Tuesday, October 23, 2007


There are things you are too blind to see, things you are too stupid to see, and the things that you can only see after the dust settles. In my case, all three things were going on at once for a very long time. But I have had my eyes opened to the obvious, my mind pried open by events, and the dust has settled, at least as much as it is likely to in the near future.

Let me say, right off the bat, that I cannot complain of Isis' handling of our divorce at all. It is hard to imagine any woman reacting to everything that hit her over the last year we were together with such equanimity and, essentially, loving acceptance. Yes, we constantly drew blood trying to reach each other, but it was trying to reach each other. But what rises before my eyes now is what she saw so clearly at the time, and warned me of again and again: the logical consequences of giving up our life together.

She seems to have clearly foreseen what I could not, and what has been painfully etched into my flesh ever since. I didn't want to give up our common life in fact, but we could not come to agreement on possible terms to continue it, and so I had to. In retrospect, I doubt it would ever have worked. I might not have gone off the deep end as I have with the Goat, but I was going off the deep end a year and a half ago with people who weren't even in the room... except electronically. And I was pretty sure that if I met someone in person who set me off the way my e-infatuations did, I would be toast. And I think my trajectory since first seeing the Goat a year ago has born that out. None of which bodes particularly well for the future...

She knew me better than anyone else on earth. And one of the obvious things about me is that I am not good at being alone. I can deal with it during the work-day if I can get together with people over food at the end of the day; what I find unbearable most of the time is going home to a lonely house and eating on my own, or, as in all those endless years on the road, ending the day at a table for one in some not particularly nice restaurant...

Needless to say, this has been my story for much of the last year. And, for much of that year, without even the vague prospect of any arriving on the other end of the wilderness... just years of ongoing wilderness living. I cried myself to sleep rather a lot, and come New Year's, had decided that I had to act on Something rather than waiting endlessly for Something Real to come along. Luckily for me, what came along was the Goat, and that encounter brought the wild hope that there might be someone out there for me, even if he wasn't it. Then the even wilder hope that he was it. Then the knowledge that he had let down his defenses long enough to let me in. I spent much of the summer wallowing in gratitude, quite unable to really imagine how my luck could have turned so dramatically.

Now the school year has kicked in, and I have had to come to terms with the reality of his life as the wage-slave of a school that has him on tap six days and several nights a week. And the distance seems overwhelming. He certainly doesn't have the time in his one day or one-and-a-half-days off to make the trip to where I am now, so while my nose was out of joint this summer about who did most of the commuting, I just have to accept that I am the person without the mad schedule at the moment. Travel is my part of the bargain. For now. But I don't think I can keep this up indefinitely.

I am faced with a variety of not very appealing choices: moving there without a job, staying here without much of a job, or going where there is work and not having his companionship. I am pretty sure that I am not at the moment strong enough for the last option, and the second seems almost unbearable. So I had made up my mind to move. There was a month where I thought I might be able to afford a house in his area, and it is once again only in retrospect that I realize how many eggs I had in fact put in that rather shaky basket. Now that's over, and I have to find another way forward. The options seem pretty terrifying to me, among them having to move into a few rooms in someone else's house -- not having a place of my own.

If only the Goat's Little House weren't so Very Little, or he hadn't arranged his life so carefully around not letting people into it in the last five or six years. Then there might be some hope of actually living with him. That is not going to happen, at least not in the short term. So I have to think of radically upsetting things like putting half of what I still own into storage and taking a place too small for my children to visit. That should be a merely logical decision: they are only going to visit once or twice a year anyway, and in all likelihood not all of them at once anyway. But, no matter how much sense it may make, still makes my heart bleed.

What that painful but eminently sensible step means is finally giving up another last, remaining shred of my understanding of myself. I owned a nice house and led a nice life for over twenty years, but that was Then. Now I am being forced off into the gray zone where those who can't quite support themselves hang on by their fingernails. At least it feels that way.

Mind you, as the Goat quite properly says, I am not living with AIDS or in Baghdad. I do know that. But it is still awfully painful to let go of the last things that defined your adult self, after so much has already gone overboard. And more pain is on the way... I have shown that I can take a job which pays almost nothing and uses few or none of my skills, but I have not shown that I can pare my budget accordingly. That painful step too lies ahead of me. No way around it.

When I was trying to figure out what I would have to do to afford the House That Got Away, I realized that I was stuck in the "lifestyle" of the top half of the American dream -- the half that makes more than the median income -- but was trying to pull it off without the income. And as anyone who has ever even looked at math could tell you, that can only go on for so long. So now I am going to have to take stock, budget according to some form of reality -- which I certainly have not been doing since leaving home fifteen months ago -- I was too busy putting one foot in front of the other without breaking down to worry about the view at the end of the path I was walking. Now I have to deal with it.

And it's bitter.

That's one piece: I am only now beginning to deal with things that Some People saw coming a year and a half ago. But what has me frankly terrified is the way that the dread possibilities of What Could Be seem to be overshadowing the possibilities that hope brought to flower just a few short months ago. There is another piece: in the remaining months of my health insurance coverage, I am facing new vulnerability to all these terrors.

There's a lot going on, and each of the things could in its own way offer some weakened people like Yours Truly plenty to grapple with. What makes the difficult terrifying is the rather unbelievable conjunction of those things [a major shift in hormone replacement medication, on top of poison ivy allergy and its treatment with steroids, and having my shrink decide to taper off my anti-depressants...]. So I've spent a lot of the last week or so just staring into a black pit and wondering how soon it would eat me.

The amazing, positive things that are going on just get drowned out. I have a Weekend Away with the Goat coming up soon. Then there is the trip to the West Coast, with all its promise and pitfalls, but basically the first time we will ever have been together that long. A testing ground of sorts. There is the prospect of spending his spring break with him in his vacation haunts -- even if it means screwing up my remaining work here in Nowheresville, which for some odd reason doesn't seem to weigh in the balance at all. So I guess I can't say that Reality has kicked in all the way yet... What doesn't seem to be balancing out for me is the need to set parameters and save and stick to a narrow view of life and the equally real need [this one purely internal] to find out if I can in fact live with the Goat on his terms. There all the saving, scrimping, and setting limits come up against the opposite demands. I have an awful feeling I know what is going to win out.

Well, here we are at the bottom of the rabbit hole. I am looking around for the little bottle that says "Drink Me" and for the little cakes that say "Eat Me" and for any sign of the White Rabbit and anything else that might get me out of here.

Friday was really bad.
Today was not much better.

What I seem to have lost is the ability to maintain perspective.
It's all in the moment, and I have no resistance to the forces that moment brings to bear.

God help me.

No comments:

Post a Comment