Supralucid: Day 6

So a thing happened about which I have emotions.   I have been cut loose.  Well.  Not really.  I have been told that the walls around Rappaccini’s garden are not locked. The poison is not so very poisonous.  We are all free to come and go as we please, but ideally, we will just stay right as we are, happy as the pearl in the clam.   Benefitting from the friendship.

I don’t know how I feel save that I know that I feel a bellowing, echoing, stentorian vibration in the deep unknowable fathoms of my soul.  A bit of an how dare you feel so free and easy?  It’s not free and easy for either of us, not in truth, but I suppose what I am sad about…what I am able to reckon with being sad about right now, is that it felt like he felt he could just offer me this gift.  He could just back away from the past two years. like an inconsequential sandwich at a forgettable lunch on some innocuous afternoon. It was just logical.  There was no welling of the soul, no choked back tears, no fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Knowing him, as I do now, if I am fair and not speaking out of the pained parts of me, of course there is an intense sadness for him.  But in that moment, the control, the adult demeanor, it’s important to be reasonable and honest and logical and therefore, it’s all up to me to determine the fate of everything was just depressing and frustrating.  What I want is what we will have.  He doesn’t want me to have regrets about it all.  It’s almost a dare…in its way, looking back, it’s this almost bravely, absurdly brazen, request to just knock me off this perch.  To stop being the person of general kindness he’s known me to be and just cast him aside with a HA HA HA.  That’s the frog to swallow.  And if it’s not that, if it’s fine. It’s just fine.   Life is beautiful if I’m not the devil.  Like waiting to take a punch and if I’m the pacifist, well, then, what a strangely perfect tension we get to sit in.

I guess, I guess… I’m proud in that moment for saying hey, of course,  I don’t want to send you flying off the top of the tower to your doom and tell you I’m no longer speaking to you, let’s not be silly, but I do need to know if we meet other people, that’s…that might happen, what does that mean?  And then, he said, well, I would never want to be in the way of your happiness.   So Spockian.  So ordered.  So straightforward and unmoved as if I’d asked him the time of day on a street corner.  I said I don’t…I’m not…it just could happen and I don’t want us to be surprised.  He says, no, if there’s any…prospects, just let me know.  I said there wasn’t.   If there was, I would tell him.   And he should tell me.  And I flashback to the boots through the thin crackling ice sort of heartbreaks I’ve have had in the past – places where I thought I was safe and cared for and special and turned out to just be a placeholder for some other, better person. And then, the subject is forcibly changed.

So I have my answer.  I am free and unrestrained to find somebody here as my therapist believes I want.   Impossible.  I’m terrible and full of panic and weight and shit that never gets off the ground. What do I want?  I understand my own hypocrisy here.  I understand I want to be free while I want him to beg.  Beg? No, just fight for it a bit.  Just offer something to it?  Just fan the embers slightly?  I understand it’s unfair.  I understand we had to have the conversation.  I understand, but I don’t get it at all.

 

The Starcatcher

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Somehow, as a writer, my skill is supposed to come in handy on days like this.

Days when I’ve had these disparate experiences that impacted me and somehow, I should know what it all means.  Or have, I guess, a way to write them all together and distill a truth.

My grandfather’s not expected to recover now and is just resting comfortably under my dad and aunt’s watchful eyes.  He could, of course, get better, but it would not possibly be for anything that could be considered long-term.   He is on the soft and sunny side of this long hill we’re all crawling ourselves up and I have this vision that he’s walking, steadily and surely, down into this valley where my grandmother and uncle are waiting.  It’s comforting to me when I feel so useless.  Again, I have expectations for myself…how grief should look, how love should express itself, how I should be in this moment when my being is in no way part of the equation.  When there is no word I could say, no magical phrase that would make my grandfather as I see him in memory: solid, sharp, clever,  sitting in the chair next to me watching Megadeth up at the farm because both of us were trying to be kind to the other, both of us weirded out by the idea that the other wanted to watch that.  I feel his hand on my shoulder.  Those hugs.  The way he would insist on washing the dishes after every single meal.  The way my grandmother would say Sammy’s so good to me. Ever so good.  The way my dad would call up there and start with “Hello Pop!” The noises of his life. The quiet.  The little asides.  The steady love he gave everyone.  The farm that was his domain.  I feel all of it and it stays and goes.

