I must have watched (or listened to, as the TV was on while doing other things) way too many sappy Christmas stories over the weekend as I just woke up from a sappy Christmas dream with a twist common to a lot of those stories: past loves showing up around the holidays to throw a monkey wrench into the current situation. Every man I have ever truly loved was here, with the exception of one, but a large padded envelope addressed to him in his own handwriting was in my mailbox. It was stuck between two packages for Rodney and an art supply catalog addressed to one of my computer passwords instead of my name. I saw the package addressed to Ed, but just handed the whole stack of mail off to Rodney and he walked away. Then I spent the rest of the dream looking for it, wondering what happened to it, and thinking it was something I had mailed coming back to sender as undeliverable. But how could that be, when his name was written in his own handwriting? I was asking if anyone knew where it was, but no one else had seen it. Some man was there trying to sell us a little Santa bag of food, pulling out two plump turkeys already cooked, a honey glazed ham, a beautifully frosted Yule log cake… reaching into the little bag and pulling out something else much to Xman’s delight while I kept saying no, that was way too much food for one woman who lives alone. I thought it was a distraction to keep me from finding that package. I searched all over, then finally sat down with the art supply catalog, was flipping through the pages when I woke up.
The funny thing is that I knew in the dream that every man I have ever loved was there in the dream, even though if you counted them, there was only two. Three including the name on the missing package. Maybe he wasn’t there because I don’t have a face to go with that name anymore, at least not a grown man’s face as the last time I saw him was in 1976. I suppose the funny thing is who wasn’t there… the passing fancy, infatuations, and the two men I had almost married even though I knew that I loved them but not enough or not in the right way.
Maybe it is true, that when you really truly love someone, just love with a purity of heart, that never completely goes away. It is not something you can turn on and off like a faucet. Sure, it dwindles down to almost nothing to the point you could deny it’s there, like my love for Ed became a tiny little seed planted deep into a quiet part of my heart where it never got nourished and the soil around it became barren, not able to sustain life anymore. Sometimes, love changes if the conditions are not right to let a flower bloom. I still love Xman (my ex-husband), but it is not the same as it used to be. It morphed into being “old friends with history” after plenty of cultivating to be able to get along with each other enough to be friends who don’t hang out together. We are grandma and grandpa to our daughter’s children and will be for the rest of our lives.
As for Rodney, Lord knows I’d marry him in a New York minute, but I also know that he will never ask so that is pretty much a mute point. I just love him, always have, in that feels ancient older that dirt kind of way. The man has issues. And the fact remains that 2014 will mark a decade passing since he abruptly up and moved in a “I’m not leaving you, I’m leaving Ohio” kind of way. Truth be told, it took years before we could kick back and relax, enjoy each other’s company when he did live in Ohio because we were both fighting a mutual attraction that neither one of us was ready for, so strong it scared me. Months would pass without seeing each other, then cross paths and zing, zing, zamm… a tilt of his head and I would melt like a pat of butter on a hot griddle. Even after we got comfy with each other, the man could still curl my toes with a single kiss. Now we are “long distance friends” and yes, I still love him. But I am not pining away hoping for things that will never be. He’s like the chorus of a Montgomery Gentry song, “Gone like a freight-train, gone like yesterday, Gone like a soldier in the civil war, bang bang, Gone like a ’59 Cadillac, Like all the good things that ain’t never coming back…”
Yes, he’s gone. He ain’t never coming back. Ohio has too many bitter memories for him and the sweet memories are tainted by loss. He gave up, walked away, not that the fight wasn’t worth fighting for, he just did what he thought was best for someone else, a child who didn’t need caught in the middle. He thought his leaving would make his teenage son’s life easier, hoped that he was old enough to understand, to know that his dad would always love him. Now the kid is a grown man who has absolutely nothing to do with his father. Sometimes, I’d like to grab both of them and lock them into a room until they work it out, find a resolution just like in one of those sappy Christmas movies.
One of the factors playing into my decision to move downtown was I caught myself waiting. I told Rodney that I found a part of myself hoping he would ask me to move there. He was surprised. The thought never crossed his mind. Oh well. What is, is what it is… we are long distance friends, old friends with history and as precious as that is, that is all it is. And odds are, that is all it will ever be. I cannot fold geography so we can’t even hang out, enjoy each other’s company. Maybe this is the way it is supposed to be. A little birdie says that if he really wanted to be with me, then he would be here with me even though he don’t mind suffering needlessly or he’d be here in Ohio trying to make amends and set things right with his son. Of course, other factors play in heavily, such as the lack of funds. I want Hallmark endings and those pretend people on TV rarely have any money issues.
One of my decisions about moving downtown was to allow myself to be open to new possibilities. I still love every man I ever loved, but I am not dead yet. I can love again. I don’t have a cinnamon heart laid out to dry up as hard as a rock like the “air freshener” ornaments that I made this weekend.
I thought about changing names to protect the innocent or not so innocent, but oh well… if anyone is mad at me for writing my thoughts out in a blog post, they will get over it… or not.
A part of me says I should not write about my friend’s longing to reconnect with his son, but what if… what if these two men are both suffering needlessly? Ten long years… each thinking the other doesn’t want him in their lives?
I want a Christmas Miracle… on the off chance the son reads this blog post, please contact your father. Do it the old fashioned way… mail a card or pick up the phone. (He’s not online right now.) If you feel like smacking him, get in his face, tell him off, punch him if you have to… then talk it out. He’s not the same man your mother knew… life changes people. The Rodney I know is kind, thoughtful, considerate, helpful, and encouraging. He’s a bit shy yet animated (talks with his whole body, just not his hands). He’s been clean and sober since before I met him with maybe a few slips in the early years (showed up drunk once in 1998). He likes cookies. He has a sharp mind and a keen sense of humor. He’s into art and music and texts while watching TV. He decorates inside and out for Halloween and Christmas. He lives alone with four cats. And he has a hole in his heart the size of you.