Saturday, May 14, 2011

blame it on depeche mode

I fully intend to return to the "Face of Stroke" story and tell the flipside of what I, the survivor, of my story looks like, but it will have to be later in this writing process since building the pre- story took time, and I don’t really have time this weekend to build stories.

I was in fact working on my collage tonight, hurriedly, while Mark was getting his popcorn ready for our Netflix launch. Ironically I was working on much the same theme. Another moleskin (another Mark, my first husband, another time, and another bowl of popcorn). I was working on using a piece of writing and some images (all in one) to save time on the dare (writing and art smoooshed together to save time this weekend and yet still meet the double dare).

The moleskin above is from 1996. The ribbon is tied tight because 1996 was the last year of my second marriage. Marriages are sacred whether they continue or whether they end. What's between those pages, and what didn’t make the cut since pages are small (and time is tight in a marriage), is not for public consumption.

This marriage ended on a summer day at the ten-year point, though we struggled during a long separation and divorce process for another three years, the marriage officially ending, ironically, one day prior to our 13th anniversary.

The marriage ending, public record, yes, the rest no one’s business, and I intend to keep it that way. I will say this, and this is also public record, I'm considered the one who ENDED THE MARRIAGE because alone in counseling (he, a state away), I (on the advice of my heart and my therapist) had to cut bait. A three-year separation is a long time to not have made any progress, emotionally, financially or otherwise. I will also say, these things are never easy, the tying of the ribbon tourniquet, right before they cut off the limb. The phantom pains never go away.

That being said, I’m sure I’ve lived it out, learned it out and written about it in many other ways, including the above poem, which I wrote the summer of ’97, the first summer I ever spent without my three children in the house. Unreal, surreal in all regards. Alice (4)toddler) was in Minneapolis with her father. Carol and Rebekah (14 &13) were old enough at this point, finally, to take a plane ride to Wyoming to visit their dad and his family instead of his long trips here to see him for only a few hours, or a day at a time.

I never entered into either marriage or either stint of parenthood thinking, “Woo-hoo, I hope some day I’ll get a break and a whole summer to myself, so it was an odd bit of time for me,” I have to say. I never planned any of this … such is life.

This poem came about when I realized partway through the summer that there were no dishes in the rack, only glasses, and that I wasn’t using any silverware. I was eating mostly raw vegetables after biking late at night, or the occasional veggie sub, wine and popcorn. Free time, after work was endless, whether this was the beginning or the end of a day, depending on my work schedule.

I didn’t, understand what “free time” was, or how one used it, or what would happen if you got caught having it. I questioned everything I did as if the “what do you do when you are alone, and is this weird?” police were watching me. Like, can a person get arrested if they have wine and popcorn for dinner three nights in a row? What if I sleep in my clothes, on the couch, and wear the same clothes tomorrow, go biking and don’t shower? Who will find out?

As summer progressed, I realized the answer was, no one finds out. My thoughts on that? This is insane? Or was it?!?! I drew the insane line in the sand every morning, and then every morning I crossed it to see what would happen. This included adopting two stray kittens, by summer’s end (to suprise the girls), and a whole lot of other stuff that’s probably in another moleskin with super tight ribbon around it and a padlock, and a tag that says SUPER-SONIC GROWTH.

You live you learn.

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