Elephant in my living room!

I can’t talk to M about much of anything anymore and it scares me.  We are moving so soon and so much rides on him for that…. 

I keep trying in a delicate, but honest, way to point out my concerns, but just like 13 years ago, everything is an “attack”.  Every word of concern gets met with, “I AM NOT A BAD PERSON!!  I AM NOT A BAD PERSON!!  I AM NOT A BAD PERSON” screamed repeatedly over my trying-to-stay calm voice and words, until I have no choice but to hang up the phone.  Obviously, this doesn’t result in anything productive and does the very opposite of reassuring my fears. 

This experience throws me clear into full force PTSD as I’m hurled instantly to 13 years ago…trapped, scared, nervous, with a 3 month old child to care for.  My knees shake, my head spins and the frustration at not being heard, not being counted, not being considered, not being able to even TALK is overwhelming and terrifying to my core.  What am I doing?

Mark, he who I’ve watched struggle and kick for years, fighting his way past and beyond all that once haunted and controlled him, is yet again unreachable, irreproachable, impossible to reason with. And I am left feeling two options:  return to that horribly handicapping environment which threatened my sanity or continue raising my children far away from their loving father.  

Even the choices alone don’t feel like choices.  They feel like steel walls closing in on me fast, boxing me in tight, with the “rules” written in graffiti all over them in bold black paint.  Rules from my childhood; rules from my relationship with Mark 13 years ago. 

The rules:

  1.  No matter what M does or says, it’s always absolutely fine.
  2. No one is to question, doubt, or worry about M’s behaviors or choices.  They are all as close to perfect as could possibly be.
  3. No one is to point out (kindly or otherwise) any fears or, God forbid, discrepancies in Mark’s choices.
  4. If you see an elephant in the living room, no one is to speak of it, question its presence, or for God’s sake call it an elephant.  Nothing is what it appears and only M knows what it really is, so he cannot be questioned or expected to communicate with the rest of us. 
  5. It’s M’s world…only his reality counts…the rest of us are just graced with the opportunity to live in it…so SHUT UP.
  6. If you speak or imply any of the above, it is a direct “attack on M” and he will kick and scream accordingly, deftly playing the offense is the best defense game to the point that you’re wasting every word you can actually get into the conversation, trying (in utter futility) to insist that you’ve not attacked or insulted M.
  7. Every word you say that is not an ass-kissing “M, you’re the GREATEST!”  is, in fact, going to be considered an attack.
  8. Your actual words will not ever matter.  They are ALL an attack on Mark, unless they are a direct and undisguised compliment of his person and character.
  9. M will hear what M hears and it’s not up for discussion…  What M hears IS what you said, no matter how far off it may seem (to you) from what you’ve actually said.
  10. Questions, doubts, fears (authentic or otherwise) will NOT be tolerated or spoken of EVER.
  11. Unless you are complimenting M on how wonderful he is, you must SHUT UP AT ALL TIMES.

I am afraid.  I am rendered paralyzed to act and terrified to speak of my concerns…while the walls close in tighter on me.

Why NOT play Kick-the-Carcass?

No consecutive hours of sleep for what seems like weeks, although I can easily remember not so long ago when it had been more like months, so I logically know I can pull through this “short stretch”.  However, when n the midst of the sleeplessness, it feels as though I’ll pass out, die, or just maybe snap into forgettable pieces.  I keep reminding myself that it’s been worse and try to be grateful for the little bits of sleep I do get blessed with.

Stressing the move, finances, the gossip and lies (of course, as usual), THE ex, the children, packing, moving across the entire country from everything I’ve ever known, living out of district for my kids’ school out west, my ex husband, and his motives and choices, and how they’re going to relate and affect our lives out there, so far from the only  home we’ve ever known.

With all of this, I’m struck hard with acute awareness of the severe alteration of my heart, my perspective,  my very essence…  Who I once was is gone, with all that’s happening now and all I am responsible to be and do, with all the fears that are hanging just over my head like a shark’s mouth ready to swallow me whole, I really just want to sit down and bawl myself sick.  Grief hangs all around me like buzzards and flies on a  carcass.  I know, I know…  This is nothing new…I’ve been a barely-breathing carcass for years now, my only traceable movement being the slight shakes and involuntary shuffles and slides  of a dead body that’s being kicked a few extra times for good measure.  Big thanks to Dave and friends for that lovely prompt..without it, the buzzards might literally begin to feast on my mourning flesh, not just the metaphorical feastings of Dave and friends on the leftover remnants of my heart, my soul, my reputation, my freaking character!  After all, at this point, the pickings are so slim and meager that I genuinely can’t understand the interest…surely there’s not enough there to satisfy even a starving soul?

