…you can trust me, baby…
The moon pulsed through a deep layer of marine mist that blanketed the Calmmune. It was after midnight. The casement window in my bedroom was wide open, a breeze cooled by the ocean drifted in. Our bodies pressed against each other, his arm protectively draped over my shoulder. His gentle breath warmed my ear. Then he started to breathe heavy, from the gut. I felt his grip tighten on my shoulder. The sound of the air being forced out of his mouth was dragging me from my dream. I smiled as I came to. And then, without a second to spare, I demonstrated cat-like reflexes, out of total necessity.
I was going up against a cat.
High Maintenance Kitty was half a hurl from throwing up all over my head.
With one arm, the one he was balancing on as I lay on my side, I threw him off the bed. A trail of half-digested cat food spewed from his mouth in a stream that missed my body but nailed the bed and two pairs of high heels on the floor.
I can see it now…having a romantic evening with HMK in the room is going to be like making out with your date while your little brother hangs over the back of the couch coughing up phlegm balls courtesy of the petri dish that is elementary school.
HMK thinks he owns me. Remember, he once attacked my former spouse just days after I learned of the extent of his affair. This cat is my bodyguard, and then some. I had a date last weekend. When he walked in the house HMK hunched his shoulders and stared him down. I saw his lip quiver in disgust. The idea of a blended family involving HMK would require a brave, brave man.
After cleaning up, I sketched out sliding barn door plans in my head as I drifted back to sleep. It’s time to have a door on my loft bedroom. Someday, there will be a need for it. I hope.
After acknowledging that I’d lost ground, allowing make believe conversations to swirl in my head, thoughts of heading to divorce court firing up my Ego and silencing my heart, I got back to basics. The hike to the meditation shelter on the edge of Bolinas, nestled within the grounds of Commonweal (among other things, a retreat for those dealing with terminal cancer) was stunning. Muted golds and sagey purples backlit the mist that cloaked the sand cliffs. Boats fishing for salmon bobbed offshore. I walked out to the edge of a point and stretched my arms to the sky, taking in deep breaths and loudly setting them free. Then my gaze settled on the waves coming to shore. They fell forward at the edge of the Duxbury reef. Closer to land a swimming hole was created by the retreating tide. And within that hole thirty seals dove and coiled around each other, breaking off into pairs, swimming away, coming back together. They floated on their backs and then rolled over and ducked under water, eventually emerging with their noses turned up to the sky. It was as if I stumbled upon a nudist colony taking a midday swim – they frolicked in their private, albeit chilly, oasis.
Slowly, I was able to free myself from bits of the tangled mesh of Ego driven emotions that were born out of events over which I had no control. It was labor. And I was only partly succeeding.
I climbed down a small ravine and made my way up the other side. Pt. Reyes burst off the coast, out into the ocean. A gust of wind blew my hair across my face, obscuring my view, and cooling my hot flash. I turned my back to the water and ventured inland to find the shelter.
The door was open to the small building that appears as a miniature one-room schoolhouse. I could see white lilies in a vase on the floor against the back wall. I ducked inside. A small window faces the ocean. To the left is a low table covered with rocks and seashells, many inscribed with messages to those who have ascended, leaving the planet behind. The floor is covered with a woven sand-colored rug. Light comes through the open door, the window and the small, horizontal spaces that exist between each plank of wood stacked one above another to create the walls that hold the roof. Pieces of sea glass are wedged in between the planks here and there. The vase of flowers is surrounded by written messages of love, sadness, gratitude.
I sat facing the ocean, legs crossed, and began to breathe. To each thought that came about something over which I had no control I expressed that I would be of no help. They drifted on. I called in my Mom. And for the first time since she died I asked for her help.
She never stopped being a Mom, even when filled to the brim with cancer. Even to those who were well beyond needing maternal guidance and were not her children, she would dish out her wisdom. We often laughed at the continuous flow of suggestions she would provide, along with restructuring our spoken sentences so that they were grammatically correct.
Oh my goodness, I miss her. She always knew the right (morally, spiritually, emotionally) thing to say.
I need your help, Mom. I need you pulling for me so that I make the right choices. Say the right words.
The scent of lilies filled my nose as I pulled in each breath. With eyelids closed, I turned my eyes to the sky, looked through my third eye and saw her face – her smile so big and broad, her eyes like upside down crescent moons; I smelled her.
And then something fell. The sound of rock on glass startled me. My eyes popped open. I looked to the vase surrounded by rocks and sea shells for the source of the sound. It all looked as it did before. My eyes scanned the back wall as they went up to the ceiling. There were rocks and sea glass placed here and there, none precariously so.
