Wealth 

The last year has been about one topic over and over again.  More than any year before that I can recall.   

Status.  It’s been about status…    Almost everyone seems insecure and obsessed with it lately.   Maybe the world is so crazy right now that we’re all looking for something to take solace in.  

So, if you read this blog as a way to label me (be honest, we all do it subconsciously at least) here’s a tip for those that don’t know me very well in person: throw out almost everything I’ve written about my family in regard to class.  The truth of who I am and who I’ve been is exceedingly complex. 

I’ll attempt to keep it simple and yet it must also be opaque, it seems…  My parents were raised well.  I was raised well with the caveat that we didn’t have money in the same sort of manner that other families in our community did.  And of course if “raised well” sounds vague well, that’s because it’s meant to sound vague.  

If I look at our family in one way, we were old money living in relative material scarcity for our kind of folk.   If I look at us in another way we were just middle class…  Maybe even lower middle class.  But we were truly all of those and none of them at the same time.  

My father who hated “the system” and “the man” in the 60’s, contemplating running away to Canada at one point to avoid the draft, succeeded I guess.  He raised me outside of the norm…   Confusingly so. 

Of course this young man who grew up relatively well off, having college paid for, a new car and a nice bank account until my grandpa cut him off (too many college years spending money on clothes and parties instead of books),  thought he had had a very average childhood.   And even though he was somewhat well educated (two degrees from two decent and respectable universities) and-   Oh never mind…  

Basically, he just thought he was dirt.  He had a very low opinion of himself. And he was emphatic about it.  He was a failure in his mind.  And, therefore, so were we…  And his extended family couldn’t have been that great either, I think he reasoned…  

Anyway.  The topic makes me want to punch something. 

I’m so sick of pretentious idiots who think they’re fooling people with their pseudo sophistication and wealth.   And I’m of the firm opinion at this point that in order to protect people’s feelings and maintain genuine meaning, the word sophisticated should only be genuinely used sparingly to describe people (at least) and in a hushed voice.  If you’re sophisticated: great.  If you’re not: fine.  But sure as heck don’t go around labeling one person (or thing really) more sophisticated than another or etc. without real fear and trembling…  Values and the principle of things have to be preserved at the expense of people’s ego. 

Sophistication is either there or it’s not.  Wealth is either there or it’s not.  (You’re a blue blood or you’re not, to some degree) And I refuse to believe that we’re in such a “post truth” and dumbed down society that people can’t see what’s real.   Nobody is really fooling anybody.   

Now go worry I’m secretly talking about you!  Or don’t…   Because, what does it matter?  Seriously.  We are who we are…  And that’s always good.   But we have to honestly and bravely be that! (Of course this is nothing new but I had to say it)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to say, “you’re not what and who you’re pretending to be.”  Then in the same breath I worry about where that puts me…   We all do.  However, the situation I find oddest to deal with is if I am what they are pretending to be.  In that case, as angry as it makes me to see them making a mockery of themselves and those they seek to imitate, I have to bite my lip, take a breath and shut up.  

Now, just to clarify, I don’t mean to be advocating a limitation on free expression or adventure.  And I don’t mean you shouldn’t try to expand your horizons and grow one way not another.  It’s just that you can’t be Mickey Mouse if you’re Daffy Duck.   And vice versa.  …You can’t be a jelly donut if you’re made of roasted peanuts.  You dig?  

I’ve tried lots of methods to express my frustration, such as direct confrontation.   And other times it’s been subtle hints.  …Little comments to indicate that I see through someone’s crass attempts to be better than others (and of course, better than me too in the final game, regardless of how many times they pretend to bow to what they call my “great taste” for the time being).   But it’s useless.   Some folks want what they never had physically, socially, etc. (and then some) and I’m kidding myself to think I can do a damn thing to truly open their eyes…   They want to ascend to the throne!  

Of course, unfortunately, the emperor has no clothes and they’re in for a surprise if they meet him.  But let them figure that out for themselves I guess.  

In the meantime I’m just going to appreciate beauty.   Real beauty…  And therefore, appreciate sincerity.  Genuine compliments are nice.  Honest people are wonderful…   I’d rather have a polite cold shoulder than a fake and twisted grin. 

(p.s. If you think I’m a rich, horrible person, well, that’s your opinion.  Or, on the other end, if you think I’m a silly, little pathetic fool then please feel free to keep thinking that.  I’m exhausted trying to walk on egg shells…) 

Life Plans 

Nope.  Those men didn’t…  become anything special.  Just disappointing…   The ones I was interacting with that is…  And I’m not one to wait around.  Especially not anymore.

So, I’m giving up.

My ex (still technically my husband) is passionately determined to still make our marriage work.   It’s a bit fascinating to me.  He even joined Instagram and in part to have fun but mainly to “pursue” me in some sort of way…    It’s innocent and quite endearing on his part but almost humorously ineffective.  We’re so terribly romantically matched it could be a dark comedy at times…

I doubt our marriage will last because we’re always more friends than anything romantic but he’s a brilliant dad.  And I’m totally exhausted by the stupidity of the romantic interactions I’ve had in the last year and a half (to be exact).

I could easily think, “oh it’s just because I’m still technically married.  When the divorce is finalized quality bachelors will emerge.”  But I doubt that too…

They never did before.  I married Mark for a reason…   after all.

So why ruin a good, stable situation?  It’s a safe and consistent home-life for my child.  And that’s beyond utterly important.

It might make me miserable, in a way, but…  oh well.  *sigh*  What I’m truly looking for is rare (but possible!) anyway, so…  And I’m tired of fighting to create a haphazard life on some off chance that I’ll be happy a million years from now when I finally “meet someone.”

