today would’ve been a good day. it would’ve been. the weather in texas is glorious right now, which is a rare thing in february. i’m caught up at work. as in… not only did i turn in all the calendars i create each week, but also two of the three stories i’m to write for the upcoming edition. two of three because the folks i’m interviewing for the third failed to provide me with responses to the questions i’d posed them by the time i’d requested, which means come monday morning, i’ll have to nag them, and that’s not something i enjoy doing. but yall, usually i’m turning stories in on tuesday morning; that i got two of them turned into today is also a rare thing.
it should’ve been a good day. i know by others’ standards it would be. one in five children go hungry… so far this year, two-hundred forty have lost their lives on the texas roads… there are children battling horrible things like osteosarcoma, and when i think of them, i think of john green’s the fault in our stars, of gus who loses a leg and is fine for a while, of some line in that book where the narrator, hazel, says something about how that particular cancer takes a limb, and then if it likes you, takes the rest, and it takes gus… it could very well take the little girl i’d interviewed not so long ago, could be a tease and let her live ten years, could be a sneaky bastard and hide and then all of the sudden be everywhere at once. it could. i’ve met her mother. i’ve met her father. i’ve been to their house… there are people dying every second of the day.
one of my friends from high school… her mother died yesterday. there’s a visitation on valentine’s day. a day meant for love… for her it will be one of leaving, of loss.
last night, i put a picture of some ranunculus on her facebook wall because i couldn’t give her the real thing, and i thought she needed the light and the love. ironically, she’d just finished ordering the flowers for the service right around the time i’d posted it.
i’ve no right to say it’s not been a good day. none whatsoever.
but i’m going to say it anyway.
tonight i went to the come to the garden event at the woodlands united methodist church. i sat in the second row near the center and watched while a woman i’d interviewed a week or so before talked about her experiences with divine dreams and things, talked of how she’d dreamed of having five children to learn she can’t have any because her body won’t let her. she’s made do. she’s somehow found some sort of peace. or at least she seems to have done so. and it occurred to me tonight that maybe i’m not meant to know love… not that kind. it occurred to me that perhaps i need to let that dream die. it’s been forty-two years, after all. almost forty-three.
i can do this life by myself. i can. i’ve endured decades of emotional and mental abuse. i’ve buried a brother. i’ve stood by the other while his family fell apart and his so-called friends fell away. i’ve traveled overseas by myself. i’ve moved from one apartment to another… one city to another by myself. i. can. do. this.
that list of reasons i have for living? the one i failed to mention, the only one that’s truly kept me going is that i’ve had hope that i could know love, if i just wait. i just have to wait.
the woman i’d interviewed… i’d told her about the experience i’d had two days after my brother’s death, of how i’d been coming home from running some errands, of how i’d taken the long way because i needed some time to myself, of how i’d all the sudden heard his voice like he was sitting right next to me:
you can do anything you wanna do, jenny.
well, what do you wanna do?
because i’ll find you someone.
and i believed him. i believed he could. i was twenty-nine and grieving and in the throes of some pretty significant inner turmoil before he’d departed this world, and his death, of course, compounded all that. but i believed him.
i don’t wanna make babies anymore. but i do wanna know love.
and the men i’ve known… they’ve not been good to me. but i’ve had hope, despite this. i’ve prayed. i’ve clung to the dream even though i’ve known it’s foolish to do so.
but tonight, i kept thinking, you should really let this go. it’s time. it’s time.
so i went to baker’s street to see a friend who works as a bartender there. she’s battled cancer. twice. she’s spunky as hell, and i needed to see the smiling face of a strong woman… only it’s been some time since i’ve been, and she’s not there anymore.
and here’s the coincidence…
the spot of bar i’d managed to snag was a patch near where my younger brother stood. my younger brother who’s engaged, whom i learned tonight will be getting married–for the second time–in ten days. my younger brother who’s there with some of his friends–those who have stuck by him–for his bachelor party.
i’d meant to have one drink. three ounces of liquor on ice: vodka, bailey’s and kahlua. one drink, the first i’ve had this year.
i had two. the second didn’t sit well with me. so i walked to the movie theater and watched how to be single.
and it’s all about how you have to relish the moments… you have to be able to enjoy that time… those seconds when it’s just you.
yeah. i don’t have a problem doing that. i’ve been places. i’ve seen things. i’ve stood on the side of a very big hill in wales and marveled at the countryside. i’ve stood on the shores of the carribean, the atlantic and the pacific and reveled in the glory of the sun on the sea. i’ve driven the backroads at sunset and hiked in the mountainsides. i’ve sat in my father’s chair in the living room and read and watched as the sun sunk below the black of the pines in the pale blue sky. i’ve known that kind of glory, thanks. i’m good. i know how to appreciate it. i have no trouble doing so.
a man has told me of how i’m beautiful twice in my life. twice. two different men. and both times they were drunk. the first time i didn’t realize it was because he was trying to get in my pants. i’d never heard it before. it was so pretty. the second time, i didn’t care why he’d said it. both times, when they’d said it, i’d believed them. foolish girl that i am. foolish because i keep wanting someone to send me some ranunculus. and not just anyone. someone special to me. but that never happens. foolish because i keep thinking a man could care. because i keep wanting one to do so.
one of the things the woman had discussed tonight was that coincidences… maybe that’s god talking. if that’s so, i’d really like to know what he’s trying to say. of course, even if i could tell, i’m not sure i’d believe him.
how do i let go of a dream when it’s kept me alive?