Friday, March 4, 2011

Deep in the Heart

We've jettisoned decades of memorabilia in preparation for the open house on Sunday and my ultimate move to WhoKnowsWhere.  Yesterday, I jettisoned The Man from San Antone.  It made me cry, of course.  I've been crying a lot lately - especially Tuesday even though for the most part Buzz Kill has actually been stellar.   In fact, he's been a better partner during this final stage of separation than he ever was during the marriage. On Tuesday, though, as I watched taking a cart filled with things we've been sentimentally attached to for decades out to the dumpster, it occurred to me that he threw away our marriage too.

I cried so much my eyes were puffy until I went to bed the next day.  He could not help but notice I was falling apart, and eventually when he asked what to do with some Gourmet magazines I'd been saving since before Velvet was born, I told Buzz Kill that I felt like he'd thrown away me and the marriage.  He just said, "Don't even go there with me," and kept doing his job.  The next day he bought me a new coffee pot - exactly the kind I like and wouldn't buy for myself - and a giant bouquet of flowers for the living room.  We needed flowers because the real estate agent was coming to take pictures of the apartment to include in the New York Times advertisement for our open house on Sunday.  Buzz Kill chose my favorite flowers - Gerber daisies.  I had them in my wedding bouquet.

That's how I know Buzz Kill is really sorry.  He's never been one to discuss his feelings.  Fortunately, I grew up in the South where people often rely on indirect communication - so I recognize a meaningful gesture when I see one.  As it happens, understanding indirect communication was the reason I jettisoned The Man from San Antone.

Over the last year and a half or so, The Man from San Antone has been avoiding me.  Sometimes I think it's because we got too emotionally intimate on September 11, 2008.  He was in town to argue a case before Federal Court.  I never got the whole story, but it was a big deal because all his lawyer buddies had refused to help him with the case, saying that he was wrong about the law.  It had to do with bad pharmaceuticals or some other medical malfeasance.  For reasons I never learned, he could have landed his own self in jail if he didn't win the case - but that might have been because of money that had nothing whatsoever to do with the case itself.   He won it though, stayed out of jail and made nearly a million dollars for himself in the process.  The minute the news of his success got back to the boys in Texas, they started calling to congratulate him.  He was so pissed off at them for abandoning him in the first place that he wouldn't pick up his phone.

September 11th has a certain significance in contemporary American culture, but it also happens to be the day The Man from San Antone's father died.  The Man from San Antone always believed he was a disappointment to his father.  His mother, too, I think.  She's also dead.  He went out of his way to be a Black Sheep, which was an accomplishment in that family of flamboyant alcoholics.  It's hard work being The Man from San Antone.  Over dinner, he kissed my hand and said that of everyone in the world he could be with that night, he was glad it was me.  He then proceeded to indulge his self-destructive tendencies.  I hadn't phased off my meds back then, and had a Depakote in my purse.  Valium, too.  He took the depakote, then crushed the little valium and snorted it in his hotel suite - and that was after several drinks.  Seems like he was drinking bourbon, but I might be wrong.

The next year, of course, he sent me a nice sum of money to help pay off my therapy bill (Stonerdate 09.24.09).  I always interpreted that gesture as him making sure that he had the right of first refusal if I ever felt like being in a relationship again.  I figure that men don't give you money because they want to have sex with you, necessarily.  They give you money so you won't have sex with anybody else.  I never mentioned that to The Man from San Antone, however.  I was appropriately grateful, from a respectful distance.  By Christmas vacation that year, he stopped responding to my texts and voicemails -except for the time Velvet got arrested.  He responded instantly when Velvet got arrested.

The thing is, though, that if I'm not in trouble, I don't exist for The Man from San Antone.  He finally called me back after I raised that issue last month, and he promised to at least acknowledge my messages with a text.  That promise fell by the wayside this week. when I sent him a text saying I would be in Texas at the end of the month and wanted him to join me for a party in Austin.  More than 24 hours had passed and he hadn't taken 24 seconds to respond, so I said I would conclude he was dead and preferred it that way.  He wrote back then to say, "Screw you, Trish. What kind of a text is that?"  I replied that I had loved him a lot for a long, long time and finally understood it meant more to me than it did to him which really hurt.

You can't leave a hundred messages for someone who never even acknowledges s/he got them without coming to the conclusion that the individual does not want you in his/her life.  Granted that person may be having a personal crisis, but every single one of my other friends takes a minute to respond somehow - even if it's just to say they'll get back to me later. I figure that The Man from San Antone has been so helpful to me since my divorce not because he loves me - even though he will say he loves me effusively when he's been drinking especially if there's an audience.  It's because of his own need to be somebody's savior.  If I don't need saving, then he's as unavailable as all those other unavailable men I've dedicated myself to at one time or another.

