Once again, I’m sideways.

I often have this sense that I’m askew. That I’m, somehow… sideways. At a party, I often feel I’m the one standing apart, aside, observing, not really part of the group. Or if I am part of the group, it’s often through a concerted effort. An intentional meld. I get the jokes a second too early, or a minute too late, or not at all. Or I get them wrong, somehow. Oops.

I’ve been watching “Parade’s End”, which is wonderful. Just wonderful. But I just finished it, and the happy ending left me… crying. Miserable. Askew. Because although I’m happy for Christopher and Valentine, and despite having zero sympathy at all for Sylvia, I am left wondering: was I the desperate, horrible wife who didn’t *understand* my ex-husband? Who didn’t *get* him, who didn’t try to meet him halfway, who refused to love him or understand the things he loved and then finally, just… lost him? Had to go, had to move aside to make room for him, his fresh new girl and his fresh, unspoiled, happy, UNCONFLICTED new beginning? Was I his horrible past?

And even though, no, I truly do not believe that, I find it difficult right now to watch such things with an unblemished enjoyment. It’s a blow. It’s a sorrow. Because I am the wife, watching my husband – who grew cold, and quiet, and uncommunicative with me in the final years – find a new life and a new joy with a younger woman. And it is hard to see that relationship played out as a triumph – even though I know, intellectually, that it’s not me, not me, not me.

It still, somehow, hurts me. Is me. Is him. Is her. (I never really knew her before, but all the years of photos of her in his lap, under his arm, snuggled against him, before we were divorced – the fact that he took her out for New Year’s two days after I broke my ribs in Florida in the car accident, just over a week after The Incident in India that was really the final end of our marriage, so while I was laid up in pain at my parents’ house, he was out with her for New Year’s… I think all of that has made her a “Her” in my head. I regret that. I think she is probably not a bad person. However, there it is. “She” is “Her”, and probably will be so for a good long while.)

Anyway. I was thinking about this, and wondering when I started to notice this particular slant in myself. And I realized, it was “Love, Actually”.

I saw it with my mom. It was supposed to be this great feel-good movie — but I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed through everything after Alan Rickman cheats, because I had just, shortly before I saw it, truly understood that Ex’s behavior had crossed a line. Before, it had been suspicions and discontent. Gossip and concerned warnings from other people. But shortly before I saw “Love”, the feeling in the pit of my stomach congealed into a horrified surety that wouldn’t properly leave me until… well. I still feel that way, sometimes, even though we’re divorced, when I’m surprised by a photo of him with her. I breathe and smile and let it go, because that was the whole *purpose* of the divorce. But it’s hard to retrain your heart and your glands and whatever part of your brain processes feelings of betrayal.

Anyway, I couldn’t tell my mom what was going on, because I’d started the long – oh SOOOO long – process of lying, of hiding what was happening, of making Ex look good to everyone around while dying inside… so I just sobbed and sniveled into my Kleenex and tried to pretend it was just sentimentality. So many people love that movie. I hated it. To me, the movie boils down to that one storyline; and it’s not about love. It’s about betrayal, and failure, and being utterly sad and alone in a crowd of happy people. It’s about the terror of truly understanding for the first time that someone who’s supposed to be the closest to you really doesn’t care at all, and is going to hang you out to dry, and you’d better figure out a way to make it work, and triple-quick, because otherwise people are going to notice and ask questions. And then there’ll be trouble.

It’s the story of my life from then until the end of my marriage. Thank god I am rewriting the story now.

