a.m. 

Sitting here in the stillness of a Mayberry morning, thinking of people I once loved,  who have passed on. I rarely allow myself to dwell on remembrances of them. I’ve never been one for mourning. Until Bennie died. It’s been fourteen months,  ten days,  since he left. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. 

I can barely remember a day, since he died, that wasn’t filled with tears. My face has changed because of it. I didn’t know that could even happen. Till now. The shrink said I  mourn him because I have a type of Stockholm Syndrome. I can see why he’d think that, but I’m not sure it’s true. When you spend most of your life with someone, no matter how bad it was, I think it’s natural to miss them. Although, I can’t define what it is that I miss. It’s nice not to feel afraid, or to have to pretend and cover so much. It’s nice not splitting time between love and hate, as well. It’s strange to look at pictures he took of me in the months before he died and see the changes in my face. My eyes are always puffy and I don’t quite look like myself. He definitely left his mark. 

There’s something about this morning that feels beautifully somber. Grey skies weigh heavy, in many different ways, as this day begins. Their weight feels grounding and reassuring, somehow. Even the birds are quiet. I suppose everything takes time to reflect, now and then, especially on a morning such as this. 

Secrets

I hate to open my eyes in the morning. No matter how hard I look, he’s never here. Never will be. Yes, I know…bastard this…s.o.b. that…Well, maybe so. Maybe I miss him because, somewhere inside of me, I am the same as him, and always was. 

Perhaps this sorrow is not me mourning my husband, but me confronting my true self for the first time. What if he was right about me? Is all of Hell truly at the root of my being? 

On the outside, I’m kind and generous…smiling…pleasant. The only indication that something could be wrong is my weight. After all, who allows themselves to put on so much weight were they not hiding something? I’ll tell you who…Someone trying to stop herself. I suppose I should say no more than that. 

I’m trying, desperately, to understand the situation I’m in. My eyes are nearly swollen shut from crying. I know myself well enough to know that it won’t stop until I figure it all out. I can’t believe that I only began to understand my heart’s misdirection this very morning. In most matters, my mind follows my heart. That has always been my undoing. 

As I sit here on this beautifully somber day, my head spins with new insight. Could I really have been the impetus for the way he behaved towards me and for the violence that literally coursed through his veins, bringing about his end? And, if that’s the case, what about me made him confident that he’d get by with it? It makes no sense that I’d be both the cause and enabler. Maybe it’s because he knew of my darkest heart. That which came down through the women of my family for generations. The secret I shed long ago, but not soon enough that he had not witnessed its power. 

The secrets we keep are what make us who we are. It isn’t love or faith or any good thing. That is a lie perpetrated by the guilt of generations so that we won’t see the truth in our humanity. We share a veil with the other side. It’s thin and flimsy and corrupted by the slightest touch. It is only a single breath that separates the living from the dead. One. Were it not for the lies we’re raised on, perhaps we’d see that the best part of who we will ever be lives within that one breath, and that, should we gather the strength of heart to reach out and touch that veil, we would truly, finally, be free of our secrets. 

Day 59 a.d.

Going to see the lawyer. Time to deal with probate. I don’t think I can do this. But I have to. I’m so tired of doing things I don’t think I can do. I’ve always faced things…took care of what need be. This is different, that’s all. Every step I take, I the more dead he becomes.

Just last night, I felt I was making good progress in distancing myself from the misery of it all. This morning, that misery rains down like bricks. I don’t want to go. I do not want to go.

Please, God…I can’t face his death today. My heart feels broken in a million pieces. He was a horrible husband and, in the end, I learned he wasn’t really my friend. So, I don’t understand why this won’t stop, but it won’t. To me, he’s that cool guy I met cruising the boulevard with my friend. He’s the scared young man waiting for me at the alter as Dad led me down the aisle. He’s the best father I ever knew. If those guys could die, maybe he would, too. But guys like that live forever. As they should.

day 47 a.d.

