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Saturday, September 29, 2012

An Unlove Story Part 3 of 3

See Part 1 here
See Part 2 here
 
 
Busy, she paid no attention to any of his doings for a couple of years until at odds with herself and the world one night, she stalked Connie on Facebook and, shocked, found a wall-post that stated that she and her love were moving to Newfoundland shortly.

No, she thought, Newfoundland is far too small for the both of us. Well, actually, three of us. She would trip over this man. She just knew she would.  The thought appalled her. And try as she might, she had difficulty placing the Jack she knew in Newfoundland. He and Newfoundland would be as two mismatched socks.

Connie posted frequent updates on the projected move. But something was off. She used 'I' a lot, not 'we'? H'm? She posted she'd been to Newfoundland in June and had fallen in love hopelessly and forever. She mused that she and Connie were kindred spirits, based on their shared feelings for Newfoundland. Connie announced that she'd upped and sold her house in Ontario in preparation for her move in September.

Then last week Connie celebrated her leaving of Ontario with an announcement of a champagne brunch attended by Bill and all her 'supportive' friends. Bill? A hitherto unmentioned son? A nephew? Why no mention of Jack?

Connie arrived in Newfoundland on Monday and posted on her wall for her friends and dearly loved 'supporters' in Ontario:
    “Got rid of the cheater, the liar, the stealer, the thief and the fraud, the deceiver.” 
and
“I'm now with my new love Bill, and loving my Newfoundland life.”


And all the pieces crashed into place. Every single last one. Her sense of relief was overwhelming. She felt fortunate she hadn't been similarly afflicted and abused. And that Connie had escaped so quickly.
 
She lit a candle in thanks to one who was long dead:

For her grandmother, who had imparted many truisms to her over her formative years, had once bestowed on her the best advice ever:

           "Never give your money to a man. For you will lose both your money and the man.”






Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Unlove Story - Part 2 of 3

Sorry if I wasn't clear in the last post - this is a 3 part story. Part 1 is here.


And then. When she called him that last time it was to tell him she couldn't cope with his darkness. A darkness he was unprepared to do anything about. It was affecting her life, her business. His anger flared. She heard the sharpness of his breathing. He said she didn't understand the depths of his despair over his financial situation, he was going to have to sell everything. She was unsympathetic, pragmatic. Well, of course he did, she responded. She had reviewed all his documents. Yes, sell, of course. His response was to yell that this was all he had ever worked for. Hard. And now he was losing it all, and she didn't care.
 
After that, there was a long silence, where she felt hot tears spring to her eyes. She knew there was no more to be said. But she waited for him to retreat from this moment, this outburst, to fix it with a sorry, but he didn't. And finally he was the one who hung up and she held the phone to her ear until the automated ladyvoice came on telling her to hang up now.

That's the thing though. In this social networking age, isn't it? Does anyone really pull the plug? She didn't. Maybe it was the writer in her, she had to know what happened next. Of course she did. Plus she'd always had difficulty letting go of people who held importance in her life. Even abusers. Serious difficulty. The hope of change in those who hurt her. Of their one startling moment of awareness which would slide them back into the shared envelope of love. Foolish and infantile, she knew.

So they would email each other the odd time. Updates on life. And then the announcement of his re-marriage three years ago. To someone who understood him. He had “searched the world” for such as she. Had travelled from Hawaii to Singapore and then to Vancouver where he found her. Connie was his true soulmate.

Connie was easy to find on Facebook, linked as Jack's friend. Their wedding was on a yacht. A pretty woman in a lovely wedding dress. Her daughter as bridesmaid. Her passion for him was evident. “Darling”, “sweet”, “special”, were frequent adjectives used in the photo captions.

She congratulated Jack. And meant it. And she closed the door. But sometimes she wondered idly why her romance had foundered while theirs thrived. As one does. As she did. But it was truly over now and she moved on. Fiercely. Firmly.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Unlove Story – Part 1 of 3

OK, I've retracted my exploded lobes with regard to the climate change  blog-harumphs I've had in the last few days and am back to doing what I probably do best which is story-telling. OK? I'm anonymous here for a reason. I tell true stories. And this is one. I'm glad I'm anonymous. I could get into a lot of trouble, couldn't I?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
The ending had been abrupt. Their relationship had been worth more, surely, than that last cruel phone-call, followed by her hurriedly packing up the boxes of ex-lover debris, the bathroom detritus, the changes of clothes, the zircons (she would've kept diamonds, if there had been any) that outrageous red lingerie, the books, the letters, the cards, the framed pictures, the silver-plated (plate? pshaw!) hair gear, the tiny emerald earrings, the golden chains.

