Thursday, August 25, 2005

Pain and Pleasure

Kate, my friend in England, made some remark to me about how the fibromyalgia must be debilitating and I wrote back to tell her I’d been feeling much better lately. I have been, but I never should have said so. That was this morning. This evening, my fibromyalgia is the worse it’s been in months. It is terrible. Everything hurts, and I mean everything. Every ligament in my body and pulled tight. My head hurts, my stomach hurts, my hips, knees ankles hurt. Everything. I feel as if I’ve been run over by a proverbial truck.

When Keith comes home, I tell him I hurt and that he may have to make dinner. He is patient and willing. I ask if he will lie down with me and hold me for a few minutes. His touch usually makes me feel better. I take two Ibuprophens, something I only do in an emergency and we lie down together. He holds me gently, offers to rub my neck and my back. Mostly, I just want him to hold me. I snuggle very close. I am in so much pain I think about dying. If I was in this much pain all the time, I would not want to live. I would not be as stoic as my father was when he was dying, refusing morphine in order to stay lucid and alive. I would die first, I think. I certainly was wishing to die this evening. And I know pain can get much worse, I’ve been worse.

I lay there in Keith’s arms, flipping back and forth between appreciating his loving embrace and wallowing in my pain. I felt truly sick. Deeply sick, something that ravaged my entire being and made me feel less than human. I was also itchy. I often am when I have fibromyalgia “attacks.” So I had to keep rolling painfully away to scratch myself. At one point, despite my pain, which was perhaps letting up just a little due to the Ibuprophen, I poked absentmindedly at Keith’s crotch and commented that there was nothing there. A eunuch. He poked at my breasts, saying he wished they were more accessible. Then, he commented, there’d be something there in his pants to discover. The next thing I knew, he had gotten up to close the bedroom door in case the eleven-year-old came home from his friend’s house. I laughed, thinking of Jo(e)’s recent post on sex on the beach, about attempting to hide adult sex from kids. About my on-going discussion on play with Pam.

Soon, we were busily engaged in wonderful love-making, beautiful slow sensitive love-making. I recalled sex during colds and fevers and flues and other times of illness and accident. I noticed that during the entire slow wonderful process, I was experiencing almost no pain.

Afterwards, Keith said it was survival of the species, species survival being more important than individual survival. I thought wryly that my individual survival was briefly in question, at least in my mind. When the pain returned again, it was not as strong as it had been. I wondered if the difference was the sex or the Ibuprophen, or both. Endorphins are wonderful pain relievers, related to morphine, and made me want to survive for another stolen cuddle. To more than survive, to thrive.

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Gentle Proposal

A Gentle Proposal

As I drove toward Detroit, I got more and more excited and more and more scared and nervous. I was eager to see Keith and Graham but terrified of the way we had left things--my engagement ring on the counter, a terrible blow up. The tension mounted. I was also totally exhausted from a long hard week and very little sleep the night before (and for the last two weeks since we broke up). I had to drink coffee and eat chocolate and was afraid the irritability those substances always give me would interfere with our re-bonding.

The wait at the customs was an hour an 15 minutes and the extra large coffee had percolated through, making me very uncomfortable. I stopped at the rest area halfway from the border to Detroit--as did a lot of other people! I knew at that point I was about a half hour from "home"--or from Keith's house, depending.

That started the countdown:  26 mile road, 10 mile road, 8 mile road. Vernier, Allard, Moross. My exit. Then the drive to Mack and the turn. Passing the school and the three churches, the rock where I turn to go around the block --all my landmarks for finding my way to Keith. It was dark, after 9 PM! Keith was waiting in the front yard. I saw him headed across the lawn in the dark. I was so tired I could barely get out of the car.

I said, "Hi sweetie!" I rose creakily and stepped into his arms. We stood there in the open door of my car and held each other. And held each other and held each other and held each other. Cars sped by down the dark street and we stayed there in each others arms. It felt like heaven. It felt like home. It was warm and smelled wonderful--like the man I love. Finally, we pulled slowly apart and unloaded a few of the things in the car. Keith made dinner for me--steak and a veggie stir-fry and beer.

Graham came down and had leftover hot wings and sat with us. Then left again. Keith and I talked about taking Graham to Parcells in the morning for summer select choir. When I was done eating, I wanted to see if I could get Dead going. He called me over and I went to him and hugged and kissed and held him. He told me he loved me, I told him I loved him, and he asked me if I would marry him. He proposed to me again. I said I would and I wanted to and I loved him, and he gently put the engagement ring back on my finger.

If that is not a man to love and cherish and treasure, I don't know what is. We went upstairs to read Harry Potter, and the celebrated our new engagement in the appropriate way, of course.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Monday, August 08, 2005

Lamp at Scott's. Sometimes, when light seeps through the crack in darkness, there is beauty. Photo by Mary Stebbins Posted by Picasa

A really nice lunch

I made myself a really nice lunch today, and it made me happy and made me feel as if I'm recovering. I wrote a little piece about it, very short, but I put it in No Polar Coordinates because it wasn't "unbearably Dark". Then I thought, that's not fair. If you've been following the story HERE, you'll never know when things improve if I post that there!

