August 3, 2013

  • soft grey sky

    My lovely friend from Brazil is in town again this year.  She beckons to me to join her and the others for revelry.  We all laughed and partied and closed bars until 3 a.m. last year.  This year I’m on call to the operating room.  After the lay-offs, we all find ourselves taking more call.  I end my week with a lot of overtime, and fatigued to the point of tears.  Someday, I want to visit her in Brazil…It’s never really safe, but I want to go there.  When I do, I want to take thousands of photos…and write.

    Devil me leans against the vanity in the bathroom, watching me apply makeup, “You don’t leave yourself much time for R & R.  Do you need that much overtime?”  I shrug and sweep mascara on my lashes, “School starts soon, so there will be expenses.  It’s not like H is going to pony up for school supplies.”  I look at the dark circles under my eyes.  I’ve been writing in my journal instead of blogging here, and Devil me thumbs through it’s pages.  She reads a few entries before clearing her throat, “You think it’s a good idea to keep a private journal?  No one can see it…”  I tell her that it’s nothing except more of the same.  I take more time when I write here so the finished note is richer in detail, better written.  I would never just jot – “Dr appt today.  Find out new treatment and new meds for stones.  Ha.  Imaginary stones!  Asshole.”  But there it is in my journal, with the sloppy penmanship, and the choppy sentences.  It has it’s eloquent moments when the words flow like silk.  Mostly it’s just a place to jot a few lines in an effort to keep my head marginally straight.

    I worked a lot of trauma cases.  I was pulled to relieve other nurses on more complicated cases.  I’ve offered to come in early and stay late when there’s been a complicated case.  I stayed 3 hours over on a day when I had no call, because they needed me.  I received no thanks for that, but I didn’t care.  We all recognize those who work hard, and those who don’t.  My night shift buddies and I are tight.  At a party, W tells his cousin, “She my dog.  She got my back,” then he pulls me close for a half hug.  We watch out for each other, and bonds are tight when the seas grow rough. 

    I work another open heart case on a critically ill child.  Dr L is happy to see me there, and jokes with me as easily as he does with the nurses he works with everyday in PICU.  That’s a good thing.  He’s the one who decides if Dr B does the surgery or if it’s sent to the Childrens Hospitals in the counties south of us.  There is another case next week.  I have a dental appointment that day, but I’ll have to go in after I’m finished.  I’ll work 10 – 12 hours that day.  It will be a good day.

    All of the surgeons who take care of pediatric patients like it when I’m in their room.  So many years – 25 to be exact – as a nurse, and most of those working with children requiring surgery, makes for a comforting presence.  Many of us are comfortable with little ones, cuddling and playing with them before surgery.  We are parents first.  We care.  I often hold a parent’s hand or hold them to ease their fears.  It’s so difficult to hand a piece of your heart to a stranger.  I’ve been there, so when I reach out, it’s genuine.  They know.  They cry…always, but they trust, because they know that I care about their little one. 

    They have no choice.  I know that.  Because they have no choice, I must take extra care with these little people who live in their hearts.  I used to tell my students that Jesus was watching them….and it’s true to a certain extent.  I care as if I’m under the watchful eyes of a superior being. 

    I do that with all of my patients. 

    Angel me touches my arm, pulling me away from patients and work…”What about you?  What are you doing for you?”  The truth…not a damned thing. 

    On a positive note, I’m avoiding D.  I don’t visit his social networking page.  I don’t call or text.  He checks my page, daily.  He’s not acknowledging anything.  I tell myself that he’s no longer interested in me.  In fact, I would venture to say that we are no longer friends.  I probe my heart to see if that hurts, but it’s like a distant memory.  There is no pain or loneliness.  It’s empty, but not in a negative way….

    It’s a void…a hole where a tumor was removed. 

    I look at Angel me, “I don’t think I’ll have a problem staying away.”  She looks at me evenly, but doesn’t speak.  I tell her, “I can stay away because I don’t believe that he wants me around.  If I’m thrown away…”  She nods, looking sad, “But not thrown away by all…”  I turned away then. 

    I don’t know if anyone will want me.  I can’t put my value on being inside someone’s heart.  That part of me is dead for now.  I look at Angel me, “Does it matter if no one loves me again?  Does it matter if I ever love again?  Maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe that’s the way it needs to be.  Maybe D is right.  Maybe no one will ever want me.  I don’t talk to any of them anymore.  Maybe it’s good time to disappear.”  She stares back, unblinking…silent.  




July 27, 2013

  • free

    The kids got home from camp after midnight on Thursday morning.  Their father hadn’t opted to see them before they left, and he didn’t meet them at the airport.  He shot me a text one evening, and he called once.  Talking to him is always uncomfortable, but I suffer through it.  I tell myself that once the kids are 18 I won’t have to deal with him.  I will let the kids decide if they want him at significant events.  I wonder if it will be weird not seeing him at graduations, engagement parties, holidays, but I’m relieved.  He can go hang out with his friends.  He’s become somewhat of a joke.  My oldest son told me that some of the girls at his high school know his dad from all the parties.  They call him by an embarrassingly immature nickname.  My son thinks it’s rather sad, but I was horrified.  Who gets cozy with 16 year old girls at parties?  One of the girls said she sat on his lap.  What kind of mother lets her underage daughter flirt it up with a 49 year old man?  I told my son to steer clear of the girls, and to watch his back if his dad dragged him off to a party.  My youngest attended one party with his dad, “Never saw so many drunks in my life.  The kids all sneak beer and smoke pot or steal pills out of the medicine cabinet.  I didn’t, but they didn’t give me a hard time about it.  I almost called you, mom.”  I shuddered.   

