Hot Box Blues 

Do you know what I miss most about my old friend? The ability to openly and candidly discuss anything. Ironically, my inability to do exactly that is what destroyed our friendship. And it is not just the conversations that I miss. The friendship I valued dearly is gone and the person I deeply cared about, and still to this day care about, abruptly axed me out of his life.  He’s one of those guys who thinks it is “cheating” if a woman with a boyfriend has male friends.

I still catch myself looking for a familiar scrawl when I sort the mail. Alas, there is no redemption for a woman who wants her cake and eat it, too.

PHOTO:  cake with grandchildren last Sunday.

Speaking of cake, today is my 57th birthday. My sister Dee treated me to lunch at Pandora’s and then we did a bit of shopping.  While I was gone, the old G locked the house down tighter than a drum and took off to the VA so when I came home, it was like walking into a frickin hot box.

LATER:  Well, plans for our evening cookout got hi-jacked while I was making beans and potato salad… the old G hopped the last bus downtown at 6:45 PM. His plan was to stop at his apartment to get his meds, then take the 7:15 nightline bus back down South Ave, get off at the store, buy some ears of corn, and walk home… total round trip ye maybe an hour. It’s now past 10 and I’ve no idea when he will be here. He did text awhile back, said his daughter is coming, so I assume he is still at his apartment downtown waiting on her to give him a ride.

This is one of those things that really matters when you are young, but age makes you more prone to be more understanding. He is a disabled vet, has metal rods in both legs, and walks with a cane. I know he dreads that 20 minute walk into our hood from the store on South Ave, especially in hot weather, so a promise of a ride is enough to detain him.

Am I mad?

No… just means that I got myself a nice quiet night home alone so I can do things that I don’t do when he’s here… like blog.

Well, he is on his way… he still plans to fire up the BBQ even though it is 10 frickin 30… he will be out there grilling way past midnight. Oh well. All I do is roll with what comes.

Along the Way

To paraphrase my grandma Goldie, “The only thing you get out of this life is what you eat, drink, or smoke; and if you’re lucky, you might just get to love someone along the way.”

Strange how love, luck, and fear all roll down the same highway.

Have I been so lucky, or have my fears guarded my heart too much?

I always went for safe men to fulfill my basic human need to love without getting too involved, lest they seek to harm or throw restraints on me.

For good reason. I learned at a very young age that I had to protect myself and guard my sisters from men, particularly from a pedophile who had blended into our family so well that no one believed that he was capable of harming children.

I had some odd ideas about men… wondered if they were some kind of subspecies, so most should be regarded as dangerous creatures. Even those I trusted and deemed as safe had oddities. I believed strange things, like men could not feel the bitter cold of winter because my father went years without a warm coat while us girls were all bundled up and still chattering. In hindsight, I know better… those were lean years when my father went without to provide for his children.

Needless to say, I grew up with some warped ideas. It took years for me to realize that men were just people, too. Poetry and music helped to solidify that conclusion, as it amazed me that men could write with such passion and other emotions.

I was 22 before I willingly had sex with anyone. Thankfully, I had a patient husband who learned how to touch me without triggering body memories that would render me to instant ice or worse… I’d do that little parlor trick and poof, be gone.

Maybe I should delete that, but fuck it… I’m only one of an estimated 60 million survivors in the USA today (link to source) and stats do vary, 1 in 3 girls… 1 in 4… 1 in 5?  Predators thrive on silence, harming little minds as well as bodies, so pretending it does not happen only perpetuates the silence and hinders recovery.

So, how did I meet my husband?

He was in our back yard hunting fishing worms with my nephew when I arrived home from work one day. The only reason I agreed to go anywhere with him (our first date, if you could call it that, was a walk to the park to go swing on the swings) was because I had already said “nothing” when he asked what I was doing and I couldn’t think up a valid excuse to say no. Then he baffled the hell out of me. That weird little man brought me flowers darn near every day while he courted me, but never once tried to touch me. After several weeks passed, I kissed him and we married before the end of summer.

The marriage lasted less than four years, but we were together on and off about ten… lived separately but continued an odd relationship after our first and second dissolution.  Dissolution instead of divorce was quite fitting as I was dissolving in the marriage, felt like I had to explain my every action, as if I needed his permission or approval to breathe.

After I moved two counties north to break free, I tried dating. That was bizarre. I quit after a few blind dates from hell, couldn’t deal with dinner conversation that made me feel like I was on a job interview in the Twilight Zone.

I did meet someone at a gallery… a zany artist who was leaving Ohio before I met him. It started out as a mutual attraction that drew us together now and then, despite us each having reservations (okay, serious issues) that prevented seeking a normal relationship.  Our “unique and special friendship” spanned more than twenty years, with over ten of those years being after he moved to another state.

Once again, I had picked someone safe to fulfill my basic human need to love and be loved.

Then everything changed on March 30, 2015.

Something clicked inside when my aunt died. I threw caution to the wind, and made what turned out to be life altering decisions based on, “What would Betty do?”

Uh… to give credence to what that implies? After my ex-husband met the vet, he asked me how I hooked up with that guy and when I told him that it was a WWBD decision, he was like, “OMG, your aunt was wild! You can’t do that!”

Well, yeah… I did.

I had to throw caution to the wind, banish fears and live a life that’s raw, real, and right now… I just wanted to feel alive.  We could blame it on the bipolar as I did go a tad too manic there for awhile, but there were other things in the works that had been stewing under the surface for a very long time.

