Poem: In Memory Of A Father-In-Law


In the gymnasium

performing the mental exercise of the night

dipping in and out

of sardine-squeezed bystanders

I keep losing you

Cold-shouldered around a corner

like I lost myself when I had you,

why is it all so slippery?

Only pieces–

the catch of fire hair you shed long ago

But now we both have lost

him

And our shared sorrow

brings you

here

as a lamplighter illuminating truth

And even though our bond is broken

a gift is given:

his love for me

uttered from lips I once touched

This sweet small something

settles in

Then you turn from me

and walk back into the crowd

 

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Circumstance


Lately I’ve been trying to perform a little experiment to try to get some interesting photos. Normally, on my walk every morning, I see a trove of squirrels dancing and playing about, often running in my path. Following the lead of some fellow walkers, I’ve been carrying peanuts to lure them into some new and interesting antics, hopefully to catch with my lens.

But alas, it seems as soon as I have this great idea, they all remain in the trees, chittering and scolding me, refusing to come down, or I see none at all for days in a row.  As in life, it seems the more we want something, the less likely to have it as circumstance puts up walls to block our way.

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I’m transported back to my dating days, hot on the trail for love and the perfect soul-mate. Willing, at times,  to do just about anything to grab this ghostly image that seemed to have drifted in and out of my life. I would create a new me, better and more full of light–and post it out there time and time again for the world to see.

But sometimes fate has it, that an open hand may only let things fall through, much like grasping at water and trying to hold on to it. And yet, there are those that instead ride on a plane and find a 30 year marriage with the person seated next to them without looking at all. It’s purely destiny one might say.

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Tomorrow I walk into another job interview. It was my hand that typed on the computer and entered the application and that will shake the hand of the HR person. That grasping hand. But it will be kismet too that brings others to the pool of applicants to be interviewed.

This does not mean we do not try to change fate the best we can. Wearing my best smile and carrying with me confidence, I will try to bend the corners of circumstance so that only I am left in the room.

And I left a peanut for that sassy squirrel, so the next time he sees the crazy lady shaking the bag, maybe fate will give me my photo when I see him again.

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Happily Ever After


So it seems very often (more than once a week even), either in a social gathering or speaking with a friend or relative, the topic always seems to come up that I’m single. That in itself is no big deal, but rapidly on its heel always seems to be some comment related to the fact that I will somehow in the near future be meeting the man of my dreams.

I guess I’m here to say that I’m getting tired of this presumption on many levels. First of all, I don’t want to meet a man. Second of all, I don’t believe there is a ‘man of my dreams’. Third of all, I’m perfectly happy single. Fourthly, maybe I wouldn’t want to be with a man. The list may even go on.

My question is: why does everyone I meet or talk to assume that I need to be with someone? Do I personally exude some ‘loneliness’ hormone? Do I look pathetic and sad? Is it that they are so all fired joyful and happy being in a relationship that they feel everyone needs to be? I simply don’t get it.

Take my mother for instance: understand she is not your typical mother. While she is in her 80’s, she is a very liberated woman. She raised me to believe I could be anyone or anything I wanted to be. She was married twice, but now lives with a man 91 years young and refuses to marry him! But that doesn’t stop her from constantly chiding me every other conversation we have with the old: when you least expect it.

People don’t understand that if you don’t want it, it doesn’t matter when you least expect it. I’ve had many, many experiences with multiple husbands and boyfriends and dates. I find it very hard to picture now trying again. In fact picturing it simply freaks me out. So even if it happened, I would most likely walk away.

And it’s not just ‘them’, it’s me. I’m very quirky: vegan, gluten-free, a diligent athlete, a paramedic with weird hours, dog lover, cat lover, very liberal (in an area that isn’t always that way), outspoken, ADD, OCD….well, you get the idea. I mean fitting someone into my life at this point could be, well, let’s just say problematic. He would have to have “Saint” in front of his name.

In ‘our’ stages of life we carry around all our ‘stuff’ as George Carlin says: we each have our homes, our own jobs, our own families, sets of friends, ways of doing things (that’s not the way I put the dishes away). It becomes increasingly difficult to blend with someone else this late in life.

Sure I sit in bed with my dog at night and wonder about it, but then I think: how could I share my bed again? I take up the whole bed now! I wouldn’t want my dog banished to the floor. Or my three pillows, or the three blankets I use in the winter. Hey, it’s cold!

One good reason to have a man around would be safety. Some days I don’t feel safe living alone. It used to feel OK living where I do by myself, but now nothing feels safe anymore. Or if I was up on the roof raking the leaves and I fell off, at least he could call 911. Or wait, maybe HE could rake the roof! Or better yet, we could do it together? No, he would be watching the game. No wait, I don’t have a TV–and don’t want one! Yup, another quirk.

So, I just wish people would leave me be. I wish they would stop being cute or whatever it is when they say: when you least expect it, or just stop trying so hard (who’s trying?) or well you don’t want to be alone forever…. Who knows, maybe I do!

I’m happy for those married couples that manage to stay together. Good for them. And am never surprised when another couple gets divorced.  But for me, I like my life just as it is: two dogs, two cats, one daughter in and out occasionally. I was raised an only child and find my own company quite sufficient. As long as I have some friends, NPR, nature, a good book, my computer, my yoga, my thoughts and my phone then I will live happily ever after….by myself.