Monday, March 31, 2008

The God I Loved

At the age of five, I hoped I wasn’t too different from others. I hoped that others saw the world through similar eyes. The last thing I wanted to be was the only one of its kind. How forlorn that would be.

So I did a lot of questioning and prodding to find out if others thought like me. Biggest difference I found was that I was openly willing to tell others what I was thinking. But others were not. They guarded their thinking like some big, grand secret that they could not share. Still, for those secretive individuals, unwilling to share what they were thinking, I had something in my heart and head that could lead to discovery of the unspoken part of them – my intuition.

Not many men have the same intuition a woman has. Women can intuitively read truth in the eyes, in barely audible sighs, and in body language (without having studied it). And when it comes to their offspring, Mother’s intuition has for all time amazed the Medical community enough that Doctors are finally learning to listen to it and trust it.

So be as secretive as you like. It matters not to me. I can still feel out the air around the occupants of a room and determine if that room is steeped in mistrust or anger, with nary a word being spoken. With my intuition, I can sense danger, when none is apparent. And my intuition consistently prods me from solid slumber to alert wakefulness when I hear nothing more than a soft rustle in another room.

I use my intuition in other ways as well. I use it to form quick first-time assessments of the nature and character of those I meet. As an important helper to decide whom I should trust and whom I should distrust. And yes, I use it to form assumptions. And when I say that, don’t even start in on me about how ‘assumptions’ are so bad, and how ‘ass-umptions’ make an ‘ass’ of us all. That’s total crap.

Whether you like it or not, we all drag around assumptions as surely as we are constantly trailed by our own shadow. We connect life experiences to our childhood environments, to our upbringing, and to our own unique life experiences and in that blend we form perspectives on everyone around us. These are the tools we use to form first impressions and from these impressions, we form moral judgments, and from these moral judgments, we decide whether we are open to affection or rejection.

So with that introduction to my thinking, I now want to frankly discuss with you my assessments of someone I met years ago. We were friends for a time, good friends, but in that first meeting I gazed at all things I normally gaze at to build that first profile. I liked what I saw. Serene eyes, adorned with crystal-clear windows of truth. A fine athletic build. Open friendliness and an unabashed way of speaking.

Once past those first introductions, our conversation flowed into a creative and stimulating discourse. We discussed sensitive things, practical things, and imaginary things. We discussed the human condition of both men and women. We discussed vital forces, agonizing tensions, vanity, and sincerity. We even discussed the misunderstandings women endure that normally remain veiled and unspoken in their relationships with men.

And in all this, every word from the lips of that man was wonderfully sweet. I was hypnotized by the smoothness of his voice, the parsing of his words, the wisdom of his lyrics, and the poetical magic of his wit. He knew all the tough stuff and all the sensitive stuff. And he showed no reluctance to discuss those things, that as a woman I find hurtful in such curious ways, that it is almost impossible to adequately articulate them.

He was so amazingly adept at bypassing my clumsy mix of words and drawing from them such a fine and clear interpretation. I laid out my torn heart and mind and soul and he reassembled it in a healing and orderly fashion. And in all that exchange, in all that affiliated thinking, even my weirdest perceptions were merged into a comforting understanding by a young man omnipotent in his wisdom – superior to all men in every way.

And how did I feel about him? I loved him immediately. I loved every line in his face, every hair on his head, every tone in his voice. I loved the girth of his shoulders, the serenity of his countenance, the spicy scent of his after-shave.

But the affection I felt that so ardently burned like a fire, discounted, with puzzling revulsion, any desire for bodily contact. There was something perplexing in the thought of his cheek pressed against mine though my soul was fired with soaring affection. Perhaps because it was difficult to see him as a mere mortal.

He was more like a deity, an ethereal form made flesh. Descended, through some kind of ‘assumption’ (different from those first assumptions we discussed) that unified God and man. All I can say is that in his presence, I was enveloped in an aura that filled my heart with awe, respect, reverence, and love.

So now what? Should I just let him go? How do you invite romantic overtures from a god? It’s shouldn’t be so difficult. It’s not as if I am not bold enough to know how to flirt. I can be right brazen and downright lewd in order to get what I want. But in the presence of this kind of purity, how sacrilegious would that be?