    I don’t think about D at all.

    I’m too busy.  Between working, hanging with the kids, and trying to get the closets and house organized, I have no time, and that suits me just fine.  There are two guys who are flirting with me on the social networking side.  One is an old friend from the neighborhood, still handsome, but clearly just looking to hook up.  The other is a guy I’ve known since we took WoodBadge together in 2007.  He’s going through a divorce.  He lives an hour north of me, and rides a candy apple red Harley.  He’s a nice guy, but I’d be a rebound. That’s not something I want to be, but I tell myself that it’s a safe place for both of us.  We’re both good people, so maybe this will be a mild, nonthreatening foray into dating.  I’m not going to lie and think that it’s a favor to him.  I can certainly use some time with a nice person who isn’t running around with a bunch of classless clowns.

    I really hope he isn’t running around with a bunch of classless clowns.

    The ironic thing: In the circles I socialize in, I’m well-liked for my sense of humor.  I don’t have patience for the kind of people D socialized with.  I have to give people a chance, but I’m wary.  

    I dropped the air compressor off at D’s.  I drove over, left the car running, hopped out with bag in hand.  I trotted over to his bushes and tucked the bag behind them.  His music blasted through the door, so I knew he was home.  I trotted away, with my heart hammering in my chest, suddenly afraid that he’d throw the front door open and yell at me.  I drove a mile before I shot a text to him, telling him that the compressor was in the bushes.  He replied, in caps for emphasis, “TOLD YA TO KEEP IT.  bought new one at target.  Oh Well”.  I didn’t respond, because it looked like he was looking for a fight.  I slipped my phone back into my bag.  

    Then I left him alone.  He took his ex-wife to a Dave Matthews Band concert.  He gushed on the social networking page, much like he did after the motorcycle trip.  On a lark, I navigated to her page.  She had plenty of gushing to do herself.  D had taken her out to dinner on the anniversary of their wedding.  They’ve been divorced for 14 years.  Apparently, he has always taken her out on their old anniversary.  Her sister commented that D still loved her.  I had to agree.

    It made it easy to completely disengage and walk away.

    When I drive, I remind myself what he said in his second to last email.  The damning one – that outlined all my faults and prophesied that I’d never be “the one” for anyone, because I was so flawed.  It was a spear straight through my heart.  I had responded to that one, completely neutral and without malice.  I’d closed it with the sentence, “I will leave you alone.”  He had responded with two words, “Yep.  Okay”, sarcastic and disbelieving.  

    I let him have the last word.  I’m walking around with a spear through my heart, so there’s no fight in me anymore.  Of course, there is no reason to fight.  We’re done.  He’s always been tied to his ex wife, so that’s reason enough to run.  

    It troubles me wondering if he’s right about me being so flawed.  That’s the part I have the most difficulty with.  What if he’s right?  

    I’m back to that dark, sad place, like being adrift in the farthest point out to sea.  No hope of rescue, and wondering if it’s time to give up.  

    Angel me led me away, “You need to find yourself again…”

    I know.  I wrapped both hands around the spear, and pulled it free.  Blood flowed dark and thick, coating my hands.  I looked up at Angel me, and she reached  for the spear.  I sighed as I studied my bloody hands, “I can’t die.”  She shook her head, “You may feel like you will, but you aren’t leaving this life yet.  Go wash your hands.”  The hole closed in my chest, leaving the heart intact, but fragile. 

    D still visits my page.  I steer clear of his page.  Devil me kisses the top of my head, “You are doing the right thing.”  I know I am.



July 14, 2013

  • Fini

    The air compressor he lent me is wrapped in a plastic garbage bag, ready to be hidden in the hedge by his front door.  At the height of the row he told me to keep it, “I’ll get a new one!”  I bellowed back that I could afford to get my own.  I didn’t need his charity.

    Last weekend I’d agreed to go to his house, but was detained by one thing after another.  He had planned on me staying overnight, but H called, drunk and belligerent, demanding that I pick up the kids.  He had plans.  He had called me on Friday after the 4th, demanding to know why I hadn’t picked up the kids.  I was at work.  I had told him what my schedule was.  He told me to pick them up on Saturday. 

    I finally got to D’s house, he was watching a movie.  I let myself in the open door.  He seemed okay, not the least bit perturbed.  Dinner?  The take out place had gone downhill.  He had cooked chicken on the grill.  I shrugged, that was fine with me.  I was fine with just hanging out.  And, so it seemed, was he.  We dozed off, woke up in the wee hours, I didn’t stay until morning.  I thanked him later for a nice evening.

    He blew up.  I was rude.  I was inconsiderate.  He could have made other plans.  I was 5 hours late.

    Only we never really set a time.  I told him that I was picking up things that my kids needed for a trip.  Patches that needed to be sewn on uniforms came in a week before the kids were to leave for the event.  Dufflebags, t-shirts, and backpacks had to be picked up so they could be packed.  Everything was happening last minute.  I explained that.  My lawn maintenance guy had shown up to talk to me about the fill that I was getting.  I hadn’t expected him.

