Monday, June 10, 2019
I climb the mountain until my hands are scraped, bloodied.
I wander through the forest until I find a clearing, weary from exhaustion.
I get swept out to the dark sea by oppressive waves,
My arms outstretched towards the fading light as I sink deeper in the abyss.
Do you see how I've grown? Do you see I've suffered along the way?
I am afraid of not when the sun sets but when the dawn breaks.
The new morning's light may bring me that fearful clarity
Which could ultimately destroy our fortress.
I wonder when calm will come to the thunder raging inside.
My soul yearns for comfort, for serenity, but at what cost ...
Thunderclaps shatter the glass around me
Piercing me to my core, my shield not yet strong enough.
I fear these torrential rains mean the sun won't shine
And if I have to, I will sit in these rains alone, waiting for them to end.
I will wait for that light to warm my soul once again,
That summer light which warms me deep inside.
The light will shine again and I will become stronger
Though I fear the journey will be made alone.
I don't want to be the only one on this journey.
It needs to be made together, from lost to our home.
Even though sometimes I am the eagle soaring far above
Confidently riding the winds of change,
I am happy just to be the colorful mallard with his mate,
Content to swim lazily along together in the rain.
Please don't read too much into my writing, trying to figure out whom I am talking about. More often than not, it would not be correct. Sometimes when I write, it is just an expression of emotions and memories from various times in my life.
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Blogger's note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals mentioned.
Why is it that when a couple breaks up, more often that not mutual friends and family become relationship collateral damage? Obviously, it is in our very nature to side with those we are closest with. This rarely talked about part of the breaking up affects the closest friends and family members. Unfortunately this part of it seems to be a constant and very difficult to overcome.
When a break-up occurs, who do you go with? We as friends and family also suffer. One strives to remain neutral but it can get very awkward dancing the dance between the former couple. It just may not be possible to remain friends with both. You subtly realize who your allegiance is to and to whom your loyalty lies. One tries to remain Switzerland but sometimes it just is not possible. And then suddenly you find that you've chosen or have to choose.
If you are striving to remain neutral and let the couple "figure" things out, it doesn't mean that you like the other person any less, but you realize that you have naturally gravitated towards that one side. And thus, your friendship with the other person has become "relationship collateral damage."
Fortunately sometimes, it is black and white. I am reminded of a college friend Mr. Big Guy, who divorced his wife. I had met her once, became friends with her on social media, and supported their mutual business together in NYC. After finding out they had divorced, I dropped my connection with the now ex-wife on all counts. It just was not appropriate anymore.
Mr. Big Guy, who is among the most respectful of my friends, said to me, "Ya didn't have to do that bro." I responded to him that I had known him for 25 plus years and I did have to do that, for our friendship. It was the right thing to do. My loyalties lay with him. He appreciated it. And believe me, I am sure his ex didn't give it a much thought. I don't plan on ever speaking or seeing her again. No loss on my part.
My friend Sharon Stonehenge is another example. I was always closer friends with Sharon. We had much more in common than I did with her other half. My internal discussion in terms of who I would "go" with was an easy one. Without even thinking, I knew it was Sharon. BUT, I have strove to remain social friends with her ex, Morty Hausenhoffer.
I see Morty out from time to time and have once ever so briefly acknowledged the break-up but we don't talk about it in depth. I think he appreciates a friendly face and just someone to have a drink with. I will never consider Morty a close friend though. We both know that, and it's OK. That spot is reserved for Sharon Stonehenge.
My final example involves my friend Ceecee A. Young and her boyfriend Mr. Wentworth McGillicuddy. It was wonderful seeing them together as a couple and I celebrated that. Over the last several years I have come to enjoy Ceecee's company and I always have a great time seeing her out. She and I are about the same age and have bonded over life's experiences and our similar career choices.
I had also become closer with Wentworth. He and I had the most wonderful conversations, very deep ones. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good deep philosophical discussion. I looked forward to having more of them with him. Then the break-up occurred.
From my observational opinion, it was deeply painful for Ceecee. I honestly hadn't discussed it with Wentworth but I had initially made a point to Ceecee that I wanted to remain friends with both of them. She had stated she hoped I would and had no issue with us remaining friends.
As time has moved on, I found my loyalty gravitating organically towards Ceecee. It was nothing personal against Wentworth. Ceecee and I were friends first, have more in common, and I still see her far more often than I saw him. I was upset for the break-up but wished happiness for both of them in their future relationships. If two people are not meant to be together then they deserve to find happiness with others. The hurt is there though and for now, that saddens me.