He’s been dead 47 days now. As hard as I try, I can’t stop counting the days. In so many ways, I feel like a murderess, caught up in her own betrayals and sentenced to a life sentence. But, it is no crime, nor is there a sentence, for betraying oneself. And, each day you killed off because you could not break free of the entanglements of the heart is only that…a day. Even though each and every one we live is one that we can’t get back any more than we could bring blood-life, again, to one we took.

My mother insists that I should remember his terrible ways. She says that, should I have a good memory of him, to immediately recall a hurtful thing. True, I could to that. I did enough of it while he lived and breathed, after all. But, Mom wasn’t there for the good things…the intimate things a woman only shares with the man she loves. She wasn’t there for Christmas mornings spent hiding with him, camcorder in hand, waiting to hear the first little feet hitting the stairs to come see what Santa left. She wasn’t there to see him flying into the parking lot after a hard day’s work, to catch the last bit of Little League practice, or how he’d tell me to stay in bed as he’d get up to check on the boys if one cried out in the night. She never heard his laugh. Not the one I heard as we’d trade stories of childhood misadventure and awkward first dates. We had some great times together, he and I. They count, too. Just because things didn’t end well with us does not mean that we did not share something amazing once. If I’m going to live with his memory, I want those things to be part of it. I’d honestly love to let the bad things fall to the dirt with him. I can’t, but I’d love to.

when i was pretty

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he always liked me when i was pretty

