Where once there was a breath
now there is the sound of my heart beating
my eyes open and close in the dark
a reverse blink
I am a mirror
i reflect and reflect and reflect again
but all I see in the reflection
is what is on the outside
I am hidden.
Same old arguments
same old melancholy memories
same old echoing dreams
What do you want from me? I ask myself.
What is it you want me to do?
I cannot undo what was done.
Nor would I.
But behind the mask I wear
there is really a good and honest person
who muddles through all of this
Did you think I had all the answers,
especially back then?
What can I do?
When you cannot forgive.
And I cannot forgive either, though whom I cannot forgive is the one who left me behind.
I can see it, Kali Durga dances on and on
karma spins in an endless circle.
But I have to move on now.
You have made your choice again and again
and I have never been able to sway you.
Nor have I cared to in a long while.
As for all the rest.
I see where my own unhealed grievances lie and I mean LIE.
I do not know exactly when it happened, all I know is that one grey and cloudy autumn afternoon it flew in like the annoying eye air puff at the eye doctors and hit me right in the eyes. Double barrel. It would have been easy to miss were I not already in that pre sleep state that you get into when you are SUPPOSED to be awake but none the less you are falling asleep. You know, when you are in a class, or a meeting and you find yourself like a helpless doll with articulated eyes and the Gods are tipping you backwards and your eyes are closing themselves despite your best effort to keep them open. And then SNAP the Gods flip you back upright again and your eyes fly open.
Even my dreams have been trying to tell me something. But I have not quite been able to catch the message. Its like when someone is speaking to you in a crowded room where everyone is speaking. You know they are trying to tell you SOMETHING but all you can hear is a mangled message that is incomprehensible. What? You say. What?
And somehow I am like a person in shock, they are trying to give me something to ease my pain, my symptoms, my trama and all I can do is thrash uncontrollably. Leave me alone, I shriek flailing about. Please, but what is coming is nothing but good for you. And your body is just resisting instinctually.
I do damage to myself looking at Facebook pages I have no business looking at. Finding myself involved in things that are better left alone. Oh God. Really why is she saying that about me, Oh God. Really did she honestly go on vacation with my husband. Oh God. Please take a hot poker and sear the memory of all of this from my brain. Why do I do this to myself? WHY?
I want to scream at the baby daddy. Are you kidding? Do you NOT think that I would quit my job and do nothing but make art for the rest of my life, but for the little teeny tiny thing called responsibility. Oh and I hurt YOU? Do you not have any idea that you left me for a bowl of marijuana, a hit of acid and a can of beer. I raised this child ALONE. So if you feel hurt suck it up. Really suck it up. I left the hurt behind a long time ago because holding onto would have hurt my child. MY child since I am the only one who cared.
And as for you you rotten husband thief. Did you enjoy your vacation? Good I am glad. Have you seen his before and after pictures? The intense sadness in his eyes? Yeah. He abandoned another family. He must be real good eatin’s.
And as for me, another night alone. But then I look at who the Pirate is and I am blown away by him. I don’t want to trust, I don’t want to believe, but there it is. It seeps in, it is not the eye puff, it is more like a slow leak with no draining taking place. I am up to my knees in warm satisfying water before I even notice the water is rising. NO I say I cannot trust this. But here it is. Here it is. I take a deep breath and it is ripped from my lungs and I am breathless. Is this real? Is this REAL? I cannot be sure. But I take ahold of it….I throw my body against it and I cry out. I have this I want more. It turns its back to me and I wrap my arms around it and whisper I want this. I turn my back and wait. Will you not grab me and whisper to me, I want more too. Oh. Oh. Oh.
I am. I am. iam. and there is nothing I can do about it. And you see when you meet someone who knows it…and likes the iam, it flies in like a bird and you are a shining glass window and it smacks against you so hard you shake inside your frame, it does not kill the bird but nonetheless there is a stopping and a gasp.
I am standing, and in a second I am flat on my face in the dirt.
We are both early risers, I texted him right after I put the banana bread in the oven and before it was done my phone was ringing. The Regional Market was really busy and the veggies and fruit are right at the peak of harvest, every thing was very inexpensive. I decided to make carrot ginger soup, which I made tonight with the addition of a fresh yam and it is very tasty. There were many people at the market that I knew teachers, administrators and students. We were just headed back to my car when I saw a face that was a blast from the past. I was staring at him, and he was staring back at me, and I cried out MARTY? and he answered back MEG! I have not seen this guy in probably 9 years or so. Another friend who did not like my former husband and stopped spending time with me. The first thing he asked is How is ___? I told him what had transpired and he and his partner of 30 years exclaimed their delight at our breakup. And Marty hugged me about 10 times.