She had felt bad when it came to the bonsai garden, even though it had seemed rather too precious sitting on its own table in the curved corner of the living room. But still. It was perhaps the only element alive of what had once been an incredible passion. It came complete with water ponds and tiny lily-pads which had died when she had forgotten to fill the water tank at the back. But the miniature oak held firm and green. She wondered how it all would fare in the box on the post office truck to his house and couldn't stop the guffaw, yes, it was an uncontrollable guffaw, thinking of all that earth spilling over his black underwear. He wore only black jockeys. Clue number one to the fallacy of a man who declared himself adventurous and fancy free.

But there was a missing element to the break-up. And she couldn't nail it. Something didn't sit right. What the hell was it?

He had been very depressed. Had actually forbidden her to be happy as it was making his depression worse. He went on and on about his financial situation. He was way over extended in the financing of his real estate portfolio. Lines of credit, expensive mortgages, utility and tax bills. Along with an upcoming finalization of the asset split between himself and his ex-wife (his second). His son had severed a business relationship with him. He was at odds with his grandsons, couldn't tolerate their ill manners, the long hair hiding their downcast faces as they thumbed their electronic devices. Who were these creatures with no respect for the old?

She had suggested therapy. She had given him financial counselling (not a small thing, it was her living, after all). She had continually asked if there was anything she could do, anything to help. He would respond he would wind up on the streets begging for quarters from strangers He didn't deserve her. She thought he might snap out of it. He was beginning to sound like a peevish querulous old geezer, someone from another generation.

He was far from the man she had fallen in love with. His new criticisms of everyone and everything associated with her had given her this unvoiced anger which rippled across her life and tainted even the small victory of a morning run. He had begun to hate her leaving him when they were together even for such a mundane event as a dog-walk. His refusal to walk came by way of his mother who had lived to ninety-five with no exercise. For an intelligent man with many degrees he could be quite obtuse.

All in all, the break-up wasn't a bad thing. She knew that. Logically. But what did emotions have to do with logic?

And still the thoughts of the pre-depressed Jack kept intruding. The light-hearted Jack. The supportive Jack. The Jack who would sit in the bathroom as she showered at the end of a long working day and would say: “Tell me all about your day.” The Jack who would travel hundreds of miles for an art exhibit. The Jack who would book outrageously luxurious hotel rooms for no reason in Niagara Falls and Kingston and London. The Jack who would sing publicly walking along a Toronto street and tell anyone who would listen of his love for her. There had been two years of this lightness, this fun. And then.

 



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Climate Change Denial

Further to my post on Wot? A Wacky World? yesterday, the U.K. Guardian answers the dilemma of some of us on the lack of North American media attention to the biggest crisis of the millenium, namely climate change, with an article titled:

America's miasma of misinformation on climate change

"With serious reporting of global warming by US media virtually nonexistent, it's no wonder Americans are paralysed in denial."
 
It is accompanied by an affirming photo of a Burger King sign.
 
So, yes, as per your comments Europeans are well stocked with full media information and even corrective measures in countries such as Germany with its focus on solar energy.
 
But here in Harperland (Canada) with the pushing of the Alberta oil sands and, Maude forbid, the drilling of the arctic a coming reality, it's no wonder that so little is said of the ongoing catastrophic effects on Mother Earth of our profligate ways or the possibility of a corrective turn in our plundering and despoiling of her resources. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wot? A Wacky World?

The Gannets of Cape St. Mary's August 2011
 

Or world out of wack. Or “What? Me Worry?”

On August 8th this year, thousands and thousands of gannets flew away, en masse, from their nesting grounds on Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland. Abandoning their solitary chick. Gannets have only one chick a year and safeguard it as we would our own babies. Both birds attending to its every need.

Word of mouth here spread the news. Nothing was published on the phenomenon. (Bird watching at Cape St.Mary's is a huge tourist industry. )

I now see on a Google search that there is finally something on this catastrophe in the Winnipeg Free Press where a biologist is attributing the vanishing bird-parents to the higher temperatures of our oceans.

