Cabo San Lucas – The End

Chapter 3

January 19, 1991  Sábado

My baja California trip is over. I’m sitting now in the Phoenix airport, sometime around 5 p.m. Only SEVEN hours until I board my next flight – to Philadelphia. Customs went okay – not quite as bad as Greece was. I thought I’d found the perfect spot to plant myself – game room, snack bar, lounge, Haagan Daas, gift shop – until the snack bar closed. At five o’clock. Mom would stow her bags and venture out into Phoenix. I thought about it for a split second, but I’m way too hungover.

I was awakened this morning at the ungodly hour of 7:30, from another bizarre dream, by the ever crowing rooster, a pesky mosquito that tried to fly up my nose, and a need for the bathroom. A couple of old Mexican women came by later, selling Bibles door to door. I don’t know if the Bibles are in English though.

Yesterday Mom and I went shopping and I bought a silver bracelet and a pair of earrings. We ate lunch afterward at the Giggling Marlin, which is probably my favorite place. Mom ordered a Mexican coffee, and when I took a sip something flew up the straw and into my mouth. A fucking fly!! She said I went white, and both she and the waitress had a big laugh at my expense for swallowing a “mosca!” It was NOT funny.

We walked around town a bit and stopped at the Rio Grill. We were having a good time, drinking cerveza (lots of cerveza), a live band started to play, and we ended up making new friends. Kelly, about my age, was a tall, model-like blonde who was super nice.  John was a 40-ish retired boatman from Southern Cal who really liked mom a lot. He introduced me to Eric, 24 and very very cute, who he himself had just met that day. Eric told me he was from Montreal, traveling around.

The four of us decided to go to Squid Roe to party some more. John was a trip! Eric and I danced forever, cervezas in hand. John said he’d introduce me to Tico Torres, who was there, though it never happened. Finally left there sometime around 3 and, suddenly hungry, mom and I bought these killer hamburgers from a food vendor right outside the bar. I tallied my drinks and it amounted to about a half-case of beer.

Which is why I’m sitting in the Phoenix airport now, horribly hung over and trembling from dehydration, sporting shorts, a minor tan, and my motorcycle jacket and wishing I didn’t have over 6 hours left until I can board some plane that will only take me as far as Philly. Then I have to figure out how to get to 30th Street Station before dawn to catch the train that will take me home to New York. I’ll finally be home, just 18 hours from now.

It was a great trip though. Anything but a tourist trap, it was charming in its simplicity and the lack of obnoxious crowds. Cabo is the antithesis of Cancun, the only other Mexico destination I have to compare it with. It’s like night and day. They’re building this enormous luxury hotel on Boulevard Marina (the main street running through town), currently just a shell, and it makes me wonder how these high rise hotels will change this sleepy little town.

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Cabo San Lucas – Chapter 2

Chapter 1

Two days later.

I didn’t feel too hot on the flight to San Jose del Cabo and there was this very strange man sitting next to me, and then he was on the same bus to Cabo San Lucas. Gave me the creeps. It was dark when I arrived so I didn’t see much, and of course I was flooded with anxiety that mom wouldn’t be at the bus station when I arrived.

We go to bed really early here – like between 8 and 9:30 and get up about those same hours in the morning. Twelve hours of sleep! It’s actually much cooler than I expected. We sleep with our mass of blankets and in the same clothing we sleep in at home this time of year. However, during the day the sun is quite hot.

The house is nice – it’s not a luxury villa, but more like a home we’d actually live in if we lived here. It’s roomy, with high ceilings, but not too large for us. We each have our own bedroom. There are tiled floors throughout. The living room is cozy; waist-high shelves run the length of one wall and are filled with books. The kitchen, to the right of the living room, has everything you need to prepare your own meals. We share a large bathroom which, lucky me, is right next to my bedroom. There’s a patio off the kitchen with a charcoal grill, and chairs for sitting.

We walked into town yesterday and had lunch at the Giggling Marlin. I had this killer chicken burrito. We shared an order of french fries. Mom had soup and a margarita. I hear they’re exceptionally strong here. One is enough to put you eye level with the table.

We walked around after lunch and saw some incredible hotels, some under construction, found an open-air market with silver jewelry and tableware. Everything is pretty cheap here. Right now it’s about 3,000 pesos to the dollar, which sounds like a lot – especially when you’re buying orange juice for 8,500 pesos. We also went to the supermercado for food.