Privately, Wentworth and I did acknowledge the break-up via private social media and how it just sucked that we would not see each other as often anymore. Our lives are very busy and it would not be too often that our paths would cross again. He understood I would remain good friends with Ceecee.
The other evening, I ran into Wentworth at a local bar. It was initially awkward for me but after a hug, we briefly discussed the break-up and the unintended effects of it on other friends included, not just me. I had not meant to choose one or the other but it's happened. I will always say hi to Wentworth with a smile and a hug. Perhaps in the future, we can continue our long great conversations over a cold one and a shot. I hope so. I am happy I got that resolved.
I try to have no disrespect to the other party but it often becomes different, uncomfortable, awkward. It helps to have a discussion with the other person acknowledging the situation as I did with Wentworth. It helps to get through it. It will be easier for social interactions hopefully from then on in.
The other party also must accept that they will not see parents and family members as often anymore. You may have become close with them but when the break-up occurs, interactions will become few and far between if nonexistent. It just sucks.
But we are adults. We must face it and accept it. It's painful and you have to realize THIS IS LIFE. Break-ups are not wrapped up in pretty little packages with fancy bows. They are uncomfortable at it's easiest and nasty and horrible at it's worst. There is a lot of pain that is caused. I'm not even getting into the reasons behind the break-up in the first place!
What is the fallout? The fall out is that a relationship has irrevocably broken up. Some people will obviously and understandably takes sides. Others still try and tow the narrow line, ride the middle. Sometimes this works. It is very admirable and God bless those that can pull it off. But in all honesty and reality, this often fails.
One can try and be the bigger person and rise above the "drama of it all" but it is more natural that you gravitate towards one more than the other. You are a friend caught up in their break-up, and you are human. It is normal so don't be too hard on yourself if you find yourself an example of "relationship collateral damage." Remember that we are all doing our best to stumble through this thing called life.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
|"Farmer's Market, Londonderry, Vermont"|
Recently I was walking through an outside city market, enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells of food before me. I love the cacophony and energy of it all. People bustling about, each on their own mission to get what they need. Others simply browsing.
There were individuals like myself just observing and people watching. And the hardworking vendors, all trying to make an honest days work. Vendors of fruit, vegetables, meats, cheese, coffee, bourbon, beer, and food stalls all co-existing as separate businesses and yet depending on each other for support.
There were so many people. Market days are always so packed, it doesn't matter what city. It could be Philly or DC, could be LA, could be New York!
I was turning a corner and passed someone who I instantly thought was my recently departed friend Chris. He just passed away in November. Ironically, Chris had been in my thoughts lately. My heart sunk and I stopped in my tracks. My gut felt punched. I reeled around to look at him. It wasn't Chris Dwyer of course but it was just so odd how much he looked like him, same fair Irish skin, same facial features, same wavy hair, the same kindest eyes.
I ran ahead to get in front of the stranger, to finally get a better look. I knew that it wasn't Dwyer. But I just wanted, I needed, to see him again, one last time. I made my way hastily through the vendor aisles dodging shoppers with bags filled of vegetables, fruits, pies, and meats. In and out I veered, on the verge of spinning into customers with their multiple bags of food.
Coming around another corner abruptly, I ran right into some poor guy, knocking him down. "Oh gosh!" I exclaimed, "I'm so sorry man! Are you OK?"
He was momentarily pissed as I helped him up. I continued to apologize profusely and then realized that I had run into the very man that I was hunting! I had run into Chris's double. I stopped short from saying anything else and just stared at him.
No... No it wasn't Chris, I thought.
I stammered, "I, I'm, I'm so sorry again, I was just looking for someone."
"That's OK. Don't worry about it. Hope ya find them."
I sighed. "No, sadly I don't think I will."
He looked at me quixotically, mumbled "Ok, later man" and walked away. I watched him walk away and was truly saddened but at least happy for just that split second, I had thought I'd seen my dear friend Dwyer again, and as if it were as a smoke ring, he disappeared into thin air.
Other shoppers had taken over the space of our chance encounter. I was in the way and was shuffled off to the side of the aisle by the crowd, unaware of the wave of sadness I was feeling.
An elderly Asian man asked me if I needed help in his stall. I said no thank you and sighed again, glancing one more time down the aisle in the direction that Chris's look-alike walked and I continued in the opposite way.
Thursday, May 9, 2019
|"Max at Night"|
Last night around 3 am, I was awoken by a rustling beneath my window. Now I love the Spring as I can now sleep with my windows open but that also invites those outside nighttime sounds in. Whatever it was, it was clicking and scratching beneath the white rhododendron bush. I looked outside, seeing nothing but fog consuming the houses down my street.