Anyway — back to Parade’s End. I’m in a much better place now, and I did enjoy the mini-series a great deal. I think Benedict Cumberbatch is wonderful in it – the whole cast is, really (OMG, anybody else who watched “Boardwalk Empire”, did you recognize the actor who played Al Capone / MacMasters?!?!?!!!?!?!!!! I about died when I figured out that was who that actor was!!) and all in all, I enjoyed it more than “Love”. But… I can’t wait until I can just watch love stories again without that pang, or without the possibility of them just going completely sideways. I’m wistful about it. I know the day will come. I’m hopeful it’s sooner rather than later. :}


Another Day, Another Dude I Can’t Date

Was supposed to return to my own home from my parents’ yesterday, but lingered to attend a concert with them, and my sister. It was lovely: on a patio, by a river, and one of the musicians was a friend I’ve not seen in – brace yourself – 22 years. (Yes, that’s two twos there. He was counting it out, and I said, “no, don’t, really,” and he finished the sentence with “it’s been twenty-two YEARS!!” and I believe I actually wheezed aloud. Lord.)

Well. I didn’t know he’d be there, and I’d been practicing dance right up until the moment Mom said, “Really? Are you not ready YET?” and no, of course I wasn’t, I hadn’t showered or anything; so I put up my (greasy) hair and threw on a pair of jeans and a dark jacket over my dark T-shirt and put on some lipstick, because, OK, that’s something — lol — I really didn’t want to lose a moment of dancing time… so there I was, disreputable and not looking *at all* my best, when… around the corner, and I SWEAR it was in slow motion, sashays this tan, suave, formerly-dorky kid I used to know (DID I MENTION IT WAS 22 FRIKKING YEARS AGO?) in college. Daaaaaaaaaaaaang. He was looking foine.

(If you do not know this word, it is “foine”: like “fine”, but finer. When “fine” smells good, and is shaking its butt a little when it walks, and smiling that gorgeous confident smile, and has a twinkle in its eye, and radiating goodness from the inside, but just a little bit of the naughty attitude? That, my friends, is how I define “foine”. And you say it like it’s typed. Oh. And you have to make this face:
–and yes, I keep that photo laying around. I’m not wearing that much makeup tonight. I tried taking the photo tonight and it looked variously like I was drunk, having a pleasurable but one-sided seizure, or having sexual congress with a mallard. So I whipped out the stock photo. VANITY, THY NAME IS GIGGLEPANTS.)

I digress. Hotty McTrafficStopper had just swung around the corner, earrings glinting in the sunlight, the cherubim and seraphim were whistling in approbation and St. Michael had dropped his coffee on Satan’s foot, which Satan had completely failed to notice because he was busily arranging his features into the “DAYUM that boy is FOINE” face, and I was really wishing I’d taken a shower. Oh, well!! I’d have to make do with my charm and just a soup├žon of pheremones and DAMMIT, was that a wedding ring, oh bugger me standing, yes. Yes, it was.

Well, shit.


I was still SO HAPPY to see him! We chatted, and yes: he is happily married after 20 years (oof, there’s another one of those 2s) and has daughters, they’re gorgeous, and he’s still a great guy. And YES, I made a total idiot of myself babbling, because he IS an old friend and I was happy to see him. However… I am pleased to say my brain made the transition over to, “maybe he’s got a friend since he’s not available” without too much grey matter carnage.

But really.



One Bite At A Time

It’s the answer to the old (and now, completely politically incorrect) question: “How do you eat an elephant?” — meaning, of course, “how do you tackle a large project?”

One bite at a time.

I’ve been trying to think of how to put this year’s transitions, fits and false starts into words, how to convey the immensity of my internal shifts, and at the same time the intransigence of my *self* in the face of inexorable coming change… and all of this has led to deadlock. I’ve spent most of 2014 wringing my hands and either babbling — which is my norm — or reduced to uncharacteristic silence.

This blog is one of the places I’ve fallen silent. The ability to say things that really matter has proven too great a burden: what to say, then? And where to begin? And how can I be sure that what I type so earnestly, now, will still be true tomorrow, next week, in a month?

Tonight, I’ve decided to lift that exigency from myself. I’m simply going to start. To type. To tell, at least about my inability to tell. :} It’s as good a place as any to start.

And tomorrow, or the day after, I’m going to make myself tell you some more. Maybe not about the state of my heart; maybe just about the play of the wind chimes in the window, or the slow roll of condensation down my glass. But *something*.

To communicate again. One word at a time. One post at a time. Fingers crossed.