July 2010


The good news is that I got the apartment.  The bad news is that I’m so tired it’s hard to sound enthusiastic about it.

This month, I have to:

  • Throw my son a birthday party
  • Pack up my apartment and move
  • Be a bridesmaid in a wedding
  • Prepare for school starting

I’m already exhausted.  I think I’m going to take tomorrow off.  The only question is: do I use it to sleep or get things done?  I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

At least, looking at that list, I’m happy that they’re all great things (although my son might debate the last one).

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I’m really stressed out about the apartment, so I’m blogging to distract myself.

Saturday night, I dreamed that Russell Crowe and I were flirting and snuggling with each other while reading lines from a Shakespearian play in which we’d both been cast.  (If only I could remember the play, I’d bet it would say a lot about my psyche.)  The relationship had a real Liz Taylor/Richard Burton vibe to it.  I loved it.  It was hot.  Although I do wonder if it makes me a literary nerd or an acting nerd.  Probably both.

Last night, I dreamed about someone else entirely.  This guy I used to, well, love in my own way.  I really did think he was special.  I used to secretly call him my second husband, because he wasn’t interested in me romantically, although we used to talk on the phone for hours sometimes and had a couple of rounds of recreational sex over the years.  (I know it makes no sense but it was what it was.)  I knew I had no place in his life, but I hoped that one day I might.  (Demented musical cue: “One Fine Day” by the Chantals)

One day, I couldn’t take it anymore.  We’d had a stupid falling out – maybe he knew I cared more than he wanted me to, I don’t know.  I wrote him a letter.  Let me be more clear: I wrote him a letter while listening to the soundtrack to “Once” on repeat.  So you know it was bad.  I don’t know what I expected, but he never wrote back.  I know it was a little crazy but at least I was able to close that door.  In the end, I realized that he really wasn’t the right guy for me anyway.  I think people who have a difficult relationship with one of their parents are attracted to people they can “win over.”  I think I was like that with him, and I needed to let it go.  I still miss him sometimes, though.  Just him – not the possibility of “us”.  It seems like a long time ago.  I don’t feel like that girl anymore.

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t dream that he and I were reading Shakespeare together.  I dreamed that I ended up at the same party where he was, and I was trying to get my things and leave before he noticed me.  I didn’t want anyone to think I was there because of him, least of all him.  I woke up before I got out, but it’s okay.  I already have.

As I sit here, I am awaiting a lease from my realtor.  Anxiously awaiting a lease from my realtor.  I didn’t realize how much I needed to move until I saw the apartment, imagined us living there.  The pictures I took are exploding with sunshine.  My mind is already arranging our furniture in the new space. 

I know this seems strange but I feel like when I get there, I’ll be able to breathe again.  I’ll write in the enclosed porch.  We’ll walk to the beach at the town lake.  We’ll walk everywhere; downtown is a street away.  It’s where they have the town concerts and parades; where the library and park and general store are.  There is a farmer’s market a block down the street on Saturdays.  I will have counter space for cooking.  I will help my son build a fort in the backyard.

I’ve been going through my things.  I’ve ripped articles from magazines to save so I could recycle the rest.  I’ve put aside books for donation.  Clothes.  I’m purging our apartment of anything heavy that I don’t want, imagining the boxes spared, the trips to the truck saved.  I’ve mentally marked pieces of furniture that I will be giving away.  I took the photo frames off of my entertainment center under the guise of dusting.  I didn’t put them back.

I feel energized.  I feel relieved.  I feel like I’m on the cusp of something new.  So much has happened in the last year.  I’m tired of being tired.  I’m tired of being overwhelmed.  I am Don Draper, the moment he realized that he needs a new plan, and he says, “Fire us.”  I want to fire my life the way it is now.  I know that an apartment isn’t a fix, but it’s a start.  And I want to take that momentum and hold onto it and mold it into other new things. 

Please let this lease be good so I can get started.

Dear Mr. Darling,

Sometimes, people say something to me that reminds me of you – or rather, the absence of you.  They say, “I can’t believe how you do it by yourself.” 

What they mean is that they give me a lot of credit for raising my son on my own.  The idea itself makes me laugh a little – I’m one woman with one child.  There are lots of people who have more kids and are without spouses.  And the coworker who said it to me this week mentioned it in the same conversation when she was explaining that she had to get home in time for her cleaning people to come to the house, so I take it with a grain of salt those who find the idea of single parenthood overwhelming.

And yet – the words itself are like a spell, conjuring a ghost of you for a little while.  What would it be like to not be the admired and dreaded single parent?  Not that I don’t occasionally fantasize about having someone around to help me with the dishes, but it’s more than that.  Today I made a pound cake that I was really proud of and I wanted someone to taste test it with me.  I was feeling sick and I wanted someone to advise me if I should go to my friend’s barbeque or stay in bed.  I fought with my mother, and I could have used a shoulder to cry on (or at least someone to mix the batter until I was done).  I redecorated the bathroom as some consolation for not moving next month, and I would have loved to have someone tell me how great it looked, knowing how disappointed I am over staying in this apartment. 

The ghost of you would have sat with me on the beach at my friend’s house while my son played in the ocean, told me not to worry, while I burst with love for him.  It would have reminded me to take my medicine on the way home and talked to me on the long, long drive.  It would have carried my sleeping son from the car instead of my having to wake him because he’s too big for me to carry now.

The party hostess said it to me tonight: “I don’t know how you do it on your own.”  I used to brush it off, but I don’t anymore.  Being my son’s mother is amazing and I love it and we are happy together.  But it would be better with you.  It would be easier, yes, but it would be more fun. 

Love,

Mary

P.S.  It would be easy not to write this.  It would be easy to say that I will one day stop thinking this way.  I’m not crazy.  I’m not desperate.  I’m not incomplete.  I’m just walking around with a piece of myself unlit, and acknowledging the darkness.