Love In A Time Of Rhinopharyngitis

Mom, you won’t be too surprised I would imagine to discover I spent the last 24 hours obsessively analyzing this crazy path I’m on. Underneath our feet as we danced, I was almost swept away by his maybe smiles.

So I’m working away at unravelling it all.

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

I won’t kiss and tell (well, ok maybe a bit), sometimes he’s distant, drunk, busy, vague…then he entangles me in his shaggy blond hair, and insists I get as close as I can, even though he knows I find skin on skin a little uncomfortable. You know me Mom, I’m not cuddly, but he refuses to accept that.

He said, he said, he said…but oh, I know, actions ALWAYS speak louder than words.

Again someone has managed to sneak up on me, and as usual found not worthy of such proximity.

We often get so entangled, so lost in the haze of wanting, we miss the truths, the self-reliance of aloneness, and the fog of forgetting takes hold. Am I just the replacement female? The stand in for the one who betrayed their 35 years together?

We turn away at the tangles of doubt, the path becomes a maze, and then we are lost in the hedgerows.

I need to take each knotty thread, attempt to untangle this worn weary heart from his blue-eyed glances, and this time walk away with no regrets.

Every time I’ve pushed him away, he just comes back. With a truth on his lips, and glimmer in his eye, he bequeathed his need at my feet.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I caught myself before I took that final dip…I was at the precipice. And three words, one, four, and three letters, tingling at the back of my throat, with a desire to be said. Yet not yet, not yet, and now I can see those are words perhaps meant instead to be swallowed.

Mom, it twas not all for naught. I met the tears of a clown, a drunken workaholic, whose children had turned away. Friends and family, never spoken of or seen.

But then at some point in late summer he began to change. By fall he had food in his cupboards, the cobwebs were cleaned from the windowsill, and his life took on a decoration, and he began to feed himself that which he desired more than his nightly libations.

So once he the other eve was reunited with his damn phone, the first thing he did was say “I Love You” to his daughter, for they were to get together that night.

Not all is rosey, not all of his angst are fixed, yet he’s washed himself of a lot of the worst of it. I can take some solace in knowing I helped with that.

I also know he won’t go away easily – not at all. Last night, for almost two hours, we texted back, and forth, back and forth, in that disconnected fashion only our modern lives can create. Not quite understanding exactly what the other is saying, but back and forth, back and forth, letters become words, words thoughts, thoughts mustered and mired in the muck of memory, back and forth, back and forth…he said, she said.

I know no more now, accept, he says he wants Paula. But he knows just as well as I that it’s not that simple. Not with all he keeps from me, what he won’t discuss, not with all those hidden places inside himself, those silent sadness’ he feels at the life that is now lost to him. I am no replacement for that which will never be again, I can not and will not compete with her.

I also know that he is the sort that won’t be well pleased to find out about what I write. That is something that is just now dawning upon me. Yet I will not be deterred from speaking my truth, I have only exposed the scene, not the names of the characters, as I’ve laid bare my emotions upon the page.

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
Anaïs Nin

Love Paula


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