The village is cute. Small, but cute. Very quiet. Not crowded. Nothing like the “other” Mexico I’ve been to (Cancun). Everything is dirt here – practically no paved roads – so there is a thin brown dust that coats everything. Wipe off any plates or glassware on the restaurants’ tables. There are scruffy dogs that lie in the dirt everywhere, outside the restaurants, in the streets – and in the heat of the day. Makes you wonder, are they dead or alive?

As we made our way back to the house on one of the side streets, a huge truck full of day laborers rumbled by, blasting I’ve Got the Power. This struck me funnier than anything I’d seen so far. These trucks come and pick the men up every morning at a location just down the street from our house. Dozens of them waiting, pile into the back of an enormous truck. In the late afternoon, they return, dusty and sweaty and dirty. They, unlike their American counterparts, are polite and friendly, not catcalling balls of testosterone.

We met two guys on the way – one from British Columbia and the other from Sacramento – who’ve been living here for several months. They helped carry our groceries back and talked for a bit longer. I don’t know how they knew each other, but this place is sorta like that. People just come and hang and get lost.

The bugs here are abundant, and everywhere. We have teeny tiny ants here and there and various flying insects. And, since I’m mosquito bait, you can well imagine I’m starting to look like a malaria victim. And they itch like hell…

The man who owns this house left a guest log for everyone who stays here to write in. It is hands-down one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. There are hilarious anecdotes, stories, a lot of drunken reports, and advice about the house, the people, the town, and even the car. Yes, the house comes with a car, and there are various accounts of it in the book; however, it broke down on mom’s way to pick me up and we won’t get it back until tomorrow. Walking is nice, but unlike New York, it loses its appeal after a few days.

One entry was a list of dos and don’ts titled, Uptonian Advice for Good Times in Cabo (or, “safety hints”). To give credit where credit is due, his name was John Upton, and was entered in the log between May 12 and May 18, 1990:

X marks the spot

Fat cats from hell bite – beware

Beach cruisers and tequila equal pain

Avoid security force at Sol Mar Hotel, especially when naked

Stay off the roof – you’ll know soon enough. Have a beer.

Bacardi stings less than alcohol and cleans a cut just as good

Never turn your back on a wave, especially at 3 a.m.

Giggling Marlins also swallow (Have absolutely no idea what this means, and don’t think I want to)

Don’t take any money with you to Blandro because after a few shots and beers you may be tempted to spend it.

Run! if you hear a local mumble something like “seestir.”
Seems like sound advice, while raising a few more questions. A lot of entries mentioned the proliferation of wild dreams, blaming it on the environment, desert sun, and unadulterated tequila. I myself have had more than a fair share of trips down the rabbit hole in my sleep.

Last night I dreamed that I caused an argument with this girl and her mother and then the girl came back to kill me. And she almost did before I woke up. Fell back to sleep again and was running through Central Park with Sam, something about showing him the scenic route, and then suddenly I was at the mall with E who was looking for a sweater she wanted that was actually pretty ugly, and then I woke up again with a terrible pain in my stomach because I had to pee.

*****

About 9 p.m. now, although I don’t really have a clue of what time it really is. We started to cook dinner around 7:30 – fired up the little grill outside on the back patio and grilled Mom’s marinated chicken breasts and ate them with a small salad. It must be the weather – I don’t feel very hungry here.

 

Cabo San Lucas – Chapter 1

January 11, 1991

It’s not quite 8 a.m. yet. I’ve been up since five. I’m on the plane to Pittsburgh, ready for takeoff. I’m not quite as nervous as I thought I would be, although this is only the beginning of a long trip which won’t end until twelve hours from now. We’re expecting 3-6 inches of snow here in Philly, though looking out my window now I don’t see any flakes. The sky is gray and white.

*****

In the Pittsburgh airport now, waiting to board my next plane. Interesting group of people on this plane. This is flight 9 to Phoenix. Arizona. I’ve never been anywhere near Arizona.

I love the feeling of the plane when it takes off – racing down the runway, thrusting your body against the seat. The chair absorbs you, cradles you. The flight attendant is handing out blankets. Blankets. I’m sweating. It’s raining lightly here in Pittsburgh, with a little slush on the runway. My hands are trembling from that coffee I had back in Philly.

Hello Pilot! He’s talking to us now, in that slow droning voice that sounds like he’s been smoking weed in the lounge. They have television monitors for instructions – too funny! I’ve never seen anything like this. Some people are cracking up.

