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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

When It All Started

My love for words began when I learned how to read. It’s funny…those random moments we remember. I remember the first time I read aloud, astounding myself. I was absolutely thrilled knowing somehow that my world changed at that very moment. And being able to read my own name in a school book was an added bonus! Dick, Jane, Tom, Sally, Puff and Spot. Sally even looked a little like me. How cool is that?! I can close my eyes and am transported back to second (or was it third) grade standing at the chalkboard adding a column of two digit numbers. I was the fastest in the class.

I don’t really remember when I started writing. I think it was when I got my first diary at the age of eleven. It was red and I would write in it while waiting for the timer to go off on my Easy Bake Oven. But there are significant writing moments that come to mind that have a way of the decades disappear.

We had just moved for the second time to Columbia, a historic small town in the foothills that came out of the Gold Rush era. I set up a card table in the living room. I was going through a rough patch my parents having divorced, moving away from friends and family. It was just after noon and the room was filled with sunlight. I was writing about my feelings, wishing I would just vanish from the face of the earth. I drew a train running over a stick figure. The room darkened when a cloud passed before the sun. It was around one o’clock in the afternoon. I later found out that my mother’s boyfriend died at that moment. I never wished for death again. (Well, until the following year when I got my first migraine and later when endometriosis gripped me in excruciating pain one day a month.)

Life was better at fourteen. We’ve moved into a house with a swimming pool. It’s around nine o’clock at night. I’m sitting in the carport with my trusty card table as I lack a space of my own. It’s my mother’s birthday and a beautiful night in May. I have the card table pulled as far as my extension cord will allow so I can sit under the stars. A large moth circles my desk lamp which is bent as close to the binder paper as possible so I can enjoy the dark. I write my first adult poem, “The Game.” As I read what I have written I am amazed by the words that have been written by my own hand.

I grew up writing to my father. He was devastated by the loss of daily contact with my brother, sister, and me. He returned to the place of comfort he came to know during World War II, the sea, and the Merchant Marines. The Viet Nam War was raging and his ship was supplying our forces. Writing letters to my father really honed my writing skills. Dad and I had a great relationship. I wrote to him about everything that was going on in my life and he wrote back with words of fatherly observations and guidance. He regretted his physical distance in my life until his death

It was the most important letter of my life and I knew it would be the last letter my father would ever read. I wrote and mailed it hoping that my physical presence would soon follow. (Actually, I beat the letter there.) The past few years had been rough for everyone. Dad had felt his time growing short and had information he wanted to convey. He was like John Travolta in “Phenomena” and was having epifanies. It was important to him that I know how the breathing cycle worked. I breathed and that was good enough for me. My heart was talking to him and his head was talking to me. It made communicating difficult. But in my letter I said everything I hadn’t already said to him and reinforced what was important. His physical absence in my life had turned me into a writer, formed my character, and affected who I was as a person. I told him that I loved who I was and hoped he did, too. I remember thinking as I took ink to paper that I had to use the perfect words in this…the last letter to my father. I wanted him to feel loved beyond pain, happiness beyond fear, and cherished beyond doubt. I was there when the mail came and my letter delivered. I gave it to the hospice nurse to read on his last day of being fully present. I couldn’t read it myself. I didn’t want to cry and possibly disappoint him. We had many discussions about death and he didn’t want us to be sad. Dad was excited about crossing over for he was going to know ALL the answers to ALL his questions. No, I could not read aloud my last written words to my father. I think I was hoping they would mean more hearing them from a stranger.

I know not where random written thoughts will take me but I see where words have taken me thus far. I have bonded with people around the world who I may never meet in person but include in my circle of friends. I have woven scenes from my travels to share with those who aren’t able to venture far from home. And I have realized the power of words, written or spoken. I have also witness the power of my own words.

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The Perfect Night

It was a fun movie that followed the usual story line as all those romance novels I used to read,  but the comedy was a great addition.  (That the story took place in Sacramento showing the exact building we were sitting in didn’t hurt the cinematography either!) We laughed at the movie, but laughed even more at a female audience member. During the movie, one of the co-stars (Eric Winter) takes off his shirt. A half sex starved and half orgasmic moan came from behind us. My hubby, myself, and the people seated on each side all fell out laughing. I was just glad the moan didn’t come from me as I’m sure I was having similar thoughts.  Oh, just look and see what I mean. (Don’t worry, no one can hear you right now…go ahead and moan if you are so moved…)

   

 (Hey, so he’s 19 years younger than me. He’s hot, he”s legal, I may be married but I’m not dead,  and I’m allowed to look!)