    Would it have been better to have canceled? 

    I outlined my afternoon, reminding him that we hadn’t set a time.  Then something snapped, and it all flowed.  Him lying about getting an invitation and going to a rowdy wedding stag.  The motorcycle trip that he dumped me for.  The lies, the slights, the loneliness, all raged forward without mercy.  I was certain that he was seeing someone else.  He didn’t deny it.  I think for once he told the truth by not jumping on it and denying it.

    When it occurred to me that I was likely the other woman, I cooled and turned it analytical, and neutral.  I was still done, but I acknowledged my errors, my misunderstandings and miscommunications.  He snapped back.  I tried once again to find a neutral ground.  I wasn’t interested in him outlining his errors.  I didn’t need a confession.  I just wanted to be dismissed.  I wanted to slip into the shadows where it was safe.

    He rained more hellfire, slipping easily into that place where H resides.  My response was worded carefully, closed with “I will leave you alone.”  Before I slipped away he read the note.  It was like a wisp of smoke, moving away on a breeze.  He couldn’t reply.  I’d left him without words.

    I didn’t tell him that he was no longer my friend.

    He’ll figure that out soon enough.


    For now, I’m alone.  The kids left on their trip.  They’ll be gone for 10 days.  I’m happy that they’ll have an adventure, but I miss them already.



July 4, 2013

  • July 4

    I’m scheduled to work an overnight shift on quite possibly the busiest night of the year.  I pack a lunch that I’ll likely not get a chance to eat, and log on to the social networking site to check with my nearest and dearest.  Wish everyone a happy 4th.  I look at D’s page, but the only thing there is a post he stole from one of our friends.  She’s the formerly ridiculous creature, who returned to terra firma when her very wealthy husband unceremoniously dumped her on her ass.  She used the last of her alimony to go to special effects makeup school and now does that on occasion and teaches painting to children on occasion.  She’s found a sweet and handsome man who loves her even if she’s gotten a little pudgy.  They live together, and he goes to pirate stuff with her.  She checks in with me every day, because even when she was ridiculous…I would check in with her.  I wasn’t certain if she’d catch the thread fluttering just within her grasp, but when she realized that she was mortal….still…..she took it up and returned.

    She plans on attending our 30th high school reunion next year.  She requested that I dance with her.  She’s apprehensive about dancing alone.  I told her to choose some music and I’d dance with her.  We both have years of experience belly dancing.  I have a long time to work on a costume.  We’ll meet so that she can do my makeup because she’s a professional and we both are vain enough to want to look stunning.

    D sends me a text asking if I’ll stay overnight on Saturday.  I’m a little surprised.  His last text inquired if we were breaking up.  I didn’t know how to answer that, because to say  ”Yes, we are” would be too easy.  I’d never know what it was that I’d done wrong, or his true perception of me.  I told him that I just wanted to talk, which was true, but didn’t mention that I thought that we’d be better off parting ways.  Predictably, he’s assumed that there’s nothing wrong, and all is well.


    There’s no bowing out of it now.  I’m committed.  Even worse, he urges me to come over early on Saturday – “Bring the dog.  We’ll go somewhere.  You can stay overnight.”

    Part of me craves the intimacy, even as I scold myself.  I have to talk to him sometime!! 


June 30, 2013

  • stalled…

    We end up not talking when I get to his house.  I’m closed up, tightly wound, and rigid.  I ask to see the latest pottery that his sister has created.  Her newest thing:  totem poles.  She fashions tubes of clay that resemble long, overgrown napkin rings.  Each one has a face or a saying or even a single word. They are each glazed a different color, some look metallic.  I read the words:  love, joy, dream.  Her wishes for him.  The tubes are stacked on a copper pipe that he’s driven into the earth.  The copper is significant.  It allows the wishes and wants to flow to the earth.  

    I murmur about how lovely the glazes are, glistening in the sun, but refrain from commenting on the significance they’ll given the pipe.  If that’s their belief then I’ll not disturb it with questions or comment.  

    When we go back inside I ask about his brother-in-law’s brain tumor.  He had sounded all broken up over it when we spoke on the phone.  He licked his lips and rubbed his hands together, then turned to busy himself with wiping the kitchen counter.  ”It’s just under the skull, and sort of towards the back of the head,” he pointed to the corresponding spot on his own big head.  I asked if it was encapsulated or was it star shaped.  His eyes widened, “Oh.  It’s just round.  About the size of an olive.”  Before I could ask if his brother-in-law was having symptoms he blurted, “The doctor said it’s fine and R doesn’t need surgery unless it starts causing problems.”  I looked at him surprised, “Oh.”  That was the end of the story.  Apparently that wasn’t what had him all tied up in knots.

    I talked him into showing me the photos from the motorcycle trip, and he wasn’t at all happy to show me them.  Growling, he assured me that I’d find something to pick apart in them.  I coldly replied, “If you have something to hide, then don’t show them to me.  I really don’t give a fuck.”  I started to get up, and he muttered that he wasn’t good with the camera, and opened the file.  I don’t know what he was worried about, unless he honestly didn’t remember what he’d photographed, because there was nothing objectionable there.  A couple attempts at art shots in the airport at La Guardia.  One of a young Asian woman dressed from head to toe in black and white, unsmiling and plain, the condiments on the table.  The iPads that were everywhere.  The rest were of the group.  The girls were all trying to look like bad-ass biker chicks, but we’re all too old to pull that look off.  Mostly, they looked like soft, older women who hid mom jeans under their fringed vests.  Most of them had put on a lot of weight in the past few months.  I didn’t comment on their appearances.  I’ve noticed that my clothes were getting tight, too.  We’re all getting to that age.  