*****

Later…

The pilot just informed us we are directly over Kansas. You should see the ground below. It’s amazing – looks like a giant marble floor. Or a marble chess board. Sam would like that. He’s asked me a dozen times already if I play chess, and my answer never changes. He wanted me to go skiing over break. Does he even remember that I don’t ski?

This past week I was sick, and only got sicker, which prompted me to go to the doctor. Who looked in my ears, nose, and throat, and told me I had a minor sinus infection. The inside of my nose is “pretty irritated,” he said, LIKE I didn’t know that already. It’s fuckin raw is what it is! I had a nosebleed in New York, which I forgot about but then why the hell would I want to remember that?

I had lunch with E yesterday at Ridgley’s. Everybody turned and stared when we walked in. I guess they’ve never seen a motorcycle jacket before. I had forgotten my tissues before leaving the house, so I had to carry my roll of toilet paper in from my car. The waitress looks at it and then asks me did I carry that in with me? It’s a goddamned roll of toilet paper, freaking Scott tissue which is what – 25 cents a roll? I thought E was going to wet herself.

*****

I’m sitting now in the Phoenix airport, and I just figured out why my hand is shaking. My bag is so heavy that it’s hurting my hand, which is all red and swollen. My arm is killing me. I don’t really feel like exploring right now. The headset from the in-flight movie gave me a headache, that I know isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s about 1:30 and I have six more hours on this God-forsaken trip before I actually get where the hell I’m going. At least three more, before I can board my last plane.

Arizona looks beautiful – when we began our descent, the view was just exquisite. Rolling mountains and valleys. Really incredible shades of color – soft browns turning darker, little green peaks, I even spotted a snow-capped mountain in the distance.

I’m sitting near an escalator and two workmen just walked by. The one says to the other, “see this? You’re gonna like this. Sal just oiled that thing up.” A lot of men around here remind me of Jose. Which is funny. Just wait til I get to Mexico.

I was sweating like a whore in church, so I ran to the bathroom and changed my shirt. Wild fuckin bathrooms – the toilets flush themselves. It’s bizarre. I just stood up and was looking for a way to flush the toilet and all of a sudden it’s like the psycho thing read my mind. Scared the shit out of me. And get this, the faucets are all automatic too. Welcome to the future.

*****

Soldiers! Everywhere. I walked down this corridor to my gate and passed dozens of them, likely being deployed to Saudi Arabia. Young too – at least, they looked younger than me. A certain sadness fell over me, as I considered where they were going and the fact that some may not return. Uncomfortable and feeling helpless, I averted my eyes from most of them. I heard something about sending more troops. Christ. Are there any left? I think they started calling in the Reserves now. Saddam Hussein’s deadline is January 15.

I have no idea what time it is, only that it has to be somewhere near four. My gate has just been changed to B7, two gates away, so I had to pick up this incredible load and move. Up until now there were only two old couples waiting with me. Now there’s many more people. They’re all showing up now, and the board still says “Omaha,” so they’re all wondering if it’s the right gate.

 

Three Times I’ve Felt Blessed

When I really, really knew. I’m talking profound, existential moments.

The first time it hit me, really hit me, I was on a flight home from Santa Barbara. I’d been in California visiting a long-time, on again-off again boyfriend. What was different about this trip, as opposed to a handful of others to San Diego and Laguna, was that this time I fell in love with California. Santa Barbara – its intimately small airport, State Street with its farmer’s market full of vibrant locally grown produce, the little Greek deli’s spanakopita, the flea market/mall filled with old treasures, the Mission and the beautiful rose garden, the State Street Theater, Earthling bookstore, the magnificent cliffs overlooking the Pacific, two old men painting landscapes on the beach. I spent a great deal of time driving and exploring by myself, and the independence I felt brought me back to those solitary New York days where I was discovering who I was.

I got on the plane that last day and felt not melancholy, but … at peace. I’ve never been afraid to fly. I’ve always loved the rush of the jet lifting off, and again when the wheels skidded to a halt on the runway. And, as the plane lifted off and the California landscape grew smaller and smaller, I thought to myself, how wonderful. If this plane never lands again, if I don’t survive this flight, it will be okay, because I. Am. Blessed. I am happy.

