Resolution of Ad Nauseam

I woke to a text from MadEye this morning.

“Sorry about my outburst last night. I was getting really irritated with the situation. I was also really embarrassed that we brought [my boyfriend] into the rpg* and it developed so fast. I couldn’t believe he was acting that way and it reminded me so much of [The Rat King of the Underworld] would get argumentative over stupid semantics. I shouldn’t have let it myself  get so bothered by it but it really did. I felt cowed and cornered.”

*rpg stands for role playing game.

 

I responded:

“I’m sorry about last night too. I didn’t mean to provoke you. To be honest, I was enjoying hashing out the semantics of what happened. I understand that it was a trigger for you, and been more empathetic.
I thought what [your boyfriend] did was kind of funny (albeit dumb!) because it was kind of refreshing. However, I also thought it was unfair of him to start off so hostile.
Y’know how I always say he is terrible at reading situations? This was DEFINITELY one of those times! Like, my [husband] tried to lead him, and Andy Parenthesis and I tried too, and he was completely ignoring all the signs!!!!”

Anyway, I was probably overreacting last night, and it’s not worth my friendship with MadEye to beat this dead horse.

I was just really frustrated and needed a place to vent.

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Ad Nauseam

My stomach is in knots right now. I can’t tell if it’s the coffee (more like 2 extra larges) from this morning or if it’s because I’m so frustrated.

We had a game night tonight. My husband ran a story for my friend Andy Parenthesis, MadEyeWe  and I. We were role playing, and this was the first night MadEye brought her boyfriend. He created his character, and in the first minute of the game decides he’s going to kick in the door to the room that we’re all standing in. Due to some previous encounters in the game (that he wasn’t around for), our characters drew guns. We were trying to talk to the guy but he wouldn’t answer us. (As the players, it was really annoying because realistically he created his character to be part of our group and it felt like he wasn’t making any effort.)

He, as his character decides to call the cops and run away. Logically (I thought) we followed him to make sure his character wasn’t trying to kill us and to make sure the cops didn’t become involved. (It’s a long and annoying process that wastes a lot of the game time and we wanted to avoid it.)

This led to a discussion between Andy Parenthesis and I, and my friend’s boyfriend. We kept talking about how logically if you hear voices in a room, you don’t just kick in a locked door without listening in first. (My husband told me that he originally planned for this character to stand outside the door and listen in to the conversation we were having, which would lead to him joining the group.)

We made every effort to try and make this a successful transition (of adding a new character to the group) and he just didn’t seem interested.

MadEye’s boyfriend kept insisting that his character was trying to scare the students; we’re all teachers at a private school for special and troubled children. (We joke that we work at Professor X’s school.)

It was so weird because he was very adamant about it being a totally logical thing to kick in a door. Anyway, we moved on in the story and a little while after we took a break. While my husband excused himself to go to the bathroom, we got into the discussion again.

This time, MadEye was getting very agitated.

“I don’t understand why we can’t just let this go.”

To be fair, we were discussing the semantics of what happened and getting louder about it, but I didn’t think anyone was mad. I certainly wasn’t. Honestly, I thought kicking in the door added a really fun chaotic element to the story (even though I thought it was dumb.)

MadEye was getting shrill about it and then proclaimed that all this fighting made her not even want to play anymore.

“Why?” I asked. I was incredibly annoyed.

“Because it reminds me of my ex-husband!”  She said. I think she was hoping that would be the end of it. She put her head down. (She really can’t handle confrontation.)

“So you’re going to avoid ALL conflict in your life because it reminds you of your ex?”

“No.”

At this point, Andy Parenthesis put his hand on my arm to alleviate the tension. But I was really mad. I hate that we were discussing the semantics of a situation, but because it sounded like we were fighting, we had to stop.

It makes me mad that I have to stifle myself.

It makes me mad to think you can go through life without confrontation. And this wasn’t even what I would consider a fight!

It’s maddening to be in (what I thought of) as the resolution stage of a discussion and have MadEye getting so upset that I was compelled to ask her why she was taking it so personally.

When the night was done and they left, Andy Parenthesis and I were going over what had happened, and he thinks it’s because MadEye has spent the last 10 years in a relationship with someone that we all hated. He thinks it really upset her tonight because she’s afraid that we might think the same of her new boyfriend.

Which is SO NOT the case. He’s a really nice guy. Very quirky, and a little boring, but overall, a genuinely nice guy.

I understand that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship for the better part of the last 10 years. I understand that conflict (of absolutely any kind) is a huge trigger for her. I understand that she is a terrible communicator.

I also think it’s unrealistic to be able to avoid any conflict by ignoring it. It’s also not healthy. Like, wake up and smell the roses, kid. You can’t ignore shit and hope it goes away. You’ve done that your whole life and look where it’s gotten you. You actually have to deal with stuff that’s going to make you uncomfortable, and that’s not a bad thing. 

I guess, for me, processing things (situations, events etc.) means discussing it ad nauseam. I love to hash it out, look at it from all angles. Write about it. Talk about it with lots of people.