Apparently so, as I can’t even plan my pathetic, late-as-hell “escape” without a kick every once in a while for good measure.  I’m struggling and fighting this damned sense of victimization which I hate so much it makes me sick even to write of these things any more.  Or maybe it’s that burning sense of injustice and flood of unkindness and continued crucification which keeps me from withering up and dying completely.  It’s almost cost me a great degree of my voice and I do not know what I could even be after he’s fully taken my voice and my ability to write.  It just might be my lingering indignance which is holding the shell of my existence together at all, keeping it from crumbling quietly into dust. Perhaps I should stop fighting this victimized-feeling and embrace it, allow it to strengthen me out of my hopeless feeling of being powerless, beaten, and small?   Hmm….

I have comprised a plan of revenge.  In my circumstances, I have no way in which to actually carry it through, but it’s a lovely fantasy nonetheless.  I imagine that many people love me and know the truth of these past five years…the whole down-n-dirty, humiliating truth and they are so outraged and angry they begin a letter-writing campaign on my behalf – no, on the behalf of all people who have gone through emotional and mental abuse.  Upon me leaving my home, he receives hundreds of letters from people who know the truth, faceless people who are not afraid to stand up against this man’s cruel persecution of my spirit.  Each day or week he receives lovely pieces of mail from people who know what he has done and refuse to buy into his lies and bullshit, as a regular reminder that he did not just “get away with it”.  And he, like me, has no chance, opportunity, or method by which to combat the attack.  He would just have to sit in it, regularly reminded of his cruelty, its effects, and his powerlessness!  Then he might have to spend some time in paranoia, looking at every stranger who meets his eye and wondering, does he know?  Does she?  Just as I still worry with every person I meet or pass, “Did he tell them I was crazy?  Did he tell that person I’m a psycho?  A slut?  A lying cheater?  Wonder what story  that person heard?”

For it seems, just when I’ve let the worries go and have convinced myself anyone who believes his garbage at this point is merely a victim of sorts themselves and is entitled to my sympathy, when I finally get to the “I don’t give a damn what he’s said to anyone”, another lovely twisted story of his finds its way to me…piling on top of the huge pile of garbage he’s dumped on me that I’m already trying to climb out from underneath.  And the exhaustion revives itself in me.  The sense of powerlessness and damned victimization I hate SO much, gathers al around my soul to begin feasting again.

I sent him a message asking him just to please SHUT UP.  Leave me alone.   Reminding him he has not a single reason at this point in his game to speak my name even, let alone tarnish it further.  He has won by yards and miles already. The damage done is irreversible even now.  I’m leaving and his story will always stand in my place of absence; not mine, not the truth, but his sick and twisted deviation of my person. I can’t imagine any greater victory for him?  So why continue beating this broken and beaten thing?  Does he really still get that much pleasure and self-satisfaction from it…even NOW?  Why not just SHUT UP?   No, go above and beyond to make everyone always, think the person you’ve victimized is psycho crazy, then you never have to worry about being held accountable for the cruelty you perpetually heaped upon her…  After all, she’s just “crazy”.  Nothing she says will ever account to anything after you’ve told that to enough people ad nauseum.

Why am I so surprised anyway?  Why wouldn’t anyone want to continue kicking and beating the person they’ve already slaughtered?  After all, she’s dead already…. It’s not like anyone will ever find out the truth now…or believe it coming from a crazy-psycho dead girl even if they did!                                 

Ohhh it would be Christmas every day to just imagine this letter-campaign of outraged people, addressing the truth to him which he feels he has sufficiently buried beneath his heavily placed offensive-tactic accusations and insults. He could just laugh away a few letters, but if hundreds came to him long after I’m gone, that would have to make him think maybe he wasn’t really fooling everyone after all.  His mailbox becoming the screaming, lingering Tell-Tale Heart of an Edgar Allen Poe story!  It’s a harmless, but juicy thought in my weak state of stress, fatigue, and hopeless indignation…

(insert evil cackle here)

“…Ladybugs Katherine! Lots and lots of ladybugs!”

Lazing in the glorious sun in my back yard yesterday, chatting with girls and Mark about the big upcoming move, feeling mostly excited and thankfully, only mildly overwhelmed at the moment thinking of all that has to be done…all that’s to be left behind, and what’s to come…  Sweet ladybug lands on my thigh, just hanging out for a moment.  I try to recall what this means.  I have a vague recollection of some movie or some symbolic meaning of this ladybug in this moment.

 “Ladybug: Perhaps best known as an emblem of luck, the Ladybug is a love symbol too. Asian traditions hold to the belief that if caught and then released, the Ladybug will faithfully fly to your true love and whisper your name in his/her ear. Upon hearing the Ladybug’s message your true love will hurry his/her way to your side. Ancient farmers of the land have considered the Ladybug a good omen as she controls aphid populations. The number of spots on a Ladybug’s back is said to indicate the number of months to pass before the wish for love comes true.”

My ladybug flew off and then returned briefly to the same spot on my thigh.  She only hung out with me for a moment…long enough for me to curiously wonder.  Later I found the above explanation when I Googled animal symbolism.

