? Did she ever just wish it, us, all away?
Both of my grandmothers married men, my grandfathers, who knocked them up before their 22nd birthdays. Were there other sexual partners they’d loved more? Had they considered going it alone, just having the one or not even having that one?
There were so many points at which they could’ve chosen me out of existence. But here I is, their opportunity to live out alternate realities, to complete this karmic loop by accepting and making the best of what is. I am a single mother who is horny af, works a full-time office job that I’m overqualified for and several side gigs, has an inconsistent writing practice, tried to date and apparently failed (?). And in all of that, I see the bits of freedom I imagine my mothers longed for at moments. Financial freedom from their husbands. The freedom to have multiple sexual partners or none at all. The freedom to hit pause on the baby-making and enjoy just the one, before taking on multiples. The freedom to make autonomous parenting decisions.
I realize that I’ve been preferring myself into disappointment, as every path comes with some level of compromise and obligation.
And the ghost. He, too, is a product of the possibilities his predecessors pondered - freedom from certain constraints (perhaps those of emotional attachment to sexual partners) but bound by others beyond the periphery of their imagination. He’s going to have to see his way out of the loop of binary preference. I wish him well.
My name is Lydia Y. Nichols (Gobert, Weeks, Thompson, Porche, Houston, Chevis, Mallet, Pierre-Auguste, Tessier, Boutte, Nettles, etc etc), and I slept with a fuckboy after 1.5 dates for all my ancestors who wish they could have. I clear his energy from my creative center for all my ancestors who wish they could have. I find pleasure in my singleness for all my ancestors who wish they could have.