Sunday, November 10, 2019

Not Snowing Here, Thank You Very Much

I have nothing to write about tonight. Not a damn thing. Today's been fine but it's been very quiet and I realize as I write this that I have not spoken to one human, even on the phone.
Which is fine.
I've heard from Jessie and all is well with them. They are camping tonight, I think, with friends.
Hank texted me that he slept very, very well and is feeling good today.
Mr. Moon sent me a picture.


Uh...no. 
I'm sure he's having a wonderful time but I am quite glad to be right where I am. It was a beautiful day today, never got much above seventy but again with that sky as blue as the eyes of Sweet Hippie Jesus. 

The first time I ever encountered snow in any real quantity was when I went to college in Denver. I've written about that before, I'm sure, but honestly snow now just reminds me of one of the worst depressions of my life. It must have lasted at least two years. Maybe more. The depression, not the snow. I was a lost little lamb in Denver. I felt as if I'd been dropped onto an alien planet and there was no way I could be cool enough or savvy (I hate that word) enough or anything enough to fit in there. I didn't miss my parents but I did miss my little brothers and also my friends who were all misfits like me who came from families that were broken or sad or dysfunctional in one of the myriad of ways that dysfunctional families can be. I'd had a boyfriend who'd made it quite clear that he wasn't interested in a long-distance relationship when I left Winter Haven. He'd been my first and I've been thinking of him a lot lately which I almost never do. He turned out to be fairly insane and I'd broken up with him a few times over the time we were together but he'd represented a sort of crazy conundrum of safety and wildness to me and in Denver I found myself yearning for him even as I discovered that he was sleeping with a good friend of mine and had eventually found a new girlfriend. These facts pierced my heart and of course in those days there was no e-mail or texting or easy long-distance calling or Facebook. Letters. We wrote letters. 
Or, as in this case, one person wrote letters and the other person never answered them. 
I'll never forget one snowy afternoon I was walking to a place called The Open Clinic where I volunteered, answering phones and talking to people who had problems ranging from feeling suicidal to wondering what sort of drug they may have just ingested might be, to being on the very sharp ragged edge of a bad trip, when I saw through the gray, snowy sky a man walking with a stand-up bass on his back and a sort of suitcase-like thing in his hand and my heart almost burst out of my chest, thinking it was my boy, come to claim me after all. He was a bass player, he carried his bass like that sometimes. 
But it wasn't him. 
All these years later I can feel the disappointment and sorrow in my heart that it hadn't been him. That realizing no, he was never going to show up. That no, he did not want to claim me as his own. 

I spent that first winter trying so hard to embrace this different life I found myself in. I did make some friends. I bought a coat heavy enough for the weather and a pair of hiking boots too. But I never could make myself feel at home there. The snow was lovely when it first fell and the earth seemed to quiet and soften but then it just turned into ice and I was so cold and I never did fit in and I never did figure out how to either walk on ice or drive on it.
So for me, snow is loneliness and sorrow, it is Joni Mitchell singing "River" while I quietly weep and embroider snowflakes on a denim work shirt for a boy who doesn't love me. 
It's something that falls on mountains in a form called powder which delights people who grew up skiing on mountains while I grew up skiing on water behind a boat in a place where snow was nothing more than a rumor or a picture in a book. 

I have not seen that boy in over forty years. Oddly, I am still friends with his brother and his mother, although I rarely see them. When I ask about him they hem and haw. No one seems to see him. He was indeed, crazy I guess and still is. 
As glad as I am that I escaped that particular nightmare, I still think of him with some very deep emotion. When I do think of him, that is. He was an important part of my life and I can't deny that or disregard it. And if it had been him, walking through the snow on that gray afternoon in Denver, my life would have taken a much different turn. 

Well, I'm pretty fucking glad that that did not happen. I suffered and I survived. I ended up in a place my children like enough to have stuck around so that I can see them whenever I want. And I am long-married to a man who is definitely not crazy and whom I love with all of my heart. 

Yesterday when Jessie got here with her boys I went outside to greet them and held my arms out to Levon and said, "Happy birthday!" and he actually ran to me and let me pick him up and kiss, kiss, kiss him on the neck. 
And that made up a million times over for a boyfriend who was not a boyfriend walking through the snow with a bass on his back. 

