Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It’s funny, the things that get you.

Today, it was Brad Pitt and Sarah Vaughan.

If you haven’t seen Brad Pitt lately, you might not know that he’s sporting a longish goatee that is far grayer than the hair on his head. As a People.com junkie, I’ve seen a lot of pictures of him like this lately, and it’s always been striking to me. But it wasn’t until today that it became clear why. His goatee looks like A’s when he’d let it go shaggy and it needed a trim. That earned a silent “Aha.” Not much of a reaction; just a mental acknowledgement.

Not so the Sarah Vaughan song, “Make Yourself Comfortable.” It triggered a flashback where A and I were sitting at his dinner table eating, like normal couples do every day, except that we weren’t a normal couple; or rather, we were, but our circumstances weren’t. When you live in two different states, you don’t get to sit down to dinner every night. So when we did get the chance, it was magical. To me, anyway. He was far less likely to gush about things, including dinner at the same table, so I don’t know what he thought about that. But because we only got to do it every few months or so, I tried to soak in every minute of being close to him, to memorize him for the times in between when we were apart.

I guess it worked, because the flashback wasn’t just a memory I was having here; I was also there simultaneously, sitting in that chair, with him within arm’s reach, steaks cooling on our plates. And then my eyes felt hot and prickly. It’s not the loss of it that hurts me; I cannot lose that dinner. It’s remembering how good we were together and cannot be anymore that is the knife’s edge. It’s the good stuff that gets me most often.

I’m long past the point where everything is a trigger for tears and hurt, but I guess I’ll never be to the point where nothing is a trigger. And I whined in my journal about the unfairness of it—again. Still. 50 years of missing someone seems cruel and unusual punishment for the offense of loving him. I’m just 3 years into a life sentence, with no chance for parole. What do I do with that?


  1. What do you do with that? Beats me...but when you find out, let me know. I don't know why, but I still struggle with it quite a bit; because Charley and I were married for such a short time--only 19 months, and only back together for less than 3 yrs--I think I feel guilty many times for still holding on to something that "didn't last." I think if we'd been married longer (although don't ask me what number...5 yrs? 10?) I don't think I'd feel so guilty, because we would have won at least a few tests of time. Perhaps it's all the friends whose marriages didn't survive past 3 years, 5 years, 8 years. I dunno, but it makes my stumbles through the grief so much more complicated...so I can only imagine it does with you a little bit too, although you seem more accepting of them than I'm able to do yet. Sigh.

    I also find I don't remember the good stuff too often and I focus more on the things (in me usually) that I know drove Charley nuts. The messy house, my slovenliness, my laziness, etc.: for some reason it's easier to beat myself up over my shortcomings--knowing that Charley wouldn't have liked them much--than it is to remember how much he loved me and that he helped me be a better version of myself. Perhaps it hurts less this way. Who knows?


  2. e only had 2 years together, but we sure packed a lot into it; so much that I sometimes can't believe it was such a short time. He was one of those people I felt like I had known forever, right from the start. He told me he felt the same way about me. I think it was true. All the circumstances and timeframes aside, I know what we had was a real, true, deep love. And it HAS lasted; so I don't feel the least bit guilty holding on to it; it's mine. That much I get to keep.