The second, profound, time, on a day I can’t exactly recall, I realized again. Blessed to have extricated myself from a painful situation and I knew that God stood beside me as I walked in the light again. My friends stood beside me, they offered prayers and encouraging words, and I was blessed. And I was blessed to have Todd back. I was blessed during this time that he loved me still, and he stood beside me during the worst of the battles I needed to walk through. The revelation and remembrance that I was blessed is what got me through my darkest days.

This morning. After waking up on the couch at 4 o’clock in the morning, alone, with the cat sleeping on top of me and the dog nearby in her bed and the candles still burning on the coffee table… I crawled back to the bedroom where my husband lay sleeping. I woke again 3 hours later, and snuggled up beside him, his hand massaging the pain out of my arm and we spoke the silent language of long-time lovers and friends and I stroked his brown and gray-stubbled cheek, admiring the curve of his nose and the softness of the lips I’ve known for a lifetime. And I felt Blessed.

For I am and have always been blessed. Not more than anyone else deserves to be, but I recognize it – and inside the walls of my soul, no one and nothing can take that away.

Throwback Thursday: Reunion

I drove to our meeting place, my heart in my throat and my stomach somersaulting. While we wanted this first time to be private, circumstances made that virtually impossible. I imagined this as some epic reunion, and could hardly think of seeing him, after so long, in some crowded restaurant.

I pulled into the lot, my palms sweaty and trembling on the wheel. We had spoken frequently over several weeks, his voice over the air waves like an old familiar song, but until this very moment our eyes hadn’t met in over twenty years. All I’d had were pictures on a computer screen, and an old prom photo that by some miracle had escaped a jealousy-driven purge many years ago.

I saw his silhouette inside his truck, and knew there was no turning back. My heart was pounding in my chest. He stepped out of his truck as I opened my car door, and I was soon standing by my car feeling suddenly shy and conspicuous. We walked a cavernous short distance toward each other and I did what I always do when I’m breathtakingly nervous – smile stupidly like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

And then we were face to face. This boy I’d loved beyond all rational reason 25 years ago, the first real love I had, the unforgotten one who was indelibly imprinted on me … was standing right in front of me, flesh and bone. Same soft dark hair, shorter today. Same frame and square shoulders. Same dark eyes that see inside of me, reading all of my secrets.

And he did what any guy in his right mind would do under these extraordinary circumstances. He hugged me. I felt his arms encircle me and tried not to melt into them. I tried to remember that I was a 41-year-old woman who was mature and put together and … then I hugged him back. I couldn’t breathe. Because, Todd.

I hadn’t spoken that name out loud in forever. Hadn’t dared to think much more beyond a casual reminiscence. We stood back, looking at each other. So? So?

And suddenly there were no words. We sat down together, and suddenly the walls came down again, like they had on the phone, and we were talking about everything and nothing.

At some point he picked up my hand and I looked down, surprised by the familiarity – by the sight of his hands. You know how not all hands you will look at like they are yours? We were older now, but his hands hadn’t changed. And when I felt his hand around mine, it was a memory come to life again. In that moment, nothing had ever felt so right.

November 15, 1987

We’re back from our weekend getaway. We got in around 10 p.m. Friday night at Jeff’s parents’ house. I met both parents and they’re very nice. Jeff and I went out driving later – very fast, but I wasn’t afraid. We talked about very strange things, like death and the afterlife.

Saturday morning Mike and Wendy picked us up. We went to the Mall and I absolutely loved it. There were some really great stores, like the Sharper Image. A great many “catalog” stores. Afterwards, we went to see Scott in the hospital. He’s doing fine, has a pin or two or three – I don’t know – in his leg. I don’t really know him, so I stood back feeling uncomfortable while the guys visited. I felt like I was somehow invading his privacy.

Wendy and I saw the cutest little girl in one of the rooms down the hall. She was all alone and crying, and we got her to stop crying and actually fall to sleep. Afterward, the four of us got sandwiches at a deli and waited for the train into New York.

I LOVED New York. We dubbed our trip “Jeff’s 20-minute tour of New York City,” since he sort of took charge of where we went and what we saw and because we seriously ran through the city. We had taken a train in from Hoboken, and got off in Greenwich Village.

I saw lots of neat stores everywhere to shop in, if only I had the money and we weren’t on a whirlwind tour. We stumbled onto a sex shop called the Pleasure Chest, and the boys dragged us inside. It was wild! I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s way more kinky than Spencer’s. There were glass display cases full of dildos in every size, shape, and color, and other things I had never seen before. And they had these little penis erasers! Now those I would have loved to have. I can’t imagine the looks I’d get in class with them!