Later the pirate and I went to the Sportsman Days at Carpenter’s Brook. A county park which specializes in fish and game management. They have many pheasants, and a bunch of pools of Rainbow, Brook and Brown trout. There were a few non profit and game club organizations with booths as well. Plus a super tasty fish fry. There was an opportunity to fire muzzle loaders and throw tomahawks. I passed on the muzzle loader, too much fire and kick. But then we went to the cross bow range and first shot I hit a bullseye, okay so the sight was outstanding but still, second shot was in the second ring directly below the bullseye. I loved that, no kick to speak of. And as I argued, perfect for the Zombie Apocalypse because the bow would not draw undue attention via noise while hunting for game.
There was guy carving wood with a chainsaw which was cool, although there was a carving he had started that was a bit phallic looking. I admire this art form. I would be too chicken to try it. Though the pirate likes to carve tiki idols with a chainsaw. (he is so cool!)
I really liked shooting the shotgun. It was light weight and did not have any kick to speak of. I tried skeet shooting, first shot was novice and I shot the minute I saw orange, second shot was high, third shot was a hit. I was kind of pleased because when I was 15 – like a million years ago, I was a pretty good shot, so I guess I haven’t lost my touch.
Though this festival was small in structure, I had a great time.
Well at least I found out why Bill has not been talking to me, he has been in the hospital because a kid beat the hell out of him. He is out now and recovering but will be out of work for a few weeks. I think it was the last straw for him, the years and years of inner school teaching has finally taken its last toll. Last night we all had dinner together, it was good to see them both, John and I made plans to go to the Zendo together next week and return to our ritual of eating dinner after the sit. We both are really looking forward to it. I love my dear friends. And I should remember that they love me. And note to self, if I don’t hear from Bill for a few days, something is wrong. Very. Very.
After dinner I sped up to my friends Mark and Ellen’s house for tea and dessert. I know both of their families, although Ellen’s better. I am friends with her dad, and have met many of her uncles and aunts and cousins and last night I finally got to meet her brother, who has been my Facebook friend for over 2 years but is visiting from Virginia. She has been telling me for years that I just have to meet him. I now understand why. He is a deeply spiritual person and it is obvious. He is a gifted artist and a musician. And in many ways like Ellen, whom I love and adore, but also different, in a way that intrigues me. He too has gone through his own romantic troubles, and the upset that causes in life. I felt very much like I had met a new friend.
So for a Deathiversary the day had its own message. Let your love and compassion for others take you away from your own troubles, and remember that others have gone through what you have, or worse and you are not alone.
I know I know, I am better off, but it doesn’t change the fact that I wake up sad. It could be my imminent period, I know it is coming, it just hasn’t arrived; every hangnail feels like a chopped off finger, even the hangnails of my mind. This was once a mighty big hangnail. I forgo mascara it could be the imminent tears, I know they are coming, they just haven’t yet arrived; every unmet expectation feels like the end of my eternal existence, even though there is no end to that is there? I walk in the pouring rain and am wet from the thighs down as I write this, and I really don’t care. It feels good to be uncomfortable. How sad is that. I take off my steampunk cap and lay it on the desk, ruffling my unkempt and undone hair. I feel slouchy and cranky. I look slouchy and cranky. Thank all the Gods and Goddesses of heaven and earth that I only have two classes today. Or maybe not, being busy helps me get through these days, though Bill is not talking to me, and the awesome boyfriend has put me on exile this week, for some unknown reason. I get a massive stomach punch of deja vu and I suddenly think he is going to break up with me today because he is seeing someone else. Awesome. See what I mean? Every hangnail. And it isn’t even him that broke my heart three years ago.
I am fixed with Crazy Glue.
Sorry about the sound quality I couldn’t find anything else on the later.
It was once our ritual to hang out every Thursday and knit in front of one TV show or another. Most of the time we didn’t watch much TV but talked and knit and drank white wine and just enjoyed each other’s company. In the train wreck year she dutifully came over almost every week, but over time it waned, I was meditating, and she was I am sure quite tired of my troubled mind. But when my daughter was in a car accident it was she who met me at the hospital claiming to be her Aunt and stood by my side while we waited to hear whether or not there were internal injuries. When she graduated from ESF I sat in the ceremony and watched her graduate, later taking a picture of her in her doctoral robes. We had a new ritual of watching the horse show each fall, killed now by budget cuts. I know her family, she knows mine, for many years running we spent Thanksgiving and Easter together. On my daughter’s birthday this year she mentioned that this is perhaps the 6th year that she has celebrated with us. She is a good friend, I feel fortunate to have her in my life.
