The Reunion

 

Coffee in the morningMy husband Gary and I were sitting at the kitchen counter, drinking coffee, when he brought up the same conversation about my college reunion that I thought we had finished discussing long ago.  “You just don’t want to go to the reunion, he said “because your best friend hurt your feelings.”  “Gary, I replied slowly, she didn’t just hurt my feelings, she  decimated them, there’s a big difference, don’t you think?”

“What I think, he said, is that you’re being too sensitive, after all, you were best friends for four years.”

I had never wanted to go to any type of college reunion, what was the point to seeing people twenty years older, heavier, thinner with more or less hair? This time my husband pushed me to go “Come on, he said to me “why not? Everyone should go to one class reunion. Think of it as a rite of passage,”

I sighed.

Then, the final blow, my husband shouted “you just don’t want to go because you think Caroline might be there, admit it.”

I paused, of course he was right, but how dare he say that?  Did he not know the rules of marriage? He was supposed to stick up for me no matter what. “Asshole” I replied,  “that has nothing to do with it.” “Oh come on, he said, she was your best friend in the world, you think she betrayed you and you have never forgiven her.” “Just grow up,” he said impatiently.

I paused on the stairs leading up to the bedroom, gave him a killer stare and in a slow, moderated voice I said “Fine, if it is that important to YOU let’s just go” I said airily as I climbed the stairs to our master bathroom to shower, condition my hair and shave my legs very carefully.

We drove up on a Saturday morning, we checked in at the front desk of the University as if we were registering for classes. I saw my ex -best friend, Caroline, from the corner of my eye, I turned quickly away before she could see me.

“Bitch” I muttered under my breath.

“What? Gary said? “Nothing,  I didn’t say anything.”

Then, as my worst fear became realized, Gary, spotted Caroline and they waved to each other wildly. He nudged me, “Look Caroline’s waving” At that moment all I wanted was a divorce attorney. I turned to look at her and put my arm up with the faintest crack of a fake smile plastered to my face.

During college, the infamous Caroline, had been my  roommate and best friend. I loved her, like a sister and she was the one who introduced me to Gary; we had all been good friends.

After college we each moved home, she lived in Massachusetts and I lived in NY. We assured each other that we would always be best friends and find an apartment together somewhere in the middle.

In the beginning we talked on the phone every day. After that it dwindled to once or twice a week. Soon, I stopped hearing from her, she wouldn’t even return my calls. I wrote her but she never wrote me back. I convinced myself that she was dying and called her parents in desperation but they assured me she was fine.

I lived with that pain and that rejection in my life for many years. I just wanted to understand but I couldn’t, she wouldn’t even talk to me. Eventually, with time, It became more of a mystery and a dull pain and less of a piercing betrayal.

Many years later, on a vacation to Boston, Gary and I ran into Caroline at an Ice cream store where we took our two children, Nicholas, 5 and Erika, 3 for a special treat.  We were happy, laughing, eating dripping ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles and I froze as soon as I saw her walk in the door.

 

First Ice Cream Cone

I said ” hello” to her then, so did Gary and she commented on how cute the kids were. She was about to start playing with them and I felt the flush of heat go through my body. I tried hard not to say anything and then, suddenly, my temper flared and I pulled her aside. I demanded to know the truth: “Why did you stop the friendship? What happened? We were best friends!”

She looked at me blankly, she shrugged her shoulders and I will never forget the words she said: ” out of sight, out of mind.” I was speechless.

The next time I saw her was at the reunion, she came up to Gary and me and started chatting about neutral topics, the weather,  our jobs, and finally she asked about our children.

“Ben is applying to Medical school, I said and Sarah is finishing up college, with a degree in International Relations.” “What about you,” I asked somewhat sneakily. “How is your life?” She blinked and looked away for a split second and then said lightly “Oh you know me, I’m destined to live a life alone, I’m too much of a free bird to have a family,” she said  chuckling.

I nodded politely, “yes, I said, slowly, staring directly into her eyes, I think you made that clear many years ago.

I turned to Gary, who by now was grinning, he took my hand and we went into the seminar together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carry on Tuesday: The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again

Love Love Love

Love Love Love (Photo credit: Gregory Jordan)

Dear Rachel,

I know this letter will come as a surprise but I needed to explain things to you. I’m writing it because you are my best friend and I trust you. I’m sorry I never told you before but I think you knew. I can see you, sitting in your oak office, reading this with your long red hair, nodding up and down, chewing on your nails like you have done since we were ten.