No, it’s not emotionally feasible, practical or possible to leave right now.   It’s just…  not. I’ve discovered that the hard way…  

I got myself into this mess so I’ll pay the toll.  And that means biding my time until I can feasibly leave.  That might take years…   Many years.  A decade? *sigh*

But I have my truth.  Mostly.  And it’s not like it’s anyone’s burden but mine anyway.  And I suppose God (the father) cares…  

I have no bloody clue what I’ll do if some man falls in love with me again and I start falling too.  That was, of course, the main reason I thought to leave Mark.  I didn’t want to be stuck in a sad, dead marriage that gave plenty of emotional impetus to cheat.  It seemed unwise.   But, instead I am reminded, these last few months especially, why I’ve stayed…

I might even have one more child.   Who knows…  I never wanted an only child.  I was one.  It’s horrible…

We might finally decide to buy a home and stay in one spot.  Why not?

You see, unless I have a big, big positive push to leave him (or it’s detrimental to him or my son) I won’t until it’s safe and reasonable.  Again, that could take a while…

And if Mark is happy…  My son is happy…   What adult (I hasten to write the word adult because my son likely cares) gives a shit how I feel about my marriage (at least in America)?  I’ll be blunt: nobody really (outside of some kind readers of this blog perhaps).

Yes.  That sounds morbid.  But it’s true.  It’s a brutal world…    And I could be soo much worse off and I’m relieved I’m relatively ok.

And, of course, this sounds so…  evil.  Doesn’t it?  But…  what else does one do in my situation?  Run off?  Get a divorce and drag people through that?  There isn’t anyone I want to run off with first of all, and secondly I’ll keep seeing Mark anyway. I have a son with him.

So…  again, I’m going to end a stable life to be very miserable for a few years and then maybe find some man who (maybe) astoundingly truly loves me that I love to?   Meanwhile in that scenario, my son is suffering, I’m battling serious anxiety and exhaustion and Mark is very depressed?!  Yeah.  No thanks.

No, I did this to myself six years ago when I said “I do.”   The ship sailed.   And now I’m stuck at sea: unhappy, lonely and occasionally seasick until I reach shore.

And I will someday…  I will.   When I’m a bit older (and hopefully not too much less desirable).

In the meantime…  oh well.  I’ll just have to find ways to make life more sunny without romantic love or the close possibility of it for a probable while.  I’ll be a sort of depressing variety of “nun” I guess…  Withering, wasting away…  Haha.  (But seriously) Unless God in His mercy decides otherwise in some sort of positive manner, I guess.  

Venting 

Friends are important…   I love friends.  

The other day, let’s just say for the sake of privacy (I’m allowed to share this if I don’t use her name), that I had a conversation with a friend from childhood (leaves some anonymity) and we talked a bit about the troubles of defining social status after age 30.   She grew up in a middle class family in Wisconsin and has since become a very different sort of person than most people in her family.   

She’s had a hard time adjusting.  Being flung from a secure, slightly sheltered upbringing in a Wisconsin suburb to a life in urban Boston has been a shift.  She’s doing well she says, but she’s often felt a sort of identity crisis.  All those ideas about herself in relation to others that she painstakingly formed in childhood and adolescence (as we all do) are being challeged.   Constantly.   And is this a good thing or not?  It’s baffling.  

I can relate to her crisis, but in a very different way…  Frankly, in the last year I’ve realized how silly my view of myself has been my whole life…  I’m quite open about things on this blog and my confusion has emerged here and there in the angsty or thoughtful post, but I didn’t start nailing down my thoughts in my own mind until the last year. 

My parents are…  incredibly humble and demure about matters of class when it comes to themselves (as most people in their families are) but… for whatever reason they (bless their hearts) failed to fully divulge a clear understanding of our place socially speaking.  They meant well and they and many others like them in our family might not even know any better.  

Yes.  I’m going there on this blog.  No.  I don’t care who this leaves aghast or offended…   Because if you’re close to me you likely won’t find this horribly offensive anyway.  And if you do please discuss it with me in person.  

We were not the salt-of-the-earth, simplistically “Little House on the Prairie  family” I thought.  And while I heard things here and there, overall, my parent’s life choices to be hippies/semi hippies in some form totally obscured my understanding.  

My father did use to say, “oh those little girls were just being mean because they thought you were rich.”  And I never knew what he was talking about.  My parents weren’t “rich”.  We didn’t have the right clothes, etc.  I thought.

I used to argue with him out of confusion and a desire for accuracy and he’d say, “Well, sometimes when little girls are pretty some people just assume they’re well off.”  Of course, that’s not…  exactly correct…   to say the least.   But, as a child I took the compliment and let it go.  

It’s too complicated and frankly explosive to discuss on a forum even as public as this (not terribly public in all actuality).   But suffice it to say, I wish I had had a different  explanation (read correct) given to me about almost everyone and everything and who or what they are and were.  It would have explained so many petty jealousies and the occasional nonsense I’ve encountered in regard to others over the years and social norms and expectations, both inside our family and out, that I’ve internalized.  When you’re told you’re a duck your whole life but are actually a dove it can obviously be tremendously awkward.  You feel vague and confusing anger at people for interactions that are baffling for unknown reasons…  

I hate social climbers.  So does my father.  I hate pretension…   He did too.   Instead I value privacy intensely.  And at times I get confused about people’s true motivations.  