I'm pretty sure that The Man from San Antone has forgotten that he and I had chosen April 1, 1982 as a wedding date.  Once we set a date, I realized I didn't want to be married at all, but I really wanted a party and a new dress.  To that end, The Man and I started throwing the Annual Bluebonnet Cotillion which was essential an acid party that barely remained in control.  We had three or four more before he went to law school in San Antonia, and I moved home to go to grad school.   He wouldn't remember that I'd be in Austin at Cotillion time - an anniversary of what might have been our wedding which would certainly have ended in disaster.  That's a good time to have a drink together and celebrate a lifelong friendship.

Or Not.
There will still be bluebonnets, though, and plenty of friends around the camp fire when MeanJean and JimBob celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on their land in the hills west of Austin.  I bet the stars that night will even be big and bright.


okjimm said...

Well.....hmmmm..... that was interesting. See... I gotz a lotta history, too, but for the most p;art... no one... no one... knows it. I kinda like it that way, but always am amazed that others can talk of theirs. and I do not mean that in a 'good way-bad way' dealie. I just can't.

//I figure that men don't give you money because they want to have sex with you, necessarily. They give you money so you won't have sex with anybody else.//

Well neither one worked for I just stopped giving money. Cookies I give. Like, if you have ever chewed on a ten dollar bill and then chewed on a $1.25 double macadamia nut cookie.....well, I still don't get laid, but everyone loves a cookie. just saying, is all.


cookies work for me too..

PENolan said...

okjimm, I've learned that I need to write my way out of situations that bother me. This thing with The Man is bothering me, so I'm living out loud again. What amazes me is that anybody reads it - and that so many theological types think it's spiritual when I think it's just my bullshit. Maybe theological types are compelled to study BS, what do I know?

I know a bit about cookies, though. Never met one I didn't like ;)

Hey Granny.

Susan Tiner said...

I'm a little confused. So you and The Man go way to grad school, broke up back in those days and started the annual party thing, then got intimate in 2008 but now it's off again?

I love reading your posts.

So good to hear that the Soul Crusher brought flowers and a nice coffee pot. And I can't wait to see your new cowboy hat.

PENolan said...

Susan, I obviously need to edit the post - but to clarify:

The Man and I started dating in the fall of 1979 when we were in a creative writing class together at UT Austin with a poet named Albert Goldbarth. The parties started in 1981. Four years later or so, I moved home but we really didn't break up until 1986 when he asked me to marry him again and I said, "No." I could never, ever have had children and remained sane in that family. All five children became lawyers to please their alcoholic, lawyer father. Some of them became alcoholics, too. One of the boys married a woman he met in law school - and they were all plaintiff's attorneys together in a beautiful old building on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Rich as hell, but dysfunction junction.

After I told him No, he tried to convince me to stay with him (and the family) with a weekend at a hotel they had just bought at the beach in Rockport, Texas. We really could have had great parties there - but I had already met Buzz Kill at a wedding in Austin. Once I had the weekend in New York with Buzz Kill there was no way I was going to get stuck with a life like his mother's - wandering around a house that had been in Architectural Digest drinking Beaujolais by myself all day. She happened to be a lawyer too, but never practiced on account of getting married. The Man never could get used to the idea that I left him for a New York Jew.

Anyway, The Man and I stayed in touch for a while after I got married. But once he got married that stopped. I can't even remember when he called me again - but he was in the process of getting a divorce. His wife was upset that he never stopped dating. I'm not sure whether she got involved with the Chicago white Sox before or after she left him. I filed for divorce about a year later.

It's not like we were really romantic - ever. Not even when we were fully together. And certainly we're haven't been exactly romantic lately, but it's a disappointment nevertheless. We've been good friends ever since we were kids together and have shared a lot.

PENolan said...

PS: Yeah - Buzz Kill is all right. He's just limited. *sigh* but I found my hat. It was hiding in my closet.

dissed said...

Sometimes you just have to ditch them. I've ditched, and I've been ditched, and we all lived through it. In fact, I don't think we miss each other, not that anyone notices. You don't hang on to a relationship that hurts your feelings. If the other person gets a clue and decides to crawl, beg, kiss your feet and worship the Wonder That Is You, well then, that's different.

Susan Tiner said...

Thank you for filling me in. Is Chicago White Sox another guy or were you referring to the team? When I lived on Long Island growing up, near the Queens border, my Jewish friends referred to the Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn near Borough Park as the Borough Park White Sox, so when I see White Sox, I don't immediately think of a ball team.

Looks like you dodged a bullet with The Man, but I'm sad too that you've lost a friend.

I'm so glad you found your hat.

Jaliya said...


With you, friend


Lisa said...

It's like reading a diary. I'm glad you don't mind. And now I owe our mutual friend Craig a skype message. I think it's my turn to say hey. Thanks for the reminder that it's easy to just say hey.

PENolan said...