    Of course, Angel me whispered, “Time to start eating ‘clean’.  You don’t want to look like that.”

    The next photo was a shot of the girls lined up with the mountain range in the back.  He had teased that the scenery was nice when he posted that photo on the social networking site – clearly complimenting the girls on their rear-ends.  The girls were delighted, of course.  I commented on the mountain range, stating that it must have been breathtaking to see.  It was.  I didn’t comment on the line of wide rear ends.  He looked at me, studying my face to see if I was hiding something, but I wasn’t offering anything.  He clicked through the rest.  M with some old guy’s Newfoundland dog.  She adopts dogs and cats regularly, and also has chickens and ducks.  She’s J’s girlfriend, the one he was itching to leave and I told him to stay with her.  She supported him until B gave him a job.  Now they live together.  She’s quiet and leads J around by the dick but he’s happy enough that he never goes out anymore.  She’s become defensive of D as well.  I posted a meme after I got off the phone with someone who wondered if I should get back with H since he was having trouble financially (WTF?  I divorced his abusive butt).  It was about getting back with an ex making as much sense as going to a yard sale and buying back your old shit.  She thumped me.  Another friend thumped her back.  I ended up explaining, and feeling weird about it.

    But mostly the weird was the realization that he DOES talk about me to them.  All of that was running through my mind while he flipped through the photos explaining them all.  The truth:  the cabin, the scenery and the town are absolutely lovely and quaint.  I commented that Lake Sunapee would have looked like a postcard had the sky been clear.  This was no Daytona.  It was just a quaint little place with a nice bike fest.  There were photos of them sitting at long tables in restaurants that weren’t all that crowded.  That’s when I noticed how heavy J had become and I blurted out, “He’s put on a lot of weight since I saw him last!”  I saved myself by commenting that M was a great cook.  Or maybe I didn’t save myself.  I didn’t care about that either.  They all had plates piled with ribs, potatoes, steaks in front of them.  No one was dieting, and everyone was eating like tomorrow may not arrive.  I didn’t comment on that – because it really grossed me out.  I wondered if that was part of his issue with me, that I don’t eat like a pig, and that he’d not be comfortable eating half a chicken, a rack of ribs, and a pound of buttered potatoes in front of me.  He is self conscious. 

    He finished scrolling through the photos, a little exasperated.  Maybe he’d thought the Asian chick was hot, or maybe he was worried that I thought he was interested in her.  I mentally threw my hands up for I could see nothing questionable.  Except for the dinner and lunch spreads that I didn’t comment on.  

    I sat down with him to watch a movie, but I kept my distance.  He finally told me to sit closer, “Touch me, dammit.  I’ve been so lonely because I haven’t seen you, and I need to feel you.  I love you.  I need your touch.”  I moved closer and he pulled me close.  Like kryptonite….I did miss him.


    I rested my head against his chest and listened to his heart pounding against his ribs – too fast.  Was it fear because he was wondering if I was leaving or was it a response to a lie?  The lie, of course, being that he loved me.  I wasn’t sure so I let my head stay on his chest for long minutes, and his heart galloped like a horse running from a burning barn.  I gave him a squeeze, and he kissed the top of my head.  The horse who lived in his heart galloped on.  The touch loosened his tongue, and he began to talk about this trip.  C was selfish – treating his girlfriend like a doormat, and that silly girl co-signed on a new Harley Davidson for C (even though he’ll likely have dumped her by December).  K and K were obnoxious.  M was quiet.  L and S were better behaved than he expected (they had acted like fools at the wedding).  W was a nice guy, but his wife was drunk and unhappy.  A and B paid for everything.  They stayed in B’s house.  B didn’t bring his wife, but he concerned himself with making sure everyone had fun.  

    Then he sang about the wedding.  JD had brought hot pink duct tape.  To a wedding?  JD is a professional photographer.  I looked at D, puzzled.  He continued.  S and L were wasted; in fact, S was so wasted that he hollered drunkenly throughout the toast.  I shuddered.  So much for honoring the bride.  Then again, the bride was K.  The duct tape came out, and they taped C to a pole.  D was talking to B and his wife.  They looked on – stunned – when the bride dropped to her knees in her wedding gown and pantomimed oral sex on C.  My jaw hit the floor, “She pretended to suck C off at the reception?  What a proud moment for her new husband.”  D nodded, “I was embarrassed for him, but he had to know what he was getting into.”  I shook my head, “And in front of her kids and his…she’s a class act.  Jesus.  And B and his wife let them stay at the cabin after THAT?  They’re saints.  I wouldn’t have let that pig stay at my place.”  D admitted that he hadn’t even thought of K’s 11 year old daughter or her new husband’s 12 and 10 year old sons.  He said that J thought B’s wife was a bitch for telling K and K not to break anything.  D disagreed.  