You were right, I DID have a secret but I couldn’t share it with you or anyone else. I have cheated on Don for the past 5 years with a man named Mark. We love each other so much. Unfortunately, we are both married to other people. As much as I love him, I hate myself for what I am doing. We’ve probably broken up the same amount of times we’ve been together; it’s a horrible situation. If I even came close enough to smell the musky after shave he wears, I weaken.  He has a way of making me feel so incredible with just his burning brown eyes on mine. Every organ inside me would start melting, like those gooey, grilled cheese sandwiches we used to make on top of a simmering stove. I have to be honest. I hate the person I’ve become but I’ve loved him in a way I didn’t even know existed and I can’t give that up even though I have tried.

It’s hard to describe the way he makes me feel: Priceless? Special? Extraordinary? Those words don’t even come close. Don has never made me feel that way, no man has and I’m not talking in just a sexual way either. My soul felt  connected to Mark as well as my body. He stroked my skin, like I was a calico kitten, for hours, just doing that and whispering how lovely I was in a low, soft whisper like the sound of the running creek right outside my window. Steady, rippling, constant. I wouldn’t move for hours. I felt so loved by him and his words; it is what I lived for as infrequent as it was.

He has a wife and two daughters back home and when he even eludes to them I would become terribly angry. He never lied to me about them, he told me he did not want to leave his children, but of course, I thought I could change his mind. He and his wife have no relationship at all. I thought the love we had together MUST be stronger than the love he had for his family. Every time he left I told him not to come back, but he would call……and it would start again. I tried so hard to break up with him, I truly did but we would always find our way back to each other. I couldn’t live my life without him and I hated my life and what I was doing with him.

I have nothing against Don, he is a sweet man. But, we live as companions, we eat together, we travel together, that’s it. It’s a comfortable life and I accept it and I was okay with that until Mark entered my life; I never looked for Mark, we met on an airplane.

I hate that I am lying and deceiving Don but I continue to do so, I cannot stop. I don’t know if Mark will leave his family, he says he “wants to” but that it is “difficult and complicated.” I love Mark and I always will.  I am getting more out of control, these past few weeks. That’s why I haven’t returned your calls. I can’t think, I hate myself, I hate both my lives.  When the pain of parting is nothing compared to the joy of meeting again, you have to ask yourself, at what cost?

By the time you read this letter, I will be dead. It’s been planned for weeks. I plan to swallow a lot of pills and drink a lot of alcohol and then drive my car late at night and speed as fast as I can down the hill into the ocean and pray I drown. At least I know I won’t be hurting any more people since it’s our property.

I can’t live in both worlds any longer; I don’t deserve to live in one.

Love, Kate

Playing “Punch Buggy” Alone Really Isn’t That Much Fun

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle (Photo credit: stephenhanafin)

On the way to Target by pure instinct alone, I call out “Punch Buggy” when I see a Volkswagon Beetle. I KNOW it’s stupid, I KNOW no one else is in the car but still, I do it. While I get a teeny tiny bit of pleasure, it isn’t as much fun as when my husband is there and we both call it and then childishly say “but we are not playing.” You have to like us if not love us, it’s the little things that matter; we’ve been married almost 24 years, so we must be doing something right. You have to reinvent yourselves with silly, childish games and you know what, it seems to work.

While at Target, I still go to the first two discount aisles where they have little kids things on sale for a dollar each. My children are eighteen years old and twenty. Come on, don’t I know that by now? I am certainly not buying beer magnets or obnoxious T-shits (okay, I did that once) but generally I have good judgment. However, according to my kids I am ridiculously old-fashioned and the fact that I dislike every type of alcohol known to humanity (except for the occasional mimosa when my in-laws are in town) is beyond uncool, it’s just plain wrong. Why am I still looking at the dollar aisle, do I think they need little presents for their “goodie bags?” My children are allowed to vote. Move on, mom.

I still go to the teen boy aisle where they have the obnoxious boy T-shirts that my son used to live for, when he was about ten. Why do I still go there? HE wouldn’t be could dead wearing something stupid now. He has even passed the entire T-shirt phase altogether. He wears button downed shirts, with his sleeves rolled up, maybe a plain, white T-shirt underneath. He likes to look nicer now. Where happened to my son? Who did he learn his new style from or for whom did he learn his new style?

My daughter has had her own sense of style since she was just about born. As soon as she was old enough to dress herself, she did. What I put out for her was replaced by whatever color/ stripe combination or completely purple outfit that she wanted. I never fought with her, except for one school picture and after that traumatic experience and glum expression I let her choose what she wanted to wear any and every day. I lovingly remember her wearing her sky blue, long, Cinderella dress to her nursery school graduation, with my parents and husband in attendance. She felt like a princess (always) and dressed accordingly. To this day, she gives me advice and when she asks me my opinion on something I feel honored. A friend of the family went over to our daughter, when she was 3 or 3 1/2 and said “You look so pretty in that dress” and our daughter’s response was “I know dat.” Meet our girl.