And all those friends who grew up like me, in my parent’s circles, with fathers who actually were professors (there were a few) and with travel in their blood who felt a similar confusion about their place…  they too deserved more self understanding.  A better explanation.   Actually, that’s not entirely true though.  A person like them, who I befriended in college (her father was a professor though too intriguingly) clued me in…  

“People always assume we’re poor” she said.  Supposedly it was because they lived in a small house in a nice neighborhood and it irritated her…   But in reality her extended family was quite established with a place on Lake Michigan for summer holidays and several of her relatives were doctors at Mayo Clinic (among other similar or more “alluring” and “prestigious” things).  “I don’t like telling people anything like that though.” she said in a sincere and vulnerable hushed voice.  “I don’t want people to think I’m a…  Well, yiu know: a rich bitch.”  She uncomfortably laughed and lowered her voice even further with the last word.  She wanted people to be at ease…   because she was empathetic.  

She wasn’t interested in living a false life…  Yet she was confused about many things and burdened by a conflict between what others perceived and what was reality.  

But what do you do with all the feelings of anxiety?  The silliness of class pretension from people determined to “make it” or “fit in?”   Not that I don’t sympathize but good grief!  If you keep your mouth shut around those sort of folks or never “explain anything” they assume you’re beneath them for anything they can perceive (and this has been my experience most of my life).  But if you start laying out your “true status” for some reason they feel the need to compete mindlessly to no avail and/or assume you’re the devil for being born who you are.  The worst of the two is the first because what do you do with pushy people with wildly determined egos?  

Yes this is offensive.  (If you’re one of those people) 🤓😏

It’s not a truly shameful thing to be born poor but of course it’s also not a crime to be born “rich” or “wealthy” (one way or another) either…  

*sigh* I need to figure so many things out. 

How does this post strike you?  Does it make you angry?  Why?  Or is it something better you’re feeling?  I wonder…  

Silliness 

I can’t figure some people out.  Go figure.  It’s not like people are all very complicated and unique or something.  (Note sarcasm) 

Anyway, I’m tired of being misunderstood too.  Very misunderstood…   And, of course, it’s not like this is an original feeling either.  *sigh*

I’m pragmatic and analytical with a lot of feelings I keep very much in the back room of my soul.   And I’m oddly not particularly typically “American” for some reason (even though I was raised here).  And that combination, with a strong natural reserve and a dry sense of humor (also slightly slapstick) added…  confuses people, I think.

And I’m good, I suppose.  I’m a Christian.  I’m moral…  But I do do occasionally shocking things according to some folks, I guess.   And I’m usually almost too honest.   I offend people’s egos almost daily.  I’m bad at faking reality. 

And then…  there’s…  Prince Charming.  That’s what I’m going to call him.  And I’m sure if he reads this (he might) that he could find that name totally…  annoying.  And maybe that’s why I just picked it.  I kind of want to annoy him because he seems just a bit too oblivious to how much and how deeply he affects me…  And I know that name will affect him (not entirely positively).  

He seems to think I’m not “smitten enough” with him or that my feelings aren’t authentic.  For added difficulty, some people close to him seem to have encouraged this view.  

But I do care about him as much as is sane, which is basically a whole hell of a lot.   I’m just not obvious, crass or pushy about it.  I don’t openly swoon and draw cute little hearts on the letter i or smile with my teeth and giggle.  

When I’ve tried to do the “sexy girl who likes you act” in the past to make my feelings clearer to past romantic interests no one ever seems to think I actually mean it anyway.  So what’s the point?  Furthermore, I hate myself much too much afterward to continue with that fake parade of silliness.   But apparently if I don’t act cutesy and over-the-top in a saccharine girly way I’m not feminine enough somehow?  Or I’m cold?  Too…  complicated? 

What-the-hell-ever.

So…  my “Tom” or a.k.a Prince Charming…  The man who currently entertains my affections…  doesn’t stand much of a chance for too much longer.  That is, he doesn’t unless if he becomes beautifully stubborn and sincere in his feelings and intentions toward me.  He needs to outsmart it all…  Oherwise the prognosis for our romance isn’t good. 

And really, I think this is the most odd time of my life.  Truly.  

For one thing, the ethics of it all is mind twisting.  I have a husband (Mark) in an eerie, techinical and yet strangely genuine way who understands our separation but insists on not calling it that necessarily until its finalized and frankly he’ll have hope until I remarry.   He did the opposite, of course, when we were first dating (refusing to call us a couple for a very long time).  Ha! 

I think, really, Mark’s astronomically stubborn.  And frankly…  it’s no coincidence in any way that I married him years ago despite it all.  He’s so subtle and subversive at times it’s amazing…   He often claims that he didn’t know what real romantic love was (or love in general) as a particular label until we dated.  I believe him.  

I still maintain that he could find someone to love more than me eventually and…  that I’ll love him forever regardless because I adore his soul.  We will.  We’re good for each other in some way, even if it’s as friends.  We give each other a sort of safe place emotionally…  We’re allies. 

And you can’t redo people.  Again, we’re all profoundly original.  There’s only one soul that is my Mark.  There’s only one me.   Some people might be similar but nobody is ever anyone but themselves.  Ever.  And why is that a bad thing?  Of course, it never is. 

I just wish Prince Charming would see that I don’t want anything but beauty.   And his teeth…  His chin.  His…  voice.  They’re the only things about him as a sort of…  persona…  that aren’t basically perfect.  Truly.  

He seems in need of a sort of…  perfection.  At least in my eyes.  And I, on the other hand, passionately want beauty.  

My first serious boyfriend had large front teeth and a rather cocky sense of humor.  He fashioned himself after that character on “How I Met Your Mother” who told everyone to, “suit up!”   Now he, with his  front teeth (he referenced them more than once), was definitely not a good match for me.   I loved him slightly but definitely not enough…  and he didn’t love me at all (he literally told me he was simply incapable of it).   His “flaws” were truly…  awkward.  Because the beauty we had or were able to have between us wasn’t present almost at all.   

