It Was A Walk of Shame


But not that kind of walk of shame.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

But it definitely reminded me of one.

Underpants in my messenger bag, condoms falling out of my pen bag and knocking about in my messenger bag, what were you doing last night lady?

Thank God the family had left when all this underpants and condom hilarity ensued.

I was reminded of a story, in the briefest barest flash of embarrassment, my mom loves to tell this story, it’s in the top three (top two standing in front of the three-way mirror at Macy’s in my lace anklets at age three admiring myself–snuck out of the changing room when mom went to find a dress that fit better, imagine her surprise, empty changing room, no baby, but suddenly hearing a gaggle of old ladies around the corner cooing over how cute I was cued her off.  Top one–standing on top of my desk and yelling at my class to sit down and be quiet because teacher was having a bad day, teacher promptly burst into tears, said thank you Carmen and everybody sat down and was quiet.  Turns out she had just been served with divorce papers at recess) of the mom pantheon of stories to tell on me.

I was six, maybe seven, first grade (older kid, missed the cut off for kindergarten by a month, so always one of the oldest in my class) and I stood up to use the bathroom and my underpants fell out the bottom of my pants.

I was not only mortified, but I was mystified too.

How the hell did they come off?

Turns out my underwear were on, but I had an extra in the leg, probably from the laundry or they hadn’t pulled out of my jeans when I pulled them off the night before.

Which is what happened to me today.

At the age of 41, I was not paying enough attention to notice that my jeans had a little extra padding in the back side this morning when I went to work.

I mean I am utterly mystified how that happened, I was awake, I swear, when I got dressed, but apparently I was not fully present.

ALL MORNING.

I sat where I am sitting now, had breakfast, wrote four pages long hand, I had extra time this morning, I rode the MUNI to work–sat there too–how I did not feel an extra pair of panties back there I don’t know.

I discovered them when I was getting the boys ready to go outside to the park.

I pulled up my jeans and was like, what is that, and reached back and fished out the underwear.

This is what happens when you are so ready and packed to go that you are recycling your pants to get through the week so you don’t have to worry about laundry before leaving for playa.

I re-wore my jeans from yesterday.

The condoms were from my consolidating of stuffs when I went through the underwear drawer and I stuffed them in my pen and pencil bag in my messenger bag.

I don’t know that I need them, I don’t foresee getting lucky before I hit playa–Mister I’ll Bring You Some Frozen Peas never got back at me the last time I sent him a query.

Oh well.

His loss.

Moving on.

Hopefully with only one pair of panties on my person at a time.

It made me laugh and really it was a day full of life and gratitude for what I have.

My friends, my work, the little boys in my life, my recovery, knowing I have a solution to my disease and taking my medicine.

My heart broke when my good friend text me that Robin Williams had committed suicide today in Tiburon.

I met the great man once, he was amazing, heartbreaking, sad, funny, depressed, overwhelmed, sweet, honest, loving, kind.

I got to sit and be five feet away from him for an hour and it was a pretty incredible experience.  And a hug after that hour and an immense gratitude for what I have.

Money doesn’t make you happy.

Fame doesn’t make you happy.

Sometimes there’s just a deep, deep well of pain and it cannot be addressed or dealt with and thank fully I found a way out of it, but the echo in my soul, that unbearable knowledge of what he must have been going through, I can taste it like mercury blood in my mouth, a bitter sucked orange sadness.

I know he’s not in pain any longer and I am glad for that, though for completely selfish reasons I wish he were still here.

I don’t cry at celebrity deaths.

Two to date.

When I heard the news that Jeff Buckley had died.

And today when I got the text from my friend.

I immediately teared up and my heart just hurt, it felt like I had gotten stabbed, perhaps because I share that disease and know that pain, partially because I am so grateful it is not a solution I have chosen.

Although there were times, two years into my sobriety, when it got really, really bad.

REAL BAD.

I was always crying.

And I can cry a lot.

But I was always crying.

I did not know what would set it off and I did not know when it would stop and I wanted to die so bad.

It was when I was in the shower contemplating being alone for the rest of my life and never having a family of my own (I don’t know why that thought, I don’t know what had brought it about, but I had a sudden realization that I was never going to have children and I was brought low in devestation), I sank down on the floor of the tub, the shower beating on my head and thought, all I have to do is fill the tub up with water and let go.

There were razors there.

It would be warm.

It would be ok.

It would not hurt for long.

Let go.

I gripped the sides of the bathtub, forced my way to standing, turned off the shower, grabbed the towel from the back hook of the door and screamed into it, broke down crying, wrapped myself up in the towel, went and made a phone call and somehow walked through it until I got professional help.

I don’t know Robin’s pain.

I can’t.

But I know thinking about that very permanent solution to a temporary problem allure.

I hope he is in a better place and at peace.

I hope to not journey there yet for many a day.

I hope you know how much I love you.

I love you.

I do.

 

Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.


― Pablo Neruda

 

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