ENOUGH

I lay my fear to rest in 2019. Fear of the future. Fear of choice. Fear of my tongue. Fear of time. Fear of judgement. Fear of security. Fear of not doing enough, having enough, being enough. My hyper-vigilant companion of eighteen years, an aroused emotion that poured into the dark void that once contained the light of my world.

This years’ lessons have made heavy and light of my heart. I have learned that my heart needs to feel both to be whole. Goodbye to the year of another lost marriage, the dream of a future that I had woven around my fear of being unloved, unprotected, alone. This time, I am not defeated by your broken promise of protection from pain. In the years you provided me shelter from the forces I could not control, I have found my strength to continue onward of my own resolve.

Last year’s losses have created an opening for the big love I have for the boys and David. I feel us in a new light. My son has been healing from his emotional wreckage with my help in our Vermont home. I have discovered new relations and friendships and have made big strides in my writing life. I am feeling happy again.

The intensity of the emotions of sadness and anger is equal to the intensity of the bliss and gratitude I feel. Grief and joy are part of the same equation. An emotional calculation that makes up a life. We tend to think of anger and sadness as a negative, destructive force, but some kinds of painful emotions get me out of bed in the morning and fuel my determination to get through the day. Perhaps the dark emotions that fear conjures, is a way of embracing life again. Today, I no longer have to listen to the fear that cannot allow me to forget that I am not enough.

Every dawn brings the gift of renewal, another chance to make myself a little better than the day before. In times of hardship, love is all I have had to cling to, like a life preserver, through all of the hard times. I Love that I now have the free space to feel; for Dave, the boys, myself and all the wonderful people who choose to walk beside me. With fear gone, love has moved back into the house. I can feel its warmth, renewing my faith, making me feel strong again, and giving me courage to move forward. I may have lost relationships through my life, but I have found powerful reserves of love in those who remain in my life and my heart.

The memories of those departed and moments relinquished to time, encourage me to move onward. They are a part of my consciousness and will always remain in me. To quote Dr. Zhivago: “What are you? However far back you go in your memory, it is always in some external, active manifestation of yourself that you come across your identity—in the work of your hands, in your family, in other people. You in others, this is your soul. This is what you are. This is what your consciousness has breathed and lived on and enjoyed throughout your life—your soul, your immortality, your life in others. And what now? You have always been in others and you will remain in others… and later on, that is called your memory. This will be you—the you that enters the future and becomes a part of it.”

I awaken to the empowerment of the dawns of 2020 with my hands pressed together over my heart, and embrace the daily luminance that informs me that I am here, I will endure, I am enough.

AUTUMNAL

Ancient rocks hold sacred space

In September’s river flow

Untold tempests have effaced

Crag edges nimbly erased

 Form sculpted bowls that bestow

 A still splash of life encased

Amid her curling vertigo.

 

Deep into the sodden quag

I trod the withering phlox

Despite the temperate lag

Scorpio sets back the clock

And the sacred law crows brag

Of Autumnal equinox

 

Under the birch canopy

Fronds quiver probable cause

My sorrow, he’s here with me

He’s October’s effigy

Gilded confetti applause

Proclaims that he thinks of me

Beauty fades, fall’s menopause.

 

In November’s deference

In surging eventide suite

Before snowy days commence

O’er the underbrush sweet cadence

Of chartreuse and bittersweet

Resplendent hues of senescence

Obscure the path beneath my feet.

 

© 2019 Deborah Garcia

FROM THIS DAY FORWARD

In the gathering, the sliding, (into protective sleeves), the organizing, the binding, I am knowing you, again. As the rings are thread through the die-cut hollows along the margins of each page, your story is bound with mine. The tools you gripped between thumb, index and middle fingers of your right hand deliberately moved in signature ellipses of D/d’s and B/b’s, the way a curl infused your I’s and T’s, a combination of perfectly aligned smooth curves and hard stops gliding on a slight right-ward tilt across sheets torn from school-ruled spiral notebooks and boxed note sets gifted from me to him. The lilt of your strokes roll in abiding motion over my tongue, as each leaf unfolds unto another through days, months, years, confused teens, dreamy twenties, ambitious thirties, dating, working, parenting.