Strange feelings stirred this weekend with Mark’s visit.  He shared some upsetting news with me and it turned my world around.  It was as if some ancient forgotten feelings were gently brushed. There seems to be a woman he has casually dated, who is claiming she is pregnant with his child.  Oh geesh…hello and welcome to the Jerry Springer Show!  What the heck is this?! I remained fairly calm at first but the feelings slowly snuck up on me as I pondered and tears threatened to spill.  I was hurt. 

Only last Christmas I asked him if we could have another baby.  He was adamantly and decidedly against this. Mostly I was teasing him, but I was really hoping at the same time.  A part of me longs to know what a planned pregnancy feels like before I hang up my reproductive abilities forever.  I love our children and wouldn’t think to change a thing regarding them, but I have the saddest sense of never knowing the excitement that comes with learning I am pregnant, in spite of the fact that I have two fabulous children.  I only know the, “Oh my GOD! I’m pregnant..what the heck should/am I going to do?”  I don’t know the, “Yay…LOOK we’re having a baby!” feeling.  At one point, I was absolutely certain I would have this with Dave, but that’s not going to ever be and I resigned myself to the mercy of my children’s father hopefully granting me the third and first expectedly planned child.  Again, not to be…

And now this…a “stranger” having a child with MY children’s father?  A half-brother or sister right in the delicate era when I’m desperately trying to explain intelligent life-choices to my teen/pre-teen girls?  Immediately following my pleadings for a planned child? It’s upsetting to me in a very selfish way and in a not-so-selfish way in regards to my daughters and the family we have created in spite of the divorce.  Mark confessed strong hunches and disbelief that this really is his child.  I admit I share these hunches, but I can’t tell if this is wishful, desperate hope or actual intuition.  Really feels like intuition, as the circumstances surrounding this pregnancy as relayed by Mark, are clouded in a dark suspicion.  Apparently he had “the” conversation with this woman and even prior to their intimate relations which resolutely explained his unwillingness and total lack of desire for any more children.  I certainly am no hypocrite and fully understand taking chances and what happens sometimes, as I have one unplanned child with this man and another one who borders between the planned and unplanned – but purposely and knowingly (on both our parts) taking a BIG chance area.  However, something just feels different with this.  Mark and I never had this conversation he had with this woman, until last Christmas…years after our two children’s births.  And keeping these children was never a thought to Mark.  He would discuss no other options with either actually.

I did finally find my voice to say softly, “Dammit, I wanted us to have one more and I even begged you last Christmas!” I was a little comforted when he replied, “I know and it would be totally different if this was you.”

Something passionate and historically forgotten (but not lost?) for this man, this unbelievably fantastic father of my children, awoke with those words. Momentarily I forgot my sadness and the- what-will-this-do-to-our-children fears and it dawned on me that there IS one person on this planet with whom it is different for me in a good way.  A place on this earth where I have carte blanche and the huge margin of error I’ve never known and always hoped to have somewhere in my lifetime…or recognized might be the more appropriate word?  Hindsight tells me I always had it here, but never fully realized or comprehended. And as hurt and afraid and sad as I felt, it was temporarily overcome by love for this beautiful man, who after everything, does love me and does put me in a position of greater respect.  This man who, other than our two terrific children, has more reason than anyone to NOT put me in this position.  The same man who knows of so many of my faults, mistakes and truly ugly characteristics…still chooses to give ME this place, this status, this beautiful acceptance and WIDE berth of error. 

I flash back to the deciding moments I’ve had with Mark.  The tearfully spoken “Ummmm…guess what?” moments in which this man responded with every support and every ounce of respect any one could offer a woman in such frightening times.  He never once veered in his choices to want and to love our children, unexpected, unplanned, whatever….  Never once.  I did.  I was confused and scared and undecided..reflecting on ALL our options.  While he, he was stout and strong and beautifully decided.  And my selfish, spoiled self rears its ugly head now to scream at this other woman, “Na na na na boo boo…I’M the mamma dammit…I’m the wanted Mamma.  He was never willing to discuss adoption or abortion with me!”  It never even occurred to me that Mark had any other responses to, Guess what?  I’m pregnant than full and total support and strength.  Seems he does.  Although in my defense, I was not a grown woman with a professional career who engaged in the I DO NOT want any children discussion with him just prior to our pregnancies.  Seems as though our accidents were more in the area of mutual accidents and never came across as even possibly planned or pre-meditated, as this situation screams.

I have not always acted honorably in our various life challenges as people or as parents with Mark.  In fact, there are many occasions when I have acted horribly and been just mean and hateful.  I can blame some of these on circumstances, innocence, and youthful self-righteousness and I have had cause to regret them anyway, but they will now always be sources of shame for me after this one little sentence he spoke like a gift from God.  Have I really given Dave K.  every chance, every forgiveness, every excuse for a million horrible and hateful beyond explanation behaviors and actions against me while being selfish and stingy with these in regards to my children’s father, who has repeatedly and thoroughly proven himself as far more deserving of forgiveness and acceptance than this, or any, other man?  Am I this blind?

