Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Underside

The problem with explaining the reason that I posted the quote earlier this week is that then I will be telling not just the glossed over part, not just the Disney-fied public consumption version of the truth, but the actual truth. The parts of the story that are ugly. The parts of the story that make me ugly.

Therein lies the rub.

I tell you guys a lot. Everything, it would seem. But do I really tell you anything at all? I wonder sometimes. The truth is, it’s somewhere in between, I suppose. Somewhere between what really happened and what makes a better story. Somewhere between the truth and what makes me look least like the really horrible person I probably am. What I post here is likely to be heavy on sitcom and light on Lifetime Movie of the Week.

I’m just not good at that. While I have zero problem with you knowing that I was thrown out of a bowling alley as a result of my cleavage or that I suck heinously at Pilates or even that I once wound up kissing my neighbor when he used a shovel to save me from a lizard, writing about the time my kid almost died isn’t going to be the first thing I go to.

I tell myself that it’s not why you guys come here. I convince myself that y’all expect profanity laden high-jinks. But that’s not entirely the truth either.

The truth is I don’t tell *myself* the truth, either.

The truth is I prefer the candy coated version of what really happened.

The truth is I prefer to forget.

The truth is supposed to be cathartic though, right? You’re supposed to feel great weight lifted from your shoulders. You’re supposed to let it go and move on, right?

Well I guess we’ll see.

Here then, my friends, is the candy coated version;

Once, I had a boyfriend. And another besides. BF1 never knew about BF2, or perhaps he did and looked the other way.

I did it because I was young. I did it because it was exciting. I did it because I could.

Even the candy coated version is sordid, but not nearly so much as what lies beneath. The tarry smear, indeed.

For that, I suppose, it’s best to start at the beginning.

When I was 19 I had a baby.

When I was twenty I lost my shit.

I lost my shit in the kind of epic way that makes a good coming of age movie. Only instead of the plucky heroine triumphing over adversity with a weepy realization and an uplifting soundtrack, I left.

I walked away from my job. I walked away from my home. I walked away from my boyfriend, my family and my friends.

I walked away from my child.

I walked 785 miles away.

Well, to be fair, I drove. But either way, I left.

My best friend from college gave me a couch to crash on and a friend of a friend found me a job. Weeks went by and I remember none of them. I woke, I ate, I worked, I slept.

All through the winter, it snowed. Each blanket of white insulated me from myself. Each frozen breath lulled me closer and closer to the edge. The farther I moved from my life the more I believed that my life didn’t really need me.

I swallowed a handful of pills with a 1/5th of Gentleman Jack.

I did it on a weekend I knew I would be alone. I didn’t want to be stopped.

When I awoke cotton mouthed, my head was pounding and 39 hours had passed. I had vomited in my sleep. I couldn’t even master suicide.

Days passed and weeks followed them and I marched blindly through them.

Until one day.

It’s funny how, in memory, things take on a new light, isn’t it? It’s funny how, in retrospect, you can pin-point. HERE. This is where everything changed. THIS was the fork in the road. At the time it just seems like Tuesday.

I was alone in the shop. Alone with my thoughts. Alone, completely.

It’s not that he was handsome. It’s not that he was charming. It’s not even that I liked him. It’s just that he was. It’s that, right then, that moment, a tiny crack appeared and he walked right through it.

It’s that, I suppose, I was ready.

The second day, he brought me a rose in a cheap grocery store vase.

The third day he brought me a sandwich.

The fourth day I fucked him on my kitchen floor.

I remember thinking that I should pull out the fridge and clean behind it.

Three or four times a week for the rest of that winter and spring he would come to town with a trinket or a wildflower or a sly, knowing smile. Three or four times a week I would look up and see him standing in the door brushing snow from his Carhardt and kicking it from his boots. Three or four times a week, I would smile. Three or four times a week I forgot that I wanted to die.

Then, one day, I realized living didn’t suck.

Not the sort of AH HA! realization that you might think, but rather one day I wanted to cease to exist and the next I realized breathing wasn’t a chore any longer.

Now I remember those days with a sort of haze around them. Like a movie with a soft focus filter that gives it the quality of a dream, they stretch before me so that I can see now where the corner was turned from darkness back toward the light.

A month or two went by and I began to realize that it was time to go home. Time to go back. Time to try to piece back together what, if anything, was left.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses. It wasn’t all forgive and forget. There was no do-over.

There were only shards of before left to pick up. Some of them were broken, some were missing.

Some I’ve never found again.

It would seem when you come undone there is no way to mend. The scar will always remain, standing out, ruining the perfect weave of what was with the dropped stitch of despair, the huge black stain of fucking it all up.

There is no forgiveness.

What is left is the memory of how things went pear shaped.

What is left is the stories; the one you tell and the truth.

11 little kittens say Meow:

Nadine Hightower said...

Do you know that song that Metallica sings...Until it sleeps....

A line in it goes, "Rip me open but beware, there are things inside without a care." I have that in me. There are things that are scarred deeply....hurtful things...Things that I will not say outloud.
Things I am tired of defending.
Things that ours will not understand.

You are brave.
I think the world of you...but you know that.

Racie Lover said...

I laughed and I cried at this story, Miss T. I not only won't utter somethings out load but I won't even talk to myself about them.

You are one brave girl and I heart you for that.

Miss Thystle said...

Oh, there are PLENTY of things far worse than this that will NEVER see the light of day, much less the internet.


It's seems that sometimes stories just need to be told and it was time for this one.

Lorrie Veasey said...

Holy Crap; we need a bigger trophy.

kwr221 said...

And we love you no matter which side you show,

although I'm sure there's some that prefer the side with a good cleavage shot.

PearlsOfSomething said...

Thank you for posting that today. I needed to be reminded that picking up pieces and forgive and forget are two separate things. I hope I can show a certain someone the difference.

Bj in Dallas said...

that probably wasn't easy to write but you did it with much style, and cracked me up at day four btw.
on a selfish note, glad nothing worked but getting a bad headache because I would not know a very cool person somewhere out there in my blog life-

C said...

We love you honey. I don't have anything pithier (is that a word?) to say than that.

Bj in Dallas said...

and while I'm at it, you got something over at my place..for excellence in blogness, and I told Racie to keep sharing the love, kind of like an STD but different...

Jane! said...

I was kind of afraid to come back... like maybe this was the glossed over story and there was going to be a more tarry underside.
You never stop amazing me.

Shereejb said...

It's cleansing to admit the ugly. I've told most of my ugly history countless times from the podium at countless AA meetings. With every telling, I've found that a little piece of it fell away. After awhile, sometimes years, sometimes decades, it was still ugly, but not in a burning shameful kind of way.

You've inspired me to start an honest blog. Now I have two of the fricken things to keep up with. Thanks loads. :)