I turned 50 the other day. It wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be, due to the kindness of friends who noticed, what with the constant reminders I’d been dropping for the last week. I know, shamelessness…but it has it’s rewards, such as a Waffle House breakfast and a morning at the beach. Also, the boys came over last night and cleaned up the kitchen after dinner (steaks, baked potatoes, and cherry pie…no vegetable beyond the herbs chopped up and sprinkled on the baked potatoes. Here’s a hint, rather than just boring chives, go ahead and chop up a bunch of stuff and mix them together. Rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme, chop them all up and mix them together for your potato. Yum, y’all.)
I guess grief has turned bittersweet. No longer is there hysteria or sobbing or that incredible shock of being ripped in half. Now it’s a pervasive sadness, sometimes right on the surface, sometimes deeper down. I have been systematically (and very very slowly) going through rooms, culling stuff, making decisions about what to keep and what to give away. Last night #1 got Himself’s Galilean thermometer. It’s a cool thing but I didn’t care about it. #1 did, so he got it. Each boy has permission to ask for this thing or that one, reminders of Himself that they can keep and enjoy, that don’t matter much to me at all. I want photographs. The jewelry box that was one of the first things he made for me, and the furniture in the sewing room.
I’m not ready to go through his clothes yet. They aren’t bothering anything, or taking up needed room. I am used to them being there. Letting them go would feel, I think, a bit like taking off my wedding ring. I still feel married. I still have no interest in anyone but him. Maybe one day that will change, maybe it won’t. It doesn’t really matter. Maybe it will be like it was with sleeping in the big bed we shared. I couldn’t do it for a few weeks, it felt all wrong for him to not be there. Then one night, something in my head said it was ok to go back in there, and I did, and it was. I figure one day something will tell me it is time, and it will be done. Until then, all those clothes and shoes will stay right where they are, not bothering anyone and not in the way.
I have been giving some thought to taking a trip. I don’t know where. Maybe the tropics. I love a tropical place, with the heat and humidity, the ridiculous flowers and all that fruit. And a beach. Panama looks nice, it’s inexpensive and they like Americans down there. Or maybe a road trip. Change the oil in the convertible, gas up and drive somewhere I’ve never been. Take a trip Himself and I would’ve done, with a photo of him taped to the dashboard. I can hear #3 now “WHAT?” and then admonitions to call him every 2 hours to ensure that I haven’t been captured and sold into sexual slavery or dismembered into someone’s back country BBQ. He gets his vivid imagination for awful scenarios from me.
And why is it, when a woman takes off on her own, there is all this concern for her safety? A man I know recently hopped on his motorcycle BY HIMSELF and road 4000 miles, nary a concern, just people saying “ok, have a good time!” I would get all kinds of concern and advice and warnings about serial killers and truck stops. Because I have boobs and the in-hole. It irritates me to be reduced to someone mindless, when truth is, I am competent to do this, and if something goes wrong, am competent to manage that as well. I will even check with concealed carry laws to make sure my permit is accepted in the states through which I am traveling, and tuck Maybelline under the driver’s seat. Is that good enough? Probably not. I remember Himself telling of driving from South Georgia to Chicago in a 1965 VW Beetle, he was 17 and there were NO CELL PHONES. He stopped in Indiana to call his parents and let them know he was fine. I remember the time I took a bus from where I lived to where I used to live (I was 17), and at the stopover in Atlanta, was solicited by several obvious pimps, and managed just fine to tell them to piss off I wasn’t interested. So yeah. I think I could manage a trip on my own thankyouverymuch!
Maybe I’ll drive to Florida, to the home of someone who invited me, whom I have never met. That would be interesting. (I can hear the howls of disapproval now. O person in South Florida, can you assure me you aren’t a serial killer wanting my body parts for a skin-suit?) Or maybe to North Dakota. Or Chicago. I don’t know, maybe nowhere in particular, just point the car in a direction and see what happens in 24 hours.
Mainly, I simply want OUT OF HERE for a while. Time to think and get my plans in order or something. A couple of weeks, that’s all I need, and I want to do it ON MY OWN. I have never lived or done anything ON MY OWN. Ever. I went from living with my parents to marrying Himself and living with him. I have never taken a trip BY MYSELF. They have always involved another person, either going to see them and being picked up somewhere, or going with, and having a back up plan. I need to prove that I can do this ON MY OWN. This is such a strong feeling it makes me grit my teeth and want to cry. I need to prove something, to myself and everyone else. That I am competent and intelligent and resourceful. I want everyone else to know, for a FACT, that I am what I know I am. That I do not NEED someone else to rely on, that I was married to Himself because I wanted to be, not because I was helpless without him.
I know in many ways here lately I have made it ok. Stuff he did exclusively for many years, I am doing, and successfully. Cars have been maintained, finances are in order, and the lawn in mowed…thanks to a friend’s husband who understands lawnmowers and fixed ours. I am going to learn how to fix it myself, as it seems a simple enough machine. I see many, many single women out there, who are not victims of serial killers and pimps.
Panama sounds really nice. Beaches and ceviche.