Letting Go and Holding On is a four-part short memoir essay, which is part of a larger creative non-fiction project that I am working on…
From time to time, I have a hard time with letting go of things. Clothes, books, and rocks top my list. My mother’s bedroom set has crossed country at least a half dozen times, it is bound together with nails and wood glue, too dear to me to let go of. There is most recently, my father’s battered and torn Persian rug that the cat peed on a few months ago, I cannot bear to part with it despite the fact that the smell lingers. These are among the things I have a hard time letting go of, these things, and men.
Yes, these are all things that I tend to hold on to. Did I say men? Oh yes, I did. Men or at this point in time, one man in particular. I have been having a tough time letting go of the illusion of something more with this one. Maybe that is because I am still single and long for a special someone in my life, or maybe that is why I am still single at fifty-eight years old. Because, I hang on to the hope of a man I cannot have. Because, I hang on to the hope of a relationship with a man who is unavailable and not worth my misplaced desire.
These are the things I think of. Fifty-eight and single. Living alone and loving it. Well, loving it until the occasional loneliness sets in. The kind of loneliness that causes me to occasionally hold on to men, men who are not worth my time. I entrust the object of my illogical affections with a string of justifications of why they are still worthy of my reveries, despite the fact that I should have long let go. Never the less, I am drawn to what I cannot have and I am driven, still despite my age, because I am not sure age diminishes the desire for communion with another.
I just moved a few weeks ago and I hauled with me all of this stuff that I have carted about for the past seven years since I moved back east from Los Angeles. First, there were all the dresses that I packed and unpacked again, and squeezed into my closet hoping I would one day squeeze it to them again. “Good luck with that,” I thought to myself. I was almost there, they almost fit a year ago and then I quit smoking on Christmas day. Sugar had become my best friend. But that is different story.
A few weeks ago, I posted a short essay on My Grand Mid-life Crisis Adventure, which ultimately brought me and my daughter, home to live in Massachusetts, although the destination at the time, seven years ago, had been Eastport, Maine. It was the fall of 2008, the economy had tanked and I had been planning our move to Maine weeks before Wall Street had collapsed.
It felt as though there was no choice but to follow through with our move, as my personal economic situation had worsened as did the situation of so many other families living on the edge of poverty. We took to the road with a sense of humor and deep-down inside a sense of great trepidation. This was our bailout plan, to embark on a cross-country journey and move, that would forever be affectionately known as My Grand Mid-life Crisis Adventure.
The story continues…
The Bailout Plan
There were stacks of packing boxes lined up in a 6’ x 12’ space marked off with red tape in the center of the living floor. I put another heavy 12” cubed box of books on one of the stacks and wondered if I should not try to get rid of more of my books. I swiftly tossed that thought out of the open window of my second floor apartment into the 90-degree heat and mused I would not miss that heat. It was the fall of 2008 and we were preparing for our move from Los Angeles to the Down east area of the northern coast of Maine.
The economy had been slowly sinking for the past few years, and as predicted by many who had seen the economic disaster coming, including myself, the bottom was now falling out. The timing was perfect to move from Los Angeles, where the cost of living was quite high, to coastal Maine where the cost of living was considerably lower. At least that was my frame of thought as I prepared for the 3500-mile trek across country with my 19-year-old daughter, Juliet. Continue reading
I am green in my understanding of life. I am always open to learning new things.
I am delicate like the fern, but hearty as the pine that stands tall and reaches for the sun. I have weathered many storms, but I still unfurl every spring laying out my delicate soul upon the forest floor, reaching high into the sky to soar with eagles. I am nature. Nature is me. I am green and I will grow until my day comes to wither and return to the earth.
They were two friends who had known each other for four years and yet they were proverbial strangers. On the final day of summer, they prepared to ride out together on his highly polished black and chrome Harley Davidson towards the verdant coast of Cape Ann, to the port of Gloucester, Massachusetts. There were billowy cumulus clouds in the sky but still, the sun was shining fiercely. Even with the indulgent end of summer wind that bore the perception of fall in its flurries, it was the epitome of the perfect day for riding. She swung her right leg up over the seat, positioned her left foot on the foot peg and slid onto the back of his bike. Once positioned comfortably on the back seat of the rumbling Harley, he instinctively took his cue that she was ready to roll and they roared off in search of some succor for their solitary souls.
As they rode along the winding road to Gloucester, the lush green landscape showed an indication of the ambiance of fall colors to arise as the temperatures shifted with the season. Yes, the day was already holding the promise of fulfillment. Both of them appeared to be drinking in the scenery as though it were a snifter of fine cognac, the taste of which rolled onto their taste buds, washed down their throats and warmed their souls. Over the thunderous roar of the Harley engine, they conversed intermittently of the splendor of the diverse terrain where they dwelt. Continue reading
A Life in Two Cities
In the summer of 2008, I finally decided that I had had enough of living in Los Angeles. The time had come for me to return to my native New England. However, instead of longing for the banks of the Merrimack River and the sandy beaches of my childhood in Massachusetts, I longed for the lure of the rocky, rugged coast of Maine. When the opportunity arose to move to that rugged Maine coast in Eastport, I was ready to make that leap with my nineteen-year-old daughter.
The irony did not escape me that we would be moving from one coastal corner of America to another. From the southwest to the northeast, or should I say, Down East, as Eastport, Maine is the easternmost city in Maine’s Down East region and the United States. This move from one city to another was not a mere cross-country relocation from one expansive city to another. Oh no, every aspect of Eastport was polar opposite from Los Angeles and I could not have chosen a more perfect place to detox our spirits after living in L.A. for nearly twenty years. Continue reading
The Day I Met John Kerry
On a cloudy and rainy day, I find myself reflecting on my life, searching for an experience that changed who I am in the world. I have had more than a few life-altering experiences in my 56, almost 57 years that have influenced my life in many profound ways. As a woman of many stories to tell, that all seem to intertwine in the narrative of my life, the one that stands in clear alignment when I map them all out, is the day I met John Kerry for the first time, ten years ago this month, September 2003. For that day ultimately empowered me and changed my life in many ways. Continue reading