i've gotten in the groove of filling my appointment book, and judging how much extra work i can take on in any given day. the net result has been upping my average by two dogs a day, and bumping my weekly sales well over a grand. considering your average dog groom costs about forty dollars, that's a lot of dogs. i love my work...
yesterday, by purest funky chance, i happened to check my cell phone. i usually don't anymore, since *m* and i really don't talk, and he was the reason i kept my phone on during work hours. but i was looking up *ds*'s number to apologize for going off radar for so many days --as we have the gym regimen together-- and found a text from *m*: "is there an ER in [our city]?"
so i call him, and there's no answer.
i call again, and get him. thank the Funk. i ask what's wrong. he's in pain. crippling pain, left kidney. he's gasping on the phone.
i tell him to call my sister, as she might be home. call me back at work if she doesn't answer. a phone call comes in; it's a customer wanting to make an appointment. fine. phone call. it's *m*. *cc*'s not answering.
fine. lemme work something out. i wait for the manager lady to get back in the salon, tell her what's going on. *m*'s got something serious, needs to go to the ER, there's no one else to drive him but me. she tells me to go. i call *m*: "i'm on my way, hold tight, 'kay?"
to make a very long afternoon short, it was kidney stones and i've never seen *m* in that state before. he was in the sort of pain in which no position is comfortable and stillness is agony, to move is torture but the body writhes and fidgets and rocks itself back and forth because it is pushed so far beyond its ability to process or endure that level of pain.
i know it well.
my heart knows it even better.
...this story is not about *m*.
you would think, knowing my big and stupidvulnerable heart and what a sucker it is for people in need, that i would have dropped work, dropped everything and been by his side through thick and thin. as greggo can attest, i've never been very good about allotting my inner resources. i just give it all away on anyone i remotely care about.
but it's been eating at me since yesterday: the only thought through my head was that i was more irritated that i'd be missing out on work and the opportunity to fatten my paycheck with my rockin' grooming. i was counting every dollar that i missed out on (103$ in sales), and whatever missed opportunities came in the form of walk-ins or call-in last-minute appointments. and when *m* was sitting in the hospital bed, rocking back and forth and crying from the pain, i wanted to sit with my book and read. if i was going to miss work, at least i could finish the book i was reading. but i thought, "if i was in his shoes, i would want a little human compassion." i actually had to think about it. things like that are instinctive, reflexive with me. i had to think about holding his hand, consider if i actually wanted to do it, and then make myself do it.
all the while, it was in my head what an inconvenience this all was.
all i could see was the man who had shoved my heart into a food processor and hit "pulp." all i could see was the stranger wearing my dead beloved's face, this stranger who makes it so fucking uncomfortable to be home to the point where i'm gone mostly five nights out of seven every week just so i don't have to be around it. all i could see was someone i don't trust, who had already cost me so much money, time, and heartache as it was.
to make matters even more complicated...
last night i was with *sy*. now, a few things about *sy* as i see them: because of this whole stupid complication with *m*, and my ambivalent, conflicting feelings regarding him, i'd been letting myself be with *sy* but not letting myself get too involved or attached. my heart was a bloody pulp, and love is gone. there is only Now, and no attachment or commitment to a future.
it is long, long gone;
career, love, marriage, children.
a foolish dream, dead.
career, love, marriage, children.
a foolish dream, dead.
but while i was still reeling in confusion over my reaction to *m*'s emergency, in its wake came a new eagerness and anticipation to see *sy*, and a happiness on the verge of excitement when i saw his face. i wore the purple number beneath my jeans and t-shirt, gave him such a thrill when he saw it, and i had fun doing it. i'd bought it to try and entice big *c*'s attention after things fell apart, but instead of waving it around in desperate appeal i wore it for simple surprise and enjoyment, and what a difference! not to mention, because i wasn't letting myself care too deeply, i've been able to be myself in bed and not care. i've been demanding and creative, even getting up and leaving in the middle of the night the one time he wasn't attentive to my needs.
that's not really like me. usually i bend over backward and take the disregard like a doormat. the whole boundary issue, and being too, foolhardily generous with my inner resources. not with *sy*, and i daresay that's probably what my problem has been with men treating me well in the beginning and then like shit at the end. i think i conditioned them to do it, with my too-stupidgenerous giving of everything i had. right principles, wrong execution.
but last night i was still that way, still comfortable and unself-conscious. i asked for it "soft," and it took him a minute to understand what i meant. "oh!' he said, laughing. "you mean the touching and soft kissing, slow and gentle everything, right?"
"yeah. i think i want that," i said.
"you mean makin' love. that's what you want."
my smile froze on my face. the realization hit me like thunder and dread and i felt it slam into my chest and spread upwards and outwards until my toes, fingers, and scalp fairly tingled with that ball of mixed emotions. but he was absolutely right. i wanted him to make love to me.
and he did. we did.
i woke up this morning sated and soft, not just in my body but in my heart. he couldn't stop bringing up how his touch made my body sing, and his fingertips coaxed the words, "i think i love you" from my lips. i vaguely remember something like that, but i was out of my head at the time.
but i think yesterday, dealing with *m*'s emergency, those are usually the time for realizations of what's truly important. you could be at absolute, merciless odds with someone, but in a medical emergency or life-threatening situation, all the bullshit gets swept aside and those things that are truly important finally get to shine. well, the bullshit was swept away, and there was no love to be found.
there was only me.
in the place where i thought a torch was still at least smouldering for *m*, i found only cold darkness and, at the same time, that realization gave me the freedom to give *sy* the warmth i'd been holding back from him. it might not be love --it's too soon for it to be love-- and it probably will never be. love is dead, remember? but the caring, affection, and warmth i think i was holding back in hopes to give it to *m* is now free to go where it will.
i don't want to say it's a happy ending, because i don't feel it is. it's a tragic ending for the saga of delena and *m*, for whom love was slaughtered in slow degrees by neglect and self-absorption, and encouraged to die by my misguided attempts to be purely unselfish. i swear by the Funk, i did not see what i was doing. i thought i was being loving, selfless, and may the Jiggy Snake lash me with its mighty, cosmic big bang tail if i'm lying.
on the other hand, it means i'm free of this oppressive heartache for once and all, and it's no secret the vehement revulsion i hold for all cages. because of it, last night held magic. it's small, the step he and i took, but i can feel the difference it made for the two of us. and my heart...i think it's slightly less pulpy.