“Yeah! He was just a youngin’ here. Handsome. This couldn’ta been too much more before I met him. I sure loved him in that uniform.”
“You look jus like ‘im. ‘Specially when he was young.”
The two stare at the photograph, lost in their own thoughts. Her grandmother begins to sing.
“ ‘Sometimes I wonder why I spend such lonely nights …
“I got the pictures. Now we eat. That was the deal.”
“ ‘The melody haunts my reverie. And I am once again with you.’ ”
“Come on sing wit me Baby. I know you know the words. ‘When our love was new–”
“ ‘Each kiss an inspiration.’ ”
They both sing.
“ ‘But that was long ago, now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song
Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright!
And you are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
A paradise where roses bloom’ ”
Now there is only one voice.
“ ‘Though I dream in’ … come on Nana this is the best … Nana?”
“No. No. No No No No No. No. Nana wake up please. Please wake up.”
“Baby. Finish the song.”
“I can’t. Don’t leave me, not now, I need you.”
“I ain’t neva goin’ nowhere. I’m gone always be here. Now finish it.”
“ ‘Though I dream in vain
in my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The melody of love’s refrain’ “
Yesterday I spent most of the beautiful 75 degree day in my bedroom tearing it apart in order to reorganize. I do this mainly when I’m wrestling with emotions and I don’t want my mind to eat itself. Fast forward to 11pm last night, not much but the destruction part had been done as I’d left my house at 2pm intending to get food and ended up staying gone for the rest of the day. As I stood looking at the remnants of my space and thought about the monumental task of putting it all back together again, I began to cry.
This wasn’t a regular cry. This was one for the record books. Huge crocodile tears filled my eyes and plopped down to the floor. One of those Viola Davis Doubt*, streams of snot ran down my nose. My body shook. I even got those crying kid hiccups, you know the ones they always try to talk through but end up sounding like they have a severe stutter. I was deeply sad, and I let myself be there until I could figure out why. My eyes were just at swelling, and my gullet jam packed with Mike and Ikes when it occurred to me that in that moment, I wanted someone to take care of me. I wanted a male somebody to come in and make this shit right. I then did the other thing I do when faced with an internal crisis (I mean beside glutting myself with dime store candy), I wrote.
My writing put me in touch with something I didn’t know was there. I’m tired of being the strong, smart, independent one. The one that puts things together, or figures things out. Compound that with me not being one of these dainty little women that men tend to want to take care of and on most days I feel like a female Grizzly Adams. I didn’t have a father, while I love my brothers dearly they are fairly useless in the area of handy-mandom, my romantic relationship … what romantic relationship? Anyway, the bottom line is that the times in my life when I felt protected and cared for by a man were few and far between.
So I stewed for a bit, swallowed the sticky wad of Mike and Ikes and tried to “activate my faith” (phrases like that tickle me ^_^). I thought about times that I had been loved and supported specifically by men, in ways that were non-sexual. What I discovered is while those times are scattered, they are there. I have been loved and wonderfully cared for by men in my romantic relationships (even the sucky ones) – in my family (my Grand Pa always came through with a happy meal when I needed it most and my brothers effectively kept me dateless through my teens for my own safety.) –and in my male friendships (these are men who have “dated” me, danced and laughed with me, given me emotional and financial support without any expectations).
The more I wrote and thought and cried and chewed, the more I realized how skewed my perspective is. There is nothing I can do about my past life experience. Nothing. So there is no need to let it make my current existence miserable. My history with men is just that, HISTORY. I can make new choices, shift my perspective, find new mistakes to make and new lessons to learn. I can only do these things if I choose not to fall back into old patterns, which is what I was avoiding by destroying my bedroom in the first place. See. Full circle. Don’t you love how life works? I know I do.
Upon rising from my daily routine of prayer, meditation, and letting the screeching cat through my closed bedroom door, I was hit by a lightening bolt of insight. I have been living my life with the beauty, humility, and grace of a woman any man would be lucky to be coupled with but loving as if I only deserved to be a mistress. Taking the miniscule bits of affection I could get, swallowing every compliment, kiss, phone call, and text message as an unholy communion. Ignoring grave inadequacies of the relationship for fear I would lose the scraps I was getting, even when I was married. I have been living like a wife, but loving like a mistress.
First off let me say that I don’t view marriage as the ultimate yard stick by which one can measure the degree of soundness of a romantic relationship. See: The Real Housewives of (insert city here). I do believe in marriage as a symbol of commitment to a life with someone else based in non-material reciprocity. Marriage, for me, stripped of all it’s culturally conceived glitz is simply saying ‘I do’ vow to go through all of life’s bullshit with you. To try not to hate you when you get on my damn nerves, and to while doing all this, love you for exactly who you are, as is. A simple but tall order. One that I have at one end or the other struggled with for most of my life.
I have given an over abundance of myself to people who either couldn’t or wouldn’t reciprocate. I have given with self centered expectation and been hurt when I didn’t receive the expected results. The relationship ground on which I walk on is pretty shaky but better than it used to be because I am now aware. Once I became aware, I couldn’t not become unaware which makes it that much harder to practice the behaviors I used to.
Love in abundance is coming. I don’t have to fight for it. Scrap, beg or borrow. I just have to be patient and honor the lessons I’ve already learned.
Here’s a neat way to look at your past relationships!
Yes, even yours grandma!
You ever feel like you’re always dating the same douche in a different body?
You ever find yourself stuck on the proverbial one that got away, sure you’d missed out on the single opportunity for happiness life would ever offer you?!
Then you’ve got a raging case of emotional herpes! Valtrex won’t help this, you’re actually going to have to figure out your:
Mother issues! (biological or religious)
Your sex issues! (yep, go ahead and figure out who or what you want to be doing it to.)
while you’re at it you might as well delve into your internal issues about:
Your drug/alcohol problem.
The job you’ve been on for a decade that you despise.
That mole on the back of your left ear.
That weird uncle who always demanded you pull his finger.
The fact that you pulled it every time he asked.
Your unnatural attraction to your 2nd cousin.
…AND WHEN YOUR DONE!
You’ll probably still date that douche in a different body again. You know why? Because we’ve ALL got emotional herpes. It’s a world wide epidemic since … ummm … I dunno … THE DAWN OF TIME?! When whatever it is that you are supposed to learn kicks in, when enough truly becomes enough, something incredible happens; The universe slathers you with emotional herpes valtrex. All the blisters and legions of the past heal, and you move on to your next “lesson”. Least that’s what I’m hoping ;).
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes … you just might find, you get what you need.” ––The Stones
What about when we do get what we want? Or what we think we want. There’s often no satisfaction in it. At least for me ––Wait, that’s another Stone’s quote. Maybe they were drug fueled Zen Masters. Maybe they were just drug fueled.