    I didn’t remind him that these animals were his best of times, best biker buddies.  I’m sure they acted like pigs at the cabin.  He offered that C’s girlfriend was a doormat, but nice enough.  She looked hard and tired in the photos, but D said that C behaved.  He wouldn’t have if she hadn’t been there.  I thought about him in Leesburg.  He picked up a strange girl and she stayed with him all weekend, even though he had a girl at home.  Had.  K and K were still on their honeymoon.  J confided that S and L live together but don’t have sex.  Strange topics between these friends.  I wondered what he’d told them about me.  None of them seem to be talking to me all that much.  I throw caution to the wind and lay that on D.  He didn’t hear anything negative said about me.  Then again, as if he’d tell me if he had.  I cut the gossip flow off before I slipped and reminded him that his new friends had about as much class as the fair weathers.

    I left then, and I didn’t break it off, but we didn’t talk about us either.

    But next week we will talk.  We need to talk about the trip we took.  I need to tell him that I don’t think I want to be with someone who is never going to be available.  I don’t want to resign myself to the fact that I’ll never take a romantic vacation with him ever again.  Someday I’ll want to travel someplace with a man I love.  He doesn’t want that.  Indeed, he didn’t even try to lie and say that he’d have loved to have gone to NH with me.  It hurt, but I was relieved that he hadn’t lied.  He’ll travel without me.  I’ll be expected to travel alone.  

    He won’t be alone, though. There are too many fair weather friends.

    I need to tell him that it’s lonely for me all the time, that it hurts to be excluded, but I know I don’t fit.  I don’t care that I don’t fit.  Sometimes when you’ve been on the outside looking in, you realize that you don’t want to be inside.  On the outside, I can slip away silent and disappear into the shadows.  That’s not a bad thing.  He’d rather be with his friends anyway.  I think I’m only in his life for one reason, and that is just for those times he needs to be intimate.    

     And I need to find someone who loves me.

June 16, 2013

  • fishing…

    I responded honestly to his email.  I’m sick.  I’m returning to the clinic for more medications.  I’ll call the urologist on Monday.  I tell him that maybe we can see each other sometime on Saturday.  Then I slip away. 

    When I check in to the social networking site later, to let my friends know that I’m not inflicted with plague or something dire, he’s on it like a duck on a June bug.  Unloading the fishing trip with his brother-in-law, such a failure that they stop by the fish market and buy fish to grill.  There’s newly dredged concern – DEEP CONCERN – for my sinuses, lungs and my right kidney.  Apparently, this has to do with me being his GIRLFRIEND.  I snort laughter, then cough up phlegm.  Girlfriend indeed!

    I cock an eyebrow at the screen and tell him about my nasal spray and antibiotic, “I’m also supposed to take Mucinex for the cement-like snot I’m producing in generous amounts.”

    He outlines his entire workweek schedule, then offers to take me on the motorcycle.  I shudder and type that we should check the weather.  It’s a weak shot to be certain, but he needn’t know my real plans.  I’m spending the day with my sons, then I’ll stop over to see the photos and let him go on about his trip.  I’ll break up with him, go celebrate with a drink at Bru’s.  He can drive that motorcycle up his ass for all I care.

    If I have to be lonely, at least I won’t be tied to someone and be lonely.

    He comes back with alternate plans – he’ll take me to the movies or bowling if it’s raining.  No, I say to myself, you won’t be taking me anywhere anymore.  I abruptly log off without a word because I really don’t want to talk to him.  I’m tired of being a second or third thought.  I’ll avoid checking in for most of the week.  I on call for 2 days, so it will be easy to stay scarce.

    Sometimes, it all feels mean, but I remind myself that he’s not been kind to me.  Besides, I’m not attacking him or cutting him down, not to his face or in public.  I’m just leaving because I’m not getting my needs met and he’s never around.  One vacation in years – and it’s ruined because he is upset that I got a kidney stone.  He was nasty to me then, and that still bothers me.  I really don’t need that shit.  The breakup itself should be a relief to him.  He’s happier with everyone else anyway.  Why should he stay with me if he doesn’t want to be around me or if I make him unhappy?  That’s ridiculous.  I traveled that path with H and it was hell.  I have no desire to revisit that trail.


June 15, 2013

  • deja vu…

    The pain spread across my back, gnawing at me.  I assumed it was fatigue from working back to back 12-hour shifts, and call.  I looked at my workshoes, the soles were showing a little wear, but the toes were scuffed and worn.  Could it be a matter of needing a new pair of shoes?  I wondered when I bought them.  They had to be at least a year old.  Still.  I commented to a colleague that my back pain was worsening.  I held my right flank.  The pain became colicky, and it dawned on me that this wasn’t a case of back pain.

    Another kidney stone.

    I didn’t leave work, but I did park my ass at the desk.  I toyed with the idea of heading to the emergency department, but ended up staying.  I became very tired.  V gave me a pained look when he asked me to set up the case I had just booked.  I scrubbed in and set up the back table for N.  We ended up opening three trays in search of the instrument the doctor needed.  I shook my head at N.  P scolded us for opening so many trays, but we argued that trays that were missing necessary instruments needed to be put right.

    When I left, I picked my way gingerly through the tunnel.  There have been plenty of disturbingly large dead cockroaches littering the concrete floor since the rains arrived.  Tonight I see a live one, so big that I can see him drinking water that’s leaked from a condensate return pipe. He’s glossy and fat, and I walk carefully by him.  He doesn’t run.  I ease myself into my car, and drive away, wincing at every bump in the road.  

