Every once in a while, out of the corner of my eye, I glimpse the other woman. She looks so much like me, but wilder and darker. She’s who I imagine myself to be in my dreams, on my walks, when I feel especially free. She laughs boldy. She dances in the dark. And she slips stealthily through the shadows of my day. She never really leaves; but sometimes inches even closer. Or maybe it’s me that moves toward her…
Always I look for her, the other woman, so hungry for more of her presence. I spend time doing all that calls her forth. More present when I take tender care of myself; when I bathe in warm, womb-like waters; when I sip dark and blood-red wine; when I light a candle and stare into its flame; when I soak in the beauty of sea and song; when I nurture my love of words and mystery; when I gather with other women who have seen glimpses of her, too.
Always she comes, the other woman, when I listen – increasingly, trustingly, even brazenly to the voices – the ones that swirl and seduce, that beckon and call, that cackle and crackle and know; the ones within me that speak deep, before-the dawn-of-time truth. A mother tongue. I write down what they say, certain that when I do, it is She who swirls across the page, comes into my line of sight, and takes up ever-more permanent residence in my soul.
One day, not long ago, I know I saw her reach out and pull a piece of fruit right off the tree in my back yard. She took a bite. Her head leaned back, her eyes closed, its juice dripping down her chin. And time stopped. Everything beautiful and trustworthy and safe and exhilarating and holy sang and shone. The sky was more blue, the sun more bright, the birds more rapturous than ever. And then time moved on. Nothing bad happened. No Voice spoke from on high. No lightning fell from the sky. Nothing and no one fell apart. There was no Fall at all.
Hardly banished, this other woman always stays. A visceral embodiment of the wild and true woman I really am. Now, blessedly, I see her more and more, this dark goddess of my dreams and companion of my days. Not just in the shadows, or only in the Eve, but every-once- in-a-while in the mirror. She winks, as if to remind me that fruit is for eating, that desire is good, and, most of all, that I am.
I’ve heard it said that to be the other woman, this other woman, is about the worst thing one could do. I beg to differ.