I must devise a plan of gracious capriciousness that will wholly surpass the most rigid of Puritan and principled thinking. But it is unknown to me, completely foreign to me, how to conduct this kind of seduction. I’m highly doubtful that diverted eyes, blushing cheeks, and silent and reverent prayer will work.

Let’s face it. Even absolute modesty and shallow indifference skids into the realm of hussy-flirtation in this highly uncommon situation. But obviously I cannot just let him go. This deity that is so sensitive and a kindred spirit like no other I have ever encountered and known. Whose presence is like a wondrous gift of warm tonic that is rich and soothing to every microbe of my emotional being. Nothing in paradise can surpass the dream of living a lifetime in his presence, in duality with his mind, buried in the sweet melody of his voice, and bathing daily in his quick wisdom.

So why is there this unexplainable chasm that separates us from sharing the awesome love and respect that I feel for him. I don’t exactly know how he feels about me, but I am secure that he cares about my simplest hurts. All I can see affirms that he is truly special; a prize, priceless, one of a kind. But still that inner intuition repeatedly flings up a wall of fear and distrust.

I guess what I need to accept without question is that the ways of gods are too profound and mysterious for mere mortals to understand. It is like trying to understand why the God of the Bible allows so much sickness, war, and tragic death. Or trying to understand why his son threw a childish temper tantrum and whipped money-changers in the temple.

Likewise I cannot understand the traitorous ways of this loving ‘god’, who so completely understood the feminine mysteries of my being, and shared such a parallel connection with my soul. Who surpassed all that I could ever dare to hope a man to be, yet who so quickly, without warning, left our sweet alliance to become the life-long partner of a man!


Here I will be quite blunt with you. Going back to my own assumptions, I risk being politically leprous by admitting that despite facts, exposure, and education, I still remain reluctant to accept without prejudice modern-day theories about sexual preference.

I do accept that some individuals have hormone imbalances (or a physical duality), that triggers that sort of thing. But my inner convictions tell me that the rest are simply bored with ‘standards’ that have become too mundane. And at the same time, these are transformations buoyed by allegorical and symbolic flags of social acceptance that wave in the breeze and invite them to a new, more exciting, citizenship.

I guess even gods can be seduced by that approach.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Poached Eggs

Okay. I have to admit it. You had me there. When you pointed out those remarkable new men of the current generation that vacuum, dust, make beds and do laundry. You described them to me in glowing terms and I gazed from afar at these new men that displayed such dedicated servitude. And yes, I wanted one of them. Indeed I did.

Unfortunately, I have the older model. The one, that does men’s work, while I do women’s work. Oh yes, there’s been a bit of progress. Amazing, as it might sound, we did get to the point where he could make a meal, vacuum a room and turn on the dishwasher. It was a slow progression that had such promise, but that’s where it stalled, and I soon became bitter that he couldn’t do better.

If I contemplate what other men-of-the-new-wave have added to their agenda, it looks mighty attractive. Because obviously when a man takes on so many women’s tasks, that means less of those for the little woman. The math is simple. Subtraction from any given amount equals a lesser amount. Right?

No, not necessarily. There is a devious thing going on here that flaws the math. A tricky bit of undulation, like a rogue wave, that skews what appears to be simple addition and subtraction.

It’s hard to see how the math works. But what I do see in the outcome is while the subtraction of mundane tasks is going on, on one side of the equation, on the same side of the equation; there is a massive increase in the tasks of administration and management. If you will be patient, I will explain.

When my children were young, I concerned myself with grocery and clothing purchases, three squares a day, transport to extra-curriculum activities, laundry, an outside job, and housekeeping within reason. It seemed like a heavy load at the time. But was it?

At no time did I ever have to concern myself with vehicle maintenance, insurance, taxes, appliances, or yard maintenance. Or with broken windows, a leaky roof, septic tanks, or iced-up eaves troughs. Or with communication devices, computers, license plate renewals, sagging decks, or home equity. These things I’ve never given a thought to in all my years.

