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A Beautiful Cup of Sun and a Moment of OK

7 Mar

Some things I wanted to tell you, M:

Well, first, D told me he loved me, and since then things have been pretty sweet with us. We haven’t said it again, but we’ve been much closer, acting more like a couple, having fun and sex, and holding each other, and saying stuff like I’m crazy about you and basically enjoying one another. We have these inside jokes going on now, that I know you’d appreciate. And he’s totally up for watching cheesy late 80’s – early 90’s romantic comedies with me and judging everyone but secretly enjoying them. We had a ball with Mystic Pizza and we watched Groundhog’s Day last week, which I’m sure you’d approve of. In the middle of the movie he actually said, “They don’t make movies like this anymore”.

Other than that, I wanted to tell you that we’re going to Santorini in the spring! J, E, G and me. We’ve already bought tickets and everything. End of April. And it’s going to be amazing. My birthday comes up before that, and this year I’ve decided to throw a party, with drinks, music and dancing.  Remember that year, when you first moved to the city, you got all your friends together at a small bar downtown and got really shitfaced? You repeated that tradition in the years to come but that first time was so much fun.

This morning it was hot, way hotter than it should be this time of year and I wore a new skirt I got at that boutique you like, the one I can never go into without spending a fortune because everything is so beautiful. It’s green with white polka dots and little brown-goldish feathers. I wore it with black tights and a black tank top and it looked awesome. I went into town to meet J for coffee at a place that opened up rather recently, when you weren’t drinking much coffee anymore. I love that place. You enter it and are immediately overwhelmed with a craving for the warmth and comfort of a morning’s first cup, and it makes no difference if it’s actually your third.

I sat there with J and we chatted. She told me about a new guy she started to chat with online. As I looked at her I saw a giddiness that I hadn’t seen in a very long time and I asked myself if it’s been that long since we’ve been happy that we might not recognize it when we felt it again. But I totally recognized it. A spark of beautiful around-the-cornerness, anticipation of good things that may be coming. Obviously, shitty things will always be coming too. But I think we know now to look for the good, we’ve learned that we need to embrace it – NOW – because who knows what will happen tomorrow.

As I sat there in the sun, with J, drinking coffee, munching on an oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookie, I felt it. The sun, the warmth, the air standing still, my shoulders and feet bare in my tank top and flip-flops, the ice cream parlor nearby, the people riding their bikes, J’s smile, it felt like it was OK somehow. My first instinct was to jump up and say that it isn’t, defending your memory means I need to grieve you, still and forever.

But no. Instead here I am, telling you about the things that are good, the stuff that works out. I promised you we’d be alright, and I wanted you to know that we sat in the sun and smiled and drank coffee today, talking about boys, planning a party and a trip to Santorini.

It’s been 49 days without you. I miss you so much. Horribly, terribly, devastatingly, enormously, outrageously. I will always miss you. It surprises me that despite that, I am able to allow a glimpse of lightheartedness in, through my exposed toes, in desperate need of a pedicure, through my bare shoulders, soaking up the sun. It wasn’t escapism this morning with J, it was simply good.

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January 22nd Again

22 Jan

Despite the circumstances, I am noting this day: January 22nd. The day I chose to mark my rebirth. It was on this day, exactly two years ago, that I stopped grieving BD’s sudden departure. That I realized that BD’s leaving did not break up my family, that my son and I were an entire, complete unit, and that we didn’t need him to live with us in order to complete us.

M stood there beside me, cheering me on, coming over to cook comfort food and drink and talk, reminding me how much love I already had in my life, enough to fill up all the cracks that BD had left in my heart. Other friends were there too. I was blessed, and am blessed to have a close circle of friends who stand by me at times like this.

That was a loss. This is a loss. Is it strange or inappropriate to compare the two? I guess so. The loss of my family as I’d dreamed that it would be. The loss of a friendship that I always imagined would last a lifetime.

If she were here, I bet she would remember the date, even though probably I’d only mentioned it to her a couple of times. She’s celebrate it with me. She’d cheer me on. She’d tell me I’m strong (she always said that, and it wasn’t always true, but I accepted the vote of confidence.) She’d tell me that like before, I will eventually stop grieving. I will remember the good. I will be happy again.

But at this very moment it doesn’t feel like I will ever stop missing her, that I will ever stop grieving, that I will ever accept her loss.

Neither Here Nor There

1 Jan

It was Sunday that I said goodbye to her. Not really goodbye, only almost, because she is still here, but will have no visitors. I miss her so badly. I want to grieve her loss. But she is not really fully gone. Sleepy, under the influence of vast quantities of morphine (vast enough, I keep hoping), she’s neither here nor there, and so are the people who love her. If she were gone, there’d be a funeral, I’d be skipping work to sit at home and cry, people would ask me “how’s your friend” and I’d whisper she’s gone and break down. It would feel OK to break down. It would feel a duty to break down. It would feel respectful to break down. 

It does not feel OK. It does not feel a duty. It does not feel respectful. It feels like weakness. It feels like an inconvenience to everyone who’s counting on me to keep a stiff upper lip. 

December 31st. Class field trip to the dessert. Seventy rowdy children screaming and shouting with joy. I put on my happiest face. I made it thought the day heroically. Got back in the evening and picked my Boy up from the babysitter’s. Supermarket (because milk and eggs still need to be bought). Shower (because, you know). Bed time stories, back patting. I sat in my dirty kitchen eating pasta and thought about 2014. Jesus Christ, what a year.

Here’s a recap: I don’t need no man. Maybe I do. Getting back together with BD. Breaking up with BD. Getting used to M’s cancer and its routines. Deciding to move. Meeting A  and chatting for two weeks. Moving. Sleeping with A on first date. Dating. Boyfriend. I love you? Potty-training. Talking! New Day care. Becoming beighbors with one of my closest friends. End of the school year, report cards & play. Cancer getting worse. Three magical days in Budapest. Breaking up with A. War. Sirens, shelters, hooking up with BD. Trying to get back together. Surgery. Montessori training. Writing Papers. Trying to break up with BD. Promotion. More Sirens. Trying to break up with BD. War over. New school year. Excitement. Exhaustion. Breaking up with BD. Liberation. Wanting to date. Cancer getting worse. Meeting a guy. Magical evening playing music at the park. Rushing too quickly to like him. Getting disappointed. Cancer getting worse. Attempting to date. Cancer getting way, way worse. Lonely. Depressed. Hitting rock bottom. Morning after pill. Wanting to never date again. Cancer steadily getting worse. Talking to boys online and scaring them off by telling them my friend is dying. Meeting a man who doesn’t scare easy. First date. Second date. First kiss. Fuck you cancer. Third date. Fourth date. Sex. Fifth date. Boyfriend. Telling M all about him. This can’t be the end of you. I love you. Freaking out. Pulling myself together. I love him. Freaking out. Pulling myself together. Hospice. Fuck-shit-stack. Parent teacher conferences. I can’t, I can’t, I must, I will. Seeing M every day. Saying goodbye. Saying goodbye again. This time goodbye for real. Falling apart. Pulling myself together. No more visits. Missing M like crazy. Allowing D to comfort me. Knowing she’s still with us. Falling apart. Not able to pull myself together.

Limbo is a bad place for me to be. It’s a bad place for anyone, but me especially. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.