Daughter was driving through Quebec recently and discovered, in a conversation with a local, that their gannets were falling dead from the skies. A phenomenon never seen before. A web search brings up nothing on this.

And this all brings to mind what other serious environmental wake-up calls are not being publicised. Media being bought and paid for like never before and all that.

Common Dreams struggles along, its lamp still held high, bringing our attention to the arctic ice disaster on a regular basis. The record breaking iceberg run past Newfoundland this past few months was startling to many of us. We dared to whisper: is this the last of the northern ice? How much is left?

And still we party, like there is no day of reckoning tomorrow.

 
And sure, maybe it's all we're capable of doing.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mabel the Maple

Mabel rises.

 
There could be a story written about her. I mean she collapsed. She was levelled. She was totally horizontal, shrouded in her skirts. And then one branch was sawed off, then two, then three.

And very slowly, she rose again and settled back into the hole that was wrenched from the ground by her enemy Leslie.

As if to say: I'm not done yet. I'm far from done.  Figure out how I did this. Maybe you can too.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Losing the Run of Myself


Up on the hill behind the house the cornflowers grow wild.


Seems like that, lately. Three half-read books on the go, a knitting design that won't settle in and throw itself down.  A writing deadline that mumbles around in my head. Half-finished files of the paying kind languishing beside the desk.

A handyman who is thousands of kilometres away but promises to be here next week to finish off some half-completed essential work.

Idiotic paragraphs assemble themselves like soldiers in my head.

"She held herself like a rebuke to the rest of them: tall, spare of flesh and hair, without bleach or cosmetics.  By comparison, her companions looked overly plump, peroxided, lipsticked, almost tartish."
 
I completed a long and winding grant application to sustain me through the weather of writing another play which is in my head and encompasses, possibly, Skype rehearsals. Two countries, one play kind of thing. Unfortunately, I can't afford to hold my nose and jump into the uncharted waters of no income while this gets created. If only dreams were crusts of bread. La sigh.

My sleep-dreams are about my father. A very helpful father who points out the error of my ways and assists me in setting all my (real) ducks in a row.

As my friend the Jungian analyst says to me: when you dream about your father it means that you are slightly (a lot - he is kind) out of control and your inner male is emerging to help.

Daughter arrives tomorrow for a week, having travelled the length (width?) of Canada from Vancouver, tenting all the way just about and on her own. Brava Daughter, the adventurer.

On the home front, Hurricane Leslie murdered one of my oldest maples which was just reddening up for the fall. I felt unreasonably anguished at the sight of her all horizontal, bruised and broken. But the oddest thing, as soon as her branches were chainsawed off, she rose from the dead and righted herself, proud and tall. I plan to reshape her into some garden furniture once she's dry. A picture of this astonishing sight will follow when I gather my vanishing wits and exit with a camera around my neck.





Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Sister

I love the way my only sister moves through her family.  In that special way she has. Confident, loving, funny. We are so different, she and I. But delight in the samenesses we uncover in each other. We are nearly fourteen years apart in age, she the youngest, I the eldest with four brothers in between us.  So we only discovered each other in adulthood. I had to wait a long time.

She has four adult children and a good solid marriage and one of those old houses that shoots out wings everywhere. I've said to her I could hide myself in here for a week and you wouldn't find me. 

She's more like our mother than I am. For instance, show her a piece of water, anywhere, and she will strip to her "togs" and dive in. Our mother would do that. I tell her this on our most favourite strand in the whole wide world when she emerges from a dive. She is delighted. She knew only a sickly mother. I knew one who sang in pubs and dived off piers and rocks at the drop of a hat and could embroider anything, anywhere.

We love to host and feed crowds in our houses. That we do well. We gloat in this commonality. We also sing a song together that we didn't know was each others' favourite until we performed it together in a pub one night. "Summertime".


She tells me she wasn't born with one bone of creativity in her body while I got it all. I tell her she has had a successful marriage and career along with raising four amazing children who love to come and hang about in the home she and her husband have created. A warm and welcoming place.

We all have our gifts. And sometimes we can overlook them. We need reminders of how absolutely bloody marvellous we are.

And darling sister, you are amazing.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Precious Aunt


Beloved Kit.



Oh sweet darling woman.

And I at your wedding so very long ago

Where the granddad sang

And my brother was stowed in a drawer



And you wore the softest of blues

Which tugged out your eyes

That sparkled and shone

For him. And all of us.