            Our story is, as it was. Inscribed as it was meant to be. A poetic verse that pulsates beyond the moment the steel rings snap shut. From this day forward I am experiencing you in new ways, in my own maturing.

            Reading the accounts of our lives before us, of us, after us validates that this fairytale was mine and is mine to have and to hold from this day forward. From your words, pictures form and luxuriate in my head: You are alone in your parent’s basement, recording your ballads, writing me lyrics of flooding your darkness with my light, unlocking doors and unbarring gates to write I love you on a slate. We are walking along a path in a college campus, separate but together. You overstep your shyness to interrupt my audible soliloquy, “such a beautiful day”, and you say, “yes it is! Hello, my name is Dave.” You are an upstate boy, muscular and broad shouldered, warm sun-kissed tone, exotic brown-eyed… as I had imagined you, long before I knew you, before I knew myself, when I was an eight year old dreamer under the stars lying in the grass of my childhood home… mirroring your own image on the campus where we’ll meet nine years in the future. You are journeying through an urban jungle with the weight of your genetic encumbrance hanging from your amber eyes, just to see me with your touch. We are navigating city grids that are imprinted in your sightless mind, streets you have drifted along and dissipated from in dreams. We are playing house, you revel in little boy games with your sons while my smile bathes in a steaming pot of Bolognese. Rocky cliffs, foamy tides, descending frozen mountainsides. We are holding hands so I can guide you in your darkness where you can feel the curve’s edge, so you can see everything I see.

What atonement is this? Writing words like these, I am also living. An engraved stroke is enough to let me know I am not alone in the universe, even in sleep. The dream-ghosts of two worlds, walking their ghost towns, address each other. I’ve awakened to your muttered words, spoken dark-years away or light-years ahead, as if my own voice had spoken. We were two lovers of one generation. The past echoing through our bloodstreams is freighted with different meaning, different language, though in any chronicle of the world we share it could be written with new meaning.

Do you know I was dreaming? You follow me into my dreams, my past, the places that cannot be explained to anyone. I had entered your mother’s house and you were sunken into a living room recliner wearing a flannel shirt of cream and navy plaid and loose-fitting jeans. Your skin was a tad more aged than last I saw you, your hair mildly peppered with dry grey strands. You turned your gaze to me, staring into my eyes. No words. Your face was beautiful. Your soul naked in the brown agate irides I’ve held in the vault of my mind’s eye., like an oculus opening to an ancient firmament, narcotized in my unconscious mind. As though washing your body with the gentle stroke of a smooth warm cloth, I run my hands over your bumpy clavicle, around your scapulae (the two pieces pulverized into your graven urn), down your short upper arm, stopping a moment at your elbows, continuing along masculine forearms, the tips of my index fingers circle your wrists, tracing the bony impressions on the backs of your hands. You spread your fingers, raising your hand with just enough space for me to slide mine between yours. All the while, our eyes are locked. I straddle your legs and glide into your lap, gentle as a lamb to the milk of its dam, and fold into you. You embrace me tight. I feel the memory of your strength and say, “I’ve missed you dear.” And you say “I’ve missed you too.” The creased edges of your lips and eyes rise like the hands of the beloved offering a chalice of sacramental wine, and I see you. You see me. Hiro (your mother), sits beside us, cradling a bowl of steaming soba for her long-gone son. But your attention cannot be drawn to her offering. We are locked into each other.

“David, I’m so happy to be in your arms.”

“Mmm, I am too.

“I need you. Your boys need you so much, in immeasurable ways. Your absence has had a profound effect on their lives.” We are swathed in golden light.

“I want to hear about my boys.” I show him images which are suspended before us in a holographic-sort of display. “They are men. They look like strong young men,” he weeps. “What do they do?”

“Dylan is doing well. He just graduated from college and is learning so many things about relationship, the Earth, life.”

“And Davin?”

I weep, “Davin struggles. He struggles to learn, laugh, love. He is lost. Your absence has had a profound effect on his emotional growth, leaving a hole that the world relentlessly forceps open with blunt force. Blunt force, that is what the Medical Examiner declared as your manner of death. Blunt force.”

