A Grand Lady

12 Dec

I’m single and staring midlife in the face…wouldn’t you have a crisis?

Last night, I went to Trivia Night at Gaffer’s Sports Pub. Everyone in the town shows up to play and the camaraderie is palpable. But I was 85% close to not going, to staying in my little cottage and being alone. That isn’t like me. Well, not like the me that I have been since singledom plunked itself on my doorstep a year ago. All of this, whatever it is, has dampened my flame. I’m muffled, my energy flat as twilight. I remember when I’d go out in Richmond, I was so confident because I was angry. . .at men. My former husband, a summer suitor who found his way under my radar and then exited faster than I knew how to process, and just men in general. I have learned how NOT to be honest with men and hate it. I just so desperately want to be me, not some juvenile game player, not some bitch who maneuvers men as pieces on a board. It’s as if that’s the only thing to which they will respond. I’m so confused. I’m so shut down that I’m the observer again, something I have not felt since high school.

So, I ordered a Guinness and a plate of wings and hoped that maybe a tiny bit of my Cyndi would come back. Carol, the kind lady who is renting me the cottage, invited me to be on her Trivia team with a very nice couple, Brenda and Bob, both most probably in their late fifties or early sixties. And I played but it’s that “half between” world again. The world of settled and married meets not married and lost.

This small community where everyone knows everyone comforts me even though I am an outsider. Maybe I belong here. I don’t know.

I am trying to be brave and badass again. Really, I am. Where did tattoo woman go?

I often walk down to have a morning Q&A with M’Lady, the live oak on Howard Street. She’s magical, you know. Her proximity to a ton of dead people pretty much ensures that. Sometimes being here has me thinking as if I am in the underworld somehow. Last night at 11p.m., something possessed me to walk Howard Street in the dark with Clarence and a flashlight. They say it takes a brave soul to invite a meeting with The Green Ghost, Loreena Howard, but it felt like going to see my own grave. Half way there something great and dark said, “Stop…do not move another inch…go back…go back and don’t look back.” I don’t know whose voice that was, but I ran back to the house. So much for bravery.

Bravery then has its limits and maybe that the key to my poor relationship with men. Should my self sufficiency have a limit? Does my strength make them feel useless? I always thought I should be Eowyn, strong enough to have a man’s back. Fearless partner, fighting maven, lioness to lion. But I am discovering men are not lions. They are lambs. And this ferocity within me must learn to soften. I have no idea what it means to be feminine anymore without being weak, sick, and melancholy.

Frailty, thy name is woman? Perhaps it’s that this iron exterior carries within it the sand of an hour glass. How many seconds of connection can I hold before the sands slip? Dead island women, they must show me how to be. For I have outlived them all and now I refuse to be an old lady in a red hat sitting with her widowed friends in comfortable Kmart clothes at a table playing trivia laughing that laugh that says, “ I am fine. I am wise. I am old. I am the great Cailleach.” I still have all this unspent passion within me and I want desperately to share it. I am not willing to be a faded flower clinging to frost before winter.

What is wrong with me? What about me puts men off? They look; they do indeed desire, but by god, they don’t speak….they don’t move. It’s as if I am a green ghost.

Annie says, “You won’t meet your soul mate in a bar”.  No, I won’t meet him in a bar, because I already did a long time ago.

“Let go,” says Annie, “Let it go. This place is for those who know the ocean. One day, one day all boats port.”

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