I was.  I must have been.  Was the intoxicating joy and perfection I felt with Dave and never once prior so much that it knocked me senseless and blind to see the beauty of Mark’s love and respect for me?  I’ve always been admitting and openly praising of Mark as a man who worked hard to change his early shortcomings and surprisingly became the greatest father I could have ever hoped for my children.  I have almost always been open to seeing this and believing in it from the actions-speak-louder-than-words faith, but I just never really “got it” fully.  Am I part of the reason he succeeded so well in this?

I never would have guessed or presumed this.  EVER!   And it smacked me so beautifully and lovingly that I was taken aback with a brand new love and gratitude for Mark, the most beautiful father, ex, and friend any woman could dream of.  I fell just a little bit back in love with him this weekend. Whoa…life sure is surprising in its sudden and totally unexpected twists and turns!  I can’t even imagine what this will or will not bring… or what it even means…

Alexander Supertramp

Into the wild.  Wow…what a story!

A deep respect for Alexander Supertramp (Christopher Johnson McCandless) grew as I read of his solid character, his fierce determination and independence, and of course his stunningly daring adventures! Every person whose life he touched on his journey felt changed for the better by their association with him (That is one of my ultimate goals from the words of Mother Theresa).   He must have truly been a phenomenal human being to have touched so many lives of so many different types of people and earned their respect and love!!   Amazing!  I adored Chris McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp) throughout this book!  His premature ending was a  tragic loss for the world.  

I am envious of the life he lived in his final two years – an entire lifetime of experiences gathered in two short years.  I felt his self-righteousness and his need to veto all the mendacity in the world and his life as my own.  I admired his ability to make such a stand and his courage in walking away from all sense of security and achieving his dream.  As I read on though, I began to wonder many things.  In spite of his angry resentment toward his father, had he not had the kind of parents and support he did for his entire life prior to leaving it all, would he have been the same person?  Would he have had such courage?  I say no.  To have such a vast sense of independence and confidence as he did, he must have been given the luxury of a powerful inner sense of stability created at his core that allowed and developed such a firm and fierce stance. …Until I read of his parents visiting the “magic bus” 10 months after his death.

 Suddenly, I was envious of the parents he so vehemently and immaturely resented, wishing I had such loving and accepting people as the main characters in my first 24 years of life.  I gather he had some major discrepancies with his father and the deceit his parents shrouded him in for so long and I certainly ”get” that.  However, some of that was standard child versus parents stuff, that period most go through when forming their own individual identity ….if they are fortunate enough to have parents who allow such growth.  With my history, I could never take such a gift as that for granted.  We don’t all have parents like that. 

My heart tore as I pictured his mother standing sentient in that dilapidated bus, among his personal belongings at the end of his life, breathing in his clothes for any trace of scent of her son to whom she gave so very much free love and acceptance.  She loved him and he broke her heart.  The movie indicated that he might have come to a place of recognition and understanding of his parents before he passed, although I was disappointed to not hear of him leaving them any kind of communiqué specifically telling them and so we can’t ever know for certain.  He owed them both a huge apology!

As a mother, my heart aches for Billie McCandless and wants to have a strongly worded conversation with her son, Christopher.  As a child of my mother, I can’t help but have a fierce envy of this boy and his wide open life possibilities which he was afforded due to the kind of parents and upbringing he had.  It’s clear he was not nearly as stifled by them as he felt he was and it’s deeply tragic to me that he passed before gaining the maturity to acknowledge and comprehend what a priceless and precious gift that was for the very life he so resented.

I ended the story feeling conflicted among feelings of jealousy, admiration, disgust and adoration for this brave and intelligent, albeit selfish and “bratty”, young man.

An interesting personal point to me in Chris’ story is that he shares the same brirthdate as one of my best friends’.  Doubly intriguing in its coincidence(?) of their very similar personalities! (I confess: I’m fascinated by astrology.)  George was such a quiet, intelligent, and reflective type who was fiercely resentful of his parents (with good reason at times) and always far more comfortable alone than in society or groups.  He spoke often of going off into the wilderness someday and living far from what he termed the “concrete jungle”.  He dreamed of building a cabin with a huge garden and just living in relative isolation, free from the deceit of government, society and materialism in the world which deeply disgusted him.  The similarities between George and Chris’s personalities are truly amazing.  This added to my understanding of Chris (and surprisingly, George as well) as a soul who reveled in nature and shunned all things which society represents and reveres.  It definitely added even more depth and beauty to his story for me, although the story certainly doesn’t lack those things entirely in its own right.  Makes me more grateful to have the opportunity to read of this unique and morally strong man and makes me miss and appreciate my friendship with George from so long ago as well.

