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|There was a time when I thought I had it all under control. The nice house, awesome job and a beautiful daughter as well. I never thought of myself as lucky. I was just the "average" girl next door. You know the one. Dirty brown hair, blue eyes, skinny as a mop with no chest to boot. The one who always lived to be there but never quite "was". We all know the story, strict parents, college, good times, out of control..
What is it about love that makes us surrender our hearts so easily? How does loving someone so much and finally feeling the love given back to our soul, make us feel complete? When love is around us, the world is perfect; the trees wave hello as you pass, the sky opens and fills your soul with light. But when love is not around, the world itself feels as though it is just a place. A place where you live and then die. A place that is, perhaps, not your own but the only one you know. The place where your life starts, begins and then ends. The place that you have learned to call your own but may never know who the hell you are or why you were ever placed upon this earth. A place, in which you want to belong to so badly, but can never seem to get there. A place where you are cold and alone and have absolutely everything, and yet you feel as though you have nothing. Is there anybody out there who could understand? When did life stop being “the fairytale” and become just that. Like Santa Claus, you can only believe for as long as your heart will allow you to. And like the image of Santa that is discarded in early childhood, the belief in fairytales becomes unnecessary too. Or does it?
From the Journal of Grace Adams: March 11, 2003 10:45 PM
She knew within the depths of her soul that something was wrong. She knew that the ritual Wednesday nights of poker with the boys seemed to grow later and later. She knew that her world was about to fall apart, yet she had no idea how to stop it. She knew that he didn’t love her and that of course he was acting deceitful. She knew she deserved better but couldn’t fathom the idea of walking away from the life she had made with him for the past eleven years. This man who had not only fathered her child but who had at one time promised he would be there for her forever. The man that was undoubtedly broken and distraught within himself, that over the years she would continually attempt to fix. But how could she fix him and make him whole when she couldn’t even fix herself.
Grace Adams sighed to herself as she put down her pen and reread the words in her journal. She felt so deserted and so desperate. She couldn’t recall feeling this despondent since she had been in high school. She knew that after she had become pregnant that everything had changed. She worried way too much, as always, and he never seemed to worry enough. With that thought, she wrapped her arms around herself and allowed herself to feel a few minutes of self pity as she recalled the last two years of her life.
He had been great after she had finally told him she was pregnant. She had wanted to surprise him with the news but he was yet again scheduled to work at the distribution center until close. She had called during the rush hour and told him the news of their upcoming pregnancy. He didn’t seem nearly as excited as she was but she knew he was busy and hoped his enthusiasm would increase as the months progressed.
Grace would never forget when she looked down at the four pregnancy tests that came back positive. Her first and forever thought was, “ What the hell did you just do?” She was more scared and more excited than she had ever been in her entire life. Should she tell someone? Anyone? Who? Her parents were away that weekend and she just couldn’t bring herself to tell her in-laws before Steven did. She began to pace. From the kitchen, to the dining room, to the family room, upstairs to the spare bedroom that may just become “the baby’s room”. She felt young, alone and scared.
“This is ridiculous”, she said aloud, "This is all you have wanted your entire life.” She looked at the tests again. Their German Shepard, Max, came over and sniffed her and then lay beside her feet.
“Yeah,” she muttered, “What the hell. What am I going to do now Max?” She laid on the floor and sobbed her eyes out, clutching the test beneath her breast. Max came over, sniffed once, and then licked the tears from her face. He turned around, once, twice and then again and settled his head upon her lap. With a deep sigh, she didn’t know if it was from him or her, they both relaxed and fell into a restless sleep. In her dream she saw children, young children being born, children crying, lost children, children leaving for their first day of school and then graduation day. Grace was restless in her sleep and she continued to toss and turn for many hours. Her dreams became nightmares and she thought of the poor girl who was five who had been dragged from the neighborhood pool. It had been Mothers Day. She always remembered that because how the hell could that be? Was God that cruel?
She was nervous. She paced from the kitchen, to the dining room, to the family room and back. It was by no means a big house but that was all she could think to do. It was the third time her husband, I guess she could now maybe call him her estranged husband, had taken their daughter. She hated every second of it. She knew he would do no harm to her but he had always complained about being “shut in” with her in the past. All of a sudden in five weeks he had become “fun daddy”. He got pissed off when he picked her up on the day after the forth of July. Graces mom, Addy, had been there trying to clean for her when her and the baby were visiting her sorority sister in Philly. When he came out the door Addy asked for the key to the house. Grace’s stomach plummeted and she felt like she was going to pass out. Steven got in his car and screeched away. Two seconds later he called from his cell and screamed at her
“What the hell is wrong with you and your mom? All I wanted to do was to take my daughter to the zoo.”
She remembered his touch, his look and the feel of his body. She recalled all of the memories they had had in the past year. She remembered that she had never felt so safe, so cared for and so scared. How could she have trusted this man? How could she have allowed her heart to be broken, yet again? She sighed as she dumped the last bit of her wine down the drain. She knew she was in for a long night. A night that she would spend tossing and turning and then awake to find that she hadn’t even slept. A night where she was so cold, so alone and so scared. A night where the trees howled with laughter and the patio furniture danced upon the porch. A night when she dreamt that she was falling and then, just then, awoke with his t-shirt in her hand and tears upon her face. She rose to go to the bathroom, stumbling at first because of being disoriented. She flipped the light on and rubbed her eyes sleepily. Glancing in the mirror she stared hard. She saw crows feet near her eyes. Of course they were there; at one time she had laughed so much. She began to look closer. Her nose seemed bigger, her skin worse and her teeth more grey. Was she imagining it or was she getting old
I am sitting here eating burnt grilled cheese sandwiches, clutching my sleeping three year olds bunny. I know I have to go to bed. I know I am a wreck, but sleep is evasive for me. I just lost the only man I thought could have ever been my soul mate. How do you come up for air after that???
