I’m so over pussies

To be more clear, men who are pussies.

Specifically, the men who move in all in love and overcome with love for me, and then they can’t fucking show up.

The waning happens gradually, subtly; I get an inkling of it, usually when things are really groovin’, and I talk myself right out of my intuition.

And then, it gets to the point where there’s no question that he’s vanishing. Except that it’s excruciatingly slow, so that I think we still have a chance.

Next step…my freakout. I will eventually come unhinged, break up with him, beg him to come back, then lose my shit.

And somewhere down the road I’ll get clear on the actual dynamic, which is not the one in which I am a horribly psychotic person who scared off the greatest guy ever.

It’s the one where (I finally realize) he can’t show up. Ever. Anywhere in his life. So why would I think it would be different in a relationship?

And then, years ahead, if I’m really really lucky (and still in denial of some sort) I get another opportunity to learn this incredibly painful and self-esteem-destroying lesson.

Yes, more than once I have rekindled long lost loves, believing that either A) he’s changed, or B) he didn’t really break my heart last time (which, to be clear, each of them did.)

With that all said, in the years since my divorce, I have been fortunate enough to revisit two utterly hopeless and dysfunctional relationships; couplings whose breakups sent me running into the arms of an eating disorder and obsessive athleticism.

And tonight, I ran into one of those two (the other one sends me a text every 6 months or so and lives very far away).

All I felt was disdain. And a little sadness for him…pity, actually, and no one wants to be pitiful – it’s unbecoming.

And he said, “It’s nice to see you.”

No it’s not. Last time we ran into each other (years ago) you actually hid from me in the aisles of the City Market. You are totally squirming right now and we both know it.

PUSS.

Such a puss.

And the other one, the texter? He sought me out after 20 years and started backpedaling almost immediately, so I got bored and irritated and moved on. Then, 2 years later, he whines to me about wanting to meet someone. I told him that he blew it.

In jest.

Mostly.

Noncommittal puss.

I got in my car tonight after the market, and thought, eeewww, spineless men who talk big but are actually rather puncey.

No thank you.

Never again.

intergration

As often as I think about how well I’ve integrated into this community, this way of life, sometimes I get a slap upside the head reminding me that no, I haven’t fully become one with this rural western lifestyle, and that no matter what the outside looks like, deep down, I am just a big ol’ tenderhearted, old hippy, Elly May Clampet, who didn’t eat meat for 100 years, doesn’t kill spiders, and wants world peace.

 

Processing the Prognosis

Two weeks ago today, I got on the plane, terrified that I was about to lose my mother.

And today, she “is cured.”

Her doctors have declared it so.

And as my pragmatic mom would, and did, say, “No doctor is going to stick his neck out there like that unless he’s really sure.”

Probably quite true.

So we’re finished. Just like that.

Obviously, since she had half of an organ removed, the one that helps her get oxygen, there will be some necessary recovery time. But because, as they keep saying to her, she’s “fitter than most 60 year olds,” she’s already way ahead of the curve on that one. When Dad called today, Mom was out walking. Alone.

She’s fucking amazing.

“But wait,” you interrupt, “you’re telling me that two weeks ago, she had lung cancer and now she’s fine?”

“Right?”

It’s too quick, too unreal, too impossible.

Cancer, especially one like lung cancer in an 80-year-old, demands days, months, years, of physical and mental anguish; not a quick trip to Florida at the most beautiful time of the year.

And then…

Done.

My heart went right there. I was instantaneously light. I found joy in my next breath. My entire system dropped in and let go.

I’ve suddenly forgotten that there was anything hard about the trip at all. I hear myself tell people that ask, that my trip to my folks was so special and beautiful and sweet.

When I think of the trip, I do not see us in a hospital room, I see us sprawled on the lanai, drinking Folger’s, laughing.

Those horrible, agonizing, first nights in ICU have faded, blurred.

Anyway, the point is, my entire being knows that my mother is good and well and here.

But I can’t get my brain to let go. It’s the rational me, not the emotional me. When I hear myself say to someone, “My mother is cured,” a voice in my psyche screams, “NO IT CAN”T BE TRUE. NO ONE GETS OUT OF CANCER THAT EASILY!!!!!!!!!”

And then the emotional me hears that and I begin to doubt the powers that be. My body tightens. I spin out. I lose my connection with that part of me that does know she’s okay.

Every bit of this experience has been different than I expected. And so many times it has been impossible for me to put words to what I have seen and felt. And I feel like I am flailing with it right now – I probably sound ungrateful at best.

Trying to speak about this is like trying to hit an elk, in the trees, out a car window, while going 60 mph, with an atlatl.

I haven’t experienced anything like this to compare it to, or even have as a point of reference.

I am joyous. I feel such immense gratitude and love. I am overcome with emotion for some of the moments that I have recently experienced.

And, knowing that it’s done is just fucking weird.

 

 

A conversation in my town

“The roads are super sketchy. Up by H the fog was total pea soup and the roads were all white and slushy; I thought I might run off the road.”

“Which H?”

“I took 41.”

“Oh, so not the Burk’s H.”

“No, not my old H either. Dudley’s H. H point whatever.”

“You know, the point whatever is new. It was just H. H to the east.”

“Then it got a little better until I got to Mike and Mindy’s and from there to Rena’s dad’s place…”

“Tony.”

