Hello Darling


It’s so nice to see you again.

How have I missed you, let me count the ways.

Not being stared at because I have tattoos and funky hair.
In fact, my hair is less funky than many here.
Case in point, my dear friend with the shaved tribal design on the side of her head picked me up today and I didn’t even look twice at the cut, its fabulous and so is she.

I have the tattoos.
I don’t watch Nascar and I don’t have single tribal tattoo of barbed wire on my upper arm.

Yes, if you ask nicely I will let you look at them.

Yes. They hurt.


You don’t hesitate to throw down a dance party with hula hoops at the drop of a hat in Noe Valley.
That is just how you roll.

I have to dress warmly here.
Despite it being July.

Because its July and everyone, tourists excepting, knows that it’s winter time here out by the coast and the fog is thick and cool and the wind is chilly and yes, I did leave my house in a fuzzy pink sweater and a jacket.
It’s July people.
It’s cold.

It’s home.
It just plain old is.

I love you San Francisco and whenever I leave I get to return to that dear fact.

I love my best friend in Wisconsin, probably more than any other person on the planet.

However, Wisconsin is not populated with a plethora of her.
Just the one.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there are not like-minded folk there, there are.
Like her husband.
And some mutual friends, and some old friends, but overall, I am more at home here than there.

That is not to say that I did not entertain thoughts of moving back.
I always do when I go there.
It is inevitable.

I get this soul enriching experience with my friend and experience a kind of joy and deep belly laugh that I only have around her.
I get her kids who I just adore to smithereens.
Especially her oldest boy who, no surprise, is my favorite.
Although the two younger ones are amazing little creatures too, it’s the eldest that has my heart.

I made a vow to always be a good person for him, to always be the best me that I could be to always practice kindness and compassion and love, generosity, humility, honesty, and to strive to be the best me possible.

His mom did something for me that no other person in my life did.
She helped me when I needed help.

There were plenty of people who wanted to help me or tried to help me, I’m sure there were, but she was the one who stuck it out and she was the one who stayed by me and my crazy when it was really, really, really bad.

She was the one I called when I hit rock bottom.

She got me where I needed to go and she said the most piercing, horrifying, awful thing to me.
A sentence, one sentence that sent it all home.
That nailed my coffin shut on my using, though I did not know it at the time, but it hurt so bad to hear what she said that I could no longer ignore how deep and how bad I had gotten into the drugs.

There was a part of me, a large part, I won’t kid, I won’t lie, I won’t try to hide it, that wanted her to swoop in like a mama bird and take care of me and get me into rehab and then, you know, let me live with her and her family until I was up on my feet again and I would have home and shelter and care until I could care for myself again.

We talked long over the phone trying to figure out what I would do and where I would get help and I don’t know if I floated the idea or what or how it came out, but the hope that maybe I could go back to Wisconsin and set up camp at her home got thrown out into the ether.

Just like the words that followed, the deeps silence that greeted my idea spoke to me and was perhaps the thing that allowed the words she said next to sink into my heart.
Break my heart.
Open me up to something else and allow for my journey to really begin.

Breathtaking pause.


“Carmen, I love you, but I can’t, I can’t let you stay in my home, I don’t think I can trust you around, S.”

Oh dear sweet Jesus.

It sunk in.

All the way in.

How bad I was.
How bad it had gotten.
The depths had been reached and I had no further bottom to dig to.

I wiped tears off my face, knew she was right.
And wanted to prove her wrong.

But her child was more important.
And that’s how it’s suppose to be.

The child is more important.
She had her priorities straight and mine were lined up, chopped up, diced up and snorted with a bloody bill that would wind up back in my sad, depleted wallet after being licked clean of any residue left on it.

I vowed that I would never be anything but sober around that little boy.
A boy who is not so little anymore.

A boy who breaks my heart with his deep beauty and grace and gazelle legs and hazel brown, green, gold flecked eyes, who told me again and again that he loved me and wrapped his sun warm limbs around me and let me hug and kiss him and squish him and dote on him.

He does not need to know any of that history.
He just get to know the love and for that I am so beyond grateful.

My friend asked after my writing and my progression with it and where it’s going next and truth be told, I don’t know.

I really don’t.

I can dream big dreams of publishing dreams and money and glory and forever and ever material success and satisfaction.

But it all matters not one whit to the important and real commitment I have to this way of life I live and what I do in it.

My community, my fellowship, my recovery.

If you had told me years ago that I would get to help save lives and not have to go to medical school and rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to do so, I would have jumped at the opportunity.

Little did I know that doing a lot of drugs, sleeping with men whose names I didn’t know, and stealing where the prerequisites to my job.
My true purpose.
To fit myself to be of maximum service to my fellow.

I have a purpose.
I have a point.

And the writing gets to be my own little side thing.
My little hobby that maybe, well, I can still dream–will manifest in something wild and wooly and wonderful, I know that, but it’s not the point of my life, I have another calling too and that purpose and that point is the reason that I get to be a part of a the life of my friend and her family.

I get to sit on the dock and watch the boys jump in and out of the water, get to hold the one in my lap, with my arms wrapped tight about him at sunset and putter around the lake on the pontoon boat and see a bald eagle high in a tree, to help build a fire and make s’mores on the Fourth of July while lighting off boxes of sparklers (or ‘parklers as the youngest says, always dropping the “s” on his four-year old words), to go wild blueberry picking in the woods and to hug them and hold them and know that I am known and loved and trusted.

I am trusted with my friends children.

I am the luckiest woman alive.

I am so lucky to be loving you.


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