She sat outside. Although it was almost December, it was a dark and balmy night. It was warm and the breeze swept through her hair. She pushed back a strand and stared at the street. It seemed to be busier than usual especially for ten at night. She watched the cars race down the street, a slow chill easing through her body.
A noise distracted her and she saw it was a plane. She looked above. It was extremely low. “Jesus” she thought to herself, “Please don’t crash”. Of course it didn’t, knowing its course in the night like a husband and wife who had been married for sixty years. She watched it and made believe she was aboard. Everyone on there had stories. Some were lost, some had been found and others were waiting ideally by, just like her, until true happiness came along. Once off the plane, some would reunite with lovers, wives, husbands, and children. Others would simply deplane and arrive at the baggage claim. Waiting and hoping that their bags would be there first, so they didn’t have to deal with the misery of loneliness. It’s not that they wanted children, spouses or lovers. Just to have someone to validate them at that moment and make them feel like they are valued. Like they were the reason the earth stood still, at least for someone else anyway.
She could not get out of this funk. I see him everywhere, each image conjuring up past memories. The bookstore where we first held hands, the high school parking lot where we kissed, the gas station where he got his morning coffee and I would honk to him on my way to the highway. I see him each time I adjust the thermostat and remember him putting them in for me. I look at to the backyard and see him mowing the lawn, waving at the baby as he went past. I have truly fucked up the only relationship that was ever good, descent and true. I haven’t put it into words yet, but what if I never find another person that is truly my soul mate like he was. I went to the doctor’s today because my therapist is really concerned over my depression and despair and they want to play around with my meds. He asked what brought upon this intense depression again and I told him that my boyfriend and I had broken up.
He looked up surprised and said, “Oh no, your soul mate.” The thought of him kissing another, making love to another, sharing his life with another, makes me emotionally and physically sick. I can’t sleep at night because all I do is remember and worry. I sleep half the day away because I so exhausted from the night before. And each and every morning, it takes all of my willpower, just to put both feet on the floor. I told myself I would never again allow myself to get this hurt him. The baby misses him and asks about them constantly. I try to be as honest as possible but how do you explain it to a three year old. I am afraid that I will miss him all of the days of my life and never be able to feel for someone the way I feel for him.
Her bed had become her sanctuary. She snuggled in and could sleep for hours. In this bed, she was safe, unknown, and free to err as a human. At night she would drink beer after beer or glasses of wine to achieve true sleep. It would come for two or three hours and then she was wide awake, staring. Thinking of how fucked up her life had become. She would toss and turn and refluff the pillows to no avail. Hot then cold, cold then hot, never comfortable beneath the covers until morning. She stuck her foot out from the bed. It dangled there for a few moments. Scared she pulled it back in, feeling stupid and young all at the same time. When she was younger and had to pee, she would take two giant leaps from her bed, one flying hurdle over the step and be safely into the bathroom. She would repeat the same thing in reverse order and then climb back in bed. If you were under your covers, she believed, then nothing or no one could get to you. Hence the reason for having her foot out. Even at thirty, she was still scared and way too vulnerable to allow for that to happen.
She knew even as she stumbled that she was more lost then she had ever been. She punched in the digits of the last man she had dated and waited. “Are you crazy,” he replied upon answering, “Do I need to call the cops? I am seeing someone else. Don’t fucking call me anymore.” She heard the click before she could even say a word. Gently, she placed the phone in the receiver and cursed herself for being so stupid. They had only dated a short while, but of course, she had fallen for him. And of course she drank to much some nights and called him, scaring him away forever. She was good at that. Men found her attractive and some even found her beautiful, but once they got to know her, they ran. Of course they ran. Her insecurities were huge. While drunk, she was fun loving and felt so sensuous and sexy. When she sobered up she was shy, timid of her body, and scared of her own shadow. She saw stretch marks, and back fat, a belly from drinking and grey hair on her head. She saw her own insecurities and brought them forth upon them as though they could solve them, be it in one night or several months. She knew that that was that. She had even begun to plan. But how can you plan for a new life when your entire life for the past seven years has included drinking? Three lost relationships later, you would think it would matter even more to her, but the bottle is wiser. The bottle numbs the pain and makes her feel as though she is sexy, proud and invincible. She knows she will die from this, she just doesn’t know how the hell to stop. She has no idea who she is without it. Will she like or loathe herself? And even then, will it all be too much?
There is solace at times, watching the daily activities of life. The blue Audi reverses a bit and backs into the driveway next door at precisely 5:42 P.M. each night. The young father of two on the other side who scoops up the paper and lopes into the house, his family greeting him with cheers and kisses. However, there is also turmoil in this. At times it was like living in Pleasantville. One male neighbor will venture outside at the first sign of spring. He will lock his hands together and raise his arms to stretch. Opening the garage he pulls out his lawnmower and then the riding tractor. At this point every male in the neighborhood is sniffing the air. What is it? Could it be? Why yes, it is the first day of mowing season. Not to be outdone, each household male figure clamors outside and repeats the ritual.
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