But now, when I see how stressed women are, despite partners that are ideals of the new-wave-man, I realize something is up. And I’ve finally figured out what it is. Though few realize it, in this new job-sharing plan, it is true that women end up doing a whole lot less of the mundane tasks, but at the same time they end up with a mammoth dump of a whole syndicate of new tasks that stretch into an endless continuum of stressful and judgmental decisions.

Now the first thing I need to realize if I want my man to take on some of my work, is how bloody taxing the training will be. And I have to recognize how long and drawn out the supervisory attention will need to be that follows. These may not be formidable tasks but I want them done right.

And then, when that is reasonably accomplished, what the hell? Soon after, I realize that I am CEO of a whole lot of stuff I hadn’t planned on. Because somehow like the magic porridge pot that boiled over until it was running in the streets, this is what happens.

With Hub and I on the same work committee, and with me in this supervisory role, I am forced to look at the bigger picture. Now I start to see inefficiencies in the global picture that (in my estimation) need upgrading or a better fix. Soon I’m thinking if tires are going to be rotated, the car should also have new brake shoes and bearings. And now I’m thinking that we should change insurance companies and transfer investments to another bank that pays more interest. And we should also probably check out other communication options and maybe think about moving from monthly utility payments to a locked in contract.

Meanwhile Hub is too buried in job-training to take the bull by the horns as he used to do. In fact, is it just my own warped mind, or is he more and more only responding like a robot to my commands? It seems so, when he gets up every morning and says to me, “What do you want me to do today, and how do you want me to do it?”

Still, I smile with delight at this power I now have over him. My character has blossomed. My ego is as inflated and shiny as a monster Zeppelin that is flying high. Me?—more important than I ever thought I’d be.

It’s pretty darned nice, this promotion to the role of overseer and planner for every solitary thing around here. And I can’t help but feel pretty darn smug because there’ll be no languishing in the big chair, no Lone Star Channel viewing for Hub, until this house is looking like a show home with all the rugs vacuumed, the hall-ceiling repainted, and the car washed as well.

But that’s where the change becomes insidious in ways I hadn’t expected. That’s when, suddenly there I am, in charge of everything, included a host of monstrous complexities I never encountered or considered before, rather than the simple organization and completion of the jobs I once did.

No longer is my life as easy as cleaning up a few dirty dishes in the sink. Now I am running in circles, stressed to the hilt about taxes, savings, interest, investments, the roof, the driveway, the shingles, the oil change in one car, the trade-in of another.

Hub used to take full responsibility for all the foregoing things listed and he accomplished them as invisibly as shoe-making elves in the middle of the night. Now they don’t get done until I list them, define them, and detail them. Because his agenda is suddenly totally dependent on my agenda.

And that is not so great cause now Hub is chronically underfoot. He’s in my way, always in my way—not tasking but instead waiting for me to assign his next move while my brain races in circles in a vain attempt to encompass all that is critical for the day, the month, the year.

I’m suddenly in a constant flux of frightful contemplation of what should be done next and how best to do it. It means making decisions every day with unknown outcomes that in the end I will be totally responsible for. He’s doing the work. Oh yes, he is. He’s not wearing that apron and head scarf without good reason. But I’m the one now holding the authority, setting the schedule, and owning responsibility for the ultimate outcome.

And so now, rather than that needed time to do my own thing (writing, blogging, knitting, self-reflection, and sewing), I have no time for anything. And when I do get a notion to cook a Sunday breakfast, I now have a critic peeking over my shoulder in MY kitchen telling me that is not how to prepare poached eggs!

It makes me remember with sad regret the days before that stupid conversion to the new man. When Hub sat like a sentinel at the table waiting for breakfast. And when it was served, he winked and smiled and said, “Roberta. There’s not a woman on the face of the earth that can poach an egg the way you can!”

Monday, March 24, 2008

Awww and Awe

Easter was such a special time with all my grandchildren here. All four of them. Left me feeling warm and happy. Left me feeling life is truly special. Left me saying “Aww” and feeling ‘awe’.

The ‘Aww’ comes when I hold and look at my new grandson. Born at 28 weeks. Scared all of us half to death. But he came out wailing like babies are supposed to. And now he is six pounds and two months old, loves to show off how he can hold his own bottle and so cute, cuddly, and sweet. Amazingly he never cries as long as everyone responds to the ‘look’—that would be the tribal look that every one of our tribe members are so capable of when things are unsatisfactory.

