“There is no later. This is later.” ~ Cormac McCarthy

 

 Old Red Barn (December 2009) by L. Liwag©

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ~ Buddha

Not going to write about Haiti tonight. It’s too emotional, and three posts in a row are enough, for now. Like my friend Maureen at White Orchid, my mind has been on the past lately, although I am not certain as to why. Well, the genesis began with a contact on Facebook from a person with whom I used to work at the Museum. From there, though, my mind has been traveling down different paths, and I have been dreaming of different people, so I thought that I would make tonight’s post about some of those people, not all of whom I would like to see again.  

For various reasons, I will not identify these individuals by name.  

“You never really know your friends from your enemies until the ice breaks.” ~ Eskimo Proverb

Frozen Stepping Stones by L Liwag©

First there was the gay man who I used to love. I knew that he was gay, but that did not stop me from loving him, from thinking that we could be together in one of those strange but true platonic relationships based on friendship and mutual respect. When I first met him, I thought that he was funny, talented, and kind. It was only later that I realized that yes, he was funny when he was high. He was talented at making people believe that he was what he was not, and he had a vicious cruel streak that spared no one.  

Why would I spend time with someone like that? I asked my therapist the same thing. She said, and I agree, that my marriage to my ex was so strained by the point at which this man entered my life that I was starved for attention, and my gay friend certainly gave me that. He took me to dinner, bought me things, even gave me a job when I needed one. But what I did not realize then but realize now was that there was a cost for everything.  

Yes, my marriage was already in trouble when I met this person. My ex and I were spending more and more time apart and with our separate groups of friends, but I know that spending time with this person did not help an already-strained situation. In the end, I finally broke with this person when he revealed his nasty true self by involving my mother in a situation over which I had no control.  

When Corey and I got married, I wanted to use my friend as my caterer. I gave him a $1,000 cash deposit. Our wedding was small, and we wanted to keep it intimate, so the catering was pretty straightforward. One thing that I did not count on was that when Corey and I went away for our honeymoon, my employer’s payroll company direct-deposited my check into my savings account. As a result, the checks that I wrote to the caterer, florist, and someone else (cannot remember who), all bounced.  

This was not my fault. I had no way of knowing that my money had been deposited into my savings account as I was out of the country. When we returned from our honeymoon, I walked into a firestorm. This person, my supposed friend and one-time companion, had been calling my mother, telling her horrible things about me. The worst part was that she believed him (of course). I haven’t seen him since my wedding, and as far as I’m concerned, hell can have a raging ice storm before I would give him the time of day.  

Is that gracious of me? No. But I have a long memory, and some things should not be forgiven.  

“It takes your enemy and your friend, working together to hurt you to the heart; the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Winter Stilllife by L. Liwag©

Then there was the friend who was a friend but then she wasn’t. I know that most of you have had this kind of person in your life. To be honest, I have found that when it comes to other women, in most cases my relationships tend to be more complicated than say my friendships with men, and this particular relationship was incredibly complicated. This female friend and I grew very close from working together on so many projects. We spent time together outside of the office, and she became very involved in my life.  

But it was a taxing relationship. To her credit, she was going through a bump in her life, learning more about herself and her own marriage, but it caused her to be needy, and I tried to help fill that need. Let me pause here to say that this is precisely how I get into trouble in almost all of my female friendships: by trying to be there for them to the point that I begin to lose myself or to have my judgment clouded.  

Anyway, the thing was that she talked about me to other people, and I knew this. She also never hesitated to let me know what other people were saying about me. It bothered me, of course, but my response was passive aggressive: Do nothing but be hard to get along with. Another thing about this person was that she was extremely judgmental and did not hold back with her pronouncements. Granted, I was pretty judgmental myself back then, so that part of our personalities probably meshed well.  

Our relationship didn’t exactly die; it frittered away. We stopped working together on projects, and what had brought us together no longer served as an adhesive. My relief at not having her in my life is a sad reflection on my own state of mind at the time. Instead of working on the relationship, I just let it go. When I think back on my state of mind at the time, it was precarious at best. It was just before I made the final decision to end my first marriage, a long, painful process that had only one possible outcome. The truth is that it was just too hard to be around some of the people from my past. What that says about me I don’t know.  

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him, his own.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Bird Feeder in the Snow by L. Liwag©

And then there is another woman from the same time period with whom I became friends. What I remember the most about this woman was her grace. She was (probably still is) intelligent, articulate, and calm. Oh, she could get riled, but in the face of some pretty nasty situations, she always held her own.  