In this case, discussing why MadEye’s boyfriend would immediately kick in a door and what the logical progression should/would/could have been.

I’m mad because in the middle of my process, her RIDICULOUS unrealistic standards of conflict, and inability to deal with it, kiboshed the entire conversation (though she could argue we were having an argument, but she wouldn’t have the nerve.) And I know that’s not fair of me. I’m just not sure how to be empathetic when I’m this upset.

To me, it seemed like she was the only one who was truly upset by the discussion/heated debate we were having. The rest of us were just trying to make sense of the situation.

I feel like this isn’t going to be just a one-time thing. Her boyfriend likes to play the chaos card, and shake things up. I have the feeling he’s going to pull some dumb moves throughout the rest of the chronicle that we play. And I’m okay with that, as long as I can discuss the reasoning behind why he might do something so stupid as kick in a door (without being shut down in the middle of the conversation.)

I don’t want to have to stifle myself.  I want to have gregarious conversations, hell, even arguments, without it meaning the world is coming to an end. Because it’s not.

It makes life more interesting. It especially makes our game night more interesting!

 

 

Love

I love love.

I am the eternal optimist.

I love the pain of unrequited love. The agony of being alone. Not that I know loneliness now the way I used to. But I still feel it. That fear that sits in the back of your mind, and haunts you when you think things are going well. But then there’s love. That safe haven where even the worst fear goes to die. (Or at least into a deep coma.)

I love first love.

A friend was over a few nights ago and we were talking about love. How I fell in love. How she fell in love. I love first-love stories. They’re so tender and romantic. The supple overtures that lead to the first kiss. The first touch. Such a delicate caress.

All of it leading to that moment when your body finally shudders with overwhelming love.

Is there anything more beautiful?

Relationshit: The Alcoholic

This is part two of a perspective piece that my best friend over at boobybabam asked me to write on how I saw her relationship. If you want to read the first part, you can find it here.

There are two things I remember vividly from visiting my best friend in the hospital after she had her baby.  First, we went to visit her as a family, the 4 of us. I made sure to bring her a large container of food because I remember how hungry I felt while my milk was coming in. The appetite is a voracious beast that can hardly be sated.

When we arrived, her husband and his father were there. His dad was holding the baby. All three of them surrounding a new born baby and not a smile between them. It was much the same as when they found out they were pregnant; somber and unnerving. I smiled, said hello, and handed my friend the container of food.

“You’ll be ravenous when your milk comes in, I made sure to bring you this.”

She thanked me for the food, and then she handed the container to her husband and told him to take it home so he could eat it later.

“What will you eat?” I asked her, incredulously.

“I’m not hungry right now.”

“I’m telling you though, you’ll be hungry later.”

“It’s alright, he can have it.”

I don’t get offended by much, but this felt like a right slap in the face. I made that food for her, because she just gave birth and was laid up in a hospital bed, and she had the audacity to hand it over to him because he had been whining to her about how hungry he was.

I also vividly remember  just afterward, when his dad got up to leave, he wanted to get a ride home with him. (They didn’t own a car, and relied on us and his father to get around.) He sat on the bed and the two of them had a long, weird, mumbling conversation about how she wanted him to stay but he wanted to leave and go home and eat. As me and my family stood there in the tiny hospital room watching on awkwardly. Her husband kept saying how uncomfortable he was in the room. That’s right, as my friend had just given birth, had her insides pulled out and a baby removed, and had to stay in a dark hospital room with the windows covered up because they were doing renovations, he was uncomfortable and didn’t want to stick around. It was a lot of him whining, and a lot of her placating him and begging him not to leave, but in the end, he took the food I had made for her, and he and his father left. That would be the last time he visited her in the hospital.

Later she told me how much she regretted sending him home with the food because later that night she was starving and there was nothing open at the hospital. When she told me that I was so mad. It was for this very reason that I had brought her the damn food!

The second thing I remember about this time was how often my friend was hospitalized with mastitis. Within a week of getting home, she was hospitalized again. She had left the baby at home with her husband. She called me and told me how tender and full her breasts were. I offered to bring her husband and daughter to the hospital.

She called him and asked him to get ready so that I could come and pick them up. She called me back to let me know he would be ready. At this point, my daughter was 9 months old and I had her with me. I went to their house and rang the door bell. There was no answer. I rang several times. It wasn’t until I was turning to leave that her husband finally answered the door. He was groggy and pulling ear plugs out of his ears. He had been asleep.

“Aren’t you ready to go?”

“No, I’m not going to go.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not feeling well. I’m tired.”

What a fucking asshole. Fine.

“Well, is the baby ready at least? Do you have her diaper bag ready?”

“Uh, no. I don’t know what she needs.”

Are you fucking kidding me? What do you think a baby needs? 

I went into the house and assembled a diaper bag for the baby and then brought her out to the car. All I could think of was what a fucking selfish moron.

I got to the hospital, and I had to carry one of the babies in a car seat, both diaper bags, the other baby in the stroller, and my purse. It was just ridiculous. Thankfully someone was there to help me carry in the baby in the car seat. I got to my friend’s room and I was pissed. I told her what happened and she was upset. It turns out he hadn’t even been to visit her, and it wasn’t likely that he would.

