Freedom and wonder. Wonder and freedom. I have been thinking of each of them—sometimes together, sometimes separately—for days now.

I think I have them worked out.

I watched music videos with trains in them and another one that features fish flying around on repeat and it seems to have allowed me to sort my head out.

I think of Natalya when I feel either freedom or wonder—and mostly I feel them together—because I felt them with her. I think of her also because she does not have them, but mostly it is because that was the feeling of being with her.

There is the sense of acceptance and unconditional love and those things make a person feel comfortable and like you can be yourself and that might perhaps be a part of the sense of freedom, but I think it is simpler.

I think it is just that she did not want to own me.

There was for me the wonder of that alone. She wanted to be close, she wanted to be physically intimate, but she had no desire to own me. And this felt endlessly surprising. I didn’t get tired of it and it was always new and seemingly impossible.

And then there was the wonder at our bodies. That they did not feel disgusting and what we did together did not feel humiliating or frightening. I did not want to say, please, do not make me do this. That did not seem possible either. It did not feel wrenchingly horrible to feel.

I was in awe at the sense of touch.

I was endlessly surprised that being female did not seem to have to mean being an object. Being small did not mean I would be overpowered. Having a reproductive system did not mean someone would do something to me that made me feel I was being stabbed to death from the inside out.

There was a constant wonder at that too.

Wonder and freedom make me think of Natalya, and Natalya has reminded me of loss, and so mostly when I have felt those things since, they are layered over with pain. And mostly I have dampened those feelings because I could not stand the pain.

I have been considering wonder and freedom until they hurt less, until the pain subsided into the realm of what I can bear. It means I can feel them again. I can stop erasing them every time they begin to emerge.