Friendship

This morning I had a long overdue coffee date with a wonderful woman. We are about the same age and are both on the road of discovery about ourselves while deciding what we want the second half of our lives to look like. We have a lot in common in many regards and I hope she is on the way to becoming a good friend.

After coffee was over it occurred to me how much I miss having close female friends. Sometimes I miss it so much it feels like a piece of me has been ripped away and left abandoned out on an isolated road. Alone.

Don’t get me wrong I have some wonderful friends. But due to our constant moving or their moving; these women that I cherish and love are scattered throughout the United States. There is N… my been with me forever friend who has seen me through my youthful indiscretions and has nursed me through the past year. There is C who knew me as a teen and with whom I share a birthday. There is L who makes life something to laugh at and enjoy to the fullest even when I am whining like a baby. And there are several other special ladies who I know would be there for me if I picked up the phone. But what I need at this juncture of my life, and what I miss most, are a couple of good girlfriends to go to coffee with every Thursday to catch up on each others lives.

It is hard making friends at my age. It’s an art really. The type of art I have really never possessed in sufficient quantities… because I don’t do acquaintances. I do… “I’ll save your life if you’re in a raging river”… types of friends. I would do anything for them and they would do just about anything for me. These are the plunging off a cliff, Thelma and Louise, kinds of friends.  Frankly, there are not a lot of people I want to risk my life for or go down with at my age. But I am still willing to try to find those kinds of inspiring and fun people and offer them all that I have to give… which is quite a lot.

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There are other reasons I find making friends difficult. Sometimes when you have special needs children with challenges it makes it difficult to make friends. Most people have no clue of all the things you have to do to make your life work. They don’t understand when you have to cancel at the last-minute because of a major meltdown that is occurring ten minutes before you are supposed to meet. And being around others whose children also have challenges can be draining for both people because it seems as if too often you are both drowning at once and just holding on by the thinnest of branches. While things have improved in my household sometimes I feel like past behaviors hold me back because I am unsure when those issues will rear their ugly heads again. It makes me afraid to risk “those” looks and “those” whispers from someone I thought was special only to find that they really aren’t. Sometimes I wonder if that isn’t how my sons with autism feel.

There is also the issue that most women’s lives are so full that they barely have time for the friends they currently have much less making time for someone new in their lives. With old friends you know what you have and how to relate. Most people just don’t have the energy to figure out the quirks of a stranger. And I get all of this. I truly do. But damn, it just means that so many of us are missing out on something that is so good.

But really, I don’t want a lot of friends. I just want a small group of coffee klatching Thursday morning women to hang with. Some 40-60 something gals who won’t try to convert me. Won’t try to change me. And will love me despite all my idiosyncracies.

With all the lonely people out there you would think it wouldn’t be that hard to find but it is. Which makes me thankful for all that I do have in my life. Yet, I am greedy and I want more. Much, much more.

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The Place of Mysteries…303 Days To Fix This

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Recently my therapist introduced me to The Place of Mysteries. It’s a place I have come to cherish and love. It’s a place to hold all the unanswered questions I have been carrying around from the past. It’s a place I can come back to when I have more information and either remove the questions/issues completely from The Place of Mysteries or put them back into holding for scrutinization at a different time.

As my therapist explains it, The Place Of Mysteries is kind of like a closet in your mind. Sometimes it is a fully organized place and sometimes it is packed to the brim with haphazard stuff. Occasionally you have to go into it and take everything out and separate it into three piles: the trash, the giveaway and the keep.

The trash pile is for those things that are resolved and you just don’t need them anymore. Off they go, forever hauled away from your psyche in a big rubbish truck never to be seen again.

The giveaway pile exists to allow yourself to let go of an issue/s and give the issue/s back to the person with whom they really belong. Since I tend to carry around everyone else’s shit I am looking to give it back to the rightful owners by refusing to put it in my closet in the first place or refusing to put it back. If I can accomplish this I suspect I will have a lot of room in this previously overused and cramped space of The Place of Mysteries.

The keep pile is for those still unresolved issues/situations. Gwenniffer has made herself at home in here. I’ll know she is there but I will not look at her unless another piece of information arrives and which time I may compare both pieces and see if they fit together or not. If they do not fit they will go into the trash pile but if they do I can then make an intelligent decision about what I will do with this newly obtained information and how it relates to what I know from before. It is nice to have a place for Gwenniffer rather than having her riding around on my back or inhabiting my head at the most inopportune times.

While The Place Of Mysteries doesn’t begin to answer my all questions it does hold the information in a place away from constant viewing. And while I may have picked up on something concerning Gwenniffer, I do not yet know for sure what that is, so… into The Place Of Mysteries she goes; the holding place for mysteries until they are solved.

Maybe the Gwenniffer issue will never be solved. That is possible. Or maybe at some point I will take Gwenniffer out and just throw her away on my own. But until that day comes, she is sitting in The Place Of Mysteries, out-of-the-way, in the dark, right where she belongs probably sitting next to my missing black patent leather stiletto.

Six Hours Later…

It has been interesting to me that I have been composing these recent pieces in a somewhat poetic form. I ponder why because I never choose to write in this particular style. And what occurs to me is that right now I feel raw, sad and the confusion is deep and so in writing in an unfamiliar style it almost makes it feel that it is not me that this is happening to. I am incapable of organizing my thoughts in a traditional piece so I must not be that OTHER woman, that sad one, the poetic one, who might very well end up divorced.

Yep, I am just floating down De’Nile.