Knitted brows, scrunched up forehead, eyes reflecting a composite of disgust and disappointment. He gives the ‘look’ then waits patiently for clean pants, a warm bottle, or a change of position. Then if nothing happens, he fusses and fumes, and moves his little hands to his face and squeezes his brows to intensify the look. Reluctant to cry when the look is generally sufficient.

And then there is my older grandson. What a character he is. He values friendships that are honest and just. So when his pre-school teacher told him about Jesus being God’s son and dying on the cross at Easter and rising again, in grandson’s practical mind, that was too much. I think he took it to be a joke but didn’t tell me so.

What he did tell me is that Jesus is God’s son. This was the part that he was able to relate to. The father and son connection. (Silly adults. Don’t realize that a five-year-old has no context for stories about death and resurrection and something called ‘sin’. That they can only interpret that part of a story that they have a context for.)

So after being told the Easter story, Grandson wrote a letter to Jesus and insisted his mom mail it to God, so they, meaning he and Jesus, could become friends. The letter said, “Dear Jesus. I like you very much. Can we be friends?”

Grandson wants to form a friendship so that he can eventually invite Jesus and his father over to our place. That’s how it works. And then when that happens, God and Grandpa can pull him and his new friend, Jesus, on the sled behind the quad and see which one goes faster. Grandpa can’t go as fast as Grandson would like cause Grandma complains.

God is a father, like his own father, and God has a son, just like him. As a father, however, God is very old so he is probably more like Grandpa than Grandson’s own father.

Everyone thinks God is bigger and better than his Grandpa, but Grandson spurns that suggestion. One needs to find out. How fast will God drive the quad with no one daring to complain about how fast he goes? It’s gonna be pretty hard for him to beat flying across the deep snow instead of sliding on it like happens when Grandpa gets in behind the house where Grandma cannot see them.

But I digress. What I really want to tell you more so than this trivia is how excited I am about Grandson’s yen to write stories. He told me he knew some magic. And the magic he explained to me is that he knows all his letters. And with those letters, he told me, he can make ALL words.

And with words, he told me, he can write sentences that say anything he wants to say.

“Did you know,” he asks, with his eyes so big and excited, “that I can do that if you help me spell the words? That’s all you need to do and I can explain anything, tell you anything.”

He runs to get a paper and pencil. “Now you help me,” he says, “and I will write a story.”

He writes me a funny little story about sleigh-riding with Grandpa. About him falling off the sleigh, his sister falling off the sleigh, and Grandpa falling off the quad. That last part was not true, but it was necessary to prevent anyone in the story looking more than, or less than, another.

And then in our conversation of rather simple words, I am stunned to hear him say something about ‘flexible’ as if it was a word he uses every day.

I didn’t realize it, at the time, but I guess Grandpa explained to him that the tow rope behind the quad had to be fixed rather than ‘flexible’ to avoid the sleigh from dog-tracking or slipping under the quad or side-ways into an icy snow-bank.

So just to be silly, I say to him, “ ‘Flexible’ is a pretty big word. Makes me think of another big word. The word is ‘inexplicable’. Do you know what that means?”

“What?” he asks, with head tipped and eyes intent on my face.

“It means,” I said, “something that cannot be explained. That words cannot be found to tell it.”

I had no idea the little storyteller-wordsmith would be so crushed by this bit of information. He gave me the tribal look of disappointment.

“I don’t like that word,” he said. “I don’t like it at all. Me? I can tell anything unless it is a secret. Like for your birthday or for Christmas. There is a way to tell everything. You just have to use the right words.”

And so, I say ‘Aww’ when I look at my new Grandbaby and feel an equal sense of awe at the elder Grandson’s incredible wisdom.


Later, I heard Grandson tell his Mom. “Know what, Mom? If something is ‘inexplicable’, you can’t explain it. That’s what that word means. You can’t, but I can!”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Political Ignorance

I live with my unique tribe and countrymen in a remote corner of tropical Confrica on the island of Menisia under an autocratic, tyrannical dictatorship. Though you have probably never heard of this place hidden away in the North Anticic, we have existed here since time began. This is our country. And like other tribes within their native land, we are true patriots and passionate lovers of country.

