Dear loud nasal-voiced woman sitting over my left shoulder,
Stop talking. Please.
We three writers sitting quietly by the fireplace are cringing and wincing, shooting each other rolling-eyes about your “how annoying boss, Bob” and how late meeting invites were ignored. The rapid-fire banality of your workplace drama and gossip–Diana is a slut, AND she sounds lazy, yes, you’re right – has meaning only to you. Have you checked if your friend across the table is still breathing? Peter and Ross and Justine should not attack each other, and blame is a byproduct of working with folks who believe “it’s not their job”, whatever it is. Georgia needs a plumber and Henry will not be a good presenter if he can’t come to work sober. That’s a lot of other people’s business you’ve got your snout wedged into. And, now, because you were never taught to properly modulate your voice, everyone is involved.
Even invisible strangers like me.
But, you caffeinated siren of gossip and shrill shrewing, thank you for reminding me why I love a non-office workplace.
Thank you from the bottom of my coffee cup.
the transitional girlfriend of the calendar.
Not like the other months. Her personality a mix of closing a door and lighting a bonfire; bittersweet memory and new imaginings. You meet her and instantly you’re comfortable–she’s a bit of extended December.
She is the palate cleanser, the slate-cleaner
she looks the other way and has regard for but no connection to your past. January only looks forward with you.
Halfway through you’re cozy, in love, comfortable hibernating from the rest of the year. You picture yourself being together another 11 and a half months.
When the birds start singing their wake-up call outside the window in those last few days, you realize it’s not forever. You need more. More than January can offer, and you miss the predictable familiarity of other months.
Like any bridge relationship, she helps us out of the used, the stale,
the old and into the full-of-potential, bold new year.
As much as you are grateful for her constancy and loyalty
you leave her
more turbulent, less kind and
marginally forgiving time. A time you already know.
with open arms
to welcome you back to the calendar.
Eventually, January will do what she does best: begin anew.
If you asked me five years ago, on a regular Saturday morning such as this, anything having to do with dating or coupling (outside of business or creatively contributing to something) or, God forbid, Love and such, I would have quickly changed the subject to you, your life and goings–on; or my daughter or our home or my employment (or my employer) or a movie we should see at the Cinema Arts Center (because likely, I had already seen it, alone, and will always tell someone when something is really worth the price of the ticket.)
What we would *not* have talked about was
“r e l a t i o n s h i p.”
Strung out letter-by-letter because after divorce – those of us once-married (remove the ‘i’ and you’re “marred”, if you didn’t already notice) are somewhat loathe to jump back into the dating pool, let alone broach the subject at all. So, we literally d r a g it out (or avoid the word and idea altogether.)
Five years ago, single-mothering my then-14-and three-quarter-year old offspring, in a too-big (and cold) old house with indoor/outdoor cats and a puppy with the worst case of PTSD – ever – we would NOT have talked about Match.com or Plentyoffish or speed-dating or blind dates or group dinners or meetup.com or meeting someone in church or taking a class or doing another show or volunteering (I was already doing that) or how involving myself with yet another oddball-people-project adult male who needed more help and more ego-massage than anyone in their right mind would ever take on would be really stupid (but oh so familiar. And easy.) I would have to be NUTS to get involved with anyone again – be they near or hundreds of miles away. I was done and comfortable knowing I would be my nephew’s ‘crazy Ant Jaye’ until the title aged-out as he aged-up.
And, yet…here we are.
We do not use the word “r e l a t i o n s h i p”. We use “partnership”.
We do not talk about getting married, though people who don’t know us refer to the other partner as “your wife” and “your husband”. It’s funny.
We do not cling to each other the way we might have, earlier, younger, when one might believe the more time you have together the better things get and nothing could possibly go wrong if you lost yourself in another person losing themselves, too.
We do not lose any part of our Self from being part of something together. And that is the very biggest treasure: I get to be me, He gets to be He, and we get to be we, how ever we see fit.
Oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you.
And how delighted I was to have that realization strike, just about five years ago, dead center in my chest, when meeting you for the first time, as adults, in the middle of Penn Station in the middle of New York City in the middle of our lives. It was very different than when we met, briefly, at 13 and 15; fish in the pond.
Hello, it’s you.
Happy Five, this Friday.
27 January 2018
This passage was read at my wedding. Yet, it holds only the significance of being part of a tender, beloved children’s story. A story not familiar to me until I needed something warm, intelligent and well-written about real love — because *what in the world did I know about that?!* — at the time, early October 1995, I knew very little. A male, life-long friend suggested the passage and I chose it without knowing the entire story.
Months after I left wasband (was-my-husband eight years), I sat on the thinly carpeted floor of the local Barnes & Noble one night and read, finally, the whole little book. (In a nutshell, it’s about a toy bunny who longs to be a real bunny.) At the time of my marriage, the ‘be real’ aspect spoke directly to the disenfranchised, pained part of my heart; the part that felt “un-real” for reasons I would only fully understand a few years later when my baby made herself known. Before her, I went through life constantly afraid someone would discover I was a knock-off, a poor substitute for the real thing: not real.
To cultivate and nurture Love in whatever forms it lives is part of the definition of parenting, I think. Maybe it is also an important element of everything else we hold close and important. Yes, I believe it is.
I still seek real love but no longer doubt my real’ness or place in the world. I am willing to love the right partner and have every last strand of my red-silvering hair loved off by the right heart.
This final week of 2017 I have unplugged from Facebook to the extent that I am, in three day’s time, remarkably happier and more unburdened than I have been in five years. Maybe more. The planet continues to have hope and disaster hand-in-hand, but I don’t have to read or know about every single detail worldwide, nor do I feel the overwhelm of responsibility and obligation that “social” media, literally, feeds. I am fed up with “social” media, which becomes more and more anti-social and numbing every day. I am better, more useful, in real life with real people and immediate, local problems to salve and solve. Not that I am any great heroine, but I do my best work right here: at home.
The Messenger still pings but now I take comfortable time responding, not jumping to reply as though every message were on fire and my life depended upon immediacy. It’s nice. It’s at MY pace and convenience. And, it’s real.
Running through the months, April stands out as when we purchased our Together home after almost four years of long-distance partnering and challenges inherent in such an endeavor. I must have been crazy, frankly. So must have he. And yet, our crazy (and weird) seems to get along with the other’s and that doesn’t happen every day. In August, the book cover became a reality and in October, the finished product was in-hand. I am still beaming and high on gratitude. More projects are in the pipeline. I can feel them approaching and am very excited for the opportunities to grow and show my work.
Two years ago this evening, I penned the following and am grateful for a brain that thought to save the words. Now seems a good time to share.
Happy and Healthy New Year to you and yours. Thanks for reading along. ox
31 December 2015
Long silver hair streaked with the last moonlight
she gently steps from her celestial footwear
Barefoot she exhales and lets her heavy
calendared gown 364 days
ago as light as gossamer
fall around strong tired feet
Quietly peaceful soul and countenance wise
she walks waters
rhythm to the turning of the ancient wheel
A shooting star, one hundred million simultaneous wishes
she dips beneath the surface one final time
Can you hear – off in the distance? Small but mighty
bold uninhibited wail the wordless arrival of baby New Year
Pick her up, nurture her well
Love her wide full and without reservation
Go big this year…and leave your own dressing at the shore in a year.