THREE HOURS POST GWENNIFERR

CRAZY
Sometimes I feel like Hillary Clinton
Ignoring what appears to be in front of me for the greater good
But sometimes I wonder if you are the type of man
That slowly drives his wife crazy
Sweet and caring
Sexy and funny
Giving and kind in so many important ways
A good family man folks would say
With a part that is hidden from the public that longs to stray
I did my sexual experimentation when I was young
You didn’t
Are you wishing you had?
What is it you think you are missing?
It’s true
I’ve never “caught” you with another woman
There have been uncomfortable/inappropriate texts
A picture of another woman
And a very strange business card belonging to a woman
You swear you have no idea how THAT got in your wallet
There have been entire nights you were unreachable on business trips
We even laughed that you must be the most unlucky man in the world
When you are alone…even the front desk messes up
Must have rang the wrong room
Even though they were different hotels, different stays
Because you were in your room…all night
Oh yes, and there was that condom under our bed that I found when we were moving…maybe it was our teenager
And now Gwenniferr…again
Why the lie if everything is innocent?
But even worse, it is a stupid reckless lie
These are small things….distant enough from one another
Occurring here and there…not everyday…not every year
But when added up
Make you appear to be untrustworthy to me
Why don’t you just come clean?
There is nothing to come clean of you insist
And so I feel crazy
Maybe look crazy too
And you accuse me of not trusting you
And I don’t
For good reasonS
How can you have a marriage without trust?
We have for a while now
It’s made our bones brittle, our lungs empty, hearts heavy
And finally I realize that you can’t live without trust
Can counseling fix this?
I don’t know
Maybe it is over
And we just don’t know it yet
FOUR HOURS POST GWENNIFER
SPECIAL

I used to think our marriage was special

I really truly used to believe that with all my heart

When did that stop?

Today for sure

Before then…probably

We were friends, I thought

Fantastic lovers, I knew

Allies, maybe? sometimes

And I always thought

That you would be the one holding my hand when I passed on

Now I realize we just had a marriage

There was nothing special about it at all

It was just a plain ordinary marriage

Like everyone else has

A marriage of ups and downs

Of good and bad

Of happiness and sorrow

Of kindness and love

Of children and grandchildren

Of travel and adventure

But now the only thing left is the fantastic lover part

And that is not enough for me anymore

Trust….gone

Admiration…fled the scene

Truth…never

Friendship…well the therapist says we don’t have it

You wanted to like me again

I wanted the same of you

And then Gwenniferr re-emerged

Once again reminding me

We have less than a marriage

Because a marriage is built on truth and trust

And at this time ours appears to be built on sand

FIVE HOURS POST GWENNIFERR

HARMLESS

Your innocent flirting you said was harmless

Your unhappiness you felt until you wanted a D.I.V.O.R.C.E. was harmless

Your dishonesty was avoidance and therefore harmless

Your relationship with Gwenniferr is nothing, it’s harmless

She is like a sister to you, harmless

Your relationship to me that is imploding…harmless

Destroying our family…harmless

Your look-me-in-the-eye I’m telling you the truth, harmless

Your relationship with your children, maybe on your way to becoming a weekend father…harmless

Your innocence astounds me

And your harmless actions seer my soul

Permanent scars carved into my skin

One at a time over years

Looking like a tattoo of dragon talons swooping down

Cutting and digging into flesh

You BRAND my soul with your harmlessness

And it doesn’t feel harmless at all

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How did we get from this this song that we played at our 25th Wedding Anniversary to where we are now? I don’t understand

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All I know is that we knitted this marriage for all these years and with one tug, one pull of the thread it is unraveling and the speed with which it is astounds me.

Unexpected…314 Days…Do I Even Want To Fix This?

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I showed up unexpectedly

Hopeful…for a long lunch

I never show up uninvited

But I had a hunch

We needed some more time together

You told me you were going to the gym

“Let’s go,” I said.

And you said, sure… hesitated… and then insisted on going to lunch first

I would love to go to the gym with you now

Again you insisted on going to lunch right then

We did it your way…again

THE LUNCH

Lunch was lovely

Eyes locked

Fingers touching the way they do

When you want to turn me on

Beautiful blue eyes batting at me

Smiles a million miles long

Conversation sweet but lean

The man in the booth behind us flirting at me with his eyes, his smile

And for the first time in 29 years I wondered what it might be like to flirt back

For it was nothing I had even considered…before now

THE GYM

At the gym you took me into a tiny workout room

Ellipticals you said

I love the ellipticals

And so we huffed and puffed together

And then I saw that tiny almost imperceptible wave

To shoes and a dress which were the only things visible to me

I asked who it was

Gweniferr you said

And my head exploded

But not from a lack of oxygen from too much time on the elliptical

But from all the air escaping me after being punched in the gut

Hard. AGAIN.

Oh… the same Gwenniferr with whom you exchanged inappropriate texts

Oh… the same Gwenniferr you SWORE you never saw anymore because

She never came to the gym

Oh…the same Gwenniferr you have no interest in

Even though your texts several years ago appeared to speak differently for you

OH…THAT GWENNIFERR!

The elliptical stopped

NOt realizing that I was responsible

For the inaction

I wish I was mellow dramatic and could have passed out on the floor

Ladylike, as they did in the old days

A swoon

But instead I wanted to slam my body into yours

Angry…more than that

Full of RAGE…but I kept my cool and later felt… nothing

But a gaping pit where my heart once raced when you touched me

It appears you have lied to me again

Later you showed me the rest of the facility

The huge gym with even more ellipticals surprised me

It was the gym I assume that Gwenniferr had been working out in

Usually with you?

But not today

Obviously I was unexpected by her too.

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