And then you come as a shiny-faced American visionary with your magic kit of split salt, talismen, toad’s eyes, cell phones, blackberries, quad-cores, collapsible electronic voting booths, bringing your glowing message of the blessed saving grace of “democratic government” supplemented by DVD’s and tutorial-extracts from “CNN’s Ballot Bowl ‘08”.

I cannot imagine how distracted and confused I would become while you attempt to explain to me the convolutions involved in the last Presidential race and convolutions involved in the present Dem-primary race.

Obviously it will take more than split salt or toad’s eyes to explain to me the interplay of electronic voting, absentee voting, exit and entry polls, counts, recounts, chads – attached or semi detached, calendars, timing, candidates – standing, seated, or are they saying seeded? In addition, you would need to explain the impressive role of super delegates, financial sponsorship. and caucuses (shouldn’t that be caucii?).

And you would need to explain to me why the confusion in the primaries goes on for months. And why a Presidential election in the midst of all your modern technology and advanced wisdom has to be a long drawn out affair that cannot be settled without calling in legal counsel to validate what voting should be counted, what voting ignored, and what voting has a decided effect.

It would frighten me, truly it would. To risk Menisia’s, and Confrica’s, present security in such mass confusion. To start the unending story of the formation of ‘another’ democracy after observing iindicators (if one looks closely) of civil unrest, weakened leadership, and fractured alliances that make it mpossible for citizens to decide with any amount of certainty, which candidate is motivated by love of power, and which is motivated by love of country. How can such a rippling underlying aggression within, efficiently block unexpected aggression from without?

(Someone should tell ‘The General” that maybe it isn’t the slow progress of the war in Iraq as much as the confusion that has virtually halted their move to democracy. Surely he can comprehend that understanding needs to proceed implementation).

But for now, let’s set that aside and move on to candidate agendas. These, too, seem to miss the point.

Candidates offer vague policies that can be interpreted a thousand ways but yet they camouflage them in a way that seems to focus on weighty and significant concerns. But when the vote is ultimately decided, these same policies eerily slip into some kind of stupid private matters that have to do with obesity, smoking, physical exercise, political correctness, sexual preferences, abortion, safe driving, green trees, and animal tracks.

So what, I must ask, is the attraction in a political persuasion that creates such bedlam and chaos? How do you do this thing called ‘democracy’? And why? When within dictatorial rule, things are so simple? When one dictator dies or is ousted, the next steps into place in two seconds flat. Before I can even plunge my tongue into my cheek.

It makes me proud to say that in my country of Menisia, the agenda of the leader is rigid and focused. His mandate is simple. It is to ensure that we are all of one mind and spirit. To ensure that no one can destabilize the government. And to ensure that no outsiders dare run roughshod over our citizens.

I tell you true, you could not hope to convert me. Nor would it be possible for you to convince me to renounce dictator rule despite all your sincerity and conviction. Obviously it would be so much better to live in untold freedom, rather than beneath heavy-handed dictatorial rule, but you are not ready to show us how. Go back to the drawing board and when you have the thing properly worked out without argument and convolution (i.e. a sensible approach); please come back and we will discuss it.

In the meantime, there may be cruelty, even oppression, for the citizens of Menisia in our present existence, but it is adequately counterbalanced by the peaceful nature of our ignorance.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Stolen Smile - CONCLUSION

6. The Fullest Understanding of Destiny

One day, a lifetime later, after most of the stages of my life were past—a greater more enduring love, followed by marriage, children, and job retirement , I went to a busy restaurant for lunch.

And while sitting there alone in a far corner of the restaurant, I heard a hearty soul-tingling laugh. I looked and saw blue eyes, blond hair, and a smile. Hair and eyes—slightly paled, yet remotely familiar. But the smile? Still the same. And yeh, next to him, though so much older now, the thief that took him.

Another old friend from ages past was in the restaurant that day. He moved silently behind my chair and tapped me on the shoulder. Then he leaned close and whispered in my ear. “Do you know who that is?”