We raced through Washington Square Park – this beautiful park surrounded by trees and a huge fountain in the middle, and a huge arch on one side that looked like Paris. There were people everywhere, sitting on park benches and children in the smallest playground area, dogs on leashes, legions of artist-types lounging around the empty fountain, and students with backpacks.

There, and on several of the streets we walked through, I saw purple and white flags hanging all over the place. Turns out this is NYU, or, New York University. It never, ever occurred to me that people go to school in New York. This has to be the coolest place ever to go to school. How cool would that be?

Anyway, Jeff’s Whirlwind Tour came to an end and we took the train back to Hoboken. We went out to dinner at some restaurant there, and had a great time. I love going out to dinner and getting served. Wendy got trashed and so did I – we had an excellent time together. We stopped at Mike’s sister’s apartment. Mike kept dropping the keys at the door, on purpose, because he knew I had to pee.  Everyone was laughing. Except me.

**Disclaimer: I don’t use the upgraded service; therefore, you will see ads at the bottom of my posts (ads I don’t see because I’m not you). As it has come to my attention that certain ads may not align with my world views – I am compelled to add the following statement until further notice.

I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT SUPPORT DONALD TRUMP. NOT YESTERDAY, NOT TODAY, NOT – EVER.

Weddings, Past & Present

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Copyright TaraKA & the Tara Chronicles, 2016

The current heat wave we are experiencing here in the mid-Atlantic states is almost unbearable. Todd hasn’t ridden in days. I haven’t run in nearly twice as long. I just can’t do it.

We catered a wedding last weekend that was eventful to say the least. The staff was running around getting the house ready, and we were all sweating like characters in Dante’s Inferno. Bee and I joked about our sexy boob sweat, and then Dee chimed in about swamp ass and I nearly wet myself. This, folks, is the behind-the-scenes stuff that keeps up morale.

The A/C was running inside, but this couple had chosen to be married in our courtyard, so we had a number of jobs to be done outside. As I usually run the bar, my job kept me mostly inside. But then I was called to set up the outdoor beverage station under an umbrella’ed table, and by the time I returned inside I looked like I’d taken a shower. In my clothes.

While everyone complained about the heat, I was inspired to recount a wedding I was in on the hottest day of the year in 1988. Well technically, after doing a little research, it was July 17th that was the hottest day that year, at 102 degrees. But that date, through the third week of August, marked a “higher than average” span of temperatures. I’ll say.

The date was August 13th and, while the historical record says it was 91 degrees, the heat index was easily near 100. A longtime dear friend was marrying her high school sweetheart, and I was honored to be a part of the wedding. At least, until the pool began to swell in my bra.

Wendy was married in the same Catholic church that my parents were married in – so you can see how small our large world really was, in some ways. She wore a beautiful full-length white satin gown, adorned with pearls and beading, and fitted sleeves with the puffy shoulders common in the 1980s. Like all brides, she chose beauty over comfort, and paid no mind to the season. The bridesmaids wore floor-length royal blue taffeta gowns with baby blue cap sleeves (pictured).

After the ceremony, the guests adjourned to the Elks lodge a few blocks away and the bridal party went to have formal pictures taken. I don’t remember what the bride and groom rode in, but I will never forget what the bridal party was treated to. We rode in rumble seats to a popular outdoor spot for wedding photos, about 2 miles away.

Heat, sweat, and rumble seats don’t mix… and I can’t speak for the other girls, but my hair did NOT like this combination. The photos probably took no more than 30 minutes, but it felt like hours as we stood there in full-length gowns, and the poor groomsmen in tuxedos!

When we finally arrived at the Elks, after another exciting and extremely slow ride in the rumble seats, we stepped gratefully into the air-conditioning and assessed our wilted selves. Beads of sweat sparkled on the men’s foreheads. As for the girls, large circles of sweat had darkened the royal blue fabric under our arms. I wondered at poor Wendy, who still looked beautiful, although she couldn’t have been comfortable in that dress. We were able to collect ourselves for a few minutes as we lined up for the grand entrance into the reception.