I hate to think of what would have happened to her nursing relationship if I hadn’t been there to bring her the baby. Her husband certainly didn’t give a shit.

Anyway, this was only one small piece of the larger hole. She spent most of her maternity leave at my place. We cooked together a lot, and spent a lot of time hanging out. It was great. The year went by and then my friend went back to work.

Things in her relationship were the same, or worse. It was at this point that I was really pushing her to leave him. I couldn’t fathom why or how she could stay in that situation. At one point she called and asked me to pick her up because they had gotten into a huge fight. It was late at night and my husband and I were in the middle of a movie. I dropped everything to pick her up, thinking this was the end.

We stayed up late talking about the fight, how unhappy she was, we talked about how maybe now was the time to finally leave.

The next day she went back to him.  I wanted to scream.

Over the next few years I really struggled with my relationship with her. I could never understand why (and still don’t to this day) she stayed as long as she did. I thought she was weak and disgusting for letting herself stay in a situation that was draining all her energy, that was draining her soul. I was so mad at her for not taking a stand in her own life. Every question I asked her resulted with an “I don’t know” answer. They never had sex, and nothing ever changed, she never changed. I talked about this over and over with my husband, until he finally told me that I was no better than her because I didn’t do anything about it. He said I needed to make a choice: stop being her friend, or be her friend and stop talking about her situation.

I very nearly ended our friendship over it. What stopped me? Hope. I had hope that she might still grow as a person. I had hope that maybe somewhere, deep, deep, deep down she might have some sense of self-preservation. Also, I loved her. She’s my best friend, and I didn’t think it was fair of me to give up on her.

It wasn’t long after this that my friend called me and told me that she found her husband passed out on the floor of the laundry room one morning. She had gone downstairs to see why he hadn’t come up to bed. She told me that his arm was bent at an awkward angle and she was terrified he had broken it. It turns out he had just been really drunk and passed out.

I think she knew he was an alcoholic long before she was ever able to admit it out loud to me.

They went to therapy a couple of times to try and fix things, but I never understood why. It usually happened  when she was at her wits end and on the brink of leaving him. He would go, put in some effort for a week or two, then they would fall back into the same pattern of misery. I always wondered what they were trying to save. I mean, shouldn’t there be something there to start with? Mutual love and respect? Something good to work from? What was ever good? In all the years I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her truly happy. When she tells me about how he proposed, and their wedding it makes me cringe. He proposed in her car, outside his dad’s apartment after a coughing fit.

“Ugh, before I die, will you marry me?”

Gross. Not to mention, she told me that he only proposed to her because she was going to college the next month and didn’t want her to meet someone else when she was there. It was the same with the way he told her that he loved her. They were at the mall and my husband and his friends were there. They stopped by and introduced themselves and then carried on their way.

“I love you.” He told her,  jealously.

Then she planned her wedding while working three jobs and going to school full-time and all he had to do was show up. He even told me once, in one of our rare conversations, that he put the ring on her finger so his job was done.

Honest to goodness, who the fuck is this guy? He even told me that he didn’t want to change, ever, and he didn’t want to try and be a better person because then he wouldn’t be himself. This guy was seriously unbelievable, and to top it off, becoming an alcoholic.

It wasn’t until very recently though, that she told me about the wine she used to have in her basement and how it had disappeared. When we first met, she worked at a wine store, and she had cases of wine. I guess at some point she went to get a nice bottle she had put aside and found that all her wine was gone. He drank all her wine.  At the time she was more upset that he hadn’t asked than she was about it all being gone. The hardest part for me is that she didn’t even notice. How do you not notice that your partner is (becoming?) an alcoholic?

This is indicative of her whole life, really. She lives with her head in the sand, willfully oblivious to all the signs going on around her. Then she’s surprised when something happens, like it happened out of nowhere. I am happy to say though, that since she made the original decision to leave, she’s grown tremendously as a person. She’s really opened up to self reflection and is learning about herself in ways I never thought she could. I’m so proud of her.

Anyway, a year or so ago, my best friend and her husband got into a fight about his drinking and she told him to leave. I was so surprised that she did it, if only she could have the resolve to stick with the decision! Alas, it was not to be. He promised to go to AA, therapy, whatever it took. She believed him (again) and she let him move back in.

On the day she left, my husband and I had been arguing a bit, and had just talked things out. We were walking in the park and enjoying the nice day when I got a text from her. (You can read the specifics of it over at her blog here.)

She told me she had left her house. Then specified she had fled in terror of her life. I told her to come to our place, and we had a bed available for her and her daughter.

I won’t get into the specifics of what happened, as she has it detailed on her blog, but she asked what I thought about the whole thing.

I was relieved when she showed up at the park. The distressed look on her face giving way to sobs as she walked up and hugged me harder than she ever has before. I’ve rarely seen her cry, and for her to be sobbing in my embrace was nothing short of a miracle. It must have been really bad for her to be crying. I told her she was more than welcome to spend the night, and for as long as she needed at our place. My worst fear was that she would go back. How she could even think of going back was beyond me. I think part of her would have, too, if the entire house hadn’t been in ruins.