Broken wings

She felt like a child still in so many ways…wondering why the world always seemed to roughly push against her when she tried to stand up for herself and expect to be treated like an equally important member of society…  It was so uncomfortable to stand up for herself against anyone for any reason at all and the slightest resistance or push back and she just crumbled…feeling more and more weak and pathetic. She often wondered why she was so easy to knock down?

As a child, she hadn’t been permitted the luxury of finding her own way, questioning authority, having opinions, or expressing  any type of individuality.  These things simply had not been permitted or tolerated in any form.  What evolved from this was a fearful person; one who fit smoothly into the world and so many lives of others merely because she wasn’t equipped with a backbone to go against the grain, much less, stand up for herself.  Although it sometimes seemed to her that she’d been born without a back bone, a genetic deformity of sorts, logically she understood her mother had removed it entirely over a slow and degrading 17-year-long process. A few times when it seemed  one might be trying to develop in her, it was quickly squashed and eliminated.  One did not question adults, either respectfully or otherwise.  No questions whatsoever.  One liked whatever one was given, one liked what other people liked if one wanted to BE liked or ever hope of being loved.   Always just smile and go along with it.  This made her an easy target for all types of abuse and manipulation. 

So at 5, she didn’t question the teenage boy who insisted she go into his bedroom with him every day.  She didn’t question the other babysitter either, an even older teenage girl  who manipulated her even further.  She didn’t question the elementary school janitor who groped beneath her panties after school.  They were so much older and she desperately wanted to be a “good girl”.  She wanted to be liked and thought well of and maybe if she was ever good enough, someone would come along who could love her.  And anyway, she learned from a very early age that if you didn’t like something, you’d better keep your mouth shut and pretend to or it promised to get far worse.  Plus, she didn’t want to be the fussy, problem child.   God forbid she be an insolent, precocious type child who disgusted the adults with sass or youthful curiosity! She longed for love and acceptance..ached for it actually from her earliest memory on…  Thus, she never questioned or argued, never pushed back against any type of authority…no matter how uncomfortable or wrong it felt.  She didn’t suffer from a lack of identity, inner strength, or sense of righteous indignation, she simply never was permitted to develop any from the beginning.  She was always a chameleon, learning to quickly change colors and quietly blend in with whatever color seemed safest in any given circumstance or moment.  Somewhere buried inside her was envy of those people and children who had no trouble speaking their minds or pushing back against an authority figure if they did something which seemed wrong.  She envied them the security that came from knowing if they just did the right thing for themselves, someone bigger and more powerful would be there to support and protect them.

Ironically, the catch-22  started hitting her early.   She was so hungry for love and affection, any type of acceptance would be welcomed. This must have been obvious and she was often treated cruelly by her peers or friends.  She early on became the common door mat for many to wipe their frustrations and insecurities.  When she was hurt and tried to  discuss this with her mother, desperate for some consolation, compassion and perhaps even just a little sense of support,  mother would yell at her for letting people treat her badly.  This was always so confusing! She wasn’t supposed to expect better, much less demand anything better, right?  Be quiet and content with what you have, or else…it will only get worse.  All she knew for certain is she wanted to feel loved and had to be quietly unassuming and accepting so it  would not get even worse.  

After she left mother’s home and had her very first official boyfriend, she soon realized she had attracted a violent man.  A Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type man who worshipped and adored her more than she’d ever experienced before, but also would get very angry if she upset him intentionally or otherwise.  This was especially hard for her to handle with any self-respect.  There was the back-bone issue of course, mixed with the open affection and love that flowed freely in moments when her boyfriend wasn’t angry with her.  She knew she wanted more of that, in fact she felt a bottomless pit of need for this love.  How could she walk away from the first person who loved her enough to defend her to others, even if he did physically attack her himself?  At least he didn’t allow anyone else treat her badly.  He loved her most of the time and at least this way the cruelty only came from one person, instead of several.  This was better than anything she had ever known before!

After a few years of his random and violent beatings she realized she must escape soon when he started openly threatening her life if she tried to leave.  She turned to her mother for help… scared and begging for a place of refuge.  Mother said, “You’ve let him treat you like this for years now…so you deserve what he dishes out. You must like it to have stayed so long.  Give it a few years and then if I can believe that you’re really not going to go back to him again, maybe I will help you at that point.” 

Give it a few years?   He had recently forced her into his car and kidnapped her for an afternoon and another time recently had threatened her with a gun.  She never once called the police on him (not wanting to get him in any trouble), and when concerned neighbors would hear and called the police, they never helped.  In spite of her obvious busted lips and bloody noses, they would always say something like, “You two need to separate for a while and work this out on your own.” 

Dad would take one look at her black and swollen eyes and say, “Honey, what did you do?  You know how sassy you can be…you must have said or done something to really set him off this time.  You have to learn to watch your mouth, girl.”

Give it a few years?  The violence was escalating amazingly fast.  She had no where safe to run and she didn’t believe she would last another few years.

