Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Place Called Home and ....

... moving on up, on all kinds of levels:

A Place Called Home
I hear ..

...the radio,
on low-play.
...the windchimes,
inside and out.
...the fridge humming near-sleep breathing.
...the quickening of my heart,
louder than any self-doubt.

I smell ...
...shampoo and cream rinse
...the cool sweat of love spent
...ginger, spice and citrus
...a burnt incense and sage
...warm shoulders
...chilled August air
...beeswax lip balm underneath my skin.

I see ...
...the skewed pattern of an afghan
...a myopically blurred ceiling
....the glow of the porch light
...the future looming
...less of the past in trespass
...a long journey's end
...the sign post
that says,
"Time to begin again."

I speak ...
...less and less evil

...closer to my own tongue
...words laced with certainty angry words against self
...when spoken to and when not
...with purpose, on purpose
...with levity and spirit
...because I am.

I feel ...
...a heart's heat like wildfire
...a place called home
...promises can be kept
...bricks will begin to crumble
...sticks and stones not an issue
...less trapped, less scared
...happiness in the first place for the keeping.
a.cunningham (08/05)

When I met Mark, I was living in a two-bedroom apartment in this "village" I've previously mentioned. I lived there with my youngest daughter. We called it the "dorm" because I had recently given up our three-bedroom house out in the country in the neighboring town where we used to live in a lovely rural setting, huge yard, surrounding marshes, bike paths, etc.

We loved it out there, but the time had come to move because there were only two of us left, I was planning on going back to school, and so downsizing and lowering our monthly costs in housing and other was essential.

It was the thing to do at the time, and it was exciting for us. We loved the "dorm," where we moved in the late spring of 2005, and it was "big enough" for what we needed.

So, that being said ... careful what you wish for!

When we moved to the "dorm" I didn't even bring my double-bed. I didn't need it, afterall, who was I to start yet another relationship? I mean, really, folks that was THE LAST THING ON MY MIND!

In the very the earlier time being, I used my new bedroom as my office and studio since I had obviously lost that space, moving from the "big house."

I intended, at some point, to move in a daybed or something ... or not! I just wasn't sure.

At one point, there was a foam or blowup-y mattress on the floor because I thought I might dive into a relationship, but then I changed my mind (yeah, he's probably still mad, but I just couldn't do it!!!). And I eventually got rid of whatever makeshift bed some well-meaning friend had lent me, just in case.

I wasn't ready in any case!

I spent most of that summer alone, or at least living alone. I didn't even have cable! I was using dialup internet, and I wasn't working much. I was taking a break of sorts. The first time ever in my life. My daughter was gone for the
summer, and every day could just be every day with no plan to it ... although, as it turned out, there was some very necessary shit I had to go through.

At the time, I was also dealing with some brain chemical issues, was off my rocker, and was off meds, which in my stubborn will I thought was a "good thing, and i
n many ways, it was I suppose.

It was, anyway, a learning experience to the fact that I must remain vigilent about keeping my head screwed on straight, whatever it takes, and yeah sometimes whatever it takes doesn't work, and that's just the way it is.

I do not, however, regret a single moment of that summer. It was three months of "all about me" which may sound selfish, but those who know me, know full well that selfish is not part of my framework, and what I grew to learn in that three months was for the most part necessary, but on the whole very, very difficult. (I did say, necessary, though, right?!?!?)

I would not wish that summer on my worst enemy; however, I was my own worst enemy and so it was necessary that I wish the full scope of that summer onto my self, and I thank my self for it. If that makes sense.?!?!?

The summer progressed and among my small circle of friends, the fact that I didn't have a bed was somewhat of a joke. My apartment was all very Mary Tyler Moore-ish, and all I needed was a big wooden "A" on the wall. I already had all my favorite things around me (except for Ali who was gone for the summer, and is not really a thing), but in downsizing our house, we had come up with a place that really spoke to our core as a family and as individuals.

That small group of friends, well, I forced myself to expand the group that summer, as well, at which point my not having a bed became an even bigger joke. To this day, you will still hear this or that odd person in my life go, "Oh, my god, Anne, remember when you didn't have a bed?!?!?"

Yeah, because that was weird!