If you want to read it, click here!

If this, or any other link on any of my sites don't work, leave me a comment and I will do what I can to repair them.

Monday, August 01, 2005


It seems to me that there are always a lot of unspoken rules in a relationship. People operate by those rules, but they are rarely verbalized. When you begin a new relationship, it is difficult if not impossible to know what unspoken rules the other person is operating by. Gradually, over time, you come to know some of the other person’s rules. You can adapt to them somehow when you understand them.

Keith and I seem to operate by very different and clashing rules. I think we need to get our operating rules out in the open and talk about them and perhaps negotiate NEW rules that will work better for us as a team. Assuming we weather this crisis and get back together.

Missing my Sweetie

I miss us! Posted by Picasa

The Loving Pillow

I went to bed this morning at about 4:45 after being up all night, upset about my fight with Keith.  I held and kissed his pillow and laid it next to me so that it was touching me, and pretended I was in bed next to Keith and his sweet loving body was giving me comfort.  Later in the morning, I turned to hold him again—oh, but it was just the pillow.  I poured my love into it, hoping it would move through some invisible channel and reach him somehow.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

This picture reminds me of how I feel right now about is. (wahn!) Posted by Picasa

Fallen In!

This picture reminds me of how I feel about us right now! Very scary!

What Happened

What happened, part I (my version—I haven't heard his yet)


We had decided Saturday to go to Elmwood Cemetery and The Heidelberg Project on Sunday, the one day Keith has off because he works 6 days a week.  We needed a place that wasn't too far away because we were having dinner at ML's at 6 and picking up Graham.


Keith made breakfast while I worked on Silk Creek Review and in the shower this morning, we discussed an agenda.  We decided to pack our gear at 1:15 and at 1:30 leave so that we would have sufficient time at both places and plenty of time not to be late to ML's.  If we got done early, we planned to go home first and then to ML's.


We packed the car and started out and Keith asked if I knew the way to Camp-O'Fun where I'd theoretically be taking Graham in the morning.  I said, "No, how would I know?"  I probably sounded slightly annoyed (because—HOW WOULD I KNOW?  It's in a new place this year, different from last year or the year before etc.)  I don't live there, never have lived there, and do not know my way around. I literally had no idea at all where this place was or what it was called or anything else about it.


So he said he was going to show me and started driving.


We drove past a woman riding a bike and he made a negative comment about people riding around in their underwear.  (It was not the first remark of that nature).  I turned as we were just coming next to her and she was on my side so I looked closely.  She was wearing something that looked like a bikini top from a bathing suit or a halter top.  It was yellow and had flowers and I looked closely to see if it had bra-like attachments.  It did not.


I said something to him about being a stodgy old man and he said "that's what happens to men when they get old."  I said "that's stupid," and he said, "that's your opinion," and I said, "yes it is, and you could make different choices," he said, "YOU WANT TO CHANGE WHO I AM."  I said, "no I DO NOT," he said, "Yes you do."


And then he said, "here's the school," and pointed at it and I said, "I have no idea how to get here, I forgot to pay attention," (because we were arguing), and he said, "Does that mean you don't want to drive Graham here tomorrow?" and I said, "No, it doesn't mean that, it simply means I don't know where it is," and he said "The whole point of this exercise was for you to see where the school was," And I said, "We could go back and do it over, or better yet, just let me out.  Goodbye."  And I got out.


I attempted to retrace the route we had taken and got very frightened for a while, because I had no idea where we were and all the streets had unfamiliar names.  But I kept walking and hoping I'd recognize something and eventually, I did. 


It turned out it was very simple and had he taken the time to explain it or draw a map or in any other way be nice or helpful, I could have done it with no problem.  But never once did he say, "OK, now, we're turning left at Richard, OK, note that Ridge turns into Waterloo and Waterloo turns into Vernor (?) etc and it's right here at the corner of Waterloo and Cadieux where Waterloo turns into Vernor and also it's right on Kercheval.  If I had driven him somewhere in Baldwinsville like that and then expected him to remember the way, he would have been pissed.  What happened to the Golden rule?  And I couldn't watch because we were arguing.


When I got back, I wrote down the directions carefully and drew myself a map.  At that point, I was still intending to drive Graham to Camp O'Fun both Monday and Tuesday.


1)I was annoyed about the whole showing me the way when he said nothing and pointed out nothing and made no mention of where we were turning or any landmarks.  I was also annoyed that he immediately assumed I did not want to drive Graham and was shirking my duty, which was totally untrue.  (The tone of his voice was angry and negative).  I have a lot of issues with not knowing my way around and hate it when he assumes I know something I couldn't reasonably know.  He had pointed it out in passing once a while before, but I had no idea WHERE WE WERE at the time and didn't even get a look at it, and nothing further was said.