“Right. Tony. That stretch of road was totally foggy again and the mud was pulling my tires to the side.”

“Wow.”

“And it was bad over the arroyo but it’s always bad there.

“Then I drove up to check the chickens and had to put it in 4×4 to get out of there, and you know, one of these days I’m going to regret putting the eggs in my pocket.”

 

Country life at it’s best.

a follow up to yesterday’s post

The interesting thing here, the piece I haven’t mentioned, because I forget, is that there was an 18 year gap between my Nanna dying and my parents moving to Florida when I didn’t set foot in Vero.

That’s what makes it somewhat astounding that it still feels so much like home.

Also astounding is that during that 18 years, nothing really changed.

The drawbridge became a regular bridge and it moved upstream about 200 yards.

The ice cream store where Bowen ate gummi bear ice cream that he still talks about closed – although the storefront still sits empty across from the beach.

Jaycee Park got it’s playground equipment updated so it’s less of a death trap.

Other than that – the 18 years are like a blip that never existed – both in the town and in my heart.

departure

I’ve stayed for as long as I can, really. I mean, I could stay forever, but it would mean figuring out something about my children and MCB and my chickens and my job and house and all of those other things that are still in Colorado.

Leaving my parents is an emotional can of worms that I’m not quite ready to open this morning. In just a few hours I won’t have a choice, but for the moment we’re going to pretend that I’ve been here on vacation.

To begin with, I’m on the lanai and it is the most gorgeous morning imaginable, except for the house alarm sounding off next door.

I’m drinking Folger’s instant with Coffee Mate.

Enough said on that matter.

Chances are, I’m not going to miss it.

Aside from my mom and dad, this place tugs at my heartstrings. I have been coming here since I was born. My grandparents lived less than a mile from my parents’ house. Sometimes, coming home from the grocery store, I turn onto their road out of habit. When I do, I slow down to a crawl and stare at the house struggling to believe that I’ll likely never set foot in there again.

Unless I’m the creepy person who knocks on the door and says, “Can I come in and just look?”

Dark things happened in that house. But so did a lot of good – a lot of what shaped who I am, what I love; it’s where I developed my deep affection for coffee and porpoise.

(Porpoises? Porpi?)

My grandfather had an ottoman, it was dark green, we called it The Green Thing. It sat in front of the television and Paw Paw would perch himself as close to the t.v. as he could trying to figure out how to make it work, while my brother sat on the couch across the room and used the remote.

Hours of entertainment.

My mother has The Green Thing now. It’s covered with some sort of print that’s not green but we still call it The Green Thing and I have staked my claim on it.

And about the grocery store – Publix. It wasn’t Publix, it was The Piggly Wiggly – who wouldn’t love grocery shopping at a place called the Piggly Wiggly?

Between Piggly Wiggly and Publix, it was Winn Dixie just like the dog.

Every day I pass the ambulance center where my mother had to take me because I passed out from heat exhaustion after trying to run for a mile in 90 degree heat and 90% humidity.

There’s the Seaburger, which I mention often. I mention it often because I go there often – like daily. I said to my mother, “I don’t know how to sit on the beach without a chocolate milkshake.” I’ve been getting milkshakes there for 51 years; my mother’s been getting them there for almost 80.

There’s Twig, the bathing suit store. Kate shops there when she comes down here too. You can’t not shop at Twig; it is everything that is Florida, in all of its pink and green glory.

And the manatee place. They hang out where the warm water flows out of the power plant into the Indian River (we won’t think about whether or not that water is clean.) The manatees aren’t always there, but I always check.

The Holiday Inn is just a few blocks away. I met up with a college boyfriend there one time and we sat in our room overlooking the ocean doing blow. My parents had no idea.

Dodgertown is gone as is Marvin’s Gardens, the bar that let me and JulieAshby (always her full name, always one word) drink like fish after picking up baseball players, before driving to Jaycee Park to sloppily crawl around on the playground equipment.

JulieAshby had a way of saying “Jaycee” that I try my damnedest to imitate but can’t get quite right. Just like my Nanna had her way of saying “Wabasso” (the next town upstream) that I can hear in my head but can’t seem to say the way I want to.

When I was little, before I-95, we had to drive through Yeehaw Junction to get to Vero. Two lane road bordered by citrus groves with very deep canals lining either side of the road. Mom used to tell stories of riding horses through the trees picking fruit.

She also told stories of cars running off the road into the canals and the people inside being attacked by alligators.

Thus, all of the black-headed vultures.

True or not, those canals scared me shitless.

The vultures though, they are AMAZING and at any given time hundreds, I mean , hundreds, are soaring together on the air currents. The sky turns black and anyone who is superstitious figures the world is about to end.

I just love them.

As I love their red-headed brethren.

The draw bridge is gone which is certainly more convenient, but not nearly as entertaining.

My mom said the other day, “I think you might be a Florida Girl at heart.”

I don’t think that I am but I didn’t shudder at the thought. It’s beautiful and in my pores. A piece of my heart sings when the airport doors open and I am hit with that wave of hot, humid (yeah, moist) air.

I feel so connected, not only to my childhood, but to my family, my ancestry, who. I. Am.

Leaving is so hard and yet, this time, I am sure, as I haven’t ever been before, that I will always return to Vero.