My dearest, up in the aerie, cardigan over my shoulders as I type, the air cooling as the sun goes down, back from a pleasant jaunt, the car mine at 3:30, and me having fit everything in including ecstasy, I drove to Olana, stopping first at a farmstand where I bought a brilliant bunch of exuberant coral, peach, & yellow-centered zinnias, thirsty flowers that I stuck in a drinking glass of water that I'd put in the cupholder for that very purpose. (Took a few sips first as I too was thirsty.) And there was winter squash to be had at the roadside spread, and red onion, and cartons of peaches, which I ignored. Olana is five minutes from there, and I arrived after four, correctly guessing that I'd thus bypass the "vehicle user fee" (a/k/a, a particularly regressive form of taxation that hits less-moneyed classes hardest, and possibly has a dampening effect on their ability to visit such a magnificent park - but I digress), five dollars that I preferred to spend in the giftshop where I was headed, which is full of eye candy for me. It's a small dimly lit space, with a nice corner of books & notecards relating to Olana and to the Hudson River School of Art. Also they feature a few exquisite items, such as decorative locally-fired ceramic tiles - at $20 and $35 apiece, but - oh, if my fireplace could be thus festooned, no - that's not the right word, just so decoratively and rightly enhanced with these beautifully hewn and charming glazed stylized tiles... Ah well. When D & I were in the so-called planning stages of trading in the windfall from the sale of our one-bedroom in Brooklyn, for a fixer-upper with "bones," I thought he & I were on the same page - that we might be crafting something together - it didn't happen, or sort of did, but there's an awful lot of willfully (of psychic necessity) walking around with blinders on, on my part, just so I can deal with all the disrepair. This morning though I finally, out of sheer exasperation, picked a battle. We've been here over six years. It's just the two of us. There is one towel rack. For two bath towels. I am tired of perpetually damp towels, or mine strewn to dry over the shower rod. Yes, but not without a very tedious argument - yes, finally there is a second towel rod now put up, as of an hour ago, on which my bath towel is spread to dry. I just wonder - and I asked him this - how do you yourself stand it? Of course the retort was that he's "the only one working around here." These days, yes that's true. I don't really know what to say. I'm not blameless. I don't know. I have this whole other script (like a computer virus) that goes on in my head. I'm not sure if it's fair or accurate. Maybe it doesn't matter. I used to have a lot of energy. He banked on it. Now I don't. What would I do if I even suddenly got a whole lot of energy? What is there for me to do? So I type. No, not really, I write - I suppose it can be called that. (Though I'm always cowed by people, many much younger than me, who are on their first or third or seventeenth novel or volume of poetry or whatever.) I don't know. I guess, I just feel that I'm doing all I feel I could be doing, that I have, in this strange place I'm in. What D really wanted, I realize now, was for me to be the strong one pulling in the steady income, the "Wellesley" woman he thought he'd married. And for a while I convincingly pulled off that act, it was a bad strain on me, and the older I got the harder it was for me to pull it off, it wasn't me. I didn't have children, and now I do this. Yeah, maybe I am a bitch - maybe I'm reclaiming at least something I felt that I didn't quite get. It's very confusing to me. It's not quid pro quo - either I was going to have the viable option of having a child (wasn't viable at all in the conundrum of two-earner requirement in a one-bedroom in Brooklyn), or I was going to try for something else later. What I refuse to accept is simply not striving, not trying, not having a dream. If you're going to have a Catholic education and then reject it, then at least == well, just because I still feel a glimmer of hope - I can't be dragged down because he doesn't. And then it becomes class warfare between us, which completely sucks. But he never had the dream, or it got sucked out of him for some reason only he never did anything about it. But is that any reason for me to not turn from a caterpillar to a butterfly?
Very great, sincere apologies for this post. I don't have an unambiguous life.