There were times when both kids were living at home and my husband was here all the time that I would long for a day of alone time, peace and harmony. Today was that day. My husband was visiting his parents and both kids are now in college. I could do whatever I wanted to do and you know what? For the first time, I missed my husband. I hate to admit it but I didn’t like eating my crummy slice of tasteless pizza by myself. It was a chore and it wasn’t relaxing. The entire day seemed lonely when before I craved the quiet like a crystal meth addict craves her drug. Times change, people change, be open to it, new things will always happen and surprise you. In time, you will always adjust. You have no other choice.

Whose Opinion Do I Turn To First? Plinky Prompt

Wonder (emotion)

Image via Wikipedia

  • The Person Whose Advice I Seek First
  • I feel like I grew up in the thirties instead of the sixties but in all honesty, I turn to my husband first. He knows me best, he will never side with me when I am wrong and he looks at all angles. I will also ask my sister and my friends, my mom for certain things but I turn to him first. Defining “doubt” though would be helpful because it really does depend on the situation.
    Generally, the person that knows me best is me. I look inwards before I look anywhere else. I feel it in my gut if I am making the right decision or the wrong one. Now and then, I take a poll and I ask everyone, all my friends. It helps me to think things through out loud but I usually end up with my initial gut reaction.

Beyond The Pink Sky

Free for use My photos that have a creative co...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m watching tiny flecks of snow come down constantly, through the trees and on the trees like vanilla frosted brownies. It is peaceful with my husband and children home. They have a snow day and they are as excited now as they were when they were eight and ten. I don’t think you ever  get over the excitement of a snow day, no matter how old you are or what you do.

My daughter and I ate egg and cheese sandwiches that my husband made. Our son sat in the family room in his blue fleece beer mug pajama pants, his phone in one hand, the other playing X-box. I wanted to say “come here, watch the snow fall from the sky” but I know better. At their ages, 16 and 18, they have their own personal snow scenes that don’t include me. It took some getting used to when they were in their early teens but now we have settled into a routine. I know that this routine will only last a little while and then it will change and be replaced by another. I’m not great with change but I know I need 24-48 hours to get used to new things and then I am fine or as fine as I can possibly be.

I am wearing my dad’s old West Point sweatshirt and blue snow flake pajama pants, lying in our bed, alternately reading, writing and glancing up to the sky to see the delicate flakes fall. The sky is so full of snow that it looks pink. I always say I hate the winter and I do but for the first time I wonder if I did live in a warm climate all year round, would I miss it?  Would I appreciate Spring as much as I do if I didn’t have to go through Winter?

My daughter just brought me a cup of tea and served it to me in my room. How lovely that she asked me if I wanted a cup. Children are joyful beings and as an old teacher once said “they will constantly surprise you” and they do. My children will be grown-ups soon, they will age, as we all do. My children have grown up here in our little house with their bikes and skateboards, “Razors”  and their lemonade stands.

The best thing I have ever done in my life is to get married to my loving husband and have two of the most amazing children you could hope for. I never had much ambition in life other than being a mom and writing, but being a mom is who I am; it’s what I was meant to do; it’s my Nobel Peace prize, my heart and my soul, my life’s work.

When our work in life is completely over bury me near a tree that blooms pink flowers with my husband and soul-mate, my love and best friend beside me. If all it said on my headstone was “Loving Wife” and “Beloved Mother” I would be gently smiling, and at peace.

Prednisone, Bitchiness And Me aka The Prednisone Bitch

edvard munch - the scream  1893

Image by oddsock via Flickr

I’ve been on Prednisone before, twice, and both times made me feel groovy, great. I was high on life, my muscles didn’t ache and I was a joy to live with…Not this time. There seems to be an evil lurker inside of my body making me say things without my usual filter and ultra-edit.  I don’t think I am making up the things that I am saying, I just think that Prednisone is making me babble. Like some people on alcohol, their defenses are down, their mouths are open and wide and sputtering. Prednisone to me, is like alcohol and it’s not being easily tolerated by me or frankly,  by my husband.

The worst thing about it? I really don’t care. I feel like a fight and am already on the way to one without stopping at GO.  I’m a loose cannon, feel a little speedy and don’t feel the love tonight. Not from the Prednisone and not from my husband who was/is the unwilling recipient of my sudden quick-fire burst of anger. I don’t think he is in the least bit amused.

I am a lioness growling, a bear attacking, a leopard changing and colorizing it’s spots.   I have never felt this way before but I believe I know what the side effects to Prednisone are….well, at least one of them. I’ll probably gain ten pounds just from eating salad and dry chicken and then I will really be hooting and hollering. Back off, man up, stay away, give me a wide berth. NO, I did not say GIRTH.

I am trying to breathe a little normalcy into my body but the nice person inside me, way deep down inside me, is not having anything to do with it.  It’s laughing at me, taunting me, making me grimace and snarl. This is only my first day of Prednisone, I have 8 more days to go. This could get ugly, oh wait; it already is.