In this desperation, she did what she had to do to get free and after a few years of counseling later in life, she realized that mother hadn’t allowed her to have a backbone or to develop any self-respect and then punished and criticized her further for being “weak”.   No one was ever going to stand up for her and she didn’t have the strength or self-confidence to ever stand up for herself, she wanted to be loved too much to ever take that chance.  It was a no-win situation.  She was the world’s punching bag, literally and figuratively… and she could never lose the fear that if she didn’t learn to accept this, it could always get worse.

With this innate sense of constant fear and drastic lack of self-respect or entitlement, she set out in life, mostly hoping not to be noticed much and praying someone safe someday would.

The unmistakable waste of regret

 

I wonder how he feels…what it must feel like to lose someone in that time, in that way?  It hurts inside me to ponder this as Mother’s Day approaches in spite of the fact that it’s a Hallmark holiday.  I wonder this all year really.  It just seems to become more pronounced at this time.

He said I was “so much like her”.  He said she was always doing kind things for people and getting hurt and taken advantage of.  He said it made him so mad to remember her standing at the sink doing dishes every day and how he wished he had offered to help or told her to sit down and let him do them.  It was the only time I heard regret in his voice, shouting through his soft and nonchalantly spoken words.  The only time ever when he was sober and before we ended. 

A few times in his late-night intoxicated visits after, I distinctly heard regret in his voice, in his words, and could even see it in his eyes.  His regret for the mass of hateful stories he told his friends and family about me and could not rescind.  His regret at the scars on my face which he readily acknowledged were not there until after we separated and after the torture began.  A few times of regret at his very arrival to me.  He is unlike me; he is not a man of regrets.  And I must wonder if those regrets were mere manipulations from a man who deeply understood how to get away with abusing my spirit….all it takes is to create the tiniest of  sympathies and my heart, no matter how angry or hurt even just prior, would soften to jello and ache for him.  It could even ache for how he hurt me, when he hurt me,  as he was hurting me…

Otherwise, he was never a man of regret, except that one time…about her.  So naturally I think of him this time of year and I think of her, the woman in his life who was so forgiving and so easily taken advantage and regretfully taken for granted.

I never asked him any questions about her.  I really didn’t know how to broach such a horrible subject of which I had no experience and no way to ease the pain, except with my love…with my devotion…  After such a horrible loss, these things didn’t seem to qualify. So I never asked…

I wish I had asked him questions.  I never knew here and yet she has visited me in a few dreams.  I can sense her thoughts it seems sometimes and I know that it can’t be, but I’d swear I can…  I miss her for him and I didn’t even know her.  I pray he doesn’t hurt too much today.  I pray that today he has a woman’s love and devotion whom he trusts not to ever hurt him, disappoint him… or leave him.

He has never been a man of regret, while I am nothing much but a regretful woman whose regret was never enough.

Tweet-tweet memories

Early morning,  birds chirping….so many memories…

She was a junior in college, working the swing shift at a casino in Mississippi…driving home with Jennifer at 4 am, laughing,  feeling so brave, fresh, young, self-confident, and maybe just a teensy bit cocky!  Arriving home at daybreak and lulled to sleep by tiny spirited chirps.  Birds chirping sweetly mean freedom and independence and they whisper softly to you in your dreams that life is just beginning…

Later, she was married…waiting and worrying through sleepless nights for him to arrive home safely.  Sitting up with exhaustion night after night as she heard the birds sweetly start chirping, like an alarm clock confirming another full night of his absence…wondering why…  Wondering what…  Remembering his stories of frighteningly excessive cocaine use and bird chirping confessions regarding his first wife.  Realizing that this alarm clock no longer brought happy thoughts of freedom and a life unwritten, full of opportunities to create future happy memories.  Now this charming sound indicated it was long past time to lock the door.  Yes.  Lock the door.  Birds chirping sweetly mean your husband is still using drugs and your marriage might be a terrible mistake.

Some years and a nasty divorce later, she often stayed at his house.  Him….the only him for her.  The one who brought joy to her simplest thoughts and hope from her worst fears.  The one who showed her how  to smile while sleeping and taught her to wake with excitement and promise…the only one. She loved that he would wake early and go fishing…  Birds chirping sweetly as nature’s background music as he made love to her.  He hated leaving her alone in his bed and simply had to have her in the wee early mornings when watching her sleep made him want her more than anything else in the world… Sometimes it seemed more like a dream and the gentle chirping reassured her this was no dream….he was real and he loved her.  Kissing her softly on her still sleepy mouth before he left, she would linger in the land between dreams and reality waiting for sleep to return….knowing that when she next awoke it would be to his adoring smile and passionate, I-missed-you-so-much-before-the-sun-came-up this morning wake-up kisses.  Birds chirping sweetly mean that you are the luckiest, most loved and adored woman on earth and bring millions of kisses….kisses that taste like falling deeply in love  and smell like the fresh ocean breeze.