So, I went off the deep end, lost a dear friend in the process… but, eventually got it together and life goes on. The consequences of my decisions have not all been bad. Some were pretty good, got me out of the Towers and into a home of my own.

As for the vet, he’s a good man… comes off a bit mean on a first impression, but under the stoic face and military persona is a playful little boy with a kind soul and a teddy bear heart.

He feels more deeply than I do… I opted not to tell him things that he doesn’t need to know about because I don’t want him to feel sad for me. He would, too. I saw his reaction when he asked about a scar on my skin, a little white spot that no one else has ever noticed. He was instantly sad and ready to kill whoever hurt me and I did not go into any details… just said it was a cigarette burn, don’t worry about it.

Besides, I am no longer haunted by body memories. I’m not living in the past, that life is gone. All we have is right here, right now… will it last? I don’t know. All we have is right here, right now, and no one gets out of this world alive.

That’s what clicked inside when my aunt died: a need to live my life raw, real, and right now.

This is not what I intended to write about… I planned to write about life changes docs are demanding I make that run cross-grain to my grandmother’s words, but got detoured by love along the way.

I have been lucky enough to love along the way… and each of the three men mentioned above have blessed my life in different ways. I still love all three… the vet understands that, as he can love me and still love the mother of his children. That’s just the way it goes… true love lingers or flips to hate. It cannot be turned off like water at the faucet. Thanks for reading.

Seventeen Thoughts

A full year has passed since the R-tist Douce slammed a one sided 8 text goodbye into my phone on a cold bitter morn. I had kept secrets, withheld private information about my own personal life… just wasn’t ready to share. When I told him that I wrote him a letter to explain what’s going on with me and a yeah, I’ve been seeing someone, he did not wait for the letter to arrive… he mulled it over in the night, then played judge and jury, executing our friendship at dawn.

I wrote about it last January in Sixteen Changes.

I still don’t get how he concluded that I was “emotionally cheating” on him AND the man I was quietly seeing, a bit bizarre considering that the R-tist and I were, by his own choice, just friends. Sure, we had a bit of history, we had tested the waters years ago… but, not once in 20 years did I actually sleep with him as in curl up like puppies and wake up together in the same bed. We never had that kind of relationship. We were just old friends, good friends, at times each other’s muse, and I loved him dearly… still do. He was one of my best friends and I miss him.  I haven’t seen him in over 10 years (which makes the cheating thing even more bizarre) but he was the one person that I could always talk or text about artsy things, share poetry, dream out loud, whatever.

I’m still kind of mad at him over all this… why would he trash me up one side and down the other? Accuse me of being delusional, saying I want my cake and eat it, too.

Yes, I do… I want my cake and eat it, too… I don’t believe in dumping my friends just because they happen to be of the same gender as a current love interest, especially if we have been friends for a long time.  I can see where friends may become an issue with that “cleave to your spouse” thing, if a person turns to their friend instead of their husband, whatever… but I’m NOT getting married. I don’t think I need to dump my friends to get laid, nor could I date anyone so insecure that they can’t deal with me having my own close friends. I shy away from control freaks, try to avoid the abusive types, so there is no reason why I can’t have friends AND a lover, if that’s the cake and eat it, too.

It’s also a two way street… do I get weird when I hear my lover say “love you” at the end of a phone conversation with his best friend, who happens to be female? No… I’m secure enough in my own relationship to know his love for his friend is on a totally different plane than his love for me. Apples and oranges; this is real life, not teenage drama crap.

There’s a part of me that wonders if the R-tist thinks he did me a favor… oh yeah. He accused me of being delusional, so I have spent the last year seeking the clarity of cold reality.

I have seventeen thoughts on that…

No, I’m not going to list them… bottom line, he did himself a favor.

By ending our friendship, he stopped using me as a crutch. Hopefully, he got his act together and did something with his poetry instead of wasting endless hours texting or talking to me. Maybe he started making art again… started chasing his dreams again… got a new job or some help for that depression that kept him on the brink, or overcame his fear of rejection enough to make amends to his son.

As for me… there is a hollow place, a quiet space, shrouded with sadness where this friendship used to dwell. My words are silent, swirling inside my own head.

I write about it because I cannot talk about it… this blog, you know, is so publicly private.

Maybe I should explain that…

When I first started seeing the vet, he told me that I share too much. Like he doesn’t need to know where I’m going or what I’m doing all the time, he’s not one of those control freak guys. He kept stressing that I need to keep a part of me for me, so I figured okay… this blog is mine. I will never discuss it with him, never share anything I write, even though it is out there on the internet, as public as can be. I’m pretty sure that he reads it now and then, even though I stopped sharing links to new posts on my Facebook page, as he will occasionally say something about knowing more about me than I think he does… But, for my own personal amusement and the sake of keeping something as “all mine” to never share with him, let’s all just pretend this very public blog is my own personal private zone to write about anything and everything, including how I feel about this lost friendship.

The vet’s opinion is a flat out, “He’s not your friend. A friend wouldn’t do you like that.”

The vet was with me with the text slam arrived. In his mind, there is nothing to discuss about it, the friendship ended so there is no need to ever bring it up in any conversations. My mind doesn’t work like that. I cannot use logic to shut off how I feel. I valued the friendship. I was deeply hurt by the way it ended, but I still mourn the loss, still miss my friend.

Time heals all wounds, but scars remain.

Thanks for reading.