And over the following weeks I watched her go through a separation. I must admit, even though I have wanted her to leave him for years, it was still a harrowing experience. She took me to the house after he destroyed it, and showed me the carnage. It was overwhelming and disgusting. Everything that she owned in that house had been smashed.

The worst part was the bedroom. I don’t even understand the kind of strength and rage it would have taken to destroy a good quality wooden bed the way he did. The closet doors were ripped off the tracks and full of holes from either punching or from drawer-throwing.

I helped her clean up the mess, his fucking mess, after weeks of asking him to do it. He would claim, “it’s too hard for me to be there, I feel too guilty.” As you should, asshole. At the beginning, when she would speak to him on the phone, she still sounded like she was placating him; always placating him. My husband told me that had perfected the art of complacently placating him while simultaneously sounding like she doesn’t give a shit. I suppose she’s had years to perfect it.

She asked me one day if I was happy that she was getting divorced. How do you answer a question like that? I mean, yes I am completely happy that she has dropped his sorry drunken ass and will be able to move on to better pastures. But watching her go through it, watching the way he takes advantage of her, talks so disrespectfully to her,  drains their bank account so she can’t pay the bills, is very hard. He calls her and tells her that he never wants to see her or their daughter again. Then turns around and gets upset if they don’t call him for their daughter to say goodnight. The worst part is hearing him accuse her of being a whore. He demands to know who she’s been seeing, accuses her of having seen someone on the side for years. Personally, I believe he’s undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, but I’m not a doctor. He makes me sick.

He told her that he was going to go to rehab for her. She explained to him that they were no longer together and that he should be doing it for himself, or if for no other reason than their daughter. He said no, because she was his whole world. He was also very unimpressed that the lady at the rehab center told him that he may suffer withdrawal symptoms that would be similar to the flu.

“Fuck that, I’m not getting sick. I’m just going to grab myself some drinks before I go in there.”

Then what is the fucking point? He has no friends, and the only other person who can stand his company is their daughter. I even wonder how his dad can stand living with him.

I can’t believe my friend put up with it for so long. His tirade of abuse and slurs directed at her is fucking disgusting. I wouldn’t even treat my worst enemy with the enmity that he has for her.

“You’ve just been waiting for a chance to leave me!” Yeah, because she needed to wait until you got drunk and destroyed the house before she left. If she was seeing someone, she could have left much earlier. That’s the part that scares me the most; If he hadn’t trashed the house and instilled the fear of God in her, how much longer would she have stayed? I have no doubt that she would still be with him. She’s the kind of person that hates change so much that it would take a huge, metaphorical slap to the psyche, (drunk husband trashing the house!) something that would override all her carefully erected barriers of denial to knock some sense into her.

However, I’ve also watched her personal growth through this experience and I’m so proud of her. She’s not afraid to stand up to him anymore, and she’s been more assertive with him. It’s heartening. She’s getting to know herself, confronting herself on a base level and discovering all the nuances of why she lives a life of denial and passivity.

I’m excited for what the future holds for her. She gets to start from scratch, rebuild herself into the better person she wants to be, and rebuild her life. I’m excited for this new phase of her life, and although I know she’s desperately afraid, I have confidence in her and her ability to grow as a person. I’m glad I’m her friend, and I’m glad I get to be right by her side while she goes through this terrible yet exciting experience. I’ll be there to hold her hand every step of the way and I hope she knows that.

I love you, Friend.

Falling, Falling

It’s finally happening, after all these years. She’s finally getting a divorce. My best friend is finally leaving her pathetic excuse for a husband and I couldn’t be happier for her.

I don’t generally think that divorce is something to celebrate, and while I don’t believe I’m celebrating, I’m so glad for that she’s finally free. Watching her go through it over these last few weeks, though, has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch.

I met her a month after she had been married. My husband, who had known her since high school introduced us when he brought me to her house to meet her. She was bright and alive and I loved her immediately. I think I recognized a kindred spirit, someone like me, who just wanted to have a fun time. She took me to the basement of the new house to show off her wine collection and offered me a couple of bottles. This was in August. I didn’t see her again until December where she showed up at the group Christmas party wearing a gorgeous, long, black dress with matching black shawl.

I remember how bright her eyes were, how happy she looked. We had been chatting for a bit, and while I don’t remember the context, I will never forget the next part of the conversation.

“You know what would be fun?”

“What?” She asked.

“If you walked into your room wearing only that shawl to seduce your husband.”

Normally, I would have expected a laugh, a giggle, a blush, or something. I was never prepared for her response.

“Been there, done that, he wasn’t interested.”

I didn’t understand. I made her explain it to me because I couldn’t wrap my mind around this concept. Not only had she already tried, unsuccessfully to seduce him, but she eventually revealed that they hadn’t had sex in months. They had been married in August!