Sorry if this is becoming cheesy… 

Prince Charming, however, is very manly.  He’s not a little boy who needs to play dress-up with his dad’s suits.   He’s brilliant…  Eloquent.  Quick minded and clever.  Fervent and aware.  Extremely handsome.  Dashing really…   

But I don’t mend fences that refuse to be fences.  If the wind blows too hard I just plant trees and let the roots sink in.   And furthermore I don’t let people give me hell that I don’t deserve.  So…  basically I refuse to break his heart because either a. I’ll just break my own more severely for no good end or b. he’ll never understand how I see him so what’s the use in trying particularly hard?   This paragraph might only make sense to me…   Possibly.  

He’s truly gorgeous.  Truly…   I don’t know what else to say about it.  

Irritation 

So my romance with the older gentleman is basically finished.  He was and is a very charming man but we don’t have any business being together really it seems.  There are occasionally some personality traits and differences in upbringing that can’t be overcome.  I guess.  And anyway, I’m a young looking 33 and I think he felt…  too old.  

There is someone else.  He’s a gorgeous man.  Very intelligent.  Eloquent.  And I could fall flat on my face, madly, passionately in love in less than a microscopic moment.  BUT he might be a bit of a Tom Buchanan type.  

Tom Buchanan…  You know the kind of man I mean.   Husband of Daisy…    The well educated, well connected, well-bred monster who rode beautifully and had sexy broad shoulders?  That one.  

I’m not sure.  He could also be a charming throwback to a better time when I was in love with a truly attractive and daring soul who was genuinely amazing…  A long time ago.  

He could be a combination of both men.  Matter-of-fact, that’d make sense.  

I just don’t particularly want to bother with a “Tom” sort.   They’re soo boring.  Soo predicatable.  Once you’ve met one you’ve met them all.   Even if they’re sometimes lovely fathers and can humor you wonderfully when you most need and want it, it’s not worth it.   I’d rather be “lonely” or at least searching.  

He’s so handsome though.  And we have excellent chemistry (or so it seems).  And, it’s not like I haven’t “broken in” a Tom before.  Men like that break easily in regard to me for some reason.  The problem is, of course, that I want to be the “broken” one this time.  

No crying…  No horrible suffering.  Just…  warmly, and sweetly broken.  I want and simply have to have the sort of thing that happens when you find someone who reads your heart and honestly loves you regardless.  

I’m really just tired of being bored.  Yes.  BORED.  I’ve realized that a lot of my romantic pain stems from a sort of strained, ugly boredom.  

You see, I’m a writer, maybe and that’s a definite personality type (in my opinion).   We tend to see people for who they actually are.  And in that mess there’s not a lot that surprises us.  We hope for a real shock.  A good one.  But often, it’s just the pits.  A letdown.  And it’s tragic, and draining and… infinitely tedious

You come back from the sadness and malaise.  But you’re less tolerant.  Less patient…  Or at least I am.  So far.  

You give less of yourself the next time because there’s less hope.  You feel less pain but you also miss what you once had long ago or you dream about something better that you know very easily might never be.  At least in this life.  

It gets redundant.  Horribly redundant…  

You just keep wondering why the “boys” (of all ages) don’t get it.  They’re not that special with they’re tired lines and crass sentiments.  Why should you swoon for them?  You could fake it, but why bother?   That’s actually quite mean anyway. 

If he’s sincere about a word he’s saying you hope he also has enough maturity, wisdom and thought to actually lift a trembling pinky to pursue you like a man.   You hope he realizes that he needs to have courage because otherwise…  what’s the damn point?!   

I’m not a “contemporary woman” I guess.  I don’t want to be bullied and refuse it.  Vehemently.  Yet, I like a man who remembers what it’s like to have both emotions and manliness.  Remember?  The sort of feeling men had before they were told that not crying meant that they were repressed and outdated.  I’ve known a lot of men who didn’t cry easily and often they were deeper and more emotionally available than today’s weeping willows or the business minded “tough guy” who masquerades as the old sort.  

No.  I don’t hate men.  I just feel disillusioned.  A least for now…  At least here in the US.  

More later. 

Love Life 

Sigh…  

It seems I might be involved in something romantically…   I’m not sure where it will go, or if I should even think it’s actually happening in the first place…  but I’m hopeful to know more by tonight.  

Today I toured a new apartment.  I wore my ring because it seemed less socially awkward but it still felt odd.  It was like I was a single woman in my head and/or heart…  

The man who gave us our tour seemed single and it was an odd interaction mostly because I’m not used to dealing with men as a single adult woman past a particularly youthful age.   I might look young but… I’m not that young anymore and it was just…  awkward.  

It was like:  how do I do this conversation?  Because I’m used to hiding behind Mark around men in a married lady sort of way…  and that’s not to say that I’m passive or weak.  I just…  have seemed very “coupled.”  And it has socially worked…  Men feel comfortable and they don’t flirt and/or etc but instead have pleasant conversation with me.  

But… it was…  odd.  I couldn’t figure out how to navigate it.   I felt an old instinct to decide if he was at all attractive but I also felt uncomfortable doing so because of the strong feelings I have for the gentleman I’ve written about.  So I was quiet confused…  Torn between trying not to appear too friendly yet trying to also be honest in every sense.  Thankfully, while he was a fairly decent looking man (with a British accent actually) he wasn’t at all my sort… and he seemed very professional.  I also can’t imagine almost anyone better looking than my gentleman… 

And, speaking of my gentleman, I highly suspect he thinks about me sometimes.  I also get the sense that he worries I’m engaging with a lot of other men.  I try to tell him that that’s not the case but he seems to worry none-the-less.  I am a “one man woman” though.  I don’t fancy more than one fellow at a time (the only exception being when I first dated Mark and there were three guys I dated at once).   But I just don’t do any of it casually.  It all has always meant something profound and lovely to me…  as I’ve previously discussed…  

I hope my gentleman writes a romantic letter someday sooner than later.  Romantic letters are so underrated…   and he’s such a lovely sort.  And even if we’ve basically “crossed the streams together” in our relationship and had a few…  difficulties…  I adore him.  