    D was out with the fair weathers, at a filthy little spiderhole of a bar in the worst part of town.  Two of the guys from a local band he follows are “celebrity bartending”, only it isn’t really a proper bar, and they aren’t celebrities.  They’re trying to raise money so that one of their members can get a plane ticket to Tennessee where he has the chance to be a studio musician for a slightly better known band there.  These are all guys in their 30s, so it baffles me why they couldn’t just pass the hat and raise the funds.  Of course, the fair weathers are a notoriously cheap bunch, so that may explain something. I listened to one of their covers on youTube.  It had about 40 views, and the guitarist was pretty good.  I guess he’s the one who is heading to Tennessee.  

    D had returned from the motorcycle trip, and put me off again because his sister and brother-in-law were visiting.  I shrugged.  Breaking up with him could certainly wait.  I wondered if he had visitors at all, but it didn’t matter.  I logged long days at work, contracted strep throat, and stayed in.  It got weird with J.  He stopped speaking to me.  I wasn’t certain what that was about, but I didn’t give it much thought at the time.

    Then it dawned on me.  None of the people who went on the motorcycle trip were all that warm and fuzzy anymore.  My first thought, had I SAID or DONE something to cause an entire group to pull away?  I tried to remember when they had last been friendly, and realized that was BEFORE the wedding.  I searched through prior posts and status updates, notes and replies.  I couldn’t find anything amiss.  It occurred to me that D had been busy bad-mouthing me.  He’d probably been doing it for a long time.

    The loneliness, the constant exclusion, the abandonment….had all left me feeling sad and like the odd man out.  It had hurt to see the photos of them all having a grand time in a beautiful place.  I searched my heart to find the reason, but Angel me interrupted, “You felt left out because he had mentioned on numerous occasions that he wouldn’t enjoy a trip like that unless you were with him.  It was another lie, but you believed him.  Now, that he did go at the 11th hour and had a grand time, you see the truth.  He didn’t want you there at all.”  It was the lies that hurt the most.  There were so many lies.

    He sent me a note telling me that he wished he was squeezing me.  I changed the subject, and talked about something else.  

    I rehearsed my break up speech every day.  I made it a point to stay away.  When plans changed on Saturday, I didn’t call him to let him know that things had fallen through.  Instead, I made new plans.  I didn’t even check in with him.  

    I’m breaking up with the asshole, after all.  That can wait until next weekend.

    As for the others, I spent a little time looking in at them, but I found that I was happy to be on the outside.  I didn’t have to be on the inside, part of their group.  I wouldn’t lose anything by losing them.  People change.  Maybe I’ve changed.  

    He already said that he’d never take me on a trip ever again, in fact, he hadn’t wanted to take me to on vacation in April (even though the whole thing was his idea).  I can’t really get excited about seeing the hundreds of photos he took of a place I’ll never travel to with him or anyone else.  I don’t want to have dinner with him or chat over a cocktail.  I certainly don’t want to have sex with him.  Why have sex with someone who only gives it up once or twice a month?  

    I want to find someone who wants me around.  I want someone who wants to hold my hand in public, and steal kisses in the alley.  I want someone who plays footsies under the table no matter if he’s paying the tab.  I want someone who holds my face when he kisses me.  I want someone who wants to travel with me, who wants to introduce me to his friends, who wants to meet my friends.  I want someone who can’t help but to want me inside his heart because he loves me.  I want someone who remembers my birthday and who makes plans to celebrate it with me.  I want someone who makes me the priority sometimes, not always, but sometimes.  

    There are too many rules with D.  He can’t take me around his friends or ours.  He can’t tell me the truth about anywhere he goes.  He always leaves me behind to go with the fair weathers, to go on vacations, to go hang out with friends.  I’m never welcome.  He’s only good to me on his terms, under his roof…when we are alone.  

    I don’t think it will be hard to walk away this time.  I really need to walk away for good.  

    He’ll never miss me.


June 9, 2013

  • the letter…

    He shoots me a text.  The weather has cleared and they’re going to the rally.  He’ll be back on Sunday at 11:30 pm.  Too late to expect me to show up.

    Thank fucking God.

    I’m laid up with strep throat, as are the kids.  I nap a great deal and try to find things to soothe my throat.  I’m in agony.  The antibiotics don’t seem to work for me.  If I’m not better later, then back to the walk in clinic I go.

    I take a few hours and write in longhand.  It’s a note to D.  I’m breaking it off.  Angel me and Devil me say nothing, even as I hand the note to them in turn to read.  Maybe they don’t believe I’ll hand it to him, but I will.  I won’t see him until next weekend.  I can’t imagine that he’ll contact me this week.  I won’t have the kids next weekend.  They should go to their father on Thursday.  He’ll have them through Father’s Day.

    I play it through in my head.  I’ll go to D’s.  He’ll tell me about the motorcycle trip, show me photos maybe.  I’ll nod and act amazed by his wonderful adventure, then I’ll hand over the letter. 

    I can’t mail it.  The damned thing is 9 pages long.  Admittedly, it got out of hand, but my heart is at peace.  He’ll not have a reply.  I’ll leave, and never return.

    Maybe I’ll leave here, too.