Your embrace strengthens. I feel your hand stroke my back, up, then down, then up again. Your lips brush my forehead, cheeks, and neck. Your warm breath drinks mine. A return to divine, I don’t ever want to leave. I feel my pain move through the physical veil that divides us, into the gape of your soul. “It’s been very difficult for me to bear alone.”

“I love them so very much,” you whisper.

“They need to see you.”

I hear Hiro’s quiet sobbing. She is content and moved to feel the love containing us. Buckwheat and soy atomize our essence.

You declare, “I Love you Dear. You are my Dear. I love you forever.”

Our son enters from the back porch and I awaken from the dream.

How we used to work side by side! And how I’ve worked since your leaving, trying to create according to our plan, that I’d bring, against the odds, our full power to every subject, raising our sons, respecting mother Earth, enhancing the world. I hold on steadfast because we were the New World couple (man and woman). David, our strength still resides in the things we used to talk about: How we respect one another, how we prioritize wants-vs-needs, how to get as much enjoyment in the short time we are here. This is what we wished for our sons, our treasures, you wrote.

Dave, I feel so full of work yet to be done. My prolonged remission has unbarred the gate of freedom from the diversions of my past and from this day forward, I can walk toward the life I see ahead with the love I feel for you and our boys, composed, knowing only you will hear all I say and cannot say.

The moon will wax and wane, the days will run together and flow into years. As rivers freeze and embers burn and I ask myself and you, which of our visions will define us, which do we claim, who will we touch, what will I know, what will we say to each other, on the other side of this starblind road to fate.

I wake early in the morning in a bed we had shared for two decades, where I had laid watching your tranquil, sacred sleep as if, simultaneously, for the first and last time. We have been apart so many nights and days, this September day is no longer unusual, your absence nearly as long as your presence.

It is the first of September, a beginning or an end. I walk along a broken sidewalk… a school bus motors around the corner on a clear September morning… veiled in your immortal light. Seasons change and I am trying to hold in one steady glance, all the parts of my life. I am moving into the equinox and there is so much here I still do not understand. If I could know in what language to address the spirits that claim a place above this celestial ceiling, entities that dwell in mute insistence, perhaps I could make sense of how my life continues entwined with mortal dust and rose thorns, my burdens may slowly shift beneath the falling leaves.

© 2019 Deborah Garcia

SOLEMNIZING: SEVEN / TWENTY-FIVE / TWO-THOUSAND-NINETEEN

Solemnizing thirty-two years
Married, not married
Marking eighteen years
apart, not apart
Denoting four years
Past, not past
Tagging fourteen years
Trothed, not trothed.

Signifying thirty-eight years
Together, not together
Intimating two years
Short, not short of
Living twenty years as
One, not one.

Evincing half my adulthood
Lived, not lived
Loved, not loved
Lucky, yet lucky.

[Anniversary Cards exchanged 7/25/2001]:
Dear, (Wife)
“On our anniversary, I’m remembering our first days together, and still wonder how I came to be so fortunate…
I can see you coming down the aisle in your wedding gown—the greatest expression of love anyone’s ever shown me…
And I have a vision of you today, more beautiful than ever, because I love you more than ever.
Thank you for sharing your life with me.
Happy Anniversary”
Love, Your Husband

Dear,
“You are my last thought before sleeping.
My first when I awake.
I love you, X fourteen.
Deborah X/O

© Deborah Garcia 2019

“TOGETHER”

My lover is a young boy again

Sitting in the center of a picnic bench

Leaning on the edge of a table

At a milestone,

Ready to leave his infancy.

Across the table

Invisibly, we sit together,

Together and each alone,

Waiting for him to envision us.

His sons,

His wife.

We unfurl our breath

To call him forth

But he cannot hear us

He is too young for us yet,

He only sees the lens

And the smooth face behind it,

The way young eyes do,

And he looks at the glass

Reflecting the light

Toward us,

And feels on his skin

The warm breath of sunlight.

He is cast for the world

Of his own design.

He is life about to create life,

He is a babe about to unfurl

Out of a particular tragedy

Into his own form of triumph.