A flood of emotions warred in me, but foremost among them was pity. How could a man, her husband, not find this woman sexy? What was his problem?

In the successive years, there were all sorts of weird stuff that went on with my best friend and her husband. It was weird to me because it was so far outside of normal. They spent the first year of their marriage sleeping in single beds on opposite sides of the room. She had been angry with him and moved her bed to the other side of the room. All I could think was, why don’t you have a proper bed? Newly weds shouldn’t sleep with a yawning crack between them.

My husband and I love throwing Halloween parties, and one year we invited her, and she showed up wearing a trench coat. When she opened it up, she was only wearing lingerie! She looked so incredible. I couldn’t believe how sexy she was. She was wearing a black bra, with matching black lace panties, with a garter belt with hose and high heels. I asked her what her husband thought of the costume and she laughed and said it didn’t matter because he would never know she wore it.

This surprised me. This sort of thing still surprises me. How can people keep secrets like this from their partner?

Another time, I decided to invite them both over for dinner. I wanted a chance to talk to him, to try and understand him better because I knew how unhappy my friend was, but I wondered if he knew. I remember many times encouraging her to talk to him, to let him know how unhappy she was.  I guess she tried but things never went anywhere.

That night at dinner, I asked him all sorts of questions and we had a really great conversation. He seemed like a nice guy, if a little weird. I found him incredibly opinionated, but I liked that he wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind. It wasn’t until later, after dinner, when we retired to the basement to watch a little television that I got the shock of my life.

We had been discussing sex (an inevitable conversation with me!), and the subject of toys and masturbating had come up. He told me, flat out, that if he ever found out his wife was using a sex toy, he would divorce her. I was shocked and appalled. I just looked over at my friend and she shrugged. He said it was akin to cheating and that he would never forgive her if she did it. He also said that he didn’t masturbate because he didn’t need to, and if he did, it would feel like cheating.

Over the next few years, that bright spark that I had originally recognized in my friend was dimming. She and her husband weren’t having sex, she was desperately unhappy, and she spent all her free time over at our place. Not that I was complaining, I had my best friend. I made her talk to me about her life, her husband, why she was so unhappy. She told me that they almost never had sex, they barely spoke to each other.  She told me that he was a slob, and that he never did anything around the house. At first I tried to offer her advice on how to communicate with him, how to make things better. I don’t know if she ever did, or when she did, he wasn’t very receptive. It made me sick. How could anyone live like this? How could she be so miserable with this man and still go home to him every night?

Eventually though, I started asking her why she didn’t just leave him. I really pushed her on this. For years I’ve pushed her to leave him. In hindsight, though, it wasn’t my place. It was a decision she would have to make for herself, it wasn’t a decision I could make for her. I tried to encourage her to make a new life for herself so she could be happy. All I wanted was to see  my best friend finally happy. I just couldn’t wrap my head around this life of misery that she insisted on living.

Then she let me know that she and her husband were going to buy a house.

I think I gagged. Why? Why would anyone make this unhappiness more permanent? If she wouldn’t leave him before, she sure as hell wasn’t going to leave now. And I was obsessed with the whole situation. She was my best friend and all I could see was the sadness in her eyes, in her face. Every story she told me about what was going on was between them made me sick. How could anyone continue to live like this? 

One night, my husband and I had some people over. There were lots of drinks and shenanigans, and it was a really great night. My best friend was there, and I introduced to her another friend of mine in the hopes that something might happen between them. He was handsome and I knew from personal experience that he was a great lover. I was hoping that if she could just see that there was something better, someone who actually found her attractive and sexy, maybe she might start to see that she could have something better. The next morning, she came upstairs and told me that she’d slept with him.

I was completely shocked me. Even though I set it up, I had never admitted that that had been my intention, and I wasn’t even sure she would actually do it.  It shocked me that she had done it, that she actually had the balls to to it. In my mind, her relationship with her husband was obviously over. I mean, if you’re going to step out and have sex with another man, clearly there is no relationship left. I was so excited at the prospect that this was the end of her terrible relationship. I mean, breaking up is never easy, and celebrating the end of a relationship isn’t very nice. However, maybe now she would find the courage to leave her husband, to live a bigger, bolder life where she could have the intimacy that she so obviously craved. She could find a partner with whom she could communicate. I would finally see her happy.

We spent the day talking about what it was like to sleep with another man, hanging over and hanging out.  It was a good day. Later that night though, she received a phone call from her husband. She started talking numbers. She told him to call the lady.

What was going on?

She hung up.

“The offer for the house went through.”

“What do you mean?”

“We just bought a house.”

I didn’t even know what to say. Usually this is one of the happiest moments in a couple’s life. She didn’t even look excited. How could she do it? How could she buy a house with this emotionally crippled man? She slept with another man the night before and then today she bought a house with her husband.

I couldn’t understand. As someone who lives by my emotions, if I was as unhappy as she was, I could never had stayed. I couldn’t grasp what her driving motivation was. I remember once, she told me that she felt like if she got a divorce she would feel like a failure. I don’t think she understood that living in a shitty relationship constituted a failure.