Today I was troubled by my daughter, but also I have another friend who left a dish at my house that I cannot find and I thought I might have thought it was this other friends and brought it to her house. I stopped by and as I walked in the door she said to me, what is wrong, she could hear the stress in my voice, I guess. I said nothing but she kept asking until I finally confessed. I talked to her as she feed me a couple delicious chocolate chocolate chip flaxseed cookies. Her boyfriend listened in and offered some support, making me laugh and actually saying a couple things that were filed away for thought later. Things that made sense to me. They both work early or far away and I asked if I could stay a little while and they both said of course. I literally sat on my friend’s bed while she sorted her winter clothes, sewing buttons on a sweater while she folded and hung other sweaters in her closet.
I told her, it has been so long since we have had the chance to just hang out and talk and I feel so happy to be able to do it tonight. She agreed. It is good to have a friend you can happily do nothing with. Or can sit with while they do their own puttering about. As I left her boyfriend said, you can come by any time you want, just to hang out. Cool I said. And as I left my friend hugged me. And told me how happy she was to spend time with me.
The summer slew of festivals has waned down and Syracuse is once again a town of college sports fanatics and college parties. Although there was the long running Westcott Street Cultural Festival and the Italian Festival for whatever reason the pirate and I decided it would be a good weekend to take out the canoe and go for what he called a hike and I called a very short walk in the woods. I literally was on the verge of buying a canoe or kayak this spring, but a new lap top was needed first and I never did get around to it. In the midst of it all was the Pirate Festival in Marathon, and the willingness of the pirate to load up his canoe, though we did not use it, left me with a question of whether I might at some point get to enjoy his boat, though this summer thus far we had not. Earlier this week, when we talked about the weekend, I said lets go for a hike or take out your canoe.
The day was crisp and cold, the sun warm, but the chill in the shade left me shivering and pulling my fleece lined hoodie close. We went to the Regional Market, which is a flea market on Sundays. Then to his ritual Sunday breakfast with his Mom and step-Dad, my first invitation in the three months of actual dating, preceded by two months of platonic friendship and over two years of peripheral awareness of one another. I tried liverwurst and though I despise liver I really like the liverwurst. He loaded the canoe on his truck and off we went to Labrador Pond. It was a lovely quiet pond, surrounded by bog, flanked by driftwood, and bordered by lily pads. We saw so many minnows, frogs, monarch butterflies, blue and red dragonflies and some beasty that left a long wake of bubbles moving so quickly underneath the water, we paddled hard and could not keep up. We followed the inlet back in as far as we could, stopping by a beaver house, and on the return saw either a beaver or a muskrat closely followed by the green head of a water snake. Our evening of long laughter and persistent teasing carried over as we continued to gently spar with one another on the sparkling clear water. He kept me laughing for the entire time we spent together. Including his ode to Bob Dylan “Don’t stand up in the boat, or you’ll sink like a stone…oh the times they are a changin'” after I pretended to not know that you should not stand up in a canoe.
After we reloaded the boat on top of the truck we headed to Tinker Falls. Although it is mostly blocked off near the falls themselves and truly a short walk it was just an added bonus to the day.
Driving home I had butterflies, in my belly. I cannot explain it. All I can say is that one day some long long months ago, when the brutal rawness of the ending of my marriage was not so bad, I envisioned a relationship with a man of a certain type, a certain caliber. I wrote out a long list of important qualities, though one day in a huff, (the “this shit is never going to happen so why should I curse word bother” kind of huff) I threw it out. But here riding home in the afternoon sun with my strong, hardworking, resourceful, down to earth, nature loving, funny, sweet, handsome, creative, intelligent, family oriented, warm, sexy boyfriend, I felt this wave in me, a wave of happiness. He is so much the kind of person I have wanted to be with for a very long time, even while I was married, I wanted so much for my former husband to be like this, though he so wasn’t.
I don’t know what the end of this book will read like, but I sure as hell am having a wonderful time reading these chapters. I wouldn’t change a thing. I am so very lucky to have the pirate in my life. Though he will not see these words, I will say it: he is an awesome boyfriend, and I treasure every moment I spend with him.