“Yes,” I said somewhat bewildered but understanding that he asked because he remembered how sweet we had once been in old, old history.

I looked furtively. Not wanting Gary to see me looking at him and he looked furtively, not wanting me to see him looking at me. But more importantly, I didn’t want the thief to see us looking at each other. It might give her some kind of sick joy that I would heartily disapprove of. She well knew years ago before she ever took him that he was mine.

Memories flooded back of Gary’s shiftless, homeless ways. Living in his truck. Wearing those dirty worn clothes. But even yet I found nothing disparaging in remembering that. But somehow he had lost all that appeal the way he looked today. Slick and polished and done up so mighty fine that I was doubtful, in some stupid unreasonable way, that he had ever even known the Gary I knew.

I felt emotionless. Obviously destiny had left more dots than dashes and given me complete healing for my pain.

The smile, of course, had never faltered. Somehow I knew it never would. The eyes that always twinkled with merriment still twinkled in that same old way. I heard the contagious joy in his laugh at something someone said over at his end of the room. I even found myself chuckling. And incredibly, I even felt the weak helplessness that physically hits after a hearty laugh, though I didn’t even know the joke.

But, except for that, I was emotionless. And despite the pain revealed in this story, I felt no regrets. How could I when with the wisdom of age, a flash of uncanny intuition made me realize the blessing of all that occurred? How sad life would have become if our relationship had not been rudely interrupted? How failed our hopes and dreams? It would have been such a waste and such a sad affair.

Because I am well aware that what I needed then, and still need now, was a giver of support and stabilization. Practical counsel, and a wise protector. And evidently, that was what Gary needed as well.

We were both flailing weaklings with no practicality. Embedded in nothing more than wisps of dreams and star-dust. More than anything else, we needed the strength of another to prop us up. And in that moment it was obvious to me how hopeless and foolhardy it would have been for us to attempt to be supportive of each other.

And so, if you don’t want to call it destiny, that’s fine with me. But some unseen force, more favorable than I could have imagined, sidetracked what might have been. And like God, when he surveyed the work of creation, I looked at all of it – the beginning, the middle, and the end, and “behold, it was very good.”(Gen. 1:31).

The first work of the creation of this old world provided generous life-provisions of plants, animals, light, and water. And within the mimicry of these natural blessings, I too was given generous life-provisions of family, love, sustenance, care, and all other needs.

And so, I am extravagantly pleased and excessively content. I have no complaints and neither should he. I have my strong and trusted caregiver and protector, and he seems to have his.

That’s how it should be, shouldn’t it?


I finished my sandwich and gathered up my coat and purse in order to leave the restaurant. I could feel the intense heat of eyes watching me and I promptly tripped over the table and scattered the contents of a half-filled coffee cup in my lap and in the scramble worsened the situation by adding to it my unfinished fries and a full glass of ice water.

But so what? Those kinds of things can happen any day of the year, any time, in any restaurant.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Stolen Smile - 5.

5. The Theft Caper

In small towns trains chuffy in and out on the tracks, and though there be little employment, the rumor mill never stops grinding and the employees of that ‘institution’ are the most dedicated that you could ever hope to find. They work their craft from dawn to dusk, day in and day out at coffee shops, at grocery stores, at service stations and at street corners.

And now through the endless labor of the rumor mill, I very soon discovered something that rippled through fault lines and cracked everything in my world, wide open into chasm and chaos.

The nose that pointed at street lamps didn’t stick around long even though she had so easily secured a well-paid and enviable job. Gary was driving ‘her’ car one day and in less than three weeks the platinum sorcerer quit her job, moved to the city, rented a fine apartment, and took my sweet smiling Gary-boy with her. That’s what the laborers at the rumor mill told me.

In my bitterness I found myself thinking:

Maybe if he was seeking wealth, I wasn’t wealthy enough
Maybe if he was seeking virtue, I wasn’t virtuous enough
Maybe if he was seeking significance, I wasn’t significant enough
And maybe if he was seeking ‘succor’, I wasn’t ‘sucker’ enough.

I was helpless. All I could render from that news was that Gary had sold out. Made a bad deal. Bartered something much too valuable for comfortable winter accommodation, for a more nurtured stability, for escape from his father, for a truck payment, for a more settled existence, for restitution of all the sorrows that were masked, without healing, behind his happy smile.