I was so sad for her. My heart broke to think that she had just set herself up for years more misery. It also made me angry. She completely disregarded all advice I’d given her (unsolicited, I might add), she refused to do anything, refused to find a way to change her situation.

Fast forward a couple of years, I had just given birth to our first daughter together (my second child). My best friend was still in her shitty situation, and I lamented that she would live like that forever. It made me so sad for her, but I knew I had to stop bringing it up, otherwise I’d risk losing her as a friend. Then I got a phone call from her saying that she might be pregnant. Oh god, why?

“Did you take a test?”

“Yes, but the line isn’t very dark, like, it’s barely there.”

“If there is any line there, you’re pregnant.”

“No. I’ll send you a picture so you can see.”

I knew that she wanted to be pregnant, I knew that she and her husband had spoken of having children, but I don’t think she realized what that meant. She sent me a text of the pregnancy test, which was a very clear POSITIVE. I called her back.

“Congratulations, you’re pregnant.”

“No I’m not. The line is barely showing up.”

“The line is there, it means you’re pregnant.”

She asked me if I could take her to the clinic so she could have it confirmed by the doctor, and I told her of course I would. The next day I met her and her husband at the clinic. There was nary a full smile between them. They honestly looked like they had just been told she was having a miscarriage. There was no excitement, no smiles, no happiness. It was so weird. They hopped in the car and I dropped her husband off at his work.

“So? Are you excited?” I tried to coax something out of her, any reaction besides the dead-pan look on her face.

She just shrugged. “I don’t know.”

I wanted to slap her across the face to illicit any kind of reaction.

“Don’t you think you should call your mom?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

Listening to that conversation made me want to cry. My friend didn’t sound happy, she sounded like she was telling her mom about a funeral she was going to attend.

“Just, don’t make a big deal out of it please…no, I just don’t want everyone calling me to congratulate me….I know, but don’t tell anyone at your work, please.”

That night when I told my husband that she was pregnant, he just looked at me (he shared the same feelings as I did about my best friend and her relationship as we had discussed it often) and said, “well there’s the final nail in her coffin.” I agreed.

I think my best friend and I have completely different memories of her pregnancy. I remember her being terrified and frightened. I mean, a lot of first-time moms are, but this seemed…more. She didn’t seem very happy for most of the pregnancy, but when you ask her about it, she remembers it completely differently. She remembers being excited. If she was, she certainly never showed it.

During her pregnancy, she met up with an old friend of hers (the maid of honour from her wedding) who she hadn’t seen since her wedding. When my best friend confessed to her that she was afraid and unsure about being a parent, the girl told my best friend that she should have an abortion, and that she should never have married her husband in the first place. My best friend was shocked, and never spoke to the girl again. She was so angry, but I couldn’t help but agree with her friend. And I had told her as much (minus the abortion part).

I knew she would never have had an abortion, and I would never even dream of counseling her to do it. It’s just the way she talked about her pregnancy I couldn’t help but wonder why did you get pregnant in the first place?

I suppose that’s neither here nor there because now she has a beautiful 5-year old girl who could be called Snow White with her fair complexion, and dark hair.

It was a hard labour that resulted in an emergency C-section, and her husband abandoned her at the hospital, leaving her all alone with a new born. It was disgusting. There were a lot of things that he’s done over the years that absolutely disgust me. That make me want to rail and scream and shake the shit out of my best friend until maybe some sliver of sense might creep into her mind.

I think I got bogged down in the details with this post, but it feels good to get it all out. This is the first part, but there’s 5 more years to go, of our friendship and her relationship.

She asked me to write this for my perspective, I sure hope she doesn’t regret it after reading it!

I Dream of Fire

It was a hot night, the heat from the day clinging to the night air while the wind breezes through the house. The oscillating fan barely cooling the heat from my skin. 

Your charisma precedes your physical presence as you enter the room, and you look too good to be true. The khaki pants, the plaid shirt, the scruffy beard growth that is so dark it’s nearly black. It outlines the perfection of your chiseled face. 

The last seat left is right beside me and I can feel the heat emanating from your body as you sit next to me. I wonder how a man can be so thin, yet so strong. You have working man’s arms, thick with muscle. Your hands are calloused, made for working with wood, made for loving tenderness. 

I notice there is a little more silver and grey in your hair than there was. Your hair is soft and lustrous. How intimate a caress of me to reach my hands out and slip my fingers into that soft, dark hair. I want to feel the softness of it, smell the perfumed wash of it. *No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this.

I want to reach out and stroke the soft, tanned skin of the back of your arm, to see what it feels like. Would it leave goosebumps along your arm? Would the hair raise up on the back of your skin?

I want to take off the glasses that rest on that perfectly sculpted nose and stare into your eyes.I wonder, I dream at what I would see there. Would I see that this could never be? That we’re both married, and you to a wife who I really like? That this would ruin everything? You would never be amenable to this, nor would I ever put either of us in that position.  You’re too good. Too pure. Too sweet. Too…much. 

But in the meantime, I can still imagine what it would be like to press my tender lips to your rough, grizzled face. It would be tentative, yielding and completely impossible. 