A short time later the bride and groom had their first dance, which they never finished as Wendy fainted in her husband’s arms. We took her to the restroom and attempted to cool her off with water, but she was sick. I remember coming out to check on my date, and stopped to chat with one of Wendy’s elder relatives who was concerned. She was relieved that she was recovering, and then speculated – with a twinkle in her eye – that maybe Wendy was expecting. Hardly. I think Wendy was lucky that she’d only suffered from heat exhaustion.

Thankfully there were no obvious casualties in the wedding we catered last week, but the guests were determined to stay indoors until the ceremony was announced. The bride was gorgeous. Her mother, in a floor-length pale blue lacy gown, was gorgeous. The bridesmaids were gorgeous. None of them looked like they had even kissed a temperature over 70 degrees. We the staff, on the other hand, looked a little worse for wear… but no one really cares what we look like, as long as we’re still pouring the drinks and serving the food.

As for eventful, the ceremony had just finished, we’d just passed the champagne toast, and the entire guest list was running indoors. A torrential downpour moved in so fast, it’s a miracle they all made it inside. Some members of the staff? Not quite. Their white tuxedo shirts clung to the skin like a wetsuit. And it rained, and then it stopped. Some of the guests went back outside. And then it started pouring again. And then it stopped. And then the DJ set up indoors, and the guests danced outside.

I guess it’s a really good thing it didn’t rain on Wendy’s wedding.

Revelations – the Detox Story Continues

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My journey toward writing my New York stories – whether by book or by blog – took me to this particular page where I was surprised to read what I had written over 25 years ago. I’m inspired to share the chronicles of New York and NYU, in my usual style of humor and a bit of sarcasm, but this page – this page – was anything but funny. The most shocking bit of it, was the only part I have no memory of.

I recently wrote about discontinuing Paxil, and how difficult it has been. It’s been 17 days, and all that appears to be left is waking nausea – not unlike morning sickness – and the emotional hurricane inside my whole being. To the former – many of my withdrawal symptoms look like pregnancy. However, I can assure you, I am not. To the latter – anything, and everything, has the potential to release the floodgates on my usually composed emotions.

I was sitting at a table in the water park on Tuesday, and our song came over the sound system and I just tensed up with stupid pent up tears. It was ridiculous. I fully expected to cry on my two high school friends the previous night, you know, because we haven’t seen each other in sooo long and how many years has it been and we’re getting older and… for the love of GOD. Thankfully, I didn’t. But that’s the crap part of this – you never know when it’s gonna hit. Well, except when we’re watching movies and then I can be sure it will come – and what the hell was I thinking watching Ghost under these circumstances?

According to what I’ve read, this crying thing is part of the withdrawal. And it sucks BIG TIME. This medication, just like anti-depressants, “takes the edge off” so much that I was actually numb. I even asked my alarmed, and slightly annoyed kids – when is the last time you saw me cry like this? And they can’t remember. Because, it’s like – never.

Yesterday Todd and I went to the bike shop to have my bike repaired after he accidentally rolled over it in the garage in the Mustang (SO glad I didn’t do that). He’s in the market for a road bike, so he and “Mel” were chatting while I sort of wandered about the store, touching at the jerseys and bike shorts in a disinterested way. And then I saw a yellow jersey that struck me instantly with a memory of my uncle, an avid cyclist, who lost his battle with cancer twelve years ago. Lance Armstrong sent him a LiveStrong jersey, post- mortem. It was hung over his bike at the memorial service, where I cried an uncontrollable torrent of tears. In public. And later, all I could think of was, is this what life will become? Everyone I love will eventually pass on and I get to stand here and watch it happen, over and over again? It was a heartbreaking revelation and it took me a very long time to recover. And now – in that bike shop – all those emotions came flooding back to me and I found myself fighting back tears.

Okay so back to the point. So, ultimately, I don’t want to be on medication. I don’t think I need it. Yet, after re-reading what I wrote at age 20 – I wonder that I always felt so conflicted, so fragmented, so emotional, so angry at things I couldn’t even articulate. That the semester I took a course in Women’s Literature I started to really consciously recognize these feelings. I read A Room of One’s Own. I read The Golden Notebook. I plunged into my writing classes. It all started to click. And now, in retrospect, besides knowing there’s a significant genetic link to this – I was always this way – Born this Way – and now I’ve got wisdom on my side. The wisdom to know what works for me, and what doesn’t. The wisdom to know the difference between just surviving, and thriving.