This was happening today and I felt guilty, somehow, for this invitation to a dinner theatre matinee.  Tickets that would be gone to waste if we didn’t use them.  So I found myself sitting across the table from an elderly couple, not so unlike my grandparents at all.  Sharp in their minds, but ever gentle to one another.  And I making small talk and not knowing what to say – not being able to say that some part of it was my thoughts were elsewhere, another part that I was being rusty and out of practice with faking my way through those kinds of encounters.  Eventually, after the free meal that was excellent but entirely filled with calories I did not count regardless of whether I should, this rapid-fire, insanely creative production of Peter and the Starcatcher spilled out in front of my eyes.

The setting reminded of my story – 1885 British Empire on the seas, yet supernatural, players playing a hundred parts and at the center, a female hero the equal of Peter Pan.  Peter Pan’s heart and his light and his mother, his maker.  That, perhaps, was in the end why they had to be parted.  He wasn’t ready to grow up.  He needed and deserved that time to be innocent after what he had endured, to be childish, free of pain.  She knew that being a woman meant the essence of that great Cheryl Strayed quote, being brave enough to break your own heart.  She had to give him up.

That was really where my interest lied – the campiness, the creativity in making the whole thing work on a stage, the side stories…they all had charm.  But for me, of late, I care about the romance.  Even the romances that hurt.

From there, I flew down to the old stomping grounds and sat in my mentor’s living room for 30 minutes.  She had a fire going and her cat came up and approved of me. Suddenly, it was easy to talk about everything.  The struggle, such as it is, knowing I would be met with genuine empathy.  She suggested I could work for her if it would help in the summer.  That it would help her.  Weekends, retail, it doesn’t pay any more than a usual retail job.  I had thought, laughingly, that I could make something like that happen part-time.  That it would give me time to think.  To process.  I told her, possibly too earnestly, that I would think about it sincerely.  We hugged.  Her husband popped in.  It was nice to feel human, to spill the guts and not worry that the guts would be used against me.

30 minutes past and up I flew again to this Mexican restaurant to say goodbye to a dear friend who was intended to leave for Georgia this past October but the house didn’t sell until now and now she’s moving, homelessly to Savannah.  So the old gang was nearly all there.  It was lovely, for the most part, toxic for the rest.  The changes have rocked everyone.  Nobody’s happy, everything is broken when it comes to the thing that united us.   There was a lot of venting and lately, our get togethers center around the brokenness. It is hard not to feel like my leaving was pulling that first precarious piece out of the Jenga tower.  The nostalgia at once powerful and instantly corroded as soon as it breathed the free air. But it had to be.  I had to choose what I chose.  I had to be here now and you there now and time had to pass for my grandfather regardless of my regrets of how I spent it.

It couldn’t have been any way other than the way it was.   The day, my choice, and everything.

That’s it.

The Dream Keeps Dreaming Me

Oh! The glories of being an emotional, vital, living human being.  How easily we are crushed, how easily we are able to build ourselves back up.

I am trying to let myself be sad.  Sort of.  I need to step back a few paces and explain.  Last night was so lovely, falling asleep listening to the rain without any sort of music or technological device to keep my brain running until I don’t notice that sleep has overtaken me.  And I woke up early and puttered about, admiring the world, and trying to affirm my place in it, awkward gosling that I am.  Then, after a very good, mostly low-carb breakfast, we sort of wound up back at my parents’ house to await what we thought would be the soon arrival of my half-sister and niece and nephew.  This didn’t happen until much later, so I had a very good, mostly low-carb lunch and helped them move around some furniture on the new hardwood floor my father installed.  A few intermittent hailstorms barged in and flew out in fits of pique we’ll never be privy to.  Finally, I gathered up the odd dresses my aunt had given me and my sister’s kimono and old cassette tapes we have no cassette player for and scurried home, rather determined to get some things in order here with the few hours I have left in the day.