I don’t even yearn for this, I just picture it in my mind. I imagine how sweet it could be. Just enough to be against the rules, but not enough to hurt anyone. At least that’s what I tell myself. 

Just the yearnings of a soul for a little more tenderness, a little more caressing. A taste of the forbidden; the tender hands of a carpenter singeing my skin with delicate strokes. 

I leave the house feeling foolish. The wild imaginings of a silly girl. Because that’s what I am, a girl at heart.

The night is hot, but the wind is cool as it blows fitfully through the rustling trees. The moon is full in the sky, lending an element of lonely creepiness to the evening. It’s the perfect way to finish the night.

Summer is almost over, I can feel it in the wind. 

 

 

*Lyrics from Dessert Rose by Sting

Erhard

Losing someone close to you hurts. It hurts so bad that sometimes you wonder if it might just be easier if you were dead so you wouldn’t have to feel so much pain and grief. It gets easier to wake up as the long days go by, but they’re always with you.

Losing someone that you weren’t close to, someone who you knew was a wonderful person that affected your life, losing them is hard too. It still affects you. The wound is deep because you wish you’d known them better, wished you could have spoken with them more often. The pain lies mostly in regrets. Why didn’t we keep in touch more often? I wish I could have let him know how much his teachings helped me, how much they meant to me. 

I lost someone. He wasn’t close to me, but I would confidently call him my friend. When I saw him in the spring, when I was camping with my daughter, he hugged me like we were best friends. He gave a great hug. His eyes always sparkled with the joy of being alive. I’ve only ever seen him at Frontenac Park, in fact, he was the one who taught me how to winter camp. He was quirky and sweet, and I feel like even though I had only met him a couple of times, this would be a friendship that would be ever-lasting. I adored his accent. I found it astonishing (and hilarious!) that he insisted on carrying some of the heaviest, army-surplus camping equipment because he felt that it was better made, and sturdier (also heavier!) than the flimsy stuff they make these days. I am a better person for having known him.

My heart goes out to the people that knew and loved him; cherished him. Especially to the friend that was with him when he drowned. I can’t imagine the survivor’s guilt he must feel.  I can only imagine how I would feel in his place. I hear he’s taking it hard and my heart aches for him. I wish I could make it better for him, but I don’t know how. I’m a virtual stranger to him, just one of the many people he’s taken out to the bush and taught how to winter camp. I wish him all the best, and I hope he’s not too hard on himself. But he will be, as men are.

Erhard. Don. Faye. These people taught me all the things I would need to know to keep myself warm and safe while winter camping. They taught me how to have fun out in the bush. They taught me that you’re not a true Canadian until you’ve done it in a canoe.

Now I’m a true Canadian and the world seems a little less bright with his absence. How do you move on from something like this? How do you continue doing the thing you loved, when you did it with the person who’s now gone?

My thoughts are with the people who were closest to him. Faye, Don, Jerome. His kids. I wish I could just hug them all and assuage their aching hearts. Ease some of the burden of their loss. And I will. There’s going to be a celebration for him, which I think is just so beautiful. What a wonderful way to honor the life of a dear friend than to hold a celebration in honor of the adventurous life they lived. I will bring wine and keep the drinks full to the brim, until the tears of grief become tears of laughter.

It hurts to know that when I go back to Frontenac for a camping adventure, he won’t be there to meet up with. It’s probably selfish of me to think this way, because I barely knew him. But I’ve never met a kinder, more gentle soul than Erhard Frenzl.

Wherever he is, I bet he’s looking down on us from the best camping spot God ever created, smiling with that sparkle of mischievous joy in his eye.

 

A Wrinkled History

The old lady leans over to coo the baby. Her eyes are bright with the joy of coddling the infant. She is old, and has a knotted old face with a large bulbous nose. Her hair is short but wild. It’s a wrinkled, sweet old face. Her smile makes her seem so much younger than she is. I love her immediately.

It makes me sad to see her too, though. The old and weak, banished to the flanks, culled from the herd. She is a beautiful woman and all I want to do is rush over to her and ask if I might have a picture with her sweet, weathered old face. The fear that she might think I’m making fun of her makes me sit in my seat, daring myself to walk over to her. I just can’t do it. Maybe I’m a coward.

The thought of getting older terrifies me because I’m so old already and I feel like I’ve barely lived. If I think about it too much it’s enough to make me gasp for air. Shivers run up and down my spine and suddenly I’m so sweaty.

Old ladies love babies. They smile and laugh at them, and touch their precious little hands as if they could hold on to that youth forever. I wonder if it’s because they know that death is just around the corner waiting to greet them. It’s a grim thought, and grimmer still because I know that one day I’ll wake up and I’ll be that old woman. I’ll be sitting in the mall enjoying a burger and I’ll lean over to the mother who’s too busy talking to her friend to notice that I’m there, and I’ll engage the baby and it will bring tears to my eyes to see such a sweet little bald-headed darling. The mother will notice me, and immediately think I’m a crazy old lady, but will indulgently answer when I ask about the baby’s age.

