Sunday, November 8, 2009

the return of november

Lately I've been taking my cues from Eleanor Roosevelt, in trying to do one thing every day that scares me. Friday night, I sang in public. It was truly terrifying, yes, but that narrow escape from the hungry maw of failure made me so much the more alive. And just maybe it will change my life somehow.

Saturday I did something much, much harder. I moved the beds.

I did this alone for two reasons. One, I imagined it would be hard for Peter Pan (slash annoying because the bed is heavier than the Japanese national sumo team), and two, I expect I needed to process. It was something I had to do, and in the grand tradition of annoying home-centric tasks in our history together, it fell to me alone.

This breakup is a pillar of the platonic ideal. We have so smoothly downshifted into friendship, that at times it feels as if nothing has changed—certainly nothing has been lost in removing the romantic aspect, a fact which only serves to reaffirm the decision we made. We seem to have accomplished the impossible in branching into the hitherto unknown territory of congenial breakups.

I moved the beds because it was time to move the beds. We should have heat any day now, and I managed to hang the curtains (alone) with the hand drill I borrowed from my landlord. The new mattress pad arrived in the mail. There were no excuses left. I still need to buy a wardrobe and move my clothes from that closet, but that room is now his and this one is mine. The sooner we face it, the better.

I did not expect my own reaction. First, the mattress itself nearly killed me. There I was trying to guide it through tiny door frames, trying to prop it onto one side so I could slide it around the corner, but it kept going limp at my feet, limp like the entire Japanese national sumo team suddenly playing dead. It flopped out into lamps, knocked over space heaters, crashed into bookcases and broke a picture I really loved from Florence, glass shattering everywhere. In grappling with it I stubbed my toes, bruised my arm, cut fingers, tore sheets and broke nails. I found myself hurling all my frustrations at this stubbornly awkward and utterly maddening bed that we shared for nearly three years. Those coils and feathers in the slippery plastic mattress protector became Peter Pan—who wouldn't grow up, who wouldn't participate, who never really helped. Where there should have been teamwork, there was just me, making the one final gesture that will likely villianize me and leave him very sad.

So I started swearing, grunting and heaving and cursing like some woeful combination of a drunken sailor and a woman scorned. The mattress and the man blurred and suddenly I was furious. Then just as suddenly I was mourning. That thing in that moment was my albatross, it was the weight of all of this—the sadness yes, but also the frustration.

So the grunts and curses turned into the kind of ugly cry that makes you realize the violence inherent in the choices we make.

I did this. Perhaps I was selfish and cruel for doing so, but I have no other explanation to offer than I had to do it. I saved myself and if I damned him in the process, I will wear that around my neck. I have been riding this tide of adrenal release, the sweet high of starting each day feeling free, feeling the unknown starting to lap at my feet again, testing the waters of being alone. But this stupid chore drove it home. I chose this. I walked away. There are no take backs.

And all this happened in conjunction with another scary leap I've taken this week. Are you listening Eleanor? Because I am racking up the points here. Yet another risky venture where the stakes are high and there is no guarantee I won't end up embarrassed or hurt, though the deliciousness of it is so very distracting and the possibilities may be endless.

I think there is just so much going on in this heart and noggin of mine this week that I couldn't help but come home last night at nearly two am and do anything but cry.

That said, I slept the best I have in months. And this morning, I've got church bells and sun streaming through my windows. I'm leaving in an hour to go sing on stage again. And, even though there is not one goddamn leaf remaining on the tree outside my window, it's a good a day as any to start the rest of my life.


Kathleen said...

Mattresses are the hardest things to move. There's no way to grip them. I know, I've moved one or two in my life.
Peter Pan sucks for not helping you do stuff.

Shannon Mac said...

you are so totally diesel. can i have your number?