“I feel like I’ve swallowed a cloudy sky” ~ Haruki Murakami, from Sputnik Sweetheart

William Degouve de Nuncques La nuit à Bruger, 1897 oil on canvas

“La nuit à Bruger” (1897, oil on canvas)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

                   

“Sometimes moods of indescribable anguish, sometimes moments when the veil of time and fatality of circumstances seemed to be torn apart for an instant.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday afternoon. Sunny and hot, 88 degrees.

(Forewarning: It’s long and rambling)

A day filled with sadness for several reasons.

William Degouve de Nuncques Parc-de-Milan-1895

“Parc de Milan” (1895, pastel)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

Jake was surrendered to the shelter from which we adopted him. I did not go with Corey; instead, I began to clean as soon as I awoke (9 a.m., very early for me), which has once again become my solution to anything. That I have added yet another column to my lifetime table of guilt should surprise no one. I can only hope that Jake finds a family in which he can be the only child because I know that he would thrive in such an environment, as he has so much love and devotion to offer a lucky human.

Chalk up another major screw up. It’s not a pity party, exactly, more like a hating-life party. Or more specifically, hating my life, or hating how I live, or hating what I’m not doing in life, or hating how life has unfolded.

Circumstances. Sometimes, I really, really hate that word.

I don’t know. It’s all so tangled and gnarly, like a fishing net piled into a ball and left to dry in the sun—the result is a smelly mess needing much patience to disentangle the knots and snarls. I am sorely lacking in patience.

“The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering.’ So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.” ~ Milan Kundera, from Ignorance

William Degouve de Nuncques The Black Swan, pastel 1896

“The Black Swan” (1896, pastel)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

What do you do when someone you know simply cannot let go of something? I have no doubts that many people who have known me have wondered the same thing, given my tendency to cling so firmly to what was, affecting my ability to move into the what may be. But for a change, it is someone else whose desires for something from the past that is affecting the present.

The particulars are not mine to disclose as it is a private matter. I can only say that I wish more than anything that I had never heard about this, this, thing? Event? Point in time? I wish that I had never been made privy to this information, so disturbing is it and all of its implications.

I can only say that if this individual chooses to pursue this path back into the past, many, many people will be hurt, perhaps beyond repair. I say this knowing that the heart wants what the heart wants, fully aware that the heart is selfish and very often, callous.

This person believes that he/she has a right to venture down this path. I disagree. Believe me, my reaction is not from the gut but from the heart and the head. I have mulled over this possibility more than once over the years. I have wondered what might happen should these circumstances arise, and I have lived with a buried sense of dread because knowing this person as I do, I know that he/she has only one thing in mind.

“I am carrying such weights of absolute sadness that I must at any moment be dragged down into the deepest sea and the person trying to seize or even ‘rescue’ me would give up, not from weakness, not even from hopelessness but from sheer annoyance.” ~ Franz Kafka, Letters To Milena

William Degouve de Nuncques Nocturnal Effect 1896 pastel on paper

“Effet de Nuit” (1896, pastel on paper)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

So I’m having a visit with my old compatriot—regret. The two of us go back far too many years. All of the what-ifs, the might-have-beens, the why-nots, the if-only. Sometimes I feel that I should have the two words IF ONLY tattooed prominently on my body for all to see. It might keep me from trying to explain myself. Or maybe not.

Look. The current distressed state in which I currently find myself is not solely because of what happened with Jake, but god knows that plays a part. As I mentioned earlier, life in the abode has been a virtual wall-to-wall bed of nails. Step lightly lest you fall and open a lot of wounds. For a day or so, I actually thought that things were beginning to get better. I had a day in which I was able to think about floating around in the pool, reading a book, relaxing, not that I did any of these things.

I was so, so wrong.

Have you ever listened to the soundtrack from the movie Philadelphia, the one starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington? It has to be one of the saddest, most gut-wrenching soundtracks in existence. From start to finish it is a compilation of heartbreaking songs, and of course, I know each and every song by heart. The only reason the soundtrack isn’t my current writing music is that were it on I would probably not be writing but singing to myself.

I feel as if my life right now is that soundtrack on perpetual repeat.