2)I was upset about his remark about the woman in her underwear.  A.  It wasn't true (that is, it wasn't underwear), and  B.  It seemed misogynistic and puritan.  C.  It seemed like a slap at ME, since I would like to be able to be cool and comfortable.


3)I was upset because he told me for the second or third time today, "You want xyz."  That is a form of ABUSE.  No one can know what another person wants, thinks, or feels.  He often says to Graham "you think qrdst or you feel uvw, and he will NOT start saying it to me.  He did not ask me if that was how I felt or if that was what I wanted, he stated it as the truth.


4)It was NOT the truth.  I don't want to change him.  I love him as he is.  I might want to change his OPINION, but it is my understanding and belief that an opinion is not who we are.  For example, when I met him, he told me he was too old to camp, and that he was born too old to camp, but now he camps.  Is he no longer himself?  Is he no longer Keith?


5)If that particular stupid opinion IS ACTUALLY PART OF THE CORE OF WHO HE IS, then I need to reevaluate our relationship.  I am not sure I want to continue to love a man who would invest his heart and soul in putting someone down for riding a bike in a halter top.


6)I was very upset when he said, "The whole point of this exercise . . ." Because of the mean abusive lecturing way he said it (like past abusive partners) and even more so when I saw how simple it really was and how easily he could have just explained it to me.


Richard Chamberlain (or someone) wrote a book called "Don't Sweat the Small stuff."  Any one of those things by themselves would probably not be worth getting too upset about, but they were coming fast and furious, all at once.  And as a poet, I have a problem, in that I tend to see things as symbolic.  I read more into events that they perhaps should have read into them.  As "Courage says, "Sometimes dirty dishes are just dirty dishes."  [And not symbolic of an uncaring partner, for example.]  My problem is, when he acts abusive, even in relatively small ways, I am afraid it's a "red flag" and a harbinger of worse things to come.


I will not live with abuse.  I will not stay in a car with it, or in a house with it or in a relationship with it.  I will simply remove myself if it begins to occur.  I will remove myself permanently if it continues to occur.  I would rather be alone than be in an abusive relationship.  I would rather be dead.


I was sorry to miss Elmwood Cemetery and the Heidelberg Project, I was really looking forward to it.  I was sorry to miss dinner at ML's.  I was sorry to leave and drive across Canada alone in the dark.  It wasn't how I wanted things to be.  I was sorry to miss our one day together.  I am sorry to be home alone.  I miss Keith and Graham and would prefer to be happily with them.


But if it all happened again, I probably would do the same thing. 


I love and miss Keith and Graham and I also still feel upset about all this, and worried.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

The Re-hanging

I do, in theory, believe in not going to bed mad or not taking leave mad, but in practice, it is much harder.

Keith and I were going to ML's together for dinner at 6, to pick up Graham and visit with ML. When it was time to leave, he said, "I'm going to be leaving for ML's shortly" or something like that. I point is, he said "I," meaning himself, and did include or invite me.

And since I had been planning on going and looking forward to it, as an opportunity to hopefully make up with him because we would be forced by circumstances to to be civil and polite to one another and I could possibly arrange to accidentally TOUCH him in passing (mmm), I was DEEPLY offended.

I felt it like a slap in the face.

So, in return, I said, "I'm thinking about driving to NY."

Since I was disassembling my computer to take to NY (it wasn't working), it was probably somewhat convincing, though actually I had in mind putting it and some other stuff in the car to be ready for Tuesday, or if we didn't make up, Monday. Not tonight.

He went out to the car and drove away to ML's without me. Which is NOT what I wanted. I wanted to go with him. But then, since I said I was thinking of going to NY and since he abandoned me, I felt I had to go. I didn't want to go, I was tired and it was late and I just wanted to make up with Keith and be happy.

It took me a while to pack up my stuff and fill water bottles etc and I kept hoping he'd call, but he didn't, so by the time I was ready to leave, I was hungry, tired, and cranky and felt abandoned, so I took off my ring and left it on the counter, along with the keys to his car.

That was really stupid, because it was just the opposite of what I wanted. I wanted to be in his arms.

But dammit, he was being so stupid.

Two people being stupid, that's how these things happen, and how they escalate. SO I drove home alone, sad and lonely and tired and hungry.

I had purchased two pasties to celebrate our 3-year anniversary, and since I felt unloved and abandoned, I brought them with me, and I just ate one for supper. A late supper. It was good.

It reminded me of the way we met. I was looking for pasties and the old man told me to go to Tahquamenon and there were Keith and Graham. Sigh.

When I was trying to plug the computer in in the dark, I knocked down the picture of Keith and me from the wall. I thought briefly, is that symbolic of our permanent parting? Is this IT?

I set the picture down (because I had my hands full), but I just got up and hung it back up.
I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats


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