What I remember most about our relationship is that she truly nurtured me, and we respected one another. She told me that I was talented, and she gave me a forum in which to express my talents. People like that drop into our lives seldom, but how they affect our lives stays forever.  

As with most people, we drifted apart more from circumstance than anything else. Our jobs took us into different places, and she moved out of the area. I have since learned that during the time that we have been apart she has been very productive. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her.  

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

I’m not exactly sure what made me make that little trip through the past. I believe that it was Lee Iacocca who said that when you die, if you have five good friends, you’ve had a good life (or something similar).  I agree.  

People come and go throughout our lives. Some things are constant, and some people are constant. Some friendships last a year, while others last a lifetime. The length of the friendship does not determine the quality. What makes the friendship valuable, worth the time that you have invested, is if when you think of that friend, a smile crosses your lips and your heart feels a sense of peace. Otherwise, what was the point? I only know that “in my life, I’ve loved them all.”  

More later. Peace.  

(More pictures from our December trip to Ohio in the blizzard)  

The incomparable, divine Bette Midler singing “In My Life”  

   

  

   

                                                                                                                                   

Lyrics to Lennon & McCarthy’s “In My Life”  

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
  

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I’ll love you more  

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I’ll love you more

6 thoughts on ““There is no later. This is later.” ~ Cormac McCarthy

  1. You really are my musical soulmate. I love that song, the cd, and the Undeniable Ms. Divine.

    For me, when I begin to stroll down memory lane, it’s usually from a need to revisit all the meaning those people held and how much I grew from those moments. And, like both you and Maureen, my friendships with female friends have always been limited at best. There were a few who I was very close with, but eventually outgrew them. Granted, most of the limitations were set by me. Call me cynical or naive, but I’ve always trusted men more than women. I’ve come to find that most women can be catty, vindictive, competitive and self-serving. With men, there’s no bullshit. The only constant thought you have to remember is that he’s a boy, you’re a girl, and the chances that one of you will develop feelings for the other is a high probability. I can live with that.

    And though it’s going to sound extremely sad, I can honestly only remember two female friendships that I had that didn’t involve some kind of betrayal.

    But like you, I do long to have a friendship that I can be myself, not guard myself, and feel only a warm connection. Is it possible? I hope so.

    1. Kelly,
      Bette is so wonderful. I watched her last performance on Johnny Carson on YouTube, and it’s a classic, but for some reason, her last song to Johnny isn’t allowed. So bizarre what is and isn’t allowed on YouTube.

      Anyway, I agree. For the most part, my friendships have been with men, but there is always the drawback of that whole boy/girl thing. And something that I don’t think that people realize until it happens to them is that when a very good friend betrays you, it hurts just as much as when a lover betrays you, sometimes more, depending. My big problems have been with female co-workers, in particular a female manager who was younger than I, and couldn’t stand that I could do her job. That was so dysfunctional.

      And when I think about it, it has only been two female friendships for me as well. So sad. Maybe one day, but I don’t know if women can ever stop being competitive with each other.

      1. Well, if it gives you any comfort, I have no intention of ever metaphorically stabbing you because as Murdoch says…I’m too old for that shit. 😉

      2. Too funny. I’m too old. You are just getting started. But yes, as we get older we learn more that some people just aren’t worth the effort and how it affects us in the long run.

  2. Hi Lita,
    What an enjoyable post.These trips into the past can whip up the emotions( as I have found out) and like you, I have no idea why I am being drawn back in time. Funny isn’t it, how we have both had bad relationships with female friends? When they let you down, they really let you down and then kick you while you are down there LOL
    Is this journey back in time a bi-product of age? Are we trying to make sense of all the time and emotions we have invested into friendships , that were really not friendships at all? Could it be that we are admonishing ourselves for not working harder on past friendships? Or, is it now as we get older, we long for genuine friends with whom we can be ourselves and relax?
    I ramble too much!
    Love the clip too.
    Big hugs
    Maureen

    1. Maureen,
      I think that it is all of these things: We regret the relationships in which we invested so much of ourselves only to be betrayed, snubbed and hurt. Now that we have more wisdom, we realize that some of the relationships were not friendships at all, and we now know that some of the relationships that could have been lasting friendships we did not cultivate hard enough. At least, that’s how it is for me. And yes, I long for genuine friends with whom I can be completely myself, have no drama, no backstabbinb, no subterfuge, and no pain. But is that possible? I don’t know.

      Always so refreshing to get your take on things.
      Big hugs,
      Lita

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