Friday Fictioneers – April’s Flowers

Dale rogerson

Photo courtesy – Dale Rogerson

April’s Flowers

Word Count:  100

April stared forlornly at the arrangements.  The tall one was a bit sparse and the little one looked like something her Grandmother might have on the dining room table.  Still, she longed for someone to think enough of her to send flowers to work.

Imagine her coworkers’ reactions!  “She’s just the receptionist.” They’d say, incredulous.  “She lives alone with her cats, and wears dowdy clothes!”

Maybe, April thought, she’d fix it so that “someone” did think of her that way.

She continued staring at the flowers, knowing full well that the deception would only serve to make her more miserable.

 

Swings and Roundabouts

This process of reconnecting with self while at the same time, trying to find the connection with husband, oftentimes feels like two steps forward, a hundred steps back. The connections to husband are like rusty prongs which no longer fit the holes they once did, and no matter how I try to needle them in, they just won’t go.

Often, I’ll wonder if I will love him the same way.  In those moments, I really need to pay attention to the voice that says, “No, you won’t.  How can you?”  The old way was mothering; a trap I fell into, a trap many women fall into, though this was no fault of my own.

So, I guess I’m learning how to be a wife to my husband, and it feels a bit like the USS Enterprise saucer separation, which is an odd analogy, but consider this:  two months ago, I felt an absolute separation, as if all parts of me fled.  But perhaps they didn’t, perhaps they simply ran for cover when the reality of what I was saying sunk in.

He and I have had some frank conversations lately about sex, usually when we are drunk and/or stoned, which has led to things I truly was unsure about doing.  I know now that I am definitely not ready for that; it’s like running before you can walk.

So, how do we move forward?  Slowly.  Patiently.  Cognizant of the others’ triggers.  Not as mother and husband, but as husband and wife, as friends, as partners.

Of course, there’s the child in me that is quite petulant.  Her arms her arms crossed, and she is pouty faced.  She is stubborn and still thinks that she’s better off alone.  That no matter the changes in him, no matter the work they are doing, she cannot see the point.

She is the one who hears his I Love You but clamps the mouth shut in response.  She is the one that gets irritated when he walks on eggshells, or looks at her in that way that I can’t describe in words.  She is the one who balks, indignant at the thought of discovering him sexually.  Why should she have to find out about him?  She’s the one that’s done the work for all these years; she’s not willing to put in the effort.

It’s a constant conflict between the child and the adult. I am somewhere in between, muddling through.  Trying to reconcile, trying to connect with him sometimes and other times, not.  Working on not being niggly, trying to be aware of what I’m feeling or thinking and expressing them, if need be.  I’m not very good at the awareness thing because the child is still very much a wounded creature.  This will take extra focus.

Finding my way back to a cohesive, loving partnership seems like a nice goal.  With fifteen years of backlog, we both have to remember to be patient with each other.

Pieces.

shattered_statue_by_hecatean-d8o9rd2

What courage have I?  In the moment, it is simply a thing I have to do.  Tired of picking up pieces; the result of others’ choices, I made my own, and scattered my marriage, my life and his life to all points and corners.

I had envisioned months and months of civil side-by-side living while I cultivated the desire to live away from him.  I was shut down, closed off, impenetrable, had made my decision and dammit, I’d had enough.  I loved my children but I did not love my husband anymore.  Even the little, familiar things we shared seemed inconsequential and did not affect my ambition.

Six weeks later, I find myself rummaging for all the pieces.  Slowly, deliberately, even perhaps letting them come find me for repair.  As in Kintsugi, we are reconstructing in new ways.  Our marriage from before is dead; exploded, and the new one is beginning to look much different.

With this slow repair though, comes a devil on my shoulder.  The doubter, nagger, and all around pessimist.  She is obstinate and doesn’t want to move forward.  She is petulant and refuses to show any kind of affection.  She throws emotional grenades that make me break down in counseling sessions.  But what she fails to realize is that her work aids progress; she is part of the yin and yang of me.  However, she’s been the larger of the two for a long time and she’s not keen on sharing power.

So, I am struggling with conflict.  The desire to move forward and to not.

These are interesting times.  I see my husband in a new light but I don’t yet know who I am, or who I am in this relationship.  It’s a new thing, but not.  It’s not like a new relationship that’s thrilling and butterfly-inducing; it has a history.

