Anyone who knows me even a little is aware of how much mental, emotional, and spiritual energy I spend in an effort to understand the why and the how of things. When I believed in god, then karma, then a cosmology of grand-joined-mind-design incomprehensible to us here but “in charge” of things, it was so much easier.
I don’t think there’s a god or a plan. Shit just happens. But STILL I spend so much time wondering why and how.
This, then, today’s wonderment and befuddlement. If you follow me, you know that yesterday my dear, Judah, died. If you read the post you know it sent me into a memory-spiral of a difficult period in my life where I lost a lot of essential, irreplaceable loves of different kinds in a devastatingly short time. The friend to whom I referred then, was S, who was one of the few male friends I have ever had, and the only person with whom I could actually speak the truth about my dating and hooking-up — two things at which he found me WOEFULLY inadequate. S was always encouraging me to take chances, approach people, tell people I was interested. We would go out dancing together and he was an inveterate waver, ever hopeful that the beautiful men to whom he threw out a line would bite. I was just as certain that if I did, they would not, but S said, “So what if nine out of ten are nos? There’s the one.”
I had very few ones for a very long time. But that is another story. So, Judah’s death, memories of S, and I talked to him last night, in my imaginary world, “S, you’d be so proud, I’ve actually opened myself up a bit and decided to trust someone, risk a one, and I’m supposed to have what amounts to a date sometime this weekend.” I miss him so much, my S, because he would be able to talk to me about all of this (and other things in this category) and talk me down and laugh, his laugh, amazing that.
Well, timing. Today, Thursday, my Mom day. My Mom is so beautiful. So loving. So brave. And so crazy. All the things we got at Boscov’s last week — every one of which I warned her would not fit — she wanted to return today. My Mom. For whom I bought six large-print Reader’s Digest novels (which each contain TWO) this week, which I forgot to bring along. My Mom. Ever practical, who suggested I drop her and my sister at Boscov’s while I ran home to get her books because, “Oh, you know I love Reader’s Digest large print novels!” Yes, yes I do, thus my purchase. My Mom. Who wanted to lunch at Bob Evans where, there, at a table across from us, was S’s mom.
I’ve seen her only once since S died. I panicked. I knew she didn’t recognize me and, honestly, she’s been through so much, I wasn’t sure it was her until I heard her mention both of her surviving children. I am me, and so, I was torn because I was afraid of what I’d do in my missing S fugue, and when I said to my sister, “I don’t know what to do,” I burst into weeping and hurried to the bathroom.
You cannot really, I think, appreciate having lost one’s dignity until you have locked yourself into a toilet stall in Bob Evans to weep. Well, truth: while in there I considered DM-ing Duchess Goldblatt and/or Pamela, but managed to control myself, so, I suppose I could have humiliated myself more. Instead I . . .
. . . pulled myself together. I finished lunch. I went over to her table. First words out of her mouth; “I was just watching you again last night in Evita.” (I played Che Guevara in my early twenties, S directed.) She was so loving, so kind, and went on and on to me and my Mom and sister about how much she loved me, how everyone loved me, how she thought of me all the time, how she was always asking everyone where I had gone and no one would tell her.
I cried, but just a little, when she said, “I miss S every single day still. But everyone loved him so much, didn’t they, Charlie. Just like they love you. Why don’t you sing anymore? I need you to sing for me. You have the most beautiful voice in the world.” And she said to my Mom, “We both had wonderful sons, didn’t we!?” My Mom agreed. Certainly, both S and I put them through a lot, and, also, were well loved by them and loved them very well in return — the Mothers and Sons thing.
And it would all have been lovely, there, had I not found out she doesn’t really have a place to live and can’t seem to get in anywhere senior-ish and hasn’t much (she said no) money, which makes no sense to me.
Still, all in all, I thought, seeing her was good. Seeing her was scary. And it was such odd timing, for a decade to have passed without seeing her and to run into her today.
But I didn’t think about it then because . . .
I was taking Mom and sister to Boscov’s (P.S. Mom has already called this evening about her new Boscov’s trade-ins to say they don’t fit!) and went to fetch her books, then in search of her pretzels at a grocery store and then dropped her off, brought sister home, and I head to the gym because, you know, along with the SEVERE diet I’ve been on, I have been working out to near death to try to get as tight as possible in case anything exciting happens on this weekend “date” — first in decades — I’m having.
I think you can guess what’s coming.
Get to the gym, there was the fellow I decided to try to open myself up to, to think about trusting, to take a risk, to say yes to, and he saw me and went out of his way to avoid me. Or, it seemed. I thought, “Hmm, don’t be silly, he talks to you all the time, every time, seeks you out, he must not have seen you.” I went downstairs where he’d gone and he cut me, again, and so, me being me, I was going to hang my head and go home. Which, I wish I had, but I took seeing S’s Mom as a sign and so I channeled S and walked up to him and said, “What’s up? Something wrong?”
He said, “Look, it’s not gonna happen now. I’ve started seeing someone younger with really good teeth.”
I’m not kidding.
The only thing he could have added to make it worse was “and he’s thinner than you” —
I mean, honestly, what does it say about me that THIS was the fellow I thought it would be good to say yes to? This fellow who couldn’t just say, “Oh, something has come up” or some nice lie, but, rather, go somehow right for the places that would eviscerate me most.
Now, I don’t believe in god or karma or fate or anything, which is good, because I would have to ask myself what the fuck I did to bring this sort of shit on myself. Granted, I have not always been anywhere near perfect, have made many mistakes, but I have NEVER been deliberately cruel. NEVER. And, it seems to happen to me a lot. And, also, a lot in this life, I do the Charlie Brown thing where I convince myself to run at the football again and, thwack, it’s pulled away and I hit the ground and am knocked breathless and bruised.
So, yeah. Anyway, tomorrow, I start a house and pet sit, a week, and I’m taking a lot of books and I’m not leaving the house. Not going to the gym. Actually thinking of quitting. I ate three brownies tonight. Actually thinking of not throwing them up. Thinking of taking up smoking again.
Because, you know, if shit’s gonna happen anyway, well, why not? Because this wondering why and how? Final sort of “hmm, why?” of the day, S’s Mom told me that his niece had starred in a play in the theatre I built and bled for – not how she put it, but, there it is, the worlds I made and sacrificed much for are still serving other people, which is good, yes. But, also . . . too long a story about the things I gave up to save my life and . . .
. . . I’m tired kids. And probably shouldn’t post this, but, you know what – I’ve done a lot of shoulds for a long time – and fuck the shouldn’ts. The younger men with better teeth (who are thinner and prettier) can worry about should and shouldn’t.