Moving Forward… Again…

I have no idea where to begin.  But I’m in a state of mind tonight where I need to write something.  So I’m sorry if my thoughts are scattered and random.

It seems that there are soulmates.  And currently I think it’s possible I may know (one of) mine.  There have certainly been friendships that felt like something deeper than just a normal, everyday connection.  But…  there has been one person who for a while now has made me wonder…  about love.

There are plenty of doubts in my mind about their quality of affection and sincerity.  I question their heart.  I question if it’s real…  and have for a long time now.

I’m sure if you’ve read my blog you could guess at who I’m describing.  And you may wonder why I’m still hoping…  Things have gone poorly.  But…  there’s always been a doubt of doubt in my mind…  And a persistent, lingering worry that I’m missing something.  Missing something quiet amazing.

But…  of course, I still need a letter or something of the sort.  I’ve felt that we’ve connected, passionately and deeply again over the past few weeks or month maybe in a rather…  almost tragically lovely way…  But…  it’s still painfully unclear.

And what can a mere human do?  Pray?  Trust…  Hope for some sort of divine intervention.  Hope for goodness.  Accept God’s fate.  Yes…  God’s fate.  Not fate in the sense that I can’t choose, but fate my Heavenly Father ultimately decides when He sees into a wild, tempest tossed sea of chaos.

So, as I sit here filled with anxiety I’m also feeling a peculiar sort of peace.  It rests not in my own understanding or strength…   But it gives me light.

Illusions and Truth 

I’m currently in the process of permanently leaving Mark.  In that process I’ve had to figure out what’s left of my life for one thing.  And, oh I’m sure that sounds dark and gloomy…  But the thing is, it feels like that’s how divorce might work.  

You commit to someone and offer yourself and your life to that person (in Christ) and then you work with them back and forth until you become one more and more…  to the point that you can get lose your individuality a bit.  And while, in a truly healthy marriage, that oneness is a very lovely thing in a marriage where two decent people aren’t necessarily right for each other it can become… emotionally destabilizing.  You forget parts of yourself you needed or valued.  You lose things…  And since my husband (soon to be ex husband most likely) isn’t a “bad person” I’ve gained experiences and views that while not necessarily well suited for me as an individual person have given me depth and experience.  I owe him a great amount of gratitude for his valiant and loving attempt to be a good husband in the way he has known how.  

Anyway, I’m trying to figure myself out again.  I still know who I am because I’m still me…  but… I’ve changed.  A fair amount.  He has too.  They say you can’t change people but I disagree.  If there’s any sort of love and/or respect in marriage your spouse does truly affect you.  Sometimes it’s for much better and sometimes it can be for at least worse.

I struggle because I still have feelings for the man I was falling for…  Yes.  I know.  Some of you can’t stand him and think it’s a total waste of time.  It might be.  But…  things changed and I haven’t discussed them because it got to be too personal for even this blog.  I now am not entirely sure if there was a giant misunderstanding between two well intentioned people who were falling for each other and were in complicated situations or if he really was basically a sort of demon…  Ha!  Seriously though…  it’s rather confusing.  So… I’m hoping that in time I’ll know.  

But, for now, I’m back to thinking that affairs are a truly bad idea.  What I struggle with is whether or not declaring your feelings is bad…  Is it wrong to discuss your feelings with someone if you know you’re both in the process of being single or if you’re single and the other person isn’t?  I wonder…  Maybe it is.   But if you don’t try to interact beyond the initial declaration is it?  I wonder…  Like, if you were going off to war and wanted someone to know, would it be wrong to suggest you cared?  I don’t know.  

I hope whatever happens that there’s no more misunderstanding between me and the gentleman I fell for.  I don’t want a bad relationship and I don’t want to hurt a genuinely kind man either…  in any way.   And I hope he (the good man I hope he is) won’t just think I don’t care deeply because I’m trying to be more spiritually and emotionally careful in general and respectful of the marriage I’m ending…  Although truly, if he is a good person he truly will…  

Whatever happens in the next week will be…  intriguing.  I’m home (Minnesota) and I’m going to be exploring what’s there inside my soul and heart.  I’m going to be praying and hoping…  for God’s truth.  

 Wretched (Conclusion)

It was only a matter of a few seconds before Adam correctly guessed that the footsteps belonged to his mother.  He backed away from me, straightened out my hair and his jacket a bit and then grabbed my hand and brought me inside.  Then he announced rather loudly, “Mother?”

A dark blond haired woman with streaks of grey all arranged neatly in a bun was standing by the foot of the stairs.  I quickly glanced up the stairwell to see what looked to be a rather cozy sort of upstairs.  There were two plants near a stained glass window and a bookshelf off to the left.  The shelf was stacked with books, and combined with the smell of rose petals I could detect a dusty, sweet cinnamon.  Then I looked behind his mother and saw what appeared to be a sitting room with uncomfortable, but elegant and ornate furnishings.

His mother looked nearly confused.  Although I could tell that she didn’t want to be confused.  She kept trying to smile at me but then a look would come to her eyes that told me she wondered who in the world I was and why I was there.

