Update: Christ’s Mass morning– sunlight and reality check. Room for gratitude. Thanks for reading me!
No sooner do I put up a post espousing love no matter one’s spiritual tenets than I trip over something that nearly anyone sane would find insignificant.
I sent my companion to the store to buy broccoli. I thought I was in a decent “welcome to dinner, dear one” mood until he returned with a mere stalk, not even a full crown.
This happens quite often because he loses his bearings in the store and things that are small seem big, he doesn’t notice labels that clearly say “PRE-SLICED” and so on.
But for me, it is a symptom of a larger difficulty between us. A sensitive and enlightened man, I think, which is what he seems most often, would not so often get it wrong. In such a moment, I think only of myself and not that he got the rest of the groceries right, and then paid for them when there turned out to be not one dime on my food benefit card.
And, he laughed about the broccoli, and offered to go back.
But it was too late. Dinner was ruined. I sent him away to fend for himself, turned off the tree, the music, blew out the candles– took the food out of the oven and covered it and got into bed.
I lay in the dark and sobbed like the big baby I am. Finally I got up and called him. He was already at McDonald’s on the corner, all the way across town near our old house, about to take a bite out of a cheeseburger.
For some reason this made everything worse.
“What the hell are you doing at McDonald’s?”
“You told me to go get a hamburger,” he said.
“After twenty-one years you still don’t get it, you don’t understand me or us or anything.”
He offered to come back.
I lay in the dark and a few minutes later I heard the pick-up. He fumbled through the house looking for me.
“I’m in bed,” I wept. “Come here and hold me, for once.”
He fumbled in the dark some more. He half-reached for me, patting me on the shoulder.
“I feel horrible,” I said. “I called you names on Christmas Eve.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, as we sat in the dark.
This is what he always says.
I rallied, and made us dinner, by candlelight. We were our better selves.
Love is so difficult. So painful. I often do not want to love this very good person, who so perpetually navigates my funks. I do not want to be in the middle of an agonizing and prolonged deliberation over whether I should move back into our house, to my half, while he lives in his half. Irrespective of the fact that my other Golden Retriever, my two Jack Russells, one of which appears to be pregnant, and our plethora of cats are there.
That he is there, he whom I yearn for and push away, depending on the day, the weather, the getting of things right and wrong.
From the latest upset, I’m guessing, probably not the best idea to intrude myself in my old life?
Now it’s 1 a.m. and I decided to avoid a replay or any chance of one tomorrow. I’m cooking the ham in advance. I am making the macaroni and cheese casserole with from scratch egg noodles I spent all night earlier in the week making, in advance, and fixing a care package.
I rallied and put on a splendid dinner for him earlier. What am I doing, on duty like this? Rather than keep proving how amazing I am to stand on the bad leg for three hours and pull off a culinary masterpiece, I am going to indulge my grief at EVERYTHING.
I want to be someone else, living in another century, with different problems than my own. I do not want to be 64 on disability with rotting teeth, no dental benefits, trying to reboot my literary career, in a relationship I can’t end and can’t make better.
Tomorrow I will unplug, and sleep. I will titrate to comfort, until I am in a pleasant drowse. I will sleep all through Christmas Day, in the good dark, that erases all the families out there, with their gaudy lights and bucolic carols.
Now, having burdened you, dear reader, with all of this, I get to have the Christmas that doesn’t insult my sensibilities, upset me and make me lose it–alone in my snug apartment, in the deeps of Christmas Eve, to a Palestrina Mass sung by Chanticleer, a candle and incense.
I’ll have a glass of fake bubbly with a pain pill and soon it will all be right again.
And then, it will be day, nel mezzo camin della nostra vita— on the middle of the road of our lives, on Christmas Morning.
Merry Christmas to all.