A newlywed’s conversation

It was 2 days since the wedding.  A simple, beautiful wedding in a tiny white gazebo in the park over-looking the big lake, gorgeous summer day, fresh green grass, and even a few butterflies attended the ceremony. Understated and simple, the bride wore a white sundress and the groom wore khakis and a white linen shirt.  Other than the butterflies, it was attended only by immediate family… The perfect casual summer wedding!

A well-loved and favorite memory of this wedding, for the bride, would always be the groom’s mother hugging her so warmly immediately following the ceremony. She whispered in the newly married girl’s ear,  

I finally have the daughter I’ve always wanted! Thank you! 

As a girl without a mother, this was particularly precious to the bride and made the day even that much more perfect.

The wedding night was not so perfect, but that’s another story altogether.  The couple didn’t go on honeymoon…that was not in the budget and this really didn’t matter much to either of them.

Two days after the wedding, the newly wedded bride is speaking on the phone early in the morning with her mother-in law and discussing various things like the children and the wedding.  God was always a big part of these conversations she had with her husband’s mother too. The bride appreciated this and valued not only having a “mother” at last, but one who could provide such guidance and support on spiritual matters. She felt truly fortunate and blessed!

During the conversation, “Mom” starts explaining that she keeps the picture of her son and his ex-girlfriend up in their living room for the child’s sake because she wants her 5-year-old grandson to have happy memories of his mom and dad together.  Something about this statement feels just a little strange to the bride.  She’s not at all jealous of her husband’s ex girlfriend, after all they had broken up many years earlier, long before she had known him.  So she doesn’t mind the picture staying up, there’s just something that feels a little funny about the conversation when “Mom” says this and she can’t quite put her finger on what exactly it is.  So she smiles into the phone and says, I think that’s a wonderful idea!  Children need to have memories of their mother and father together.  It’s probably a really good idea to do that for <grandson>.

Having shrugged off that weird feeling, the conversation continues as it had and the bride is practically gushing with love, adoration, and gratitude at this great relationship with this Godly woman, who is now actually her “mother”.  Ohhhh so blessed!!

Toward the end of the conversation, “Mom” revisits the photo subject.  She adds,

I really don’t want to take that picture down anyway.  They really looked so great together, you know?  Everyone always said what a beautiful couple they were, but I was always quick to remind the kids that looks aren’t everything.  A relationship can’t be maintained on just looking so perfect together.

The bride says quietly, Yes, I agree.

“Mom” says, Still, no one could ever argue that they sure did make the most beautiful couple!

Not so sure what response is appropriate here and feeling terribly uncomfortable at this moment, the bride decides to end the conversation and go attend to the children.

Thanks so much for talking this morning.  I’m so happy and blessed that I finally have a “mom”!  I love you. Have a beautiful day!

Runaway cars? Okay…

At the ex’s house with kids and contemplating dinner ideas.  We agree on making spaghetti.  I have to go to the grocery store to get some ingredients.  I’m taking his car to go.  I go to his car in the parking lot, am getting in, when I notice a kitten has been trapped in his car in the sweltering heat.  I grab the poor little kitten and go to take it in the house. On my way in, I pass a female, about my age, asking for Mark.  I say he’s changing or something and she barges right in saying she’ll get him herself.  Okay.  Mark comes out about the same time and tells her she can go in his room and they’ll talk in a minute, explaining to me that he’s been dating this girl.  Okay.

I’m in kitchen with kids, going over grocery list one final time, when the girl  comes naked out of the bedroom into the kitchen!!  I say, “Hey, my kids are in here.  That’s very inappropriate in front of them.”  She tells me to F-off..that she stays there the rest of the time and that I have nothing to say about it.  I say, okay…just get your clothes on in front of my children please.  Again she swears at me.  I have just had it.  I walk straight up to her and punch her in the mouth..obviously very hard because blood is spurting from her lip and she is yelling for Mark.  He comes in and tells me to go on to the grocery store that he’ll take care of this.  I just say okay and leave again.

As I’m walking to the parking lot, I notice a buzz of traffic around the little residential lake his house is right next to.  There’s a big machine pulling vehicles out of the lake and I see that Mark’s car is one of them!!! I panic and run out there, knowing I must be to blame for this.

The car is pulled out and still starts, but obviously has some issues from being partially submerged in water, while I dealt with a naked woman streaking in front of my children…  I’m so afraid to tell Mark and I start crying.  A few really nice women watching this are kind to me and encouraging.  I finally go inside  to tell Mark what happened.  He’s upset but not as mad as I thought he’d be. We should continue with our dinner plans…

I take my car to the store.  At the store, I’m picking out the needed ingredients.  The meat department guy is acting very strangely and says he has to ring me up there.  I give him my card.  He calls someone and they take me in a back room for questioning, apparently my card is suspicious and they have to notify the authorities.  I’m very upset and confused about this, but they insist on treating me like a criminal and I really don’t understand why this is happening or what I have done…

                 A common theme to my dreams lately is runaway vehicles and physical fights.  So strange!  Can’t seem to pin-point what that represents subconsciously…

Back to the closet…missing the kissing…

…and on with the spring cleaning!