I suppose it was rather odd for some unknown young woman to appear in your house on a week night out of virtually nowhere.  And I admired her deep desire to be gracious combined with her firm grasp of the peculiarity of this situation.

“Mother, this is Clara.”  Adam let go of my hand and put his hand at my back.  It all felt almost too familiar and yet I wasn’t scared.

Oh.  Yes?”  She said with a voice made of graham crackers, tea, toast and maybe a bit of gin just occasionally.  She was a little plump maybe even, but her perfectly tailored lace dress accentuated her seemingly infinite respectability and prepossessed grace.  It was a natural and slightly awe-inspiring beauty that I found myself longing to someday embody.

“It’s lovely to meet you, Clara.”  She extended her hand and I accepted it.

“It’s very nice to meet you.”  I smiled and she looked at me with a mixture of suspicion, whimsy and indulgence.

Then she beamed a little and continued, “I have a little bit of reading to do before I retire for the night.  I hope you’ll both excuse me.”

“Yes, mother.  Goodnight then.”  Adam responded quietly.

We were there for just a second more before Adam considered me and with great emphasis said, “That’s mother.”  I giggled.

Nobody else was apparently interested in emerging from other rooms to meet me in that moment.  I wasn’t sure why, and I couldn’t really guess, but I didn’t mind it.  I was feeling shy.

Adam played a few songs on the phonograph and then we ate cookies by his mother’s stove in the kitchen.  It was a beautiful house.  I couldn’t figure out why my Aggie had been so apparently opposed to the idea of us seeing more of each other regularly.  I imagined she would find him every bit as impressive as Andrew, if she only knew.

“Do you see lots of girls?” I asked cautiously, on the way to Susanne’s house.  He had insisted on walking me there.  It had started raining and a chill was in the air.  We both carried umbrellas he gathered from the closet near the front door.

“No.  I don’t see that many.  I brought Laura Peters to the winter dance, and there was a young lady my mother wanted me to take an interest in.  She’s the daughter of one of my mother’s friends in the rotary club.  We’ve been out together a few times this spring.  Why do you ask?”

“I’m ashamed, but, I should be honest.”  I didn’t know where to start.  “My mother, isn’t really my mother.  She’s my father’s second wife.”

He stopped walking then and shifted to regard me.  He had a captivated grin.  “This sounds like the start of a story.”  A knowing look in his eyes stared right into me and then he looked beyond toward the schoolyard.  “Lets go discuss this, if you like.”

I sighed.  I was worried about leaving Andrew to his own devices too much longer, but I decided he’d be more than fine without me and it was silly to worry.

This was a rather complex conversation to have.  So, I let Adam direct me to the schoolyard and find a reasonable place to rest before I started again.  We finally sat down under a large tree.  It was getting dark now and I felt quite chilled.  Still, I really didn’t want to be a pest.

“Well, my mother died after falling in a horseback riding accident when I was a very little girl.”  I said simply.  He acknowledged me and seemed intrigued.

“My father remarried a woman named Agatha and well-”  I had a hard time continuing.  “Lately.”  I cut my words off and examined my thoughts.  “Maybe it’s been longer.  Anyway, I think of her as a mother and not just my father’s second wife.  And sometimes I find myself wanting to call her my mother.”

“I don’t understand why you don’t call her your mother.”  He said looking perplexed.

“I’m not allowed to.  She doesn’t want to disrespect my actual deceased mother.”  I was nearly shaking now from the cold.  He noticed.

“Let’s go inside.”  He gripped my hand and we walked into the school through the open front door.  In the darkness we saw a row of wooden chairs near a door down the lonely hall.  It felt a little spooky, but he wrapped his left arm around me now and we traipsed down the hall toward a set of chairs.  Yet, instead of sitting on them he sat down on the floor next to them and leaned against the wall.  I sat down next to him.  Then he clutched my hand in his and whispered half jokingly and half seriously, “This place is downright creepy.”

I know.” I laughed and looked around us.  As my eyes adjusted to the near total lack of any light I could vaguely see the doors of various classrooms and offices and the tiled floor beneath us.  It felt just a bit less frightening now.

“Please, continue.”  He admonished me.

“Well, see she doesn’t want to be disrespectful.”  I looked at him, or what I could see of him.

“I suppose that makes sense, but it doesn’t seem entirely fair.  Not to anybody.”  He concluded with a faint reserve.

“But, anyway, I call her ‘my Aggie’ mostly because I can’t call her anything better.” I fell silent just before changing the topic.   “My Aggie.  My mother-”  I was trying out how it felt to say it intentionally “She told me that I should be careful of you.  She seemed to think that you would break my heart.  At least, I think that’s what she was warning me about.”  I was questioning so many things in this moment, but a thin strand of truth ran through me.  And in that truth were feelings I had never before experienced with such intensity.

He contorted his face in distaste and sighed.  “Does she have that opinion about all of the boys you take a fancy to?”

No.  There are never very many in the first place.  But, only just recently she was trying to encourage me to go with-”  I worried about revealing too much, but I thought it best.  “Andrew.  She had a plan, I think.  Andrew and I were probably supposed to get married someday, I bet.”   I laughed.

“The fellow you drove here?”  I had told him about Andrew and Susanne while we were eating cookies in the kitchen.

“Yes.  That’s him.”

“Mm.  Well, I suppose parents usually believe they know more about the next generation than is advisable really.  They think they can sort the good and bad.  Perhaps they can, mostly.  But other times they just look at youth and don’t see anyone but the shadows of the people they knew or were themselves in their own day.   That brightens the horizons for some fellows but then there are those of us who are judged incorrectly, I’m afraid.”

He looked into my face now and I could feel his breath.  Our heads rested against the wall behind us.