    I released J from any obligations from our childhood.  I’m releasing them all.  Walking away from them all, which is something I should have done years ago.  When it felt right, and before the spider web of connections and invisible obligations caught me in it’s grip.  I waited too long.  Over 80 followers and friends I’ve never met send messages when I grumble that I’ll go.  My friends in CA also contact me immediately, telling me not to go. 

    I run away and hide here.  It doesn’t feel any safer here.  I pull up Stone Temple Pilots “Big Empty”.  It fits me tonight.  My sore throat makes it difficult to stay on key, but I try. 

    But mostly….I need to find a place to be me.



June 7, 2013

  • tentative…

    I don’t get a chance to wish D safe travels before his trip.  I forgot my phone at home, which leaves me feeling oddly peaceful.  I leave it sit when I get home, because I’m tired.  I’ve worked two hours past the end of my shift to help a surgeon with a complicated surgery on a critically ill child.  He’s in over his head, and I know that a change in the sterile team would likely stress him further.  I’ve known him for over two decades, so I’m familiar and calming.  The surgery took 6 hours.

    At midnight the text comes in.  Their flight was delayed so they had to fly into Boston.  Their hour and a half ride to the cabin would end up taking two and a half hours.  They had to rent a van – added unexpected expense.  I snort in disgust and text a short message that we’re getting rain from a tropical storm that’s hitting the west coast on Thursday sometime. 

    I don’t add that it’s headed his way, and should arrive just in time to affect their weather adversely by Friday.  The rally and the zip line excursion would be a rainy ones, and any bar hopping would be pretty treacherous.  I keep it all to myself.  I tell him that I’m glad they arrived safe, and that I hoped they had a good time.  I apologize for not contacting him sooner and explain the reasons why. 

    He beams that he’s proud of me, which never fails to amaze me.  It just rings so false.  I have to trust my gut on this.  He’s putting on a show for the people he’s traveling with. 

    Suddenly afraid that he’s going to accuse me of bragging I minimize the sacrifice, my experience.  Angel me winces.  “Why do you do that?” she hisses. 
    I look at her with sadness in my eyes, “It doesn’t matter.”

    It does matter.

    He doesn’t respond back. 

    In the early hours, tornadoes and severe weather hit the area I live in like a bolt out of the blue.  A house collapses on an elderly woman, shattering her legs.  She comes in through Trauma Service, and when I look at her chart I realize that she lives a few roads away from me.  Trees have fallen across roads, power poles have snapped…the water begins to rise in my yard.

    I text that news to J, and ask if I need to check his girlfriend’s house.  Then, afraid he’ll mention it to D, I tell that news to D, who expresses concern that I’ll be flooded. 

    He asks if I’m stranded at home.  Devil me grins, and I smile back.  “He’s hoping you won’t go out partying while he’s vacationing,” she giggles.  I realize that the message I shot to J while he was trailering the motorcycles north- the one where I confessed that D was leaving me alone again, and that I was lonely – has been shared.  J isn’t someone I can confide things to anymore.  His loyalty now lies with D. 

    That bothers me a bit, but I remind myself that it’s all close to being over.  It still hurts losing someone who was part of my childhood, but I won’t ask about it. 

    C has found free digs in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Another bike trip is being planned.  I won’t be attending because I won’t be invited.  I look at Angel me, and she pats my arm, “You need to move on.  Tell him why, but move on for good this time.”

    What do I say?  She looks at me sadly and says, “Tell him that you love him but you need someone who isn’t always leaving you behind to go on another fabulous vacation or to play with friends…Tell him that you realize that he can’t travel with you – that you don’t want to repeat the disaster of the Keys – that you can’t travel with someone who will abandon you hundreds of miles from home with no way back.  Tell him that you need to find someone who wants to spend time with you, who you can travel with, who….really loves you, and who doesn’t lie about things like that.  Tell him that you’re unhappy….”

    “Tell him that you don’t expect him to change, but that you can’t stay with someone who is never around.  Tell him that you’re lonely, and that you need to be intimate more than a day or two a month…”  I nod.

    When he sends me a photo of himself, alone.  I lose my resolve for a moment.  Later, L posts photos of the women on the trip – the wives and steadies – and I look at them blankly.  K’s wife acts sleazy and makes sure that she grabs her boobs a lot.  The rest of them sport leather, mom jeans, and do rags.  They all look hard.  L often goes bra-less, which isn’t the best choice for a woman so heavy and so close to 50.  There’s another guy, A, who just kind of materialized at the cabin.  There’s an even 14.  D hides behind everyone when photos are taken.  He’s sensitive about his weight.

    I had asked J to send me video and photo of the zip line participants.  D was going to take the plunge, and I wanted to enjoy the sight of his vast behind roaring though the trees.  I planned on dubbing sound effects over it – prolonged fart, sonic boom, a woman screaming….just for my own pleasure.  I won’t see them.  He’s D’s friend now. 

    Lost opportunity.

    But I’m even more certain that I wouldn’t have enjoyed being there. 

    He comes back on Sunday.  It will be easy to give him the brush off.  I’ll tell him that I understand that he’s got laundry to do, food shopping.  He’ll be tired.  I’ll have things to get in order before the new week.  I can beg off for dental appointments on Tuesday, a mandatory ethics conference on Thursday.  When the weekend rolls around again, I’ll be brave enough to tell him that we’re not working out. 