But, all that aside, more heartbreaking than love gone awry is the realization that there is no way to fight back. With winter just around the corner and foreclosure so near at hand on Gary’s truck, the deck was stacked in the competitor’s favor.

Now I suppose you think if Gary were any kind of decent guy, he would have told me he wouldn’t be seeing me again. I’ve thought about that as well. But how silly is that for either of us to think that way? Of course he couldn’t tell me. I am a woman and I have the same instincts that other women have that go way beyond reason. The telling of it, with that everlasting smile on his face – God forbid.

Obviously for a time, Gary saw my own unique endearing qualities. Granted, I had no car and no money and if there is anything to be said for platinum hair, I didn’t have that either. And because I was still living at home, I could not offer Gary a warm place to stay. But I had other things to give me appeal.

I don’t mean to be vain and please forgive me for saying this, but you have to admit there is beauty in quietness, agreeableness, and gentleness. I liked to think that then, and even now, these qualities make me lovable to those who seek such qualities.

But if Gary had told me it was over, as most people doubtless think would have been the honorable thing to do – with his smile still in place, what beauty I have would have been forever lost.

If given that opportunity, I would have sought my own advantage. I would have instantly become a foul-mouthed, scrapping, kicking, punching, eye-ball ripping, platinum-hair-pulling demon. No it is better Gary didn’t tell me cause with no other weapons to do battle, my claws would have come out and after that Charlotte and I would both have been hurtin’ bad. With her on one side of the sidewalk, picking up her teeth with two broken arms, and me on the other side looking grotesquely ugly.

Women are the gentler sex, and too few realize there is no redemption after a display of satanic ugliness of heart and spirit. Once unleashed, no amount of make-up, cosmetic alteration, restitution, or remorse, not even God, himself, can disguise the ugliness. Nothing can erase it, nothing can cover it, nothing can contain it. It continues to bleed through with odorous rot from that evil dwelling place within.

And that contemplation somehow brings me to another thought concerning destiny that is seemingly unrelated.

Destiny is not a random occurrence. Nor is it a thing of fancy. Destiny aptly provides each one of us with uniquely measured portions of what we need for a reasonable balanced existence. Portions that align with the span of each life and time.

A kind of Morse Code made up of stretches of quick dots and delayed dashes. The dashes are open-ended and must be filled with external things like mother-love, nurturing, security, and appreciation. The dots are destiny-given internal resources that give us the ability to laugh, love, weep, heal, and move on.

They should form equalizing patterns of pain and healing but I think while Gary’s eternal smile was hidden from my view under the hood of that ol’ truck, he used up too much of his portion of creative endeavor. And never allowed the counterbalance of discouragement or sorrow or healing to kick in.

So he ended up with way too much aching disappointment locked away in the faulty progression of things. And way too much of the still outstanding-need from his boyhood, for nurturing care. And if I am right, with this imbalance something had to change.

Of course all of this only adds to my confusion. Leaving me unsure if it was a thief or destiny that forced us apart.

Nevertheless, the truth is, I never saw Gary again in that lifetime.

...Relationship concluded, but amazingly the story is not…

NEXT POST: The Fullest Understanding of Destiny

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Stolen Smile - 4.

Just a note to let you know this writing is a work in progress. For that reason there is a change in this post's title.

4. Fall’s Chill

It was Saturday afternoon, in late fall, and with winter coming there was a sharp chill in the air. The usual traffic threaded the streets in the dark colors of a small conservative farming community. Utility farm trucks – grain trucks, cattle trucks – and the odd town car in the conservative colors of black, navy blue, middling brown, and, of course, in the mix were a the usual allotment of old beaters with rusted fenders and rattling doors.

But then, what’s this I see? Here comes a sleek new car down main street. And it’s not conservative blue but a stunning silvery-blue chromed up like a sparkling gem. Like sun, blue water, sea foam and oxygen all mixed together.

Immediately I thought of Gary. Wishing he was there with me to see it. He would love, love, love it. With all that polish and shine. The motor humming so softly. Stealth-like, almost soundless, except for the soft duet of motor sounds and wheels scrunching on pavement grit. And with wheel hubs flashing in the sun.