And you stood firm

And proud and strong

As you ran a business

And bore six children.



And stood stalwart

Like an icon for the

Rest of us girls

In our endless family.



And after all that you played

Bridge and golf

Up to your nineties

And shone some more



Like a beacon for the old.

With your nails always painted

And hair just so

And your clothes so glamourous.



And then, the bottom fell out.

Your youngest died his neverending

Death from cancer. And overnight

Your mind snapped shut.



And I saw the shell last week

Of what you had become.

Your smile intact, his name deleted.

From your thoughts, your life.



Only the names of those others

Long dead and gone, are now alive.

Your mother, my mother

Your husband, your father.



I miss you.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bursting the Bonds of Old Age

The inside of my storm door.
I'm glad I live in an era where "elderly" is being redefined by so many of us.

I was talking on the phone with a couple of old friends (at length, I'd been away) who are also blossoming and making plans and painting new works and even buying new works by young artists. Our conversations veer away from that old and tiresome "howz yer health, list every detail" exchanges to more immediate 2012 plans. One still works full time way beyond the normal expectations of her pensionable age.

Exchange of grandchildren news is minimal and restricted to transitions only, if at all. It is mainly about our lives and what we are doing and the reinvention of ourselves.

I had dinner during the week with a long time friend (we worked together) his wife and their best friends - my friend's best friend since grade school.

I had one of those moments where you realize you haven't really known a friend at all.

I mentioned Rob Ford the much reviled and derided mayor of Toronto that no one I know will admit to voting into office. He is mainly on the extreme right and in that oligarchal way of most conservatives creates his own bubble of entitlement such as severely limiting access of the press to his office, texting while driving and flouting other traffic laws (he doesn't believe in stopping behind an offloading tram).

Not only did they all admit to voting for him, they were supportive of his ongoing faux pas and his lack of support for urban transit.

They put down all his incredible contempt for the public as a liberal media spin and as one said he was one of the best mayors ever as he was ending the prolific subsidies which were enabling the "emigrants" and the poor to continue sucking off the public teat.

Whenever I hear the word "emigrants" being used in a derogatory sense my head explodes.

I sat a little gob-smacked, staring at my friend. Do we ever really know anyone?

I decided to end the dangerous curve the conversation had slid into.

"Oh, did I tell you?" I said pleasantly, "I was asked to run for the Green Party here. I had to turn it down of course. If they had asked me in my forties I would have run, but now I'm just too busy."

Gobsmack echo.

Conversation shifted to "Great meals we have eaten" and "inns we have stayed at".


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Scattered thoughts on Ireland: The family and the experience.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In Ballyduff on a magical evening~~~~~~~~~~~

One of us said: Isn't it wonderful to be together as a family with all the old baggage dead and buried?

Another said after a wonderful dinner with the linen and china and crystal and silver outdoors on the sun-filled patio: This has been the best day of my life.

Another said: Can you believe the Canadian ambassador to Ireland attended your play, I mean, can you believe it?

Someone else said: That concert we just saw at The Booley House, I would pay $500 to see it again it was so incredible, all that talent under one roof.

I said: It took this trip for me to see Ireland like I never saw or heard it before.

I said: I never did so much dancing to so much live music!

I said: Was that Liam Clancy's daughter and sister I spoke to? Seriously. Was it?

All of us said: Everytime I sit on this rock on this strand, I feel such peace and happiness. Like my whole life comes back together. Or something.




PS One of these days I'll string it all together and it will come out all coherent like.
.







Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A Most Wonderful Year




Castletownbere today with the red kayak in the bay below our maternal ancestral castle ruins.

Still enjoying my home country and presently swanning around West Cork in some seriously wonderful weather.

I had some heart-stopping news via email in that I've been accepted to participate in a well known writers' conference for a week in October.  I had to read it four times before leaping to my feet and doing a dance.

I could hardly sleep last night with the excitement of it all.

Almost too much for this old heart.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Brief Update From Ireland

Thank you all for your good wishes.

The performance was a great success.

There are so many highlights of this trip of a lifetime that I can't begin to list them.

But in the blog world it was incredibly wonderful to see Grannymar and her gorgeous daughter Elly in the audience and afterwards at the craic, the caint and the ceol at the pub.

More on all this later when I have time to process all these magical moments.

Wow.