From across the mall, a 30-something year old mother will watch the situation play out, with her own darling son by her side, and it will bring tears to her eyes.

How can anyone stand the prospect of getting older? With age comes wisdom, but also regret. Mostly for a life not lived to its fullest. What a horrible thing to think, that if I died, I wouldn’t have lived as full a life as I could or should have.

I don’t want to get old. I don’t want to die a long, slow, aging, painful death. I don’t want to wake up every day and wonder about all the things I could have done differently to change the direction my life went. Fleeting thoughts now that I fear may grown into huge what-if’s when I’m old and senile.

I’m so happy with my life, my family, the little children that I created as if from thin air and physically brought into this world with blood, sweat, and tears. I love them fiercely, with great pride, and adulation. It’s a huge accomplishment, one that I am very grateful for.

What if, though? What if I had gone to Montreal instead of going to college, like I had originally planned? What if I had travled first, instead of having children? What if I had moved across the country when I had the chance? (Did I ever really have that chance, though, or was it just a fleeting wish?)

That’s why I love old people faces. I love the history etched into every wrinkle. It endears them to my heart, and it always makes me wonder, “how did you end up here, with a walker, eating an A&W burger at the mall?” Also, what have you seen? What have you experienced in your vast life? Did you love? Did you lose your heart? Have you seen wonderful and amazing things?  I always want to know!

Even though the thought of getting old terrifies me, I would love to know the history of every wrinkle in an old lady’s face, every old man’s grimace. I love them.

 

 

 

 

 

Buckskin

I dream of buckskin again. Soft, supple, leather smooth on my skin. The feeling of it enchants me. I imagine what it would be like to hunt the animal. The feeling of being a hunter, saying a prayer for the life of this majestic creature before I pull the trigger. Because in this time we use guns. Guns. I hate them, killing machines. The thought of killing for sport makes me sick. You would think with all the people who hunt deer there would be a huge availability of their hides. Instead they just let it go to the predators. Hunting for sport. What a waste.

I told my husband today that I wanted to get my hunting license. I don’t think he quite knew what to say.

When I hunt a deer I’ll use the whole animal. I’ll take the skin and use it to make moccasins and mittens. I’ll take the liver, the essence of the animal and I’ll revere it while I eat it. It will be pure and wild and I will take it into myself. I’ll feed my family for the winter with the meat. I will thank the animal for its life, for feeding me and my family.

I dream often of rubbing buckskin on my cheek. I close my eyes and feel the softness of it on my skin and it makes me so happy. I always dream of it in my hands, but never how it gets there. I’m in the field, in the forest, it’s quiet. The gun shot rings out loudly, startling birds, starting my soul in my chest.

But what am I supposed to do with a giant, dead deer in the middle of the woods? Often in my dreams I stand there, wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do next. Field dress it? I’ve never hunted before, but I feel like my soul knows hunting. I’ve done it before in a past life.

I was born in the wrong time. I should have been born as a Native American in pre-Columbus North America. That is where my heart and soul reside. In a time and place that no longer exists.

How many moccasins can I make with one deer  hide? How many mittens? How do I tan it? Who butchers it? How do I get this beast back to civilization?

This year I’m going hunting. I hope the Universe blesses me with a beautiful deer so I can feed my family. With a beautiful hide that to make moccasins with.

Burn To Ash

Dear Lover,

I miss your lips that spark against mine. I miss your ravenous heat, your hungry mouth. I want everything. I want your love so badly that I imagine it from all the men I meet in a day; the mechanic at work, the construction men who are rebuilding at the mall, the innocent smile exchanged with a stranger, the man who moved away.

I’m looking for my Henry Miller. The one who will love love and love fucking me and love writing. Or something. I’m looking to rediscover passion. Look me in the eyes when you fuck me, make love to me. Kiss my lips and hold me close. Ease into me so slowly and make me ache and beg for your hard dick, slick in my pussy.

I ache for a kiss that hasn’t happened and may never still. I ache for a passion that will consume and possess us both with it’s intensity. Where are you? When will I find you? I feel I may have missed the boat in this lifetime, but leave a message and maybe we’ll meet up in the next one.

I’m trapped in my own skin, a demon of lust scraping to get out of me. I want to fall into your eyes, into your heart,  to give you my everything. How can I live without you? Without what I need from you. How can we be so long apart when all I want is for you to wrap me in your tender arms and stare into my eyes and tell me all the secrets of our soul.

How can any person settle for less than an all consuming passion?  How could I have done this to myself? All I want is you, I need you.

I’ve made my bed and now I’m turning in my grave. I’m forced to endure this soul-searing passion all on my own and it’s burning me up from the inside. Would we handle this together? Do you burn as brightly for me as I do for you?

Whisper in my ear and tell me that you love me, that all you’ve ever wanted is me, that you’ve been waiting. Tell me you’ve been waiting to find me, waiting to push yourself into me, waiting for our love.

Hurry up and find me, before I burn to ash inside myself.

I’m waiting for you, Lover. Hurry, quick.