“I do like girls a lot, I suppose.”  He was a little sheepish for a second.  “But, I don’t think you have anything to fret about.”

His eyes met mine.  “I’m a great deal more honorable than is probably even advisable.”  He raised his right hand and touched my face.  “I don’t think I’m likely to hurt you, and I certainly wouldn’t want to.”  Then he shifted his body and embraced me.   A fragile but eager kiss followed.

It was a kiss that felt different than the others.  He put his tongue in my mouth and I began to feel magnificently adrift in his arms.  Nothing kept us from finding each other more second by second, until he focused his nearly lucent eyes on mine and hesitated for just an instant.

“Do you think we should stop this?” He finally questioned.

“I don’t know.”  I whispered passionately.  I certainly didn’t want to stop and I guessed that he didn’t either.

“If we continue I don’t know what will happen.  I mean, I know what could happen, but-”  he contemplated something momentarily before regarding me very seriously.  “Do you know what I’m talking about, Clara?”

I did.  When I was nine years old I read a book about pregnancy I found after searching the library in a fit of curiosity.   A woman in our church was pregnant and gave birth at our neighbor’s house.  I had to assist with the delivery before the doctor arrived.

“Yes, I think I do.”  I decided.

“I want to make love to you like mad.”  Reckless longing conflicted with decent innocence in his every movement and word.  Still, I knew he was about to do.

He exhaled sadly as he sat up and plucked me from the floor.  Then he moved me onto his lap.

There we sat for minutes that felt like a carved slice of heaven, even though they were quite chaste.  Later, when we did make love, I never knew when our first truly was because there was a quiet intimacy in that moment that felt nearly unbearable.

As Adam and I walked down the street, now in the darkness of a quiet rainy spring night holding hands I was a little giddy and a little lost in some sort of happiness.  It was impossible to believe that this had been an entire day.  It was almost as if I had made some error in my perception at least once, because not all my feelings and thoughts held together as a cohesive whole.  Or did they?  But if they didn’t then I hoped to God that this moment was the closest to reality.

When we found our way to the door of Susanne’s house, we heard sounds of yelling coming from inside.  I glanced over at my car and noticed that it was still parked in the same spot.  I wondered what had transpired, but based on my estimation only two hours, at most, had passed since I left Andrew here.  I was suddenly worried.

“No!”  I heard the voice of someone yelling.  It sounded like a young woman.

Adam and I opened the door and the noises grew louder.  The lights were on everywhere we could see and it appeared an entire family was sitting in the parlor to the right.  I was confused and unnerved while also being very intrigued.  Adam placed his hand at my back.  I was glad he was there.

A young woman, who I presumed was Susanne, was sitting on a chair with a red face, sobbing.  She looked as though she had been at it for a while actually.

Behind her was Andrew, who was also weeping.  He held his head in his hands.

And on the small sofa in the far corner of the room, near the large window facing the street sat three little girls whose faces were glazed with fascination and a little terror.  I assumed that they were Susanne’s sisters.  They all looked younger than her.  The littlest one seemed more perplexed than worried.  I sensed that she either had no idea what was going on or had an entirely different attitude than the rest of her family, even at a her age.

A man with a beard, wearing suspenders stood with his arm around a woman’s shoulders at the other end of the room.  The woman, who looked to be in her 50’s was standing there in her pajamas with her head in a scarf, holding her hand on her chin.  One arm was resting on the other.

I wasn’t sure if I should say something or just stand and watch.  Which was more polite really?

Then the youngest sister noticed us.  She propped herself up on the sofa and screamed, “Hey!  Everyone!  Adam’s standing at the door with a strange lady.”

“Who?”  The older woman looked startled from her predicament and then moved toward us.  Once she got sight of Adam her face changed from one of unhappiness to one of mild embarrassment.

“Oh good heavens!”  She clicked her tongue and placed her hands on the sides of her face.

The father now joined us and attempting to exude an air of control and propriety he stood tall and said, “What brings you to us at this hour, son?”  Then he looked to be reconsidering something and his expression changed to one of worry.  “I hope your folks are alright?”

“Oh, they’re fine sir.”  Adam looked around the room.  “I’m not here for anyone actually.  I’m with-”  He paused and looked down at me and then continued, “I mean, this is Clara.  She’s here to see about Andrew.”

“Oh bother it all.” The older man’s shoulders fell and he began muttering something to himself that sounded like, “and a young lady drove him here, of course.  Of course.”

He began pacing near the stairwell and then walked over towards the kitchen, “No, I can’t handle it anymore Jane.  I can’t handle the rebellion and arrogance of this young generation.”  Then he disappeared into the kitchen and yelled, “I’m going to bed!”

After a moment of silence we all heard, “This better all be straightened out before I wake up in the morning.   No, I am not losing any more sleep over this young man’s irreverent and foolhardy decisions.”  His voice trailed off slightly.  Then after another moment of silence he could be barely heard saying,  “I’m going to bed, dammit.”  Then there was total quiet.

“Oh daddy!”  The young lady in the chair cried now.

“It’s going to be fine.  You’ll see.”  Andrew managed to sound reassuring as he moved over to Susanne and tried to comfort her.

“I didn’t mind driving him here at all.  I enjoy driving.  Really.”  I tried to offer something pleasant, although the moment the words came out of my mouth I knew they might be ill-advised.

“Young lady, I don’t know how your parents would feel about it, but if you were my daughter there’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t take too kindly to the thought of you driving alone at night with some boy.”  Susanne’s mother shook her head in vehement disapproval.

