Miriam Feder home


I would run away with you at a moment’s notice

a bit of FranceMy heart would skip a beat, I’d fold myself into your chest, feel your thick arms squeezing the fear and loneliness out of me and see if my skin would yet again electrify against your heat.

Before long, our very real differences would move us from fascination to frustration—each time they spring more quickly. Would I try to change into the person I think you think you’d really want? Would you try to change me into a linear being who operates like you do? Would I still expect all sorts of steamy things you’re unlikely to give? And how many ways could I drive you crazy?

Escape is a commonplace fantasy that pulses through my head from time to time. In high school I begged every airborne jet to throw me a ladder and take me away. In college I’d walk through the sea of blue and orange plastic chairs and think: “if I got married and pregnant I wouldn’t have to do this.” The frozen Minnesota air would slash such nonsense right out of my lungs.

I see the pattern and the impracticality of these “escapes.” They’re just an old messed-up tape that occasionally howls from my anxious temples. When I long to “run away”, it’s not just the fear of trying to create “special” and knowing it just might be shit. No, it’s fear of loneliness, pointlessness, a life unwitnessed and unconnected. I’ve always hoped someone would save me from the moment, the task, the pratfall, the uselessness, the risk, the failure and worst-of-all, the nothing.

And who is supposed to rescue? Usually some man. I hoped someone would take the mostly benevolent reigns from my Father, believe in my gifts, give me a little direction, and steer me through success. Yet over and over I’ve ignored the cues, the directions and opportunities I have been offered. I didn’t listen to my Father much. And as for the men? The guidance was about their dream—what a surprise.

In my roundabout ways, I achieve rather definite ideas about most things—just not around that simple question—what do I want? The ideas are in an unlabeled file, floating through my capillaries, bouncing against the edges of my heart. They don’t quite land squarely in the light. My male advisers have had their own too-limited agendas or imaginations. Maybe it boils down to the inability to really understand the other. Maybe I’ve asked the wrong people. Maybe I don’t listen for the answers.

And then there’s the fact that I’ve kept my dreams deep and dark, unshared, unarticulated, a surprise even to myself. I don’t know much about goals and objectives. I’ve waited to be discovered, unpeeled. What a strange thing. Is it any surprise these secrets are left buried after all these years, so covered in dust that I’m not sure I would recognize them if they stared me in the face?

“Run away.” It’s a reflex as involuntary as a sneeze and for the same purpose–to rid myself of an irritant in the moment. But it would be nice to find someone with patience to tease those dusty dreams from my lips and squeeze away the fear.