As we left the movie theater, the woman and her friends were walking ahead of us. She looked back seeing us and remarked to her friends how embarrassed she was. Didn’t need to be with me. As I said, I was just glad that moan hadn’t tumbled out of my imagination!

Holding hands, my hubby and I walked down the escaltor still chuckling. It was then I heard the music of acoustical guitars and male vocals. It was the kind of music I would have chosen for myself during a moment that looked like a movie and felt like a dream…Beautiful!

We sat outside a brewery/restaurant  in the circular plaza. The plaza had a domed rooftop that extended down the row of shops on each side of the mall. But right above us, the dome was was full of the nighttime stars  as though it was thrown open to celebrate a perfect summer evening.  How I love moments like this with the lovely breeze and live music to accompany the romance…Perfect!

We listened to the music and watched people walking by. I spied a single man with a backpack strolling alone. All of a sudden, his feet took on lives of their own breaking into a jig as he danced his way down the length of the mall as far as I could see. My heart “ahhhed” at the sight of his enjoyment and it reminded me of the Dancing Wedding YouTube videoI had just sent to my fellow creators of visual and written art. Here was a man who had embraced his joy and accepted the challenge GET UP, GET OUT, AND GO FOR IT! It made my heart sing!

Unfortunately, the band was on its last set and the music ended far too soon.  After dropping a tip in their jar, I boldly strolled up to band members Chad, Sean and Greg, thanking them for their incredible stylings. I told them their music added magic to the night. Sean said that was the highest compliment they had ever received. “We’re here every Saturday night. Come back and see us!” Yeah, like I need prompting…

Walking back to our table I realized I didn’t have sugar for my iced tea. However, the table next to us did. I asked the older couple sitting there if I could have a packet of sweetner. “No, take the whole thing,” the man replied pushing it toward me. “No, really” I told him. “I really just want a packet.” He insisted I take the entire container of sugars and sweetners. I argued with him and staged a mock fight with him. I expressed my appreciation of his sense of humor and as he was smiling he suddenly stopped feeling my hulk of a hubby behind him. “You messin’ with my woman?” he asked. The stranger stated, “You bet!”

I returned to our table and found myself alone as my hubby chose that moment to enter the restaurant in search of the men’s room. The couple next to me then turned and started moving everything from their table to mine…salt, pepper, advertisements in the plastic holder, coasters, everything…then turned their backs on me. I couldn’t contain my giggling. When they left the premises, they stopped as I told them to have a great night. They actually thanked me for being so fun…like I need encouragement to be an outrageous extrovert. 

To sum up our date night, the perfect night…Woo hoo!

  

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Shame…It something you don’t have to dig deeply to touch, but you do have to dig deeply to release. That is my recent challenge.

“Good luck. You two deserve each other.” I wrote on the mirror. He was pretty pissed about that and we were yelling.  Down the hallway was a married friend in a darkened living room with another married friend of the opposite sex.

It was not a good night for fighting. But a fight it was. I was moving out. She was moving in. Three years of a love triangle with an ugly ending. There was no skin to skin contact with anger though there was contact between my body and other objects, a box and a lawn sprinkler.

Our roommate drove me to my new apartment to get me away from the situation. I looked into the mirror. There was a mark and some slight swelling on the corner of my right eye from landing in the stack of moving boxes. Damn! It didn’t look like there would be a black eye. On my right thigh was a bruise the size of coffee mug opening. No one would see that as it would be covered by clothing.

I’d had a few drinks and felt justified at the time. I poked my eye to make sure it would be black. Yep! A good sock in the eye. I deserved it. I wasn’t worth anything anyway. I wasn’t the one he wanted. I wasn’t even worthy of the truth though I had asked for it more than once. Why not!

I went to work…a place all three of us were employed. People asked me what happened but I just shook my head in silence…except when she asked. I told here “this is what you have to look forward to.” I never said he hit me. I stayed silent on the matter…(and was later praised by management for not bringing it into the office or allowing it to affect my work.) As I drove out of the parking lot that day, I saw he had left a red rose in a cup on her truck. It was a knife in my heart, shredding the last of my self-esteem.

 The three of us have chosen each other as family, spending the 4th of July together, among other times of togetherness. We stand as an example of true forgiveness, respect, and love . I stayed silent until two days ago. I apologized to him for my shameful act. His reply was “People who knew me know I wouldn’t do anything like that and the people that wanted to believe it did.”

Why do I continue to feel the shame of a 22 year old woman searching for the truth who chose to lead people to believe an untruth? Where is that feeling of a weight being lifted off? Where is the full breath I haven’t been able to take for the past 30 years?

All of it could have been avoided…had the truth been told about the choice already made.

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