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moment in life that are over.” ~ Paulo Coelho, from The Zahir

William Degouve de Nuncques Nocturne au Parc Royal de Bruxelles 1897 pastel on paper

“Nocturne au Parc Royal de Bruxelles” (1897, pastel on paper)

Regrets. I was speaking of them.

I regret putting my family and a sweet, lovely dog through the mill for a situation that I truly believed would turn out differently.

I regret that the depression from which I suffer spills over into every aspect of my life.

I regret that I did not tell my father that I loved him every chance that I had.

I regret that I didn’t pursue my doctorate decades ago when it would have been much more feasible.

I regret getting to this age without accomplishing even 25 percent of what I had planned.

I regret that my genetic make-up and predisposition to mental illness has been passed to my offspring.

I regret that I was never able to give Corey a child of his own.

That last one ↑? That’s a super big one. It’s the one that I always felt would deal a death-blow to my marriage. Not all at once, but as time passed. Each time he holds Olivia, I see the wistfulness in his eyes, and now that his brother Chad is a new dad to a beautiful baby boy once again, I can see the pain just below the surface. It’s there. I know it’s there. And I can do nothing, absolutely nothing about it.

“Why did everything always change, when all you wanted, all you had ever humbly asked of whatever God there might be, was that certain things be allowed to remain the same.” ~ Richard Yates, from Revolutionary Road

William Degouve de Nuncques A Venise 1895 pastel on cardboard

“A Venise” (1895, pastel on cardboard)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

I apologize for the disjointedness of this post; it comes from wanting to say so much and having to self-censor in order to respect another person’s privacy. It also comes from feeling such absolute sadness, a sadness that is born of much and little.

Much? How about an inability to give a part myself to someone who means more than life itself, and the ramifications of that inability? A real inability, not a desire not to do so—big difference.

Little? Many would see the betrayal of Jake as not being that significant. After all, he’s a dog, right? You obviously don’t know me at all.

Aside: I had told myself years ago that before I got too old to do so that I would run in a 5k race and that I would finish it, even if I came in last. I also told myself that before I got too old I would get my doctorate, even if I never got a job with it. I told myself that I would take the time to put together a manuscript and that I would look for an agent. And I told myself that some day, I would have another daughter.

How is any of this relevant? Only in how it proves how much I lie to myself, and how cruel fate can be.

“How one must be thrust over a finished cycle in life, and that leap the most difficult to make . . . The struggle to emerge out of the past, clean of memories; the inadequacy of our hearts to cut life into separate and final portions . . . the hunger for frontiers against which we might lean as upon closed doors before we proceed forward” ~ Anaïs Nin, from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

william degouve de nuncques les paons via la-chair-et-le-sang 1898

“Les Paons” (1898)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

Do you know what I wish? I wish that the child that Corey is currently rocking in the Bentwood rocker was his. But I also wish that it didn’t matter so much to him. I wish that the unconditional love that I offer could be enough. I wish that I could be dense, could fool myself. I wish that we had had the resources a decade ago to try in vitro; perhaps if that had happened successfully, then the complete and utter despair that I feel now wouldn’t be happening. I wish that I were enough, but I know that I’m not. I wish that pain wasn’t palpable, that longing wasn’t visible, and that regret was not in my vocabulary.

I have never wished that I hadn’t gotten involved with Corey, even though there were several members of his family who wished that were so (at the time). But I have wished that I could have been someone else for him, even though I profess to be happy with myself as I am. I wish that I had a perky upturned nose and blond hair and significant ta tas and a name like Cindy or Blair. I wish that I fit squarely into the category of All-American girl.

Yeah. Most of those previous statements were lies. At least on some level. I like being different. I like my olive skin and dark hair. I like my exotic name. I like that a man once told me that I should be treated like a goddess and that another man wrote me a poem in which he compared me to a multicolored butterfly. But for every one thing that I like about myself, there are two that I don’t.

All I know is that right now, at this moment, I feel sad and lonely and more than a little insufficient. It’s times like these that the thought crosses my mind that if I were addicted to something, I could just take it and float off into oblivion.

Yeah. Not so much.

Later. Peace.