He is himself

Yet

He is of our past

And of our future too,

He is the life of the dream

And the dream of the life.

He is crowned in his own perfect image,

looking and waiting

As we wait

For everything to come true.

© Deborah Garcia 2019

THE CHANCE

Back in the early eighties, when my late husband Dave and I were dating, I was away at college in upstate NY, where we met, and he was living with his parents two hundred miles away, having already graduated.

We met at SUNY Cortland in the first weeks of my freshman year, when Dave was a junior. Our family homes were 120 miles apart and Dave did not have a driver’s license nor would he ever because he was legally blind from a progressive eye disease known as Retinits Pigmentosa. This was the pre-instant social gratification era of tethered public telephones and school-ruled writing pads, so during the times we were not together at college, we forged our relationship through controlled long-distance phone calls and ardent letter writing. The story captioned below is an excerpt from a letter he wrote March 23, 1984 with an encounter with childhood friends.

I went to see Jeff Lorber and Alan Holdsworth at the Chance Saturday night. They were fantastic. Strange and unfortunate things happened that night, as always seems the case when Steve & Patti are involved. Originally, just Brad and I were going. The drummers in both bands are hot, I knew Brad would like it. Andy, Brad’s friend from work, decided to go too. We had tickets to the 11:30 show. As Brad, Andy and I were sitting in Brad’s house waiting until about 10:00, Steve and Patti walked in dressed up. I knew that meant trouble. Steve innocently asked how much it was to get in and nodded his head. Oh man, Patti is about to ruin my evening.

The Brad mobile boogies to the Chance at 10:15 so we can get seats. As we were standing on line here comes Steve and “wife”. We all got a good table with a good view. Alan Holdsworth comes out first. He is a fantastic guitarist and his I.O.U. band is hot. Brad and I are sitting there boppin’ into it and after three tunes I can hear Patti babble with displeasure. Then she starts talking about me right behind my back like I can’t hear her, but I could. She says how stupid the music is and how weird Brad and I are for listening to it. I turned to look at her and she shuts up. I turn back around and she says to Steve, “oooopsie”. That night she called me many names including asshole right behind my freakin’ back. She’s got balls like an elephant. I didn’t say a word, just tried to enjoy the show. But there were many times during Holdsworth’s set where I couldn’t listen because Patti was talking and I was getting mad.

After Holdsworth was done, Andy fell asleep. Brad got up, talked to Steve a little and said he was leaving and I could go home with Steve if I wanted to stay. I agreed. Approximately one minute and 43-1/2 seconds later, Steve says, “let’s go”! I knew it would be that way. Brad probably hadn’t left the parking lot yet. I didn’t even speak, just got up and followed them out the door. Patti had that shitty looking face on. They were walking about five steps in front of me talking on the way out to the parking lot, when I stopped and said out loud, “fuck it”, “later”! I turned around and walked back toward the door. Steve asked me how I was going to get home. I didn’t listen and walked in the door. I would have rather walked home than listen to Patti bitch.

Lorber didn’t even start playing yet. I knew I’d be able to find a ride home. It made me feel good to blow them off. When I walked in, there were Alan and the band standing by the bar. I got to talk to them for about a half-hour. I bought one of their albums at the bar for $5.00 and had them all sign the back cover. The night had a whole new spark, I felt good, Jeff Lorber came out and played for 1-1/2 hours. I found some people I knew. They were having a lot of fun and were my ride home.

I got in at 4:00 AM and was going skiing for free at 7:00. I barely slept, falling asleep in the rocking chair for about half an hour and woke up dreaming about punching Patti in the face. I just stayed awake and got ready for skiing. I skied great all day, it was 50 o and a beautiful Sunday. Call you soon. I had to get that off my chest.

