As most of you know, my last half-dozen years have generally sucked out loud. Knowing I brought much of it upon myself didn’t really help me get through it any better, but with time, understanding how it all came about has brought a certain … oh, I don’t know, perhaps “maturity,” or “wisdom,” or at the very least, “a healthy sense of humility.”
Being an only child, I have always had a very strong need to spend time alone. When I had slumber parties as a little girl, I could sometimes be found up in my room to get away from the busy-ness of the other girls. Thus, a lot of the time during the past six years was spent by myself, which afforded me perhaps entirely too much time to dwell on my misery.
During my last year in Washington, I discovered The Olympic Club and a wholly terrific group of guys there who taught me how to play snooker. More nights than not, I went down there to have a few beers and spend hour upon hour glued to that enormous table with the many tiny balls. It was great fun and had the added bonus of getting me out of my head for the duration. I focused on my shots, and on Wendy, Mark, Andra, Allison, Gene, Stanley, Terry, Donnie, John and the others in our little group. The jukebox, the company, the atmosphere, the food and the beer were all outstanding.
As I drove the two miles home, up the winding road to the top of my hill, my mind would begin to get itself back on track, and I found myself thinking almost subconsciously, “was there something bad? Is there something awful I’m forgetting?” There usually was, whether it was dreading my impending financial doom, being wracked with grief over Zephyr’s brutal death, hating my job at the ranch and then the motorcycle shop, or worrying about any number of the bad things that had happened over the last years. There was a brief sense of panic, wondering what was going to hit me first and plummet me back into depression, and then there it was, whatever the demon of the moment would be.
It wasn’t so bad, once it washed over me – it was where I was used to being. It was just that moment of wonderment, “was there something bad,” when I felt four years old. That was the perhaps one of the worst parts, the transition from being happy and distracted to realizing there was something awful I had to remember in the next few seconds.
After work today, I had to go to the local enormous grocery store to procure the ingredients for my Christmas mushroom pie and black sticky gingerbread. Gathering the supplies, I was thinking of Mike and I picked up an impulse item for him. Happily going about my business, and very happily thinking about Mike and how lucky I am, I checked out, hopped into my car and began the drive home.
We’ve been getting a truly glorious amount of snow here, which makes road conditions interesting. It’s as if Michigan was wholly unprepared for such an event as a metric honkload of snow. My Forester excels in the snow, though, and I enjoyed clawing through it with ease. It did require some concentration for awhile, though, and as I came into a clear stretch of one of the main roads, I realized I had previously been focused on something pretty intently, and it had slipped my mind.
“Was there something bad?”
I felt the tiniest trace of frightened, desperate tears as the thought came to me, the realization of being about to remember what I’d been thinking about. Years of well-worns paths opened up before me; surely, here comes the hurting.
And then it slowly encompassed me, this warm wave of comfort, remembering I am deeply in love and deeply loved in return. Remembering I’m insanely happy in a healthy relationship. It wasn’t something bad – it was something wonderful, and I had to wipe away tears of happiness and relief. Knowing Mike was out there, caring about me, perhaps thinking of me, was a steadying and reassuring force.
I can’t imagine a better Christmas gift at a better time.