And mostly, I have been able to do more than I expected or as much as I’d hoped.  I’ve got a load of laundry in and my sheets are being washed.  My sister’s made me more tea and I’m drinking it and liking it.  It’s almost 8:00pm and I really have no interest in making dinner, even though It wouldn’t take much to put it together and I may still do it.   Still need to get the bed remade and the clothes put away.  Got to not start another load when I’m only half-committed to getting it to where it should properly go and not just in another mound next to the dirty pile it came from.  Maybe get on the exercise bike as well.  That would be a good plan.    So yes, as part of this energetic thrust, I started deleting old emails.  They say on Gmail that you never need to delete an email.  But frankly, having 5,000 unread emails feels a bit excessive.  So I’ve deleted junk all the way back to 2008 when I found some correspondence from a friend I stopped writing to after he sent me this amazing letter and cd and I realized in this letter, after confusing its contents entirely, that actually he told me he had fallen in love with someone else.   And I wish so terribly not to be his wife or have his children as this woman has done, but yet to still be his friend because he was so kind to me and saw me in the best light I wish to be seen and I feel so bad about how I end things with people.  But now, four years later, begging forgiveness seems more like manipulation.   My heart was broken then.  That’s why I stopped writing.  I couldn’t figure out a way to keep writing without acknowledging how keenly I had found myself caring and there was no reason to do that because it would have changed nothing.  Still, it’s a bit like Griffin and Sabine, only not so much at all.

So I read these letters and I feel a hard pull after all our conversations.  My little sister explaining that I’m not in a relationship because I don’t date and she feels this is because I have these high expectations for men because “of the tv shows I watch.”  Which is such a loaded statement that I do want to be an English major and unpack it and divorce it from this emotional bow that draws back when I think about it.

A.  She’s not wrong.  I do have these weird expectations, this faceless desire for a person to fill that they never will be able to meet in full.   And the expectations shift all the time.   I don’t have this strong sense of what another person can emotionally provide me with so all of it seems up for grabs.   I want laughter, I want appreciation for my writing, I want

The sense of what they may require of me is equally vague.  I go through phases, like most anyone does, of feeling like I could never handle someone’s constant hovering presence and like now, feeling absurdly invisible and available to just flood someone with adoration and attention.   I know that relationships are projects, they’re work.  But I know that I would want to learn about who this hypothetical person was for himself and not to try and match the characteristics of a vast legion of fictional men in my head that I’ve admired.  I know that I would be so fucking curious to know who the hell he was that I’d lose them.  Which possibly is part of the problem.  Sad as it is.  You can kind of trust the character of a character over a dude who turns up one day and says he wants to write you into his RPF.  His literotica.  There’s a lot more control there, but, that said, if there was someone who met the marks of single, friendly, male, interested in me as a human being…I know I’d throw myself into the deep end of the pool.  Couldn’t help but.

B.  I don’t date because the people who are available to date are gay, married, or completely bizarre.  And I don’t mean that in some “they’re left-handed or can’t spell or didn’t know the Titanic was a real thing” bizarre, I mean, they are deviants or they’re so Type-A, let’s make sales calls and go climb mountains and make sales calls while up mountains that there’s no way that even if they DID think I was cute that it’d work.   I get hopes up and I try not to prejudge, but I meet someone vaguely eligible so rarely in my realm that I think I’ve lost the ability to pick someone to even try to flirt with or befriend.

My friend I mentioned here in posts from 2010 called from Houston where he’s doing well but remaining.

 C.  I don’t date because I pretty much operate on a level of body hatred that assumes I am invisible.

D.  I get so thrown out of whack by the socializing I do every day that I drive home just craving my fortress of solitude.

But then I hear a Vienna Teng song – an artist he introduced me to – and I feel a weird, unexplainable, unfounded hope.   A pain and a hope in equal measure.