For Dave, as a Twenty-two year old young man pining for his independence in the face of logistic challenges, from transportation to employment discrimination, he seized the courage to shed the shame and shyness that masked his disability. That evening represented an emotional waypoint where he allowed himself to be vulnerable and take a bold action, releasing the links that chained him to his dependencies. He confronted his fear of the dark and the illusion that he needed to rely on the security of those familiar to him to make his life happen. Life doesn’t stay the same and neither do humans. Discomfort drives growth in new directions, on a curvaceous, personalized journey toward discovery of our true selves. He chose to let go of what was, that which had already left him, and fuel his desires with faith in what will be. In introspect, I see the message I hadn’t seen thirty-five years ago…he took the heroes journey. For Dave, that late Spring evening waxed in bewilderment and waned to enlightenment. Sometimes we have to just turn around and walk ourselves through the door.

© Deborah Garcia, 2019

Owning My Story

It’s been fifteen years since that halcyon afternoon on the Caribbean Sea when we smiled and promised enduring love to one another. That we would grow together into the second century of our lives was never in doubt. Was it? In that moment it was a question of when, not if. The future might have seemed as airy as the curved folds of a dream, but it unquestionably contained us both. Together. I banked on it.

And yet it didn’t, even after all those years. A year after we swirled bisque in silence, I find myself stunned by it.

Relationship constructs don’t transpose into bubbled answer sheets. Emotional connection happens in an indefinable space between people. And despite decades of research and centuries of inscribed stories, it is a space that will never be fully understood by us. When confronted by family, friends and therapists with how and why did this relationship ever happen between you two, I find it impossible to shade any other bubble than “all of the above”. There is no clear answer nor a single stream of confessions that winds through it. He was injured by his divorce and child alienation, I was still feeling the effects of a fulfilling twenty-year marriage with his brother, we shared the sudden traumatic loss of his brother and shattered dreams, I was in shock, numb, and emotionally see-sawed back to the arduous childhood roles of witness and victim of parental indignation turned into caretaker.

Our innate need for connection is the strongest and most primal human condition in our core. It informs us to reach outside of ourselves to create greater communities that serve both our own emotional, physical and social needs as well as service to others, completing a circle of need-based benevolence. It is the nectar in the pistil of the orange blossom. This is how we grow and evolve as individuals, communities and a species. This is what makes the consequences of disconnection so profound and dangerous.

Sometimes we only think we’re connected. Love belongs with belonging. It’s not an accidental entanglement; it’s an intentional knot. What I am learning is that I allowed myself to be boundaryless and vulnerable. The deeper my intention for belonging, the more disentangled Rich became. Rich’s love for me was an illusion. I now believe his love was misplaced longing for his brother, not me or the boys. He felt injured from his first marital dissolution. I appeared at the edge, in the injurous gallows of 9/11, losing my illusory sense of security. We shared a common loss. An exquisitely timed fate. A perfect eclipse of Venus with a fiery edge. A warm glow in the twilight of our smoldering relationships. In the footprints of the crumbled towers, our communion was borne of pure presence. Because we had not yet discovered our true essence in inner peace, we embraced the illusory spell of longing and security, which served as an elixir to our personal and shared pain. Carnal surrender became the consolation for our tender hearts. But it wasn’t soul-mate love. Although fondness always felt like a driving intersection in the course of our journeys, it was a union of our physical state rather than spiritual. The illusion had to fade.

A wholehearted sense of love and belonging is a deep need for me. I am spiritually wired to love and be loved. When I found myself unable to function as I was meant to, both in widowhood and in my second marriage, I realized those needs weren’t being met. In my former marriage I was happy. In the sudden leaving, Dave took the dream of our future with him. Our love had become my own and the pain of containing it was raw when Richard entered the mourning space.

After fifteen years of severe marital challenges, Rich and I became suffocated under the pressures of our individual and shared lives. My love tank was empty. We fell apart, became numb and I ached. The absence of love and belonging was pinning me to the grief over the absence of my love with David and I was suffering.

To paraphrase Brene Brown, Daring Greatly, 2012; “a critical piece of owning our story and claiming our worthiness is cultivating a better understanding of love and belonging. Love is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within EACH of them. Love and belonging are a PRACTICE.”