when my makeup was perfect

nails and tippy toes cherry red

he liked to show me off as though i were a prized pig

i didn’t mind it

i never said anything about it

because that’s all there was

he always wanted me when I was pretty

he’d ask me to wear his favorite negligee and he’d twirl me around the bedroom

wine flowed…music played

we’d dance for hours

then, we’d dance…for hours

it pleased him

though it wasn’t love, it was all there was

he still cheated on me when i was pretty

because i was never enough

and it excited his ego to cheat on a pretty one

i never took it personally

because i knew his game and how it was played

i was only a part of it all

i was a mannequin he placed in the window for his women to laugh at

it wasn’t love, but it was all there was

~~~

for so many years i stood at the mirror

preening and making ready for his approval

till, one day, i stopped

because no beauty that ever looked back at me

could shut down the pain machine

i was the fuel

but there was no key

his yelling insistence that i go back ‘the way you were’

it only sharpened my resolve

he could take whatever he wanted

but i’d not dress for the occasion ever again

he hated me when i was pretty

he hated me when i wasn’t

that’s the truth of it

it was never love

day 40, a.d.

Apparently, it costs well over a third of a million dollars to kill a man you already know is about to die. Seriously. When I checked the mail today and opened the doctor bill for his execution, I was floored. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. How could anyone like me owe anyone that kind of dough? Further, how could thirty six hours in the hospital cost so much? It truly speaks to the greed of big pharma and the medical industry, as a whole, in the United States of America.

I feel as though I’ve been through so much in the last five years that I’m almost numb to situations like this. I’ve already lost everything, except the small homestead and bit of land we had. I feel naked in the face of MORE. I have the feeling that I’m standing before a giant wave about to crash, yet I’m calm. So many waves have come my way…they mean little to me anymore. My husband, as much of a dickhead as he was, is dead and gone. Dead. It’s a done deal. Financially, we were fucked the minute Obama took his first oath of office. We had savings to get through the first term, or most of it, at least. As the oil industry took one hit after another via an out of control EPA, material things began to disappear until, finally, it was all gone. House, vehicle…everything. Half of that time, personal issues kept pounding away at the proverbial shore. We finally see a ray of light, he dies, now I owe a hideous amount of money to a bunch of killers. Wow. Really?

Sometimes, I do wonder what the last straw will be. Since I was a child, I’ve fought for everything that’s meant anything to me. Nothing has come easy. Not one fucking thing. I’ve been through shit that would make most people blow their fucking head off. But I’m still here and I don’t know why. My kids are grown, they don’t need me. It’s not as if anyone would really miss my physical presence. I just keep on, though. Because I have this twisted need to see how the story ends. That’s it. That’s the whole reason, right there. I’m not even sure what story. Something just always tells me, when I’m at the point of putting a hole in my head, that there is something about to happen that I just have to witness.

We live in a large world full of wonder and miracles and blessings and curses. Animals that have yet to be discovered. Creatures of legend that I just know are lurking just beyond the treeline. There are people and cultures and meanings of life that I haven’t even had a chance to touch on yet in my own life. And I may never know about every little thing. But, I do know that every little thing exists and it is all here for a reason and, if I leave a moment too soon, I might miss the big answer of it all. Who could leave a world like that? What if I’m the answer? OMG! That would be some shit! lol! But, what if YOU are the answer and I missed you, somehow? What if there is a beauty that you offer this world that my heart won’t get a chance to feel because I threw my life away? Yes, I’m selfish. No, I do not fear Death in any way. Perhaps my heart is simply too involved in wondering and dreaming to let you go…to let any of this place go…until God picks me, by hand, and takes me home.

Tomorrow, I will make appointments. I’ll gather important papers and such and I’ll conduct the business that needs to be taken care of. I will do what needs to be done, just l always do. I’ll be frustrated by the jackoffery of 90% of the goings on, but I will still participate until it’s finished. Eventually, this endless death of his will come to a close and I can think of other things. Day 40, post death, has been a mixed bag, to say the least.

Posted in Him

palm trees

let go, you dead

surrendering your ancient symbols and signs

leave life to the living

and close your dusty mouths

there is nothing left to say now

Last night, I dreamed a dream that featured a Palm tree…

Our first home was built in 1941. It was a large and study structure, not swayed by the many hurricanes it had endured. It was the first to stand in that part of town. Once, the only home in miles of beachy field.

Over time, more families built and made their homes in those sandy fields. Streets were built, children played…life grew in that place. There was one street, in particular, that he and I would drive down to go to our makeout spot at the beach. Each time, we’d pass by a big, white house with two giant Date Palms in front, at the sidewalk’s end. By that time, it was the oldest on the street and didn’t look as nice as the others. It was in a line of old homes once known as Doctor’s Row. He and I would laugh and look at the house as we’d drive by, saying that, were we ever able to live on that street, we’d have to buy that one, because it would be the only one we could afford.