Late May through late August of that summer I was adamant that I didn't need a bed! I was adamant that I didn't need a whole lot of things, and what's interesting about the whole situation is that this is also the summer where I did actually increase my friendship base, and I found out there were a whole lot of things that I really, really needed to not be giving up on yet.

So, here's where we get to the "careful what you wish for part," because this is when I met Mark, during my I'm all up in my own face, and I don't need anyone or anything beyond what the next day will bring me, and I ain't asking for a whole lot! I mean, look at me, I don't even have a bed!

Yep! That's when he walked in to a place where I was hanging out with all my new friends, and when I saw him, a big word went off inside my head ... FUCK! Honest to my gods, I thought I was having another stroke!

Now, that may not sound too romantic, but if you ask him he'll say the same thing. He walked in and he saw me and he said he just knew something was up, and his brain did that same thing where his heart flew up and slapped him in the forehead and his immediate thought was, "Fuck! I'M FUCKED!"

We were fucking FUCKED!

This is how the stubborn me without a bed to stand on met the stubborn him.

To top it off, two of my new friends (a couple) were very old and dear friends of his, and they were all freaked out because they hadn't seen his stubborn hide in 'round about 6 months, so they were so happy to see him, and also their brains were all going how perfect is this? We love her, we love him!

Now, pause here to be nauseated, but that's pretty much how it went, except that we are not the nauseating types.

Mostly what happened is everyone started seeing more of Mark again, and Mark and I were inseperable! As it turned out, we knew a lot of the same people, and I had in fact gone to high school with his little brother ... I just had not ever known that there was an older brother. I had, I suppose, been doing that "looking for love in all the wrong places" kind of thing, except I don't regret that process either. But really folks, how do you leave home the day after high school, live a bunch of different places, meet all kinds of people, marry a couple of them, and then end up back at home base to find someone who started there too!?!?!?

So, where is this getting us, and why the posting of the earlier poem above?!?!?

Because, when I met Mark, hello?!?!?!? I still did not have a bed, and for the last week of August and partially into September we spent nights on my couch, a long, but narrow affair (the couch, not the actual love affair) but somehow we fit, and we slept like dead people, only we were very much alive.

The poem above, is me waking up, bleary eyed and without contacts or glasses, into a whole new world end of that August, where ...Fucking crap! I'm going to need a bed!

When Mark moved in totally, we got that bed, one he had in storage from earlier years when he, too, had a bigger house and a bigger life, but had downsized. But, this wasn't the biggest bed. It wasn't even full size, was way short of queen, and two of them together wouldn't even be a king. I'm not even sure what you call it, but it was less than a full-size bed.

However, since we'd been sleeping on my long, narrow couch, and we obviously were a good "fit," it didn't matter, until today, three years later. Three years later we have made it through some shit, I'm tellling you, left that apartment, moved to a townhouse, and now bought this place ... and today ... well, today, we bought a real bed, a queen! I mean, we'll f'ing be swimming in it trying to find each other!

The joint-ownership folder sits here right now in front of me on my desk, shouting out in purple letters "Welcome to the Steinhafel's Family," and my name isn't even Steinhafel! ... and neither is Mark's, but that's the name of the furniture store where we not only bought our new bed, but a new chair for the living room, which leads tomorrow to the delivery of these items, a lot of rearranging, and the purchasing off all new sheets and comforters and ...

... all of this because I was stubborn the spring of 2005 and downsized out of my house into something that was "just the size Ali and I needed," no bigger, no smaller, no nothing ... firm in my thought that we would not, I repeat, we would not be adding any extra anythings or any bodies!

And let me tell you, I'm a grownup. I'm 46! I've been through some shit, but this ... this ... um, this here new bed thing ... um, well, errr, it's kind of freaking me out!

But in a good way ... so goodbye to the less than full bed, which I'm not kidding we can't stop talking about how badly we will miss it, even though it's going right across the hall into Ali's room, and she's getting rid of her twin.

It's just weird to be welcoming in the queen bee bed because we don't want to forget the couch summer (and that couch has been upgraded too), or the way we ultimately fit, no matter where we sleep.

I think things will be okay though, because my heart still races up and slaps my forehead every day with a great big, "Who the F' knew?!?!?" ... and if you ask Mark, he'll say the same thing, just don't tell all his friends, because he's the tough retired Navy dude! so he's so far beyond this mushy stuff!

I mean, really ...

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