    He’ll probably be happy about that.  He’ll have all the time in the world to do what he wants.  Besides, I’m sure he’s not missing me at all.




June 4, 2013

  • lonely…

    It’s my fault, really it is.  I allowed myself to be drawn back in.  He’s much more attentive. 

    I don’t hide my feelings or my wariness.  I don’t smile as often.  I turn away a lot.  I keep my voice even, but I allow my body language to speak volumes.

    The new me is a skittish lioness, pacing the room, ready to escape.  Often, I find myself not responding to his sweet talk and bullshit, so he redoubles his efforts until the room is filled with fluff and lies and me pacing, tense.

    He’s learned not to respond to sensitive questions in the email box.  Instead he breaks the news to me in his kitchen after begging me to come over.  He’ll be the 13th wheel on the motorcycle trip.  The other 12 are couples – married or steadies.  He explains that it all fell into place after the wedding he attended (without me).  He’s obviously afraid that I’ll blow up at him, because we had tenuous plans.  He explains quickly.  He shows me the new camera he purchased.  He shovels it out, deep. 

    I turn away, “That’s nice,” my voice is cold and flat, “That sounds like a nice trip.”  I walk away while he blusters and digs a deeper hole.  I don’t hide my disappointment, and I walk out to the back porch to stare at the sky.  He follows, chattering nonstop.  I shake my head, and walk back into the house.  I head for the bathroom and gently close the door in his face.

    In spite of myself, I have tears in my eyes.  I lock the door.  He chatters from the other side while I wipe silent tears. 

    Angel me whispers, “Why are you crying?  You knew he’d find a way to go.  You knew that any plans you had meant nothing.”  Of course, I knew, but it still hurts for some reason.  I can’t seem to put my finger on it.

    “You’re being left behind.  Again,” she cups a hand round my ear.  I dab at my reddened eyes, toss the tissue in the trash, and exit.  He’s been standing outside the door the whole time.  He’s going on and on about who will be there, explaining that he doesn’t know half of them.  I know most of them.  Half the crowd are people who I’d not enjoy spending 5 days with – because they are obnoxious drunks, or in the case of the cop’s bride – too enamored with their dominatrix lifestyle to have an iota of class (although I’m sure the whole dominatrix thing has nothing to do with that….she’d be obnoxious if she were a quiet librarian).  Then again, he’s used to obnoxious drunks thanks to the fair weathers.

    I shake my head.  Then I tune him out so completely that when he asks me a question I don’t respond, and he has to repeat it three times.  I stop crying but I don’t smile for the rest of the evening.  I’m silent, because there is nothing to say.  He tells me that he’ll leave on Wednesday night at 6pm and that they’ll arrive in the airport late, “Then it’s an hour and a half ride to the cabin.”  I nod.  He goes on to say that if he had planned the trip then they would be gone for a week.  I roll my eyes.  He shakes his head, “There won’t be much time for anything because we’ll only have Thursday through Saturday.  We come back early Sunday.  You’ll hardly know I’ve been gone.”  He smiles broadly, and I walk away, eying my shoes, wondering if I should just leave before dinner.  I don’t have an appetite anymore.  He floors me by adding, “You are my girlfriend, right?  You know that they all know about you.”

    My head snaps up, and my eyes spark fire, “They shouldn’t!  I wouldn’t have told them that!  I would NEVER tell them that!”  It’s his turn to look upset, “I might have told them.”  He spends the next couple hours telling me that I’m beautiful and gorgeous.  I wonder if I will puke.

    I end up staying because it storms, but the date slides – predictably – into the disaster I’ve come to expect.  I end up sick for 2 days.

    Conversation between he an I slips into barely polite territory.  Devil me snorts in disgust, “These friends must be idiots.”  I smile ruefully, “Some of them aren’t the brightest, I’ll admit.”  She tosses her hair, and studies me with icy eyes, “They don’t question a girlfriend who he NEVER brings around?”  My eyebrows shoot skyward and I chuckle in spite of myself, “That certainly IS pretty stupid.” 

    “Do you want to go?” Angel me asks.  I shake my head, “Not with them.  They are going to be a handful in the bar, and out of control in the cabin.  B has to have the heart of a Saint to let that motley crew in his vacation home.”  I laugh a little, “D will have plenty to bitch about when he gets home, but I think I’ll be busy and stand him up so I don’t have to listen to it.” 

    Devil me puts a hand on my arm, “Really, honey, what are you going to do?”

    I look at Devil me, “He’s never really there for me.”  She nods.  I continue, “I’m lonely.  I want to find someone who wants to spend time with me, not ditch me every 5 minutes for something better.  I have a service project to do with the Troop on Saturday, so I’ll do that because it will make me feel better, but later I think I’ll go out and cast my net on the stars.  Maybe it’s time to join a real dating site.  I don’t know.  I’m not even sure I want to talk to him.”

    J and M left tonight to trailer the motorcycles up.  I asked J to text me sometime over the weekend.  Angel me looks puzzled, so I explain, “I want to know what they get to do, but I don’t want to talk to D, if that makes sense.  I don’t want him to think I’m pining for him, because I won’t be.  With any luck I’ll be sitting at the bar, laughing with friends or strangers, stealing a kiss in the parking lot.” 

    Then I realize that I’m crying again, because I’ve wasted so much time, because I’ve been taken for a ride, because I need to run far away.