Years passed. Two boys were born, he had begun what was to become a career in industrial construction. We were crammed into an apartment and needed, desperately, to find a house for rent. I started looking for a house during the second year that we lived in our apartment. I was constantly loading the boys up to go look at this house, or that one. I only knew that it had to feel like a ‘forever’ house, with a very reasonable rent. That’s a tall order, as most of you know.

One day, I got a call from him during work hours. I was afraid, at first. That was before everyone had a cell phone in their pocket, and they certainly weren’t allowed to have them in a refinery. Nonetheless, he spoke quickly, telling me to write down a number his friend, Woody, had given him. It was a lead on a house. I was ecstatic. As soon as we hung up, I called the number and was told to ‘come on over!’. I called Mom to see if she’d like to come, then loaded up the boys, picked her up, and made a bee line for the house.

When I got to the house, I parked in front of the house on Doctor’s Row…the one we’d always joked about. I was under the impression that the house number belonged to the small house across the street. We sat there for a minute, Mother and I, laughing, saying that we almost nailed it! Then, a small blond woman came out of the big ol house we’d parked in front of. Her name was Charlotte. She said, she was ready to show us the house if we’d like to see it. OMG!!!! THE house!!! We were parked in front of the right house, after all.

We went in and looked around. I instantly loved it. Charlette and I went into the kitchen to discuss the very reasonable rent and the fact that there was a purchase option. I could not write the deposit check quickly enough. We moved in the following month on a very rainy day. I knew I was home.

The Palms out front were my favorite thing. They were huge and beautiful and are the reason that Date Palms are my favorite tree, to this day. We had a good life in that old house. Raised our boys in it, had the happiest days of my entire life in it. We were in love there. Until the day came that we weren’t. By that time, the boys were nearly grown and it was time to move on, even though I didn’t want to. But, move on, we did, selling the house to my mom for what was owed on it. Though it was worth much, much, more, all we got out of that house were memories. Looking back, that was more than enough. Mother promptly had the Palm trees removed and made the place her own. She regrets removing them. I’m happy about that.

Last night, deep into sleep, I began to dream. I was lying on my back, covered in Palm fronds, looking up at the tree on the right side of the walk in front of our old house. Behind the tree, blue skies. There was motion about, but I couldn’t discern what it was, exactly. All I could do was focus on my tree. By all accounts, it was a very simple dream, yet I woke from it with tears in my eyes, mind racing for the meaning.

I am one of those nut jobs who believes that dreams all have some meaning. I immediately looked up the meaning. Turns out that the Palm, in a dream, is a good omen. It means that you will find love or that good things will come your way and life will be good. It represents loyalty and honor and protection. The word ‘protection’ was highlighted as a link. I clicked on it and it took me straight to his FB. I was stunned. And I did wonder if he was watching over me. I don’t believe in all of that. And, if it does happen, I think that it’s only right that the dead move on and leave us be. So, thinking it was a fluke, I reloaded the page and hit the link, again. Once more, I was taken to his FB page.

I’m going to take all of it with a grain of salt. He was not protective of me during his life and I don’t appreciate some version of him playing at it now. I could use some good to come my way in the love department, but it won’t be due to him sending it to me, that much I know.

Now, shoo, Bennie! Go on to where you belong and leave me to live my life. It’s all I ever asked of you, living or dead. I love you. But it’s time for you to go…

sex&love&the middle

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I find that I’m in a strange situation. I’ve been celibate for more than five years now. He and I lived together as roommates, only, while we were separated. This caused a lot of tension between us. He viewed me as his property, as far as anyone could tell by the way he treated me. In his view, how dare his property refuse him that which was his? But I didn’t give in because I knew that, if I ever did, there would be no end to it. He always seemed to forget that I only returned home on the advice of our attorney, retained to handle the serious legal issues we faced.

The day he died, once the doctors left and things were quiet in the room, my mother, brother and oldest son sat at his bedside. I was crying…I could not believe he was gone. I mentioned that I felt strange being so very upset since we’d been separated for years. I did not expect to experience a feeling of such deep loss. My oldest son looked up and said, “Mom, Dad always said you’d be his wife till the day he died. Yep, he called that one!” We all had a good laugh as we sat together, taking in the sight of this man who was so alive only one day before. He grew colder and colder as minutes wore on. Finally, I had to leave, so my mother and brother went to get my truck for me. My son walked me downstairs and we embraced and he told me he was going to sit with his father for a bit. I told him I loved him as I walked out the doors of the hospital.