Nude linen peek-a-boo flats:

Purchased online last summer in a frenzy of a spontaneous (yes, truly spontaneous in every sense of the word!) trip to Albany, NY.

Came across a man who went to my same school years ago.  he was a guy I’d had an adolescent crush on for several years in middle school and beyond.  One of those crushes so secret that you don’t admit it to anyone, not even really yourself;.  It’s always there, it just sorta hangs out in the quiet admiration corner.  In fact, now that I think about it….maybe it was actually more of an admiration thing than a crush thing altogether anyway….

So… crossed paths on Facebook.  He denied my friend request at first,  apparently because he didn’t remember or recognize me.  No real surprise there.  After all, I was the little girl with the crush.  He was older and more social than I. And FB friends we became….

A running inside joke regarding DK on my page between my friends and I sparked his curiosity, which sparked some one on one emails  and extended conversations getting to know each other a little better and such.  I was honest about my struggle to get past the DK thing as well as the fact that I was still sexually active with him and rarely anyone else, but mostly my desperation to move on from that situation/relationship/whatever it’s called.  At some point he makes the suggestion of just finding another, better lover and I’d get past it all just fine, with a hint of his availability to provide this phenomena.  Flirty, suggestive emails commence…and I’m enjoying this diversion from my broken heart.  In hind sight, it was probably initially intended merely as a joke or a tease or something, but I, in my true form of desperation and love of this newly blossoming friendship with a school-age crush, took this as a serious possibility and booked a flight to Albany.  Did I mention my desperation to get past the whole DK thing?  I did?  Okay.

Flight booked.  It’s summer and I have lost my favorite pair of shoes.  I do this often..it might even be my MO.  I perpetually struggle to keep shoes and coats.  That’s just my thing, I guess…  And I need these to wear in Albany.  Online shopping I go in search of another similar pair to bring on this emergency voyage of desperation.

Off white (beige?) linen peek-a-boo flats….would go with just about every summer thing I own…shorts, sundresses, capris, etc…  Perfect! Purchased.  Then packed and off I go to Albany!

This turns into the strangest visit ever!  I still have this admiration thing from the 7th grade going on.  He is still very handsome, by my specific terms of what is attractive.  He is funny, he is very intelligent and he has an amazing dog…WOW!  I fall madly in love with the dog, by the way…no really..I mean madly.  And I do like him as well.  he is a fabulous cook, a brilliant host and I have a great time.  The personal (physical?) connection is not understood though.  Was there one?  I really don’t even know, but my guess today is not much, if any.  I wasn’t too concerned about this really, as the whole defining purpose behind the visit was shrouded in the mist of my love and adoration of DK.  Anyway, I was having a great time and I was far, FAR removed from the risk of connecting with DK while in Albany, so what did it matter either way? 

He never once kissed me in any passionate way throughout my entire visit.  I felt like this meant we were connecting probably more as friends and didn’t really think too much of it. Friends was just fine with me.  I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure.   Until….. we did connect sexually once…..  I was truly taken aback…..HEY, I thought we were just connecting as friends?!   I assumed there was no big sexual attraction going on.  What’s this now?!??

… and something was missing.  Sort of felt like a piece of loud, almost beautiful music minus a critical instrument.  So close to  hmmmm….maaayyyybeeeee??? …yet missing something big and  undefinable, like maybe it needed more cow bell or something.  Really still haven’t quite figured it out…

Ummm….wait!  No, I know!!!!  It was missing the kissing!!!  He never kissed me, not even *then*!!  Maybe this is common for prostitutes or even perhaps not so strange for a spontaneous voyage of desperately running from DK.  However, I have not once in my life experienced this let’s-just-do-it-and-still-not-kiss-thing.  I am confused.  After a few days, I finally ask him outright if he ever intends to kiss me.  I am far less concerned with the actual kiss at this point than the fact that I’ve never experienced this “issue” before. Do I have a bad case of halitosis?  Do I seem lacking in the oral hygiene department?   I mean What?!!?  (None of this do I say to him or ask, of course, but I’m wondering all of this after we passed the “just a visit between friends” thing.) 

He says yes, at some point he will kiss me.  Okay.  Just curious.  Having fun either way….no big deal….cool….

So, I have a truly fantastic little mini vacation with an interesting, attractive, and intelligent crush from way back when, develop a mad crush and obsession with his  fabulous dog…and on the way to the airport to go home, we stop for sushi. Delicious sushi, by the way! I mean…yummmmmy!  After we eat and are waiting for the check, he gets up to go to the men’s room.  As he walks past me at the table, he leans down suddenly and quickly gives me a smooch on the cheek.  Awwww..that is sweet, I think to myself.   He returns from the men’s room and says, “See?  I told you I would kiss you!”

Oh my, my, my…  Seriously, what was that?

Thank you.  Had a blast.   Good bye Albany!  Into the box you go little shoes…