The absence of apology, empathy, and resolution nor acknowledgement of what partners are communicating in relationships, leads to the building of a protective armor that deflects defensiveness and self-advocates while invalidating the partner’s value in the exchange. Self-righteous justifications for behavior without acknowledging your partner in the exchange is followed by the withholding of affection, damaging the roots from which love grows. This creates love injuries. These injuries were dynamic with us because Richard was not a communicative partner. In the resonant silence, I gradually developed a permanent bruise

I had approached the separation with impassioned fervor, striving to re-invent our relationship. Sadly, he did not respond to it, continuing his ghosting. His refusal to own his behavior and offer adjustments, continues to this writing. I gifted him compassion, acceptance and gratefulness for what he has brought to our conjoined lives and he has given me silent darkness in return. It feels like I had just not been enough for him to put the effort into the relationship, for the ever-after. He refused to be vulnerable and go deep. The result is I got crushed in the gravity at the surface. Empty excuses were his justification for ghosting me. He says he doesn’t speak because he can’t think of the right thing to say, “I’ll always be wrong”. This is what has been practiced. For as long as he continues this silent punishment, he may rest his eyes at night content to be removed from the stage, but for me, the relationship wound remains raw and open.

Now, with hindsight given by the distance placed between us, I see that Richard has a history of ghosting through the difficult spots in relationships with no understanding of how to remediate and grow. I am not his first relationship casualty.

I have to stay away from convincing myself that I feel disdain for him or that he deserves to feel bad so that I can feel better about holding him accountable. I don’t want to have to dislike someone in order to hold them accountable. I don’t want any of the hot and angry feelings that go along with it and I don’t need any more relationship regrets. What I want of the universe is to know, what is the lesson?

There is a difference between professing love and practicing love. When you betray someone or behave in an unkind way toward them, you are not practicing love. And, for me, I don’t just want someone who says they love; I want someone who practices loving me every day. Cultivating self-love and self-acceptance is not optional. These are priorities. This is what I am practicing now. Goodbye lady in the illusory glass.

But my heart feels wounded. It hurts like hell when you know that you need to let go of someone but you can’t, because you’re still waiting for the impossible to happen. But it’s been fourteen months since he drove down the maple tree-lined driveway (in the truck I bought him), and I am learning that what I need to let go of is not the man, because he’s clearly gone, but the woman upholding the illusion.

I cannot decide if the near two decades we spent together were an advantageous fortune or not. It is not false to think that my life, and that of our boys, would have taken different trajectories. Maybe some for the better, others for the worse. I wouldn’t mind taking a magical Ghost of Christmas future tour to have a glimpse of what our lives may have looked like had David remained and Richard had gone on with his life without us. Or, if I remained single after David.

From my eight-year old self when I mothered a baby sister my mother’s delicate, confused mind could not, to extracting the first words from another sister’s smashed brain eighteen mos. in the wake of my own carnage and that of the lives of my two young sons, I’ve spent most of my life with the urge to be everything to everyone, leaving myself vacant. I sold my daily worthiness for the currency of promises. David promised he’d never leave me, Richard promised to love and cherish me in good times and bad, and I promised my beautiful boys that the time will come that I may feel happy again. With Richard, I settled for a future banked on promises that our relationship would be valued above all else and I wanted to believe his vows…“When my debts are paid, when the child custody is done, when the kids are on their own, when I retire…

My struggle for worthiness has always felt like a haggle. It’s a cacophony of messages that replay “never good enough”. I am not ashamed to say that this year of separation has not been easy. I have been pulled into the undertow of tearful languishing, angry scolding and desperate sermonizing. I am human, I feel, I am neither proud nor ashamed. I am a journeywoman seeking a way from survival to a creative life worth living, every day from this day forward. In just a few days our legal dissolution will be dropped into my mailbox by a stranger in patriotic uniform and it will be tucked into a file marked “obsolete”.  

With my remaining and future relationships, I no longer force things. What flows, flows. What crashes, crashes. In the half century through which I have loved and lost, perfected the bake and made mistakes (according to Bob Ross, there are only happy accidents), I have learned that I only have space and energy for things that are meant for me. I have finally arrived in a healing space and what is truly at the core of healing is self-love and compassion. I am worthy now. Not if. Not when.