@Susan - Borough Park? Now THAT'S funny ;)
It was the whole teams. If you're compelled to get back at your spouse's serial infidelities, a baseball team seems like a sensible plan.


Lisa, you know I love it when people are interested in my diary ;) Lesley Parsley, of Parsley's Pics has reminded me that it is helpful to plenty of folks to know we all have these kind of feelings. Your blog is like that, too.

dissed, I wouldn't be surprised to get a remorseful, drunken phone call on St. Patrick's day. Then again, he likes to see himself as a big, old bear wandering alone in the woods - so he may do that for a while.

It's also occurred to me that he may have been drying out in rehab lately and that's why I haven't heard much from him, but you know, it still only takes a minute to show you care about maintaining a relationship with a dang text.

MRMacrum said...

I am glad Buzz Kill showed some class and his good side. Even if it was too late to really matter. At least he stepped up for a moment.

Most of us guys are not assholes all the time. Of course my wife may have a different notion about this.

PENolan said...

MRMacrum, Buzz Kill has put so much effort into sprucing up this apartment that we'll net some extra thousands. It's never too late for cash.

Just as men aren't always assholes, women aren't always crazy bitches. Maybe that's how babies actually get made and live into adulthood.

Hope springtime comes soon to Maine

mac said...

It's always sad to see a part of our lives close like that. I remember feeling lost when The Woman Who Hates Testicles (I'm working on her psuedonym?) first separated. I thought I was loosing my best friend. Then, I realized we hadn't really been friends for a L O N G time.

Lawyers are a tricky lot. I can never figure whether they are truly interested or merely trying to win "another case". For some, it seems the argument is more than the situation at hand.

Jennifer said...

I can't help but think all this jettisoning is a good thing. Both my parents are fond of saying, "it's just stuff." Especially when you're a writer, you take what memories or learning or understanding or emotions you need from the stuff and make something real from it: meaning.

The Man isn't just stuff. Or maybe he was. Because it's hard to move on when you're carrying to much around with you.

PENolan said...

@mac - yes, lawyers often argue for kicks. I didn't think about it when I sent The Man the text saying not only was he Dead but he owed me money. It has slipped his mind that he said he'd pay me $5000 back in 1987 if I'd sign off all my rights to his future income. Palimony - sheesh! Anyway, even counting the money he sent for my shrink, he still owes me $1500.

I'm the quietest ex-almost-wife a man ever had.

@Jennifer, I'm absolutely sure that offloading all this Stuff is an excellent move. Now that we've officially launched this project with the open house, I feel 100% better. It's occurred to me that I can do any damn thing I want to when this place sell - even put my furniture and treasures in storage and join the Peace Corps. Why should my kid be the only one who gets a semester abroad?

If I don't get a new job description and raise at work, I think I'll rent a place in Austin and write my racy memoirs. That might constitute following my bliss.

Cali said...

I'm involved with someone who doesn't necessarily return my calls, too. In fact, there are a lot of things to frustrate the hell out of me about my significant other. Be that as it may, we've stuck together for 22 years.

The first time we were introduced I knew he was The Man for me. I broke up with the guy I had been dating for a month or two so that I would be free to date him. It looked to me and all of my friends like we were headed in that direction, but then it didn't happen.

We became best friends while I waited, and waited, and waited. Nothing boyfriend-y happened for nine years. Then I had to wait two more years for him to get out of a messy relationship with a very flawed woman. Only then were we free to explore the obvious attraction.

Four years later he got thrown in the hoosegow for being incredibly stupid. He was gone for five years. My butt got flattened sitting on stainless steel stools for hours every week for a year when he was still nearby.

When he came home I was out of town. I came home as soon as I found out he was home. He rushed here to see me the moment I arrived at home at midnight. I thought everything was fine, but then he wouldn't accept my invitations and then I stopped calling.

This went on for two more years. I was determined to be done with him. Then he came back and I discovered the reason he stopped contact: his 22 year-old nephew had died of an abscessed tooth. I cried like a baby when I found out.

Now we seem to be at another impasse. He still visits, but we don't do anything sexual, which is really hard for me because, A) he's the love of my life, and B) I had given up on relationships altogether during his last absence. Additionally, I went through menopause and lost my sexual desire. Then it came back when he did and now the sexual part seems to be over after only two months. Right now I'm angry with him for reawakening my desire only to be denied, again.

I think he freaked out when our forteenth anniversary passed. Or perhaps it was because I started asking for more than he's been giving because I'm menopausal and it takes more to get me there. I don't know, he's horrible at these sorts of talks, or at least he always has been. When we are together I never seem to find a moment to cram the damned elephant into the conversation. It's just been so long since we've been able to speak freely that there are quite literally a million other things to talk about.

I wish I knew what to do about this mess.

PENolan said...

Cali, I wish I knew, too.
People freak out for all kinds of reasons, but the reading I'm doing lately brings everything back to Fear - whether it's personal or political. Fear and ego.

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