hmmm. a friend mentioned publishing...he isn't the first...but he made me think about structure. I suppose I think about that often. I think about how I will never be who I was before I met him. And about how I will never be what I was when I was with him. So many doors closed, so many opened, so many paths taken, burned, turned, changed.
I get momentary stress rashes. I think it is just a physical way for my heart to say "don't forget how messed up you are!" I scratch till I bleed sometimes. Sometimes I try good lotions. I always realize that they are temporary and strong as hell. I wonder if journeying through it all will help them dissipate. Funny, because they are like small blisters...and what are blisters filled with but, well, salt water...perhaps they are tears that can't get out my eyes...
When I met him, I had given up on guys. I had just suggested to the Utz potato chip truck driver I was "seeing" that maybe we try living together. And it had NOT gone over well. I was pissed at myself that someone like him, only moderately interesting, would make me feel so much. So I decided that I would change how I was doing things, what I was doing. It was too much like Phil...a man from a bar in New Haven. He would wake up early with me, even though he didn't need to get up for hours, and make me coffee and eggs...and when I crawled in his bed at night, there was always a book wrapped in the covers. He taught me about good wine. And I learned how much I love to talk when I'm wine drunk! And on one Valentine's day, I pseudo proposed (just mentioned the thought) in a bouquet of flowers I had to leave on his doorstep because he wasn't home. I never heard from him again.
I decided picking up guys in bars was lame, for me. I decided I needed to stop smoking and change how I was drinking. I would take a year off of "business as usual" and a week later, John and Charles did their show at my school. After the evening performance, John and I talked by his truck for 3 hours, after they let me bounce on the trampoline and I helped pack up the show. After, that, we talked almost every night.
And the woman who had been anti commitment for so many reasons wanted so badly to call him her boyfriend, the man who had been a serial monogamist and who now wanted NO commitment. Strike that, reverse it. We were role reversals, reversed a second time.
Three years later, he got on his knee in the middle of a show and proposed to me in front of hundreds of people who knew and cared about me. He shot his wad with the romantic. But he shot that sucker well and square in the face...hot blooded bullseye!
Most of the time, our love was so viscerally simple...we didn't write our own vows. I searched and searched till I found ones that were right. Mine talked about how I finally found someone that made the love songs and poems make sense to me. His talked about how powerful it was to find someone to enter his world. And we read a sonnet I wrote him, not long after we met. I broke it up so it was done for two voices. And Jessica read my favorite part of The Little Prince, the part that talks about how the prince tamed the fox. We tamed each other. He took me for who I was, encouraged me to take chances and enter his world, as well as to maintain my own interests. I let him redefine everything for me. He defined love for me: listening, trying to learn how to wait for me to get past my anxiety attacks before forcing a talk, getting my water glass over and over even though it was likely closer to me than him but I had just gotten comfortable...asking for what I wanted. We were so imperfectly right. So few things matched, but where we were looking was right...how we viewed the goal made sense to the other.
I would like more passion than we had...but I think our passion dimmed because we were tired parents of little kids. I would like someone who knows how to call me "beautiful" and mean it- the soul crushing kind of beautiful. But not if he can't listen...not if he won't try. John always tried.
Cancer didn't just take my husband...it took one of the best all time people I have ever known. Sometimes, he was way beyond regular selfish. Often, he said things without thinking about them. He had a nasty habit of using a callus tone of voice. He insisted that he was incredibly organized, but in the life I knew with him, that never manifested. He loved me so deeply and honestly, like he did most things that mattered to him in his life, that even though I constantly worried diving was more important to him, I knew he loved me. I was still teaching him to say "we" and "us" and "our" instead of the singular pronouns that left me out. Even after 8 years of marriage, 4 years of dating and being engaged combined.
What I want to know, that no one can tell me, is how to believe again...how to trust and hope...how to be patient and how to find someone. I didn't find him in some search. He came to me, like a needed wind on a hot day. Surprising, relaxing, fulfilling. I'm not saying it was easy...when we went our separate ways the summer after we met, I was a wreck more often than not. I was in Australia, he was in Japan. And he could never contact me enough to make me feel like he would still be there. I had doubts and fits and fears manifested in tears and breakdowns and idiocy...many of my trademark adventures in life. But he came back to me. He always came back.
I look out, now, at the world from behind my tiny eyes. And I feel so full of deeply buried strength, yet I walk in gauze-like gowns sown with doubt and fear, confusion and loss...I feel naked in the world. Naked with a hidden sword. Knowing all at once that I am frail and I am fierce. And how do you move forward with fighting, contradicting images like that? I fear I will dance in circles...forever.