More digging and clicking which prompted Max the Cat to leap from his cat bed to my bed to the window sill in two large bounds. Max responded by chittering away. All I heard was chittering and clicking for the next couple minutes. I eventually fell asleep again.
Time passed, it may have been a couple minutes, or maybe an hour. I stirred awake and noticed Max still sitting on the windowsill staring outside. I whispered to him, knowing he wouldn’t listen, Come to bed Max, stop being such a night owl.
He glanced in my direction, acknowledging me, and then went back to his pensive stare out the window. Suddenly there was a loud tussling underneath the rhody bush. Whatever it was having the late night discussions with Max then hissed and bolted for the woods. Max responded in fright and bolted off the window sill knocking off half of the objects on my nightstand.
A night time conversation between Max and an investigative possum perhaps? Whichever one of the nightbreeds it was, it gave Max a good earful and then the fright of his life. I got up in the morning and Max barely stirred. Must be nice to sleep in after a late night convo's.
Monday, April 29, 2019
|"Mom & the Flamingo, Reunited"|
I dreamt of Mom last night.
I dreamt she had never died but was in a coma for the last 10 plus years. She was still alive, lying peacefully in a fugue slumber in some 50s rancher out in the Midwest. It was decorated in pastels. Outside of Florida, she'd hate this color scheme I thought, surveying the decor. Where were the antiques? Where were the dark woods, colonial blue and grey colors? I then wondered, Why didn't anyone tell us she was here?
She had her ageless beauty and I smiled. Her makeup perfect, wearing her favorite gold, I knelt down and kissed her forehead. She then awoke from her decades slumber and smiled back at me. "Hello Marco," she stated in a gravely voice.
In a timeless whisper and dream-like haze I was off, searching for the perfect gift to welcome her back to the living. From what must've been her Key West life and influences, I had it driven into my mind that I must find her a flamingo to welcome her back.
I zipped in dream time from malls to flea markets to department stores to parking lots looking for a flamingo. It could've been a flamingo Christmas ornament, a stuffed toy flamingo, a flamingo dish-towel ... No matter, it just had to be a damn flamingo.
I never found that flamingo and spent the rest of my dream night searching in vain for the perfect gift for her return. I would like to think she'd be happy I looked so hard for it. I did not see her again in that dream but woke knowing for a short blip in time, Mom was alive.
And the irony of it all is that I now have a small stuffed flamingo which was hers. If only I had remembered it at the time, maybe I could've returned it to her.
Hopes and wishes? Regrets? Disappointments? What does it all mean? Dreams are such funny odd experiences. I try not to read too much into their meaning. That is for my dear sister Sheryl to do and let me know after her dutiful research. 😉 But if the superficial meaning is that I am overjoyed to see my deceased mother one more time after 10 years of her leaving this Earth, I am just fine with that too.
All I know is that Mom would never have permitted her coma to happen in a 50s rancher out in the Midwest. She had several decades of magazine subscriptions to Colonial Homes and Country Living under her belt. She definitely would not have approved of the locale.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Writing project essay:
Her name was Kim H. She was a black haired beauty with dark eyes. Loud and brash, perpetually tanned with a toned body to match. She had the same last name as he. She and M worked together for those many years at Houlihans and they developed a close friendship and bond.
They had close deep talks, often fueled by alcohol and drugs. She was definitely manic, possible manic-depressive, although M never saw that side. But she had a temper like hellhound. And that's when M knew to back off!
They could've been an obvious couple, should've been, except for one glaring fact known to most which was often laughed about. No matter though, as they'd still often introduce themselves as Mr. and Mrs. H, even fooling old college friends visiting Philly!
And then Kim H. died suddenly. She died of a drug overdose. It was a horrible crushingly difficult experience which foreshadowed the beginning of many death's of M's friends during his 20s. There were many tragic reasons ... drugs, alcohol, cancer, AIDs, suicide, murder, ... all of which deeply affected him.
M numbed himself through various substances for many years after her death and only later mourned for his dear friends. He would often joke that he barely remembered the 90s but perhaps the real reason was that he didn't want to. The pain of losing friends at such a young age was perhaps just too much to remember.
Friday, April 19, 2019
Got to Sheryl's in Philly for her annual Passover Seder. She lives up by the Art Museum. Relaxing out on the porch doing paperwork, watching the world go by. I was just thinking how much my Mom just loved this porch & used to so the same thing when she would visit. It was her favorite spot. Being a city girl herself, Mom practically grew up on her front stoop! 😊👍