Though he and I had no sexual relationship, I did not date during our separation, although I did talk to several men I was interested in. Prior to an actual date, I’d come up with some crazy shit to argue with them about and they’d tell me to fuck off and that was that. I had good reason. In spite of my insistence that I was a single individual, I always knew that, were I to actually date anyone, he or I would end up in the morgue. My husband’s addiction had led him to a point where certain aspects of his personality, already volatile, were greatly exacerbated by his drug intake. He was always a jealous man, even though he was the one who cheated and was well aware that I never had.

Last year, after we moved up here, he began a habit that I found chilling and infuriating, at once. If he thought that I was chatting with a man on my phone or pc, he’d go get his AK and prop it up by his chair. He’d say he heard a noise or what have you, even in the light of day. A man stoned out of his mind sitting next to a rifle is a powerful image. It was an image that did not go ignored by me. I told him on many occasions to go ahead and shoot me and get it over with, since he was slowly sucking my life away, anyhow. He wouldn’t even say a word. Sometimes, he’d roll his eyes, but that was about it. But, to me, at the end of the day, it wasn’t worth the trouble. So, I never dated…although I did fall in love with someone online. Yeah. I did. I’ve written about it here a little. But, that’s another story.

The thing is that I’m starting to really feel as though I want a man in my bed. Not necessarily in my life. It goes against everything I believe to have that ‘hit it and quit it’ hookup thing going on, but I just want to make love. I don’t want any S&M involved, or any kink whatsoever, for that matter. I just want to feel the touch of a man who at least pretends to care.

Yes, I do think that it would be settling to engage in that behavior. But I don’t know if I’m ever going to find a relationship. I don’t ever want to marry again. If I do, it will only be a promise we both make before God, no paper for the tax man or the national headcount. I want to have big huge love in my life. I want to take care of a strong man and know that I’m the only woman in his mind and heart. I want an honest man. One who’d never cheat and lie to me. I want a man who can handle me. And that’s asking a lot. I’m too much. And I know that. But I can’t change it.

Being 49 and pre menopausal, there are days on end when I don’t even think about sex. Then, there are other times when it’s all consuming. During those times, I feel so incomplete as a woman without a man to call her own. This didn’t just start when he died. I’ve felt this way for years. Only now, I can pursue any sort of relationship I want to. When I think about it, my brain literally shakes. I swear! And my eyes feel as though they’re gazing into a vast canyon…miles and miles of emptiness before me. I don’t know whether to jump off into it, or run away from it.

I’ve been on a dating site for some time now. Mostly for conversation. It would be so easy to pick up the phone and have a man in my bed tonight. I think that’s pretty funny, since I’ve gotten so fat, but lots of men like that. lol! Wow! I could have a slave, a man with a foot fetish, one who likes to be tickled…a true blue masochist (yummy!)…on and on. It’s like standing in front of the cooler at a convenience store trying to decide what type of soda you want. But, the thing is, what none of them really seem to need is love. And I need to give it as much as receive it. Love, that is. It’s an aching need to care for a man…to truly love someone.

One of my FB friends left a comment on my timeline one day. He said: ‘Elle, you’re like a box of chocolates.’ He was absolutely right. Even I never know what I’m gonna get from one day to the next, especially since he died and all these emotions about my childhood and life with him and so many other things have surfaced. It’s all coming at me so fast and I just don’t know how to …get it from my head to my life to problem solved status. Now this love thing is rearing its head again and I’m so confused.

I guess I better get something done. It’s nearly five o’clock and I’ve spent the day thinking about sex and love and watching The Middle. Maybe a lil chocolate will help…

 

this and that

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It’s a beautiful morning. Outside, the birds chirp and carry on with their tiny labors, making the world a better place by their very existence. It would be a blessing to be like a bird or wolf…to instinctively know, from the very day you are born, that you have a purpose and what that purpose is.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever know what my reason to be is. Yes, I am a mother. But, I believe we’re all here for a reason, so it stands to reason that my boys would have been born of another were I not here. In fact, nothing that I’ve ever done couldn’t have been accomplished by a stand-in, so to speak. It’s humbling…that thought. And it’s why I would like to make the next years of my life more deliberate and conscious than the last I have lived.

He has been dead 39 days now, and I feel as though I’m am beginning to wake up. The Dark Empty is still there. Yet, I am beginning to feel other things, too. Things like strength and perspective. Each day that separates me from his death is filled with less trepidation than the one that came before it. I feel him losing his grip on my mind, and that is a wonderful feeling. My heart still hurts for him. There is grief for the man he once was, as I’ve said before. I feel especially bad that he died the way he did. But I’m proud of him for facing it like a man. Even the doctors said he went into surgery without a tear in his eye. He said, “Let’s do this.” I guess those were his last words. It would be daunting to realize your last moments had finally found you, and to turn towards them instead of begging the Time Keeper for more. I’m proud of him for that. It is the bravest thing he’d ever done. God bless his soul.