Friday, February 11, 2011

Darlings, my mind's a bit melancholic this moment, turning unanswerable quandaries over and over. Don't even know what to say. Have been reading a couple of extremely well-written and intriguing online advice columns, and ensuing letters, over the last couple of days, one on the wherefores of blogging, the other on an age-old relationship problem.

I wish I had a mother, a protective family, anyone, I could turn to for advice. I wonder how any couple can really seriously emotionally faithfully last through a marriage of 50 years. I don't see how that's possible if one is "alive" as opposed to sleepwalking. My parents made no pretense of having an edifice. That was a damaging thing. But propping up a false edifice - that doesn't seem right either. I respect boundaries truly - but was that incredibly sexy, vibrant, desirable, flirtatious woman truly monogamous for 50-plus years, including the last ten when her husband's been incapacitated? Did she really check everything at the door? Does she truly live so completely vicariously through her children, et al? I find it confusing. I don't know.

I think this is one of those conversations that I wish I could have while lying in your arms. There really are questions that I have, not so much personal ones, about specifics of your marriage, or mine, or anything like that. More, broader existential ones. I found myself thinking this afternoon (as I noted in my journal) "I can completely forgive you for being married to someone else, because you met her before you met me, years and years before." (It's harder for me, with the other one.)

Marriages, these long-lived ones, when we've been in them for so very long, decades. Each one that I think of is so different.

This post is not a polished set piece. It's more like, when I was a girl, going to the ice skating rink set up in the the parking lot at the back of the stone-edificed elementary school, pulling on borrowed or nominally rented skates and making my way, grasping the edge, trying to figure out how to skate. I liked going there, it was cheerful and merry, loads of children were there, and I could be in a crowd and at the same time by myself, making my way around the perimeter. Sometimes I'd let go of the side and glide for a bit, but then there was the side to grab hold of again if I needed to. Sometimes I fell down. I dreamed of figure eights, small ones and large ones. The rink was a circle, not a perfect one, but I thought of perfect circles, their infinite properties (cirumference, diameter, 360 degrees - a line in half - 180). The school building had already turned into a "community center" - because, stone edificed or not, one night when I was fast asleep, in first grade, the school - which even at the time (c. 1965) was very old, 75 years or more - caught fire and blazed and burned. It was utterly destroyed, the interior that is. The stone edifice remained, and over the years got remade into a community center. I had attended first grade there, though, and the night the school burned down I had left stuff in my little cubbyhole that went with the blaze. Stuff being Christmas presents - books - that I had stashed away to tell at show-and-tell the following week, an illustrated Heidi, and a large illustrated volume of verse.

Anyway! Darling darlings. I used to go skating by myself. I'd encounter a little girl friend or two there, and supervising adults from a makeshift stand poured hot chocolate from thermoses, or maybe a pot. So I'd make my way around, burn calories, work out problems as I went round and round, and I'd drink some cocoa, do up and then undo the skates, I'd make my way upright for a while and occasionally fall, and then I'd return the skates and make my way past the community center that was no longer my beloved old elementary school. After it burned down its students, me included, were bused in makeshift ways to various schools all over town, my huge town - who ever knew there was a school attached to the Greek Church of the Archangels? And yet there in the afternoon shift, I spent the remainder of first grade, and part of second - not sure now, honestly, where in town that was!

Darlings, will let you go. But if you have it all better figured out than I do... well - oh, I don't know that you do. Maybe.

Love you.

No comments:

Post a Comment