I looked to the left, out the door. And there, sitting twenty feet away, was a Steller Jay, a bird as blue as the waters that wrap around a tropical island. She was framed by the door, backed by cliffs and coastal evergreens that seem to have inspired Dr. Seuss. She looked at me, I at her.
Thank you, I whispered.
She turned and bounced along the ground before flying up and out of sight.
I didn’t feel alone.
There are a thousand reasons to be happy for my Mom. I’ve used those as an excuse to refuse to acknowledge my own sadness. I don’t have parents here anymore. And I don’t have a partner to help me mourn the loss or make me feel safe when I feel alone.
Feel safe. I need to feel safe.
I felt safe with my Mom just a phone call away. If she was alive when my former spouse filed to take me to court she would have flown out on a private hospital plane if need be to sit there in the court room and give him the Nana look. The Nana look could stop WWIII. He’d be so upended his voice would sound like it did before puberty.
Alas, and I’m grateful for this, she was not here to learn of his choice. She didn’t need to feel any more anger as a result of his behavior, his choices.
Had she been here to read the email sent to me recently by his affair partner she would have said three words: Consider the source.
(I’ll give you a moment to peel yourself off the ceiling at the revelation that she sent me an email. To scold me. More on that shortly. But I’ll tell you this much: I read it twice, laughed at the bad grammar and went to bed. Then, the next day, I sent it to Ms. Pulitzer. Her reply is worthy of being permanently displayed in The Museum of Infidelity.)
And when my former spouse made thinly veiled accusations designed to make me look bad in front of The Dudes she would have said: Pray for him.
Well, get this!
He’s praying for me! He let me know in an email, the one where he denied saying anything negative about me in front of The Dudes EVER, that he prays for me every day. He prays that I’ll find love and peace.
There isn’t a crock big enough…
He also said he’s a great Dad. And I’m a good Mom. Now, I can assure you that he would say he meant NOTHING by using great to describe him and good to describe me, but that’s bulls…tuff. Because he also said in that email that he chooses his words with extraordinary care.
In the grand scheme of all things an adulterous spouse can do to hurt his former wife, this stuff doesn’t really rank. It hurt…but then I got it all back into perspective with three simple words: Consider the source.
I know who he is. I was married to him for 15 years. No one knows him better. As my Mom would also say, Nothing he does should surprise you, honey.
My anger raged after the Tall Dude expressed his sadness about Daddy saying mean things about me. With Carrie Underwood blaring all the way to Truckee (The Dudes LOVE her…I covet her legs. Not in THAT way, silly. In the I want those muscles way.) I dug deep. Every five miles I had to remind myself – THIS IS NOT ABOUT HIM. I create my reality so I can get to the heart of issues I need to address in this lifetime.
What’s brewing here?
I couldn’t trust my former spouse in any way while married to him. Remember, he cheated on me in the first year. And lied about it. I shouldn’t have trusted Mr. Perfect Timing – it was all too Lifetime Movie. I’ve always felt more relaxed alone, because I wouldn’t have to trust someone. When I assess the risk of trusting someone now it just doesn’t seem worth it. Sure, it would be great to have a companion, to feel safe with a man. To be able to count on him. Believe him when he says, I’ve got your back. Trust that he won’t lie to me. That he’ll be honest with himself and me. But…
How can I trust someone I don’t know? After all that I’ve experienced it would seem to be lunacy to think I could feel safe in a relationship again. Screw that. I’m no fool. Date? Sure. Have deep conversations? Yep. Get intimate? Why not? Enter into a committed relationship?
I’d rather grow a third nipple.
On my forehead.
It took until Day four of the camping trip to get the message I needed.
I sat in the clearing surrounded by a guard of redwood trees. Their tops glistened in the moonlight. The massive orb had just peeked over the mountain. The Dudes turned in early after a long day of kayaking and fishing and playing with their new campground friends. I loved knowing they were snuggled up in a tent just over there. Behind me the campfire crackled. All was silent, except…
I listened for it. Still there. The second night in Plumas Eureka I picked up on a not so faint hum that vibrated in my ears. It felt like I had been to a too-loud concert. This night, on the night of the full moon, the low hum made my feet buzz, my fingers tingle. I wished someone was with me so I could say, Do you feel that? Do you hear that?
I pulled the energy up from the Earth, the hum grew louder.
And then like a friend shaking me out of a fit of self-pity I heard this:
Why don’t you trust yourself!? Huh?
I didn’t get the connection until I woke the next morning and remembered what had happened to me during the night. A shaking unlike any I’ve ever had. The Earth moved and took me with it.