Man, it was an exquisite car. Gary would have gazed and smiled in utter delight and laughed till he had me laughing as well. I just knew it.

It was lovely. As delightful as Gary’s smile. I saw the car regularly over the next few weeks, but Gary was never there to share that sight with me. Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen Gary for two or three weeks. In fact, not since that first day I had seen the new dream car in town.

Of course the only reasonable explanation for why I hadn’t seen Gary was that he must have finally found regular work for his truck. That was good. That was what he hoped for. What with regular truck break-downs and sporadic hauls, he kept smiling, but he told me he was falling behind in his payments.

I knew too, with winter approaching, that Gary would soon need to find a warm hole in someone’s basement to nest in for the winter that could parallel the economics of a roll of sausage and a loaf of bread. I also knew with equal certainty that no matter how dire his situation, he would not go home or move back in with his dad.

But I couldn’t help worrying about Gary. Last time I saw him, he had a terrible chest cold that worried me, and I was certain that temperatures between dusk and dawn posed a threat of pneumonia if he continued to sleep in his truck.

Doctors say colds are never caused by marrow-seeping cold. They insist they are only caused by viruses. And yeh, sure thing, if you live in a world of controlled heat that is undoubtedly true. But if you live in a gravel truck, colds ARE caused from the cold. No viruses—too cold for viruses—only the cold.

But despite Gary’s free-spirited thinking, he had a will to survive as strong as any others. Besides he still visited the old hag at the service station and as much distaste as I had for her, I knew she would not let Gary loose if he came to her with a hacking cough and a fever. She would do something to remedy that.

So I quickly dismissed fears of Gary being deathly ill and reasoned that however long it took before I would see Gary again, I could wait it out.

Meanwhile, each time I saw the silvery sleek car, I checked out the driver. She was a stranger in town. A woman in her early twenties named Charlotte.

Charlotte had an arrogant turned-up nose and straight blunt-cut platinum-blonde hair. I would have formed no pro or con opinions but I couldn’t help but feel disgust when I saw her driving that beaut of a car around town with craned neck and her pointy nose aimed at street lamps rather than the road in front of her. If she had any charm, which I was certain she didn’t, it was only what she extracted by default from the ownership of that car.

But we weren’t talking about her, we were talking about Gary and it was beginning to seem that Gary had disappeared right off the face of the earth. There were too many days tracking one after another that soon turned into weeks and still no word from Gary. And of course with the transient kind of life he led, either on the road, or holed up in his truck somewhere, it was quite impossible for me to seek him out.

There was nothing for it but to wait for him to contact me. Hopefully it would be soon. My heart was beginning to ache for his warm smile. And my soul beginning to yearn for the heady joy I always found in his company. Each day I rose with hope that I would see him, and each night when I went to sleep I was forced to transfer that hope to the morrow.

But then one afternoon, several weeks later, I saw Charlotte’s shiny silvery-blue car at the end of the block. I saw it lurch to a sudden squealing stop at the corner. And as it headed round the corner and up the street, I saw it skid into an uncontrolled temporary zig-zag as wheels spun and dust flew. By God, the woman must be stupid drunk.

I was so surprised. Particularly because every other time I had seen her driving about, it was always slowly with the greatest of caution and care.

And furthermore, if that was Charlotte in the driver’s seat, she certainly looked much taller today. Today she wasn’t craning her neck and pointing her nose at street lamps. But the sun was low on the horizon and in the naughty glare of dust and sun, it was hard for me to see who was in the driver’s seat.

The tinted windshield and lowered sun visor hid most of the driver’s face. I could only see the lower part of the jaw. But what I could see was two lips locked in a happy grin. My heart caught in my mouth.

It was Gary. Alone in the blue cruiser and in the driver’s seat. Did you hear what I said? Gary was in the driver’s seat!

A sharp pain like a striking bullet flashed in my chest. My heart exploded into a million, zillion little pieces. How could he? Why would he?

Fall's chill slammed the marrow in my bones.

NEXT POST: The Theft Caper
(Am I rambling too much or do I still have a reader or two?)