Flashback: February 24, 1990

Tuesday morning I had my Medieval Lit in-class paper – I didn’t even finish. Then yesterday my Irish Renaissance paper was due, and a Math test I didn’t get to finish.

Last night we partied in the dorm – Roxanne, Julie, Chris, Ian, Luke, and I. The living room looked like a tornado went through it. I left around 11 to visit Michelle and Lori in South Tower and apparently they all thought I was out wandering the streets alone. Ian was so worried he went out looking for me, wandering all over the village. When he didn’t find me he came back to the dorm and wrote me this bizarre yet very creative poem that didn’t rhyme, in which he called me an “infant arachnid.”

Roxanne is feeling paranoid about her weekend with Bryan. She thinks she’s pregnant. Her period is so irregular it’s entirely possible that it’s coming soon, but worrying about it just makes it all seem worse. Meanwhile, I’m having doubts again, about the whole thing with John. It’s so easy for me to be away from him right now. I think it’s time for that whole “space” thing again. I keep having doubts about him. Thinking about the future just scares me to death.

I wish I could talk to James Joyce sometimes. I feel like I’m struggling to realize myself, and perhaps he could help. Mom and I got into a fight on the telephone yesterday about silly things. I started to cry.  She called back a little later, we cleared the air, and I realized we share the same irrational fear. We both feel like when one of us gets mad, the other will stop loving us. It’s a sad realization – our bond is so powerful that sometimes it hurts, sometimes I feel like I can’t leave her, and it’s like a force is pulling me back to her and when I resist it tears me up. I wonder if she feels the same?

Sometimes I get so messed up that it frightens me – because occasionally I feel like I just want to die.  To close my eyes and sink into nothingness. Let the tears stop flowing and reach a higher plane, full of light and warmth, for eternity. God put me on this earth for something – I don’t think He wants me back for a while. But who is out there? I sometimes can’t find her. The fog moves in and becomes so thick I can hardly see her, and then she drifts away. God, please don’t let me fall into boring patterns when I grow up. All my life I wanted to grow up, and now I’ll be 21 in a few months. What then? I still don’t have a clue.

 

Flashback: July 25, 1989

July 25, 1989

I realize now just what I need in a relationship with that degree of commitment.  I need to be me, plain and simple, and never lose my separate identity. I’m aware of my good qualities in spite of the bad, and that I should never put up with bullshit, because it’s not worth my time. I can do better. I’m still healing from the breakup with Ben. I sent that letter I wrote him. I’m hoping he’ll call. Which is probably why I can’t fully engage my heart and mind with John.

Speaking of phone calls…Todd called me last night. We haven’t spoken in two years. We spent some time catching up. He said he considered coming back to visit this weekend, but then he changed his mind. I’m considering going to Baltimore to visit him some weekend. I don’t know.

I nearly hit a dog today – it ran out on the street and scared me half to death, no kidding. Sherry and I went shopping the other day, spent a ton of dad’s money and I came home with some beautiful clothes. She told me that dad thinks that the grandkids he’ll have some day will be immaculately conceived. She found this enormously funny. I’m not sure whether she expected me to dispute the fact, but I said nothing and instead laughed with her.

Work at the nursing home has been slow lately, but being there makes me feel a little better… changing the beds and delivering meals…. Tonight I got to feed Eleanor and Mary R. at the same time, while Mary F. entertained with her usual striptease in the dining room. The RN came over and says, “Mary, I’ve had it!” Mary looked up at her and said in the most casual of voices, “well — who gave it to you?”  Agreeable Eleanor just nods and giggles to herself. Linda and I just lost it.

I was talking to Dorothy earlier, who told me she’ll be 84 in October. She was telling me about a thunderstorm where she got shocked by her vacuum cleaner.  She doesn’t really look like she’ll be 84. But then, Mary G. doesn’t look like 98 either. Eloisa is this little old Sicilian lady who grabbed a hold of me when I wasn’t expecting it and wouldn’t let go. She holds on so tight, it’s painful. I can’t say I wasn’t warned not to get too close to her. She was imploring me for medicine for her “head-achy.”

Mr. “A” is the grandfather of a classmate of mine. I was warned about him too. He’s very touchy-feely. Still, the nurses let me walk him back to his room at the end of the hall from dinner one night. The walk back to his room was slow and very awkward, as he tried his best to wrap his hands around my personal parts. He’s sneaky and subtle about it too, and I’d bet my car he uses his “senility” to get away with it.