Love...Ms. Moon


20 comments:

  1. Darling Mary-I had that boyfriend too who I have been thinking about a lot, for some reason. He became a heroin addict and I am forever grateful that he shielded me from two things. One, he used condoms until I started taking birth control pills and two, I never knew he was 'experimenting' with heroin. I was a hippy girl and smoking weed and dropping acid. He was a 20 yo (so old compared to my 17!) guy from NYC who smoked Marlboros, listened to jazz and was impossibly cool. And he saved me from pregnancy and addiction.

    I found his obituary earlier this year... Rest in peace, Louis Aaron Bonoff. I loved you.

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    1. It's strange to think of people we've loved who were so, so wrong for us and yet, somehow, so, so right at that particular moment. You're right- he did you kindnesses. I think he probably cared a lot for you. I looked up his obituary and there's not much there but I honor the love you had for him.
      Thank you for understanding. As always.

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  2. Where is Mr. Moon? Northern BC? It's cold here. -18C tonight which is just below zero for you guys.

    Old boyfriends, one of the arguments for young women not choosing who they sleep with:) Makes us who we are though. My son's father lives not far from here. He's an old alcoholic, 400 lbs and unable to walk. He's had a stroke and has almost died too many times to keep track of. He's six months younger than me and lives in a nursing home. We both dodged a bullet.

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    1. He's in Edmonton, I think. And yeah, that's about the temperature where he is.
      You certainly did dodge a bullet with that husband. Aren't you glad you aren't responsible for him in any way now? Phew.

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  3. You must have had the fates looking out for you to have survived to find Mr. Moon or have him find you. I wish you sweet dreams and happy days.

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  4. Doesn't she have a voice! I think she's my age. I'm 73. I can see you embroidering, like over your little boy's coveralls, bit for a musician who didn't know the song.

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    1. She had the most beautiful voice of all. And she was the most amazing song-writer, too. She was the epitome of what a woman musician could be at that point in time. How can we not always love Joni?

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  5. What a beautiful, beautiful post. I'm with you on the snow, for different reasons, and the melancholy it engenders. I do love me some Joni Mitchell, though -- her voice plunges ME back to my college years and the man I was madly in love with. So much drama and so long ago --

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    1. SO much drama.
      I remember talking to a woman I know a few years ago who was in her eighties, I guess, then about days past and she said, "It's so funny how important some things seemed then and how unimportant they are now, looking back." I think of that often.
      Probably every woman I know of a certain age and older has her own deeply etched memories that are brought to the freshest surface by one Joni Mitchell song or another.

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  6. I actually married my awful high school boyfriend at 19 (to escape my awful home life, I realize now) but had the good sense to extricate myself from that marriage 3 years later. I still have nightmares occasionally that I'm with him and miserable, looking to escape.

    I sure am glad that wasn't your boyfriend walking to you in the snow.

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    1. Three years of marriage was enough to still give you nightmares.
      Yes, I would have gotten married then to get out of my parents' house. I would have done anything to get out of that house. I am so, so glad that it wasn't that boy, walking through the snow but the disappointment I felt, the pure grief, is something I'll never forget.

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  7. Such a special song from a poet singer who knew how to get to the heart of things. By the way, on a funny note, when you referred to a man approaching with a "stand-up bass" on his back, I immediately pictured a bass fish on its tail fin! Silly me!

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    1. Isn't English a strange language? The sort of bass a person plays music on should be spelled base, right?
      You're completely right about Joni. She was indeed a poet-singer who always got right to the very beating heart of it.

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  8. How lucky we are that we didn't marry the ones we thought we wanted to marry. Those heartbreaks helped me understand what I didn't want in a partner, because it hurt too much, which helped me recognize what I did want when he finally showed up. Life has its reasons sometimes.

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    1. Yes. We are incredibly lucky we didn't get hitched to those bad, bad boys. And you're right- the pain of losing them was enough to give us incentive to find the sort of man (not boy) who would never treat us like that.
      You and I are mighty lucky.

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  9. Sounds like such a dismal time for you in Denver. It's no wonder snow reminds you of bad memories. I do think bad times help us to appreciate blessings. And you are very blessed in your life now.

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    1. You're right, Penelope. I am VERY blessed. And I know it.

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  10. It's funny how life takes its twists and turns, and you think back on those moments when it could have gone one way or another. You are definitely NOT a Denver person! You need warmth. You're more Cozumel, for sure.

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    1. I also need water! And trees! Flowers and jungle. Denver was sort of the anti-what-Mary-needs place. I didn't last very long there. I'm so glad I had the guts and the means to leave and find a place that suited me so much better.

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