Susanne lifted her golden head and chimed in,”But mother.  It isn’t as if this is a wretched tragedy.  It’s romantic.  We’re in love!”  Then she stood and proudly threw her chest out and shoulders back in bold and sudden defiance.  She gazed at Andrew, “Aren’t we darling?”

“Yes.”  Andrew walked over and stood beside her, bravely.  “We are.”

“Oh good heavenly doodads!” exclaimed the mother.

“Mommy, can we make popcorn?  This is just like the movies.”  One of the sisters asked in earnest, but nobody answered her.  The entire conversation, with all its fragments had come to an impasse.

And within about fifteen minutes I was told that it was much too late for anyone to be driving on the unlit gravels roads between Edenberg and my home.   My Aggie had already been called earlier and apparently she, my father, and Bertha were worried after we didn’t return for four hours.  It had been longer than I realized.

Bertha was particularly concerned.  She had sent her brother out looking for us and when he didn’t discover anything he called all the sheriffs he knew for miles.

Somebody had suggested that we might have run off together, Andrew and I, and eloped on some sort of romantic whim.  Another idea that had floated about involved drowning.  And one of the more humorous ones had us joining the circus.   I’m not sure where that last theory originated.

Since it was too late to go home and Mrs. Jennings, Susanne’s mother was too upset after talking with Bertha on the phone to talk to us about almost anything significant (she just charged up the stairs and slammed the door after telling us we couldn’t drive home), we were left to our own devices.  Apparently Aggie, (who from then on I secretly called mother around my friends and strangers), and my father assumed I would be alright once they learned where we were.  Perhaps they were just so happy to finally know that I was safe that they then could no longer fend off sleep.  I don’t know.   But, I had to figure out somewhere to stay for the night.

“Do you think they’ll be together someday?”  I asked Adam as we walked in the cold mistiness back toward his house.

“I don’t know, but if they’re truly in love then I wouldn’t rule it out.” He looked thoughtful.

“I hope they will.  I want them to be happy.”  I added with solemnity.

“So do I.”  His grin was almost audible as we shuffled along.  And somehow I knew they would.  I just knew it.

Mrs. Lowton, Adam’s mother, wasn’t phased one iota by almost anything we shared with her when we returned.  She was sitting alone listening to the radio when we got there.  I wasn’t sure why she was still awake.  Perhaps she was waiting for us.

“Oh you kids.  Young people always have a certain knack for knowing how to find trouble.  Or maybe it just finds you?”  She giggled and wiggled her eyebrows in a sweet silly way.

It was decided that I would go stay the night with Adam’s sister, Ruth, who lived two blocks away with her husband and their two children.  Adam was the youngest of four children.  He had two older sisters and one brother.  Ruth was the oldest.

This was by far the best and most dramatic day of my life thus far.  As melodramatic as I’m sure that sounds, I cannot deny it.  It was.  Why, just earlier I had been sitting in my living room, at home, miles away thinking about how distant I felt from life.  Now, here I was, in the middle of something that would surely consume me almost entirely, and it had all occurred without warning.

We were in the back of the house, preparing to leave and behind me sat Adam, on a bench, smoking a cigarette.  I turned around to look at him there.  In his face I saw my heart.  I saw my future and somehow my past too.  But none of it startled him the way it did me.  That was his beauty.  Nothing much startled him, I don’t think.

His eyes met mine but I couldn’t smile.  I turned away and upwards to see the spire on his roof towering above us.  It cut into the dark, stormy sky like a reminder of God.  I felt fear and some sort of joy.  But I had to look down.

The ground was drenched, even though it was mostly just misting.  Straight ahead was the park, with green trees in the darkness.   It was eerie and strangely dazzling.  And I felt incredibly alive.

“We should go to my sister’s house before it gets too late.”  Adam mentioned.

Holding myself with my arms, like a bulwark against all this wildness, I looked him over and then wearing a mildly coy grin he added, “Since I will have to walk back here alone, of course.”

A bit shocked I looked at him for a second longer than I should have before he  shrugged and winked at me again.  We resided in that moment observing each other for a while longer before he rose from the bench and walked over.

“Come along.”  He held me again by his side and I had the sense this time that he wasn’t letting go.

Echoes

In the messy, chaotic and truly terrible experience I recently had with Mr. Blue I learned many things.  And really, as much as it pains me deeply to admit it, I have no certain idea who he truly is.   I have ideas.  But every one of them are addled by the fuzzy and eventually idiotic forms of communication he forced the situation into.

Still, the person I originally thought he was was perfect for me.  At least, that person could be…  And as I’ve written about a million times on this blog, I hope to someday find a man with that persona who actually is what he appears to be.   As opposed to someone pretending…   I want someone genuine…   I want a man who I don’t misunderstand so horribly that I find myself emotionally punched in the gut when all is said and done.

In the meantime I’m taking my divorce from Mark at the pace I want to take it: slowly.   I don’t see any reason to rush it.   And taking my time makes sense for everyone involved…   We’ll all have time to adjust.   It won’t be a shock.   Everyone will have time to get used to things piece by piece.

It is a little miserable though…  And yet, I feel like I’m getting my soul back from a quiet, polite but overly anticipated future death.  I feel like I’m able to think about each day again without feeling like I’m just staying alive for my son.

I just wish the final straw had been something truly lovely.   I wish it had been the real thing and not just my imagination.   I wish it had been someone who was what I hoped they were.   Or I wish it hadn’t even involved romance at all…   I wish I had just figured this out without that sort of nudge.   But it seems that was the only way…   I was clinging on to my marriage and would have to the bitter end.  I was trying to soldier on even though it was killing me from the inside out.   And I don’t think this in any way excuses Mr. Blue from being cruel (if he was), but it does bring some sort of feeling of general optimism, I guess…