The Basics

I have to start with the basics this morning. I’ve had a cup of tea. It was large, with two high-caffeine coconut teabags, four packets of Splenda, and a heaping tablespoon of CoffeeMate (it tastes better in black tea. Ironic.). I will probably make another one soon, because I have a psychiatrist appointment at 2:00, and I have to go from Takoma to Rockville on the Metro. If I don’t, I will fall asleep and miss my stop. It’s that kind of day. I took a sleeping pill last night and it is not wearing off as nicely as it normally does. I feel as if I am walking through a castle made of Jell-o, my favorite scene in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

While I was drinking my tea, I was reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. So far, I hate it. The story is great, but the stream-of-consciousness is driving me crazy and I wish I had Cliff’s Notes to tell me what in the hell is going on. Joyce flips back and forth between dreams and reality, and it’s hard to tell which is which. I feel as if I am walking through a castle made of Jell-o, my favorite scene in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

It is especially poignant to me after reading Outlander, because it proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the UK has not changed its stances on Catholics and Protestants ever. Jamie and Claire are thought of as evil by the Protestants in the Outlander series, and a fight breaks out at Stephen’s dinner table over the very same thing. It pleases me to know that one of the bishop’s names is Lanigan. I am not sure that the Lanigans are part of our clan, being that my ancestor was out to sea when the cholera epidemic hit Ireland and therefore, my clan escaped with their lives, for which I am thankful. I am not especially thankful to be reading Joyce, but I feel it is a necessary endeavor. Not only am I Irish on my father’s side, no one escapes a liberal arts education without suffering.

I put Stephen Dedalus aside because my head was a little swimmy and realized that I’d forgotten to read the Outlander novellas, and I started one of them to become engulfed in that world once more. It is one of my favorites, ranking up there with the world of Harry Potter and the world of Doctor Who- incidentally, I believe that Outlander is based upon Doctor Who, so it’s no wonder that I was attracted to it once I got over the initial few pages. At first, I did not see it as a Doctor Who type escape. If I had, I would have swallowed it whole the first time it was recommended.

The novella is called The Space Between, and characters you thought were lost are in fact, not.

The thing I love about my Kindle the most is that I can be in the middle of many books at once without carrying the weight. The other books I am reading are 1776 by David McCullough, and John Adams by the same author. I have to thank Diana Gabaldon for getting me interested in the Revolutionary War, because frankly all I remember from Con Law is that Philadelphia was really hot in the summer. John and Abigail Adams are possibly my favorite people in the entire world of books, and I find it a damn shame that they are dead. What I wouldn’t give to take them to lunch……

I am slowly coming back to life after divorce and the loss of a great friend all at once, especially because I blame myself entirely. I have so much guilt that at times it’s hard to function, but getting lost in the world of literature and non-fiction is bringing me peace and propelling me forward. When I read, I go deaf to the rest of the world, and for it, I am grateful. When I am thinking about books, I am not thinking about grief, which consumed me for a time and is now a dull roar in my ears as I fall asleep. It still pains me greatly that at this time, I will never walk on the beach with either of them. I keep hope alive that as the waves crash against the shore, one of them will carry my messages of peace and turn their hearts. If that cannot happen, I hope for peace inside myself, that I can fix what I broke inside me and leave them behind with grace. I rail at God with “it’s not fair,” but only because in relationships, I do not view much of anything as a deal breaker… I forgive easily, and I am willing to rebuild anything broken from the ground up. I do not understand giving up. I do not understand letting go if I mean as much to them as they say I do. But none of those things are in my control, so the waves are on my own face, the ablution of tears and the taste of salt on my lips.

I told a woman from the Meetup that I wanted to see her again, without knowing that I lied. In the moment, I connected with her on a deep level. When I got home, I felt like I was betraying my own grief, that I needed more time to sit in it alone and not get wrapped up in the dopamine of dating. Not yet. It’s not time. I still need my monkish existence of books and solitude and tea and cookies. I fell hard for Dana in real life. I fell hard for Argo in our virtual world unto ourselves. Love on the ground and in the air. It was a high I’ve never felt, and will probably never feel again because I will not allow the luxury I took in feeling that kind of love for two people. I will not let two people into that space ever again, and I am having trouble with even one, knowing the capacity for destruction I’ve wrought on both loves of my life.

Now, the romantic feelings for Argo are gone. I needed them to go away, because it was just torturing me and fucking up our program. I had to let go of that part of myself, and I don’t miss it. What I do miss is the idea that we will one day have tea and books and solitude together instead of apart. Argo said, and I will remember this line forever and a day, that she needed to take the life raft of apart. Even though it was sad, it was beautiful because I could see us both as ships in the night, mooring unhinged.

Maybe someday we’ll pull into the same port, changed in only the way time can make plain.

I just have to start with the basics.


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