© Deborah Garcia, 2019

Green Card

The grey, frigid February days that framed the preparation and mailing of divorce documents and a week of the flu, had shrouded me in despair. Yes, on the eleventh, I signed the final order and following two stressful hours of navigating DMV legalities, I finally drove to the post office and mailed the documents Certified Return Receipt. On the drive home, I felt an emotional fog lifting and this is when I decided it was time to take a temporary leave of this place, my usual response to face-off anxiety. When circumstances punctuate my fears into a paralyzing level of anxiety, my response is to get up and move my body from where I am ruminating, out into the fresh air, if only to walk the dog. A weekend out of town, even better, and a vacation with people I care about, rejuvenating. Staying home, while checking the mailbox daily for a green postcard, would be akin to waiting for paint to dry before hanging new pictures on the walls.

I had been leaning toward doubt that Richard would receive the baton to complete the final leg of the task, signing and carrying it to the courthouse. Honestly, I questioned whether he was even looking for it. My doubts were confirmed nine days later when, upon returning from a weekend in NY with my mother-in-law, the mailbox had not produced a postcard.

On the due date, which was clearly stated in mediation, I felt seized to initiate communication and push this labor into action. Old habits cease to expire. In the marital years, if I didn’t announce Friday date night plans, he ceded his attention to the TV. When the kids were young, he insisted that I provide him with daily reminders of their activities as though I were his royal secretary; “Why should I keep a calendar when you do?,” was a frequent statement. Even though I abhor text messaging, it is Richard’s only reliable mode of exchange. I typed that I had not received the Return Receipt post card, nor heard from him in any regard to the final order, and that it was due at the courthouse on this day. His response; “I didn’t get anything”.

“I’m sure delivery attempts were made and a note was left taped to your house or in your mailbox, by the mail carrier.”

“I was waiting for your copy to be sent to me.”

Of-course you were! WAITING for ME to do! And i did. If it’s due the twentieth and you don’t have it, what, if anything, are you thinking? Excuses.

“This does not excuse you for not following through nor disqualify responsibility”

“I didn’t do this on purpose.”

AGHHH. The self-protective reactions devoid of empathy, reflect similar reactions in me. It fits right in with his general ghosting modus; ignore it until it goes away. This is relational ruination.

“It’s hard not to believe that, on a subconscious level, ignoring the date is intentional.”

His response; “Nope, not true.”

Just like that, abrupt and unemotional. I had long given up on waiting for apology, empathy, and resolution in our conflicts. Acknowledgement of what I am attempting to communicate is lost to a frozen lake too dense for a heartbeat. His self-advocacy invalidates my value in our exchanges.  I am not human. I am not worthy. I am unseen. I cannot un-feel the years of disrepaired disengagement while empathy-empty responses punctuate it.

“Feels so because your responses don’t include an apology, empathy or resolution.”

“I was just in panic mode to go get a copy, and see what I need to do next. Not wanting to offend you in any way. Sorry just darted off to post office.”

Richard’s final remark in SF Pro typeface; “I just don’t know what to say.” 

The whirling force of the vortex that eddies our relational chasm entices me to leap into the torrid current. This is where I disengage.

