§ Part One §
The year was 1989, and we had moved there from this dinky attic apartment downtown. This new place was spacious, backing onto the Thames, with generous size rooms, high ceilings, and neat architectural features. Oh, and it had a back deck.
It was there we first brought the kittens home, and named them Gizmo and Shoe. It was there that my now ex-husband first asked me to marry him.
I was happy. We had good jobs, we were young, and we were on our way.
He was THE ONE.
Back when I still believed in that sort of thing, back in the days when I still believed once you tied that knot, it would never be untied. Least not for me, cause no one in my family did that.
In some things, you would prefer not to be the first. Well, and would have preferred not to have been so wrong.
Anyways, back to happiness. I look at it now as being wrong, but I don’t know.
See, it’s difficult to stay on target. This is why I guess I decided to try to document these, if brief, glimpses, possibly mere vignettes, of when and where I found happiness.
There are times I was happy that surprised me, surprise me now . So I’m going to try to dig in and really look at these moments. Sometimes may have to really dig through the midden pile, maybe, but there are some that are quite precious.
In that place, we once shared, back where we began to mesh our lives together, back to happiness.
It was a time of hot summer nights sitting on the deck with a frosty beverage, listening to the river running by. The peace, and the distant sound of the cars going to and fro from the downtown, who’s lights we could see through the trees. The cool neighbours, the laughs, and memories of old friends that have now disappeared.
I was so naïve. I really had no idea what love was, or how it felt, but I wanted what it looked like it was. I don’t recall thinking past the image I had. I wanted what my parents had.
I wasn’t completely deluded, though. Not entirely. I knew that Mom and Dad had worked at their relationship. I had not been sheltered from the true nature of marriage.
This man and I had shared things, our very souls, I had thought. I thought I knew who he was. I even thought I knew what love was.
I held him when the horrors of his abusive childhood threatened to consume him. I explained away his aloofness, and his inability to look it all in the face. There was still lots of time. Time to deal with all his many ghosts.
I didn’t know that they could one day walk among us; wrecking havoc.
Working for the railroad he’d have random days off from me, but every once in a while, when our schedules jived, we’d take off down old back roads, or watch the last of the ice at Port Stanley.
I guess you could say I was in love. I was. Or a type of love. A love born of sharing, connection and a desire to be happy and share that with another. Nothing else mattered, not really.
And Then The Walls Came Tumbling Down
Literally. One night as we lay sleeping, and were awoken by an almighty loud noise. As with all noises of this sort that one experiences when fast asleep, you wake up in that automatic state of panic.
It had rained off and on over the last 48 hours before. But the whole thing began the year before when the landlord put the decks on the apartments upstairs in the main part of the house. Our apartment was a bit that had been tacked on the back at some point.
The wall had first buckled out that evening before we had gone to bed, and we had told the landlord.
So the wall came tumbling down, with the plaster, and bricks and all the disgusting black moldy debris scattering across the contents of our kitchen. It was a wonder none of us were hurt.
Perhaps I have romanticized my memories, but something shifted around that time. Not all at once, and not right away, and not so anyone (or almost anyone) could see, but an infinitesimal whiff of something changed.
It was around 1992, we had been married just over a year, he and I. I was about 25 years old, and I had no idea what was on the way.
This isn’t about all that part though. No, this is about all those times you almost wish it was possible to go back to; just to taste them, smell them, lick them, hug them, just once more.
Stay tuned for more of those.