I needed blues, so all images depicted are by Belgian painter William Degouve de Nuncques (1867-1935)

Music by Tindersticks, “Sweet Memory”

                   

Translucence: An Assay

A dog implausibly large,
with fur the color of rose-quartz, slipped through my sleep

I have never seen roses that color,
or a vein of quartz move through its fissure on soft-padded feet.
This was sure, though: what she wanted was for me to follow.

She did not look back.
A shadow opened then folded behind her.
I followed as if past a gate latch
sliding closed on its own silent weight.

It was not so very different, really
More as if the narrator had turned and departed,
abandoned the story,
and each tree, each stone, stood clear in its own full fate.

The dream, like the dog, went on, travelled elsewhere.
Passed by the moment when everything might have been changed.
Passed by the moment of knowing I wanted everything changed.

~ Jane Hirshfield
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5 thoughts on ““I feel like I’ve swallowed a cloudy sky” ~ Haruki Murakami, from Sputnik Sweetheart

  1. I think I sort of understand. I care. I hope this storm didn’t give you anything else to worry about. I’d like to take you to have coffee. To walk on the beach. Just to get out of the house for an hour. Leave your worries behind. Feel the wind in your hair…

    Sometimes when things get too hectic, I seek a place to shelter in… Sometimes Starbucks, sometimes the woods, other times a book and a cup of tea… If you bend your body into a C shape, sometimes the strife just goes right over you. Other times, I go somewhere I think it cannot find me…

    I’m out in the wind tonight, yelling your name. The wind is coming your way… Listen…

      • Sure, you can use that. My friend, B., sent me this New Yorker article about writing… and when I find it again I’m going to mail it to you…

  2. Oh Lita- I’m not sure what to say so I’m just going to wing it. First the person you reference CLEARLY has decided to do what they want and appears to me, with little regard for anyone else. Nothing you can do about it. I begged Leyna to get away from her useless ex, but to no avail. I finally just had to let it go. Yes, I cried many a night and her actions affected the entire family. YOU cannot control what other people do BUT you can control what you do. My advice? Don’t stress, don’t apologize, don’t explain. Let’em go forth and …whatever. When folks would question me about her, I would tell them – ask her-not me. I landed in the hospital ONE TIME because I let a situation get the best of me. After that, NO MORE. I suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression but not like I did. I have accepted the fact that my kid is bat shit crazy, lazy and I refuse to tip toe around her bi polarness ( is that a word). She get’s assy – I leave or hang up the phone. I regret not going to college but I have a great job, something lots of folks can’t say. Getting your doctorate? Well, if it’s any consolation, I talk to lots of folks who have doctrates and are out of a job.
    My bro in law is involved with a crack head. He talks to Joe about it but not me. I told him I had absolutely no sympathy, empathy, etc for him- you picked her, deal with it. He has semi broken up with her. I refuse to discuss it with him. I got tired of him bemoaning about her “antics”.
    I find solace in my religion and church, I walked away from God for years but my belief helps me keep it together. Sounds simple and to some, stupid but it’s how I cope. I take Emily to confession. I’m not Catholic but while waiting for her I sit …. in quiet…. with no distractions….and relish every moment. It may be worth a try for you. Not asking you to pray or go to mass/church, it’s just a good place to listen to quiet. You can “what if” yourself into the grave. It’s not worth the time , energy and anguish. I compare it to a gerbil on a wheel- you know they run and run until they fall out. So, try to stop ‘gerbiling”. I’ll be praying for you and thinking of you. And always,

    love,
    me

    • Bi polarness–if it isn’t a word, it certainly should be.

      I understand what you are saying about sitting in the quiet. Even though religion is not a part of my life any more, I always make time to go in the chapel at De Paul hospital. That one place has offered me comfort since I was a teenager.

      I’m sorry about Leyna and how she vexes you. I truly understand. Your strategy of telling people to ask her and not you is the best way. You are her mother, not her keeper.

      As for the degree . . . it’s something that I’ve always wanted, and I don’t think I’ll feel complete until I at least try. You may not have a college degree, but we both know you have the brains to do whatever you want. You are a successful woman who has faced a lot of hardship and come out stronger. Be proud.

      I always appreciate it when you take the time to comment here.

      love, me

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