Oh September how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. Three years ago, I gave my self three years to get over you, and still the days of this month are like the tolling bells of a plague I cannot release. Where once I relished in the cold nights snuggled under my down comforter, relished the changing of the closets, relished the returning of my favorite jeans, relished sandals with long pants, and popovers drenched with real maple syrup on cold Sunday mornings, now I find each day to be an exercise in a kind of fragile torture and wistful woebegones. I pull into work on a morning where one is not sure if the frost is dew and all I can think of is you leaning against your car coffee cup in hand, charming, so charming. I look for you, I cannot help myself. I squeeze my molars together feeling the pressure of them in my jaw when I see that you are not there. Why in the mornings? When you always waited in the afternoons. And why always in September? The leaves begin to fall and I remember your face as we left the therapists office, you drunk on your own decision to leave me. Me unawares. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Always hoping for the best, even when the punch has landed hard against my tender gut. September I remember the bed and the room on Cherry Street you saying lets get married on Friday. I said yes. I didn’t realize until later that it was my grandfather’s birthday, I thought it was a good omen. How cold that night was, me in my summer dress shivering, you quaking with fear in your Salvation Army jacket, fake leaves in an ugly bouquet, dollar store candles going out in hideous pumpkin shaped glasses. Uncomfortable in a Bed and Breakfast while your sister slept in our apartment. Sitting on the grass at the edge of Skaneateles Lake in the warm autumn sun watching it sparkle on the water and rushing your sister home because she decided instantaneously to leave. And us again in the Bed and Breakfast, we couldn’t even make love. I remember it was the owners birthday the same as my grandfather, I thought that was a good omen too. Pathetic. But it was ours. Or in retrospect it was all mine, when did you stop participating, exactly?
Each day is another deathiversary. This is the day you came home and I patted the spot beside me on the front porch and you sat down taking the cup of coffee from my hands to share the drink, and you told me you didn’t love me anymore. This is the day you said you would give it a year and counselling, and we went to Loews and picked out hideous red paint because it was called Spanish Tile, and the kildeer sang and the cardinal cried out and I thought that it was a message from my Dad and my Grandpa telling me it would all be okay. It wasn’t. This is the day that you looked at me with that piteous look, the I am leaving you and you have nothing to say about it look. This is the day I called Nomura and told him to check in on you because it was our anniversary later in the week. This is our anniversary. This is the day I sent you an email asking you if we couldn’t work it out. This is the day I knew you had someone else because you called me and left a message saying don’t ever call me again. This is the day. Bong. This is the day. Bong. This is the day. Bong.
Now here I am naked under my down comforter, cold face and cold hands but the rest of me warm, toasty. Except for my toes which were cold in sandals all day. Here I am listening to yoga chants, burning a candle and a stick of incense in prayer to my Gods. Here I am dog on my Popsicle feet, licking his own cold toes. Here I am wishing I had someone to hold me, naked. Here I am wishing I had someone to meet me at my car with a steaming cup of coffee in the crisp morning air. Here I am wishing for something I don’t have, for something I maybe never had. This is the day, this is the day.
September, September, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love the crisp mornings where I stand barefoot in the backyard tossing a stick to the unleashed dog from the cold stone of the veranda. I love the crisp nights where I sleep like a baby naked under my comforter. I love pulling out my favorite pair of Levis you never wanted me to wear and wearing them with the Birkenstocks I bought when you left me. I love getting into my big red car and driving fast while singing loud to songs you never heard me sing. I love dancing in the darkness, dancing naked and with abandon, you always laughed at my dancing, so I stopped dancing with you. How I love the first moment when I decide it is cold enough to make popovers. September, how I love the children who come tearing down the hall arms wide open wanting a hug. How I love thee September, with the hot tea I sip alone on the front step. Waiting for nothing, just enjoying the afternoon sun. How I love watching episode after episode of whatever series I am on. Falling asleep and waking up to rewatch them later. September how I love the cold nights windows wide open, my bedroom door open, cats coming and going and listening to the dog trying to steal something from downstairs.
September how I relish each day. This is the day I was set free, this is the day I learned a really important lesson, this is the day I burned sage and broke your ceramic bowl in the driveway, this is the day, this is the day. Let the bells ring joyful in the crisp autumn air.
I have this friend I knew in college. We pledged the same siblinghood (men and women so not a fraternity and not a sorority) although at different times. He was cool, we didn’t hang out much but now as an adult I see we could have been much better friends than we were. We are both sci-fi geeks and we have really eclectic taste in music, which I have only learned through Facebook. He invited me to Spotify today which is just great because right now I am listening to a band I have never heard of that I really like. As I play more with it, I discover another friend from the same group of people is also on Spotify. It was a time in my life when I eschewed television, and all I really did was listen to music, read, paint and hang out with friends. I also watched The Next Generation whenever I could which was a bit more rare, although now watching it on Netflix I have seen the vast majority of the episodes at some time. I still prefer the original. One of the highlights of my very eventful weekend was meeting Walter Koenig or Chekov from the series. The opening note of the Lion King brought me to tears. To say nothing of the amazing costumes and puppetry! And dancing with a zombie at an after party. (she said with a big ass grin on her face).