November 11, 2018

First super cold day of the imminent winter at 29 degrees. I’ve been feeling creative bursts every day on and off, however never seem to get myself to the page. Then it flows out of other creative projects like updating house hardware, nest cleaning and redesign and leaf blowing patterns. I’m reaching here.
I am feeling lonesome on and off as well. I wonder if the significant people in my life, both friend and adversary, think of me as I do them. I think of so many of the people I adore past and present on a daily basis. At times I send them notes. Other times I visit them, or I express a desire to visit them or I invite them to visit me. The latter seems never to occur. Not even by my own immediate family. What an estranged life I am living. My tribe has left me as I remain, solitary, in a large, beautiful colonial in a moderately distant valley. I am so very grateful for the beautiful home I have and the immortal husband who supports my trauma-induced daily habits, pointedly, my unemployed, consumer-effusive life. And although I can’t think of myself as not being wasteful, I tell myself it does not define me. Overdrawn but temporary. I’m seeking a new tribe. The meantime is a grating lonesomeness.
The daily moments in which I reflect on my separation from Richard, always reveal a sadness in the realization that our union was neither meant to be romantic nor forever. We are not kindred spirits, we are comate’s of convenience living out both ends of the definition, having become mates and subsequently fallen into a coma, tumbling out in hairy tufts like dry tumbleweeds rolling directionless in hot winds. We leave this journey as we entered, each as our own protagonists in both our individual and shared drama, played out in perfect time. It has brought us to our personal awakenings that shakes us at our cores, revealing our naked selves like a Talking Heads tune questioning; “how did I get here?” Shocking how every line of those lyrics personify our joint venture. We both were aware in our subconscious and occasionally conscious minds that the big bang which smashed our worlds together was a once in lifetime event. Time could not hold up and things could never be the same as they ever were for either of us. We were both content allowing the days to go by, same as the next and the next and the next. For a decade. This is when we became the antagonists in our story. When life was chaos with growing kids and parental dementia. Love was masked by needs, urges, relief. Our bare bodies an elixir to the incomprehensible. But now the winds have changed, the kids have left, dementia won, the cause has been erased by time and I cannot remain content simply letting the days go by under the rocks and stones we’ve stacked between us, silent water holding us down. With the swirling clatter of external forces waned, I have felt water underground, flowing, spraying my toes, the only living element touching me. “What is this beautiful house? Where does this highway go? Am I right? Am I wrong? My God! What have I done?” I saved myself and him. He did the same. We are saved. We survived. We are each other’s heroes and our own. The war is over. The cries of battle echo in our heads. The triggers are too prevalent. He is gun shy. I am receding. Searching for a new home, for the one I left two decades ago has dissipated into the vastness of the memory tunnel. The further I move along life’s automated sidewalk, the farther those experiences ebb away. I am moving both forward and in retrograde. The memories are my story, and as I join my spirit into the life force that flows beneath my core, I feel the force of movement urging me through necessary losses towards destinies unknown. I am okay with this. I am grateful. I float.
As unsettling as it feels in moments of hyper-awareness, when perceived reality brings on anxiety, I give myself permission to rage, grieve, hold space and rejoice in what was and what may come. The miracle of unfolding unto potentiality is hope. “Holding Opportunity Perceived as Evolution”. I take full credit for this acronymic conceptualization.
So happy to be writing again.

© 2018 all rights reserved

The Tunnel of Lasts

From the last day of our final, annual vacation together on the fourth Saturday of August, to our final embrace on the second Tuesday of September, I journey through a dark tunnel of lasts. I feel the reality of my decree begin to crack open under my feet, as if a real, physical fissure has opened in the very architecture of the universe, and this is where, entering into the crack, I replay the events precedent to when my life became a vulnerable, gaping maw.

I feel life accelerate with no way to disengage the pedal. The minivan packed with pillows, sandy pails and six ounce drink boxes; the ferry ride to Orient Point and grabbing the brass rings on the antique carousel in Greenport; the last ride on our bowrider and the last Japanese curry with his mom; the last little league award picnic, sunset on the beach, family barbeque; the last splash of aftershave and bowl of cereal shared with little boys before school; the last embrace, kiss, smile, I love you.

As the events replay in my mind, I mourn them all with ardent awe. The doleful reverie is the very evidence that Dave existed and we lived a robust life.

The emptiness of the reflection pools at the end of the tunnel, drills itself into me as I pass through the plaza and run my hands along the smooth, blackened steel, cast with names that gape downward into the abyss. 2,650 husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and friends living the dream are here. And then, they are gone. The emptiness rushes below me in the bedrock, out of sight, but I could feel it flowing through me, its vastness threatening to drown me in its void, to erase us all forever from the memory of what it is to live in the presence of those we love, in the land of opportunity, to be a dreamer, to be American.

I have fought back against the black holes that threaten to suck me into despair, I tell myself that I will keep alive what he believed, in his own words; there are many things to do in life, in the time that is left…and to get a lot of fun. To live is to work, to get what you can in life. If we could keep it alive and warm inside during the years to come, we will be able to return to creating the life we dream, perhaps we can even constitute the America we conceive.

© 2018 all rights reserved

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