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In His Era
(In abstract memory of the late Clark Wang. Rest in peace, Clark.)
It was last week we found ourselves in Cat’s Cradle
After sangria on the too-cold rooftop of Papagayo’s
Waiting for the music.
We danced and smiled and bloomed
And Zan lusted after me
And I laughed and said no.
(I learned months later in a Boston parking lot
that he had a wife and six kids. I was glad I had said
Sarah and I always wound up our nights
at the Continental Cafe, even when they were close to closing.
Coffee and Perrier
and talk of darkness in the lights of our souls.
Tonight, I indulge in Irish Whiskey with Christine
in a too-loud pub.
We talk of everything, and I lust
after her 20-something son,
forgetting how old I am.
In my heart’s age,
my mind’s years,
I am still sitting on a wooden bench
at Cat’s Cradle,
marvelling at the music
as Trina and the band warm up,
and wondering who will
walk through the door
and what will happen
I am not creeping up
on a half a century
writing poetry at night
on a public bus.
Or fighting a lingering battle with death,
Or perhaps I am.
Perhaps we all are.
Yes, it’s true. And I didn’t even throw up on the closing papers. I come close to doing that when I have to hand over large sums of money.
My realtor was amazing, and if anyone in Colorado needs to buy a house, Brad Klein is the guy to see. And the gag-me check that I had to give birth to and give away was even slightly smaller than I had anticipated. There was last-minute drama and delays with the closing, which was supposed to happen on Friday afternoon. But it all came together on Monday.
So, here I am. With one HUGE accomplishment under my belt – I have my own house. No one helped me. I did it all by myself. On my own. Just me. Brave little independent me.
Of course, an hour after I owned it, Brad called to tell me he’d dropped off the keys and that the hot water heater was leaking. Guess that means I really AM a homeowner.
My handyman is coming to purge the bathroom and replace the floor, the tub, the hot water heater and the sink on Saturday. The place is 111 years old and hasn’t been lived in for over a year. I’ve been inside the last few nights, just feeling the little house’s happy energy. It’s looking forward to being loved and transformed. I can do those things well.
I have two lamps from last weekend’s auction in my bedroom, and am playing with paint chips and feeling generally overwhelmed. But it’s all mine (well, and the bank’s, but they’re soulless, so we don’t count them.)
Uber-cool Will says it’s like a full-size playhouse. That’s because he lives in a newish sterile Rock Creek home.Still debating a name for the little place. Real Courage? True Grit? WADU?
Kelsea and I will discuss it. It’s a whole new life.
Today’s guest poet – Pablo Neruda
Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,
without your going that cuts noon light
like a blue flower, without your passing
later through fog and stones,
without the torch you lift in your hand
that others may not see as golden,
that perhaps no one believed blossomed
the glowing origin of the rose,
without, in the end, your being, your coming
suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life,
blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze:
and it follows that I am, because you are:
it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:
and, because of love, you will, I will,
We will, come to be.
As you know, I love my daughter to infinity and back again an infinite number of times. We never fight. We just don’t. We have what I consider an unusual relationship for a teenage daughter and her mother.
Given that, I’m not accustomed to getting angry with her. I do know that happens. And I am committed to my role as a mother, in which I teach my daughter self-discipline, self-worth, self-respect and how her choices impact herself and others. I’ve tried to do this all along, and feel I (and Pat) have done a good job. She’s a lovely, considerate, thoughtful person.
Today, we’re going to the auction, and taking Uber-Cool Will with us. I’ve been looking forward to it since the last auction, and I know Kelsea has too. We scoped out the goods yesterday, and have our eye on a 70-year old upright icebox that Kelsea can use as a dresser, since she doesn’t want an ordinary one.
We had dinner at my niece’s last night, got home about 10:00 and to bed about 11:00. She was going to Skype with Will for a little while – they talk constantly. I was fine with that. I understand that she’s a night person, and I understand the teenagers have different circadian rhythms.
I woke to the sound of her voice, so I went to check on her. She will still Skyping with Will. When I asked her what time it was, she said, “Not too late….only about….3:40.” 3:40????? I told her to sign off immediately. Five minutes later, I could hear that she was still on. And I got mad.
I went in and turned on her light and told her to shut it down that minute. She’s not accustomed to me getting mad, so I guess she knew I meant business, because she did. And then I chewed her out.
She had struck a nerve, and I recognized that. As I was laying in bed, listening to her still being up, I felt exactly the same way as I used to feel when I was married. Pat always did this same thing. We would have plans to do something special and he would stay up (or in his case, out) until the wee small hours and then be sluggish, hungover and too tired to be a happy participant in whatever our special plans were. I could feel the slow boil inside of me as I was laying there, something I had never thought I would feel again.
So when I began the chewing-out, I began by telling her that I knew there was a certain part of projection occurring on my part, because of this memory. However, I told her it was inconsiderate of her to stay up so long that she would be too tired and grumpy to share in our day tomorrow, and I was disappointed – which is one of the worst things I can ever say to her. She tried to interject with a couple of “Buts”, “but” I told her I really didn’t want to hear them. I told her I was understanding of her rhythms and feelings, “but” that this kind of behavior wasn’t taking care of herself and wasn’t respectful of others when she had plans with those others (a.k.a., me).
I pointed out to her that I was using “I” statements, like her school counselors have coached all the kids. I didn’t raise my voice. I didn’t tell her that her behavior was wrong. I just told her how her choices are impacting me and my feelings, and how they will likely impact her. And that this is an area where she needs some self-discipline.
We had been talking about this sort of thing on the way home earlier in the day, about how she tends to live exclusively in the present, with a “cross that bridge when we come to it” attitude. I generally support that attitude, however, I told her, she must learn to have a broader vision, incorporating the lessons learned from her past experiences and her insight into how the present can alter the future, for good – or bad. I reinforced that message at 4:00 am, when she reminded me of that conversation. But other than that, she was silent – as she should have been.
I turned off the light and went back to bed, still slightly fuming, now moreso at the thought that on this, my one night to sleep in, I was now awake at 4:00 am. One of the things I realized, as I lay there in the dark, was that I want to spend my time with people who take care of themselves, as that’s a sign of valuing oneself. And I want to take care of myself, as that’s a sign that I value myself. And I want Kelsea to learn, understand and know that lesson in her heart of hearts.
I did get back to sleep for another few hours. It’s now 9:30. She’s got another hour or so to sleep. I’m not mad any more. But I am curious as to what she’ll say when she gets up.
I know I’m right. I know she knows I’m right. It’s just interesting getting mad at her.