So, I work on myself.  Or sit with myself.  Do nothing.  Think nothing.  Feel nothing.  Other times, I do, think and feel it all at once.  It’s still choppy waters.

But that devil…..boy, she’s had her way for so long.  I mustn’t fight her, but allowing her just to be makes my life quite challenging.

 

The Way Forward

I have spent years in the wilderness.  I found a clearing a few years ago but it did not lead to any sort of opening or escape.  On more than one occasion, I thought that I could bolt through the forest to find my way out but that proved to be futile.

Now is my time, and I have found the path.

I speak metaphorically, of course.  The clearing I speak of was discovered when I began the practice of meditation in 2013.  For some, tuning in to self cannot come from simply sitting and being, but I fell into it with ease.  I understood that chatter was okay; that it was fine to set an intention but at the end of each practice, nothing need be accomplished.

It just is.  I can just.be.

Currently, there are major shifts in this soul’s life, so I returned to practice.  I came home to the sangha and was welcomed as if by family.  It’s been only two weeks since I picked up where I left off but the clarity and stillness cultivated long ago never left.  Just like seedlings in a field; they have been dormant.  The only thing they needed was for me to notice.  To provide awareness.

My path ahead is uncertain.  I know to some degree what I do and do not want.

My practice will help me through.  And forward.

Friday Fictioneers: Sweet Maggie

jhardy

Photo courtesy: J Hardy Carroll

Sweet Maggie

Word count:  100

She was a shivery thing huddled in the corner, trying to appear smaller to the junkies who taunted and threw stones.  Even in my addled state, my heart broke.  I scooped her up, tucked her inside my jacket and fled the building with their jeers following.

Fourteen years ago, that kitten saved me; I took on a responsibility and I loved her.  We’ve been through a lot but no matter how far down the mental well I tumbled, she was right there to haul me up.

She died yesterday.

Helpless; hopeless, I’ve returned to chase the dragon one last time.

 

**For our cat, Maggie.  I’m so sorry.**

 

Friday Fictioneers – Old Beryl

al_forbes

Photo Courtesy: Al Forbes

 

Old Beryl

Word count:  100

Mr. Briggs loved the old girl but now it was time to let her go.  He’d polished her fenders with care, attached the poppy just so and spit-licked the spotlight shiny.

Later, he watched from the other side of the barrier as she passed by, tears brimming, and saluted with one briny hand. Mr. Briggs lingered long after the crowds had dispersed, staring down the road with droopy, rheumy eyes.

He tugged a handkerchief from his pocket and blew his nose loudly before turning away.  Perhaps he’d stop at the newsagent and pick up some chicken noodle soup for dinner.

Living in Echoes

I read something recently, some piece of advice. I can’t for the life of me recall where I saw it and I will have to paraphrase, for I really just have a feel for the meaning as opposed to the words, but it went something like this:

“When we have a memory, particularly a painful one, we tend to live it as it actually just happened, or is happening. We play it out in such a way that we harness the emotions and run around with them which causes the pain to feel as it did when the original event happened. It would serve us better when the memory surfaces (as they always do, there’s no way around that) to let it sit and try to feel for it as a jumping off point to something better.  Instead of it being a portal to pain, remember the benefits that came from it, be they immediate or some time after.”

Ok, so I totally embellished what was probably just a one sentence affirmation, but you get it, right? I mean, who hasn’t ridden that crazy horse time after time?

“Letting it go” isn’t an easy thing to do. You can fling it away but it’ll come back like the ball attached to the bat. You can hide from it, but it will still be there drumming its fingers on the dining room table waiting for you to continue feasting, dejected, on the scraps of the past.SONY DSC

But, what a concept to be able to see the event, the memory, to view it as if it were a screenshot from a movie. The moment your heart broke when he/she called it quits.  The last evening of your beloved restaurant. The day the realtor stuck a For Sale sign in the front yard of the house you could no longer afford to keep. Anything like that, any hurt moment…grab it and face it, look at it, don’t run, don’t hide.

Then know where you are right now, who you are, and how far you have journeyed from that moment.

Getting caught in echoes from the past is the easiest, least resistant thing we can do.  If you want to prolong hurt and anger in order to keep searching for answers, or to fool yourself into thinking that there must still be work done before the pain goes away, that is your choice.

Wouldn’t it be a more compassionate thing for yourself to see the positive of the now; the benefits of lessons learned, even the most difficult?

Take a deep breath, because those echoes will just keep you in ever decreasing circles, and that’s no life for you to be living.