March 27

EULOGY FOR TRUDIE GREER

EULOGY FOR 

TRUDIE GREER

(1989 – 2002)

Trudie has always lived up to her name.  At birth she was named after a wonderful friend that we lost to cancer just a few months before Trudie was born. Trudie Crouse said, not long before she died, that she wanted to come back as one of the Greer’s Jack Russell Terriers – we think she did.

 

In August of 1989 this perfect little puppy, with an uncanny look of wisdom and concern for all, was born.  She even liked vidalia onion sandwiches- one of her namesake’s favorites. 

 

From that day forward, Trudie took on Charlotte as her total responsibility (take it from her mother- that was a big responsibility for anyone). Trudie became protector of not only Charlotte, but of any animal she brought into the house.  There was the cat to save from other Jack Russells; there was a bird to protect from the cat; there were numerous fish to protect from the bird and the cat; and finally a ferret to protect from the cat and the other dogs, while continuing to protect the fish from the ferret; and numerous other wild babies that would come and go as Charlotte nursed them back to health.  Trudie took on all of this with only an occasional deep sigh and an expression a jewish mother would love. Trudie would also go to the barn with Charlotte and be sure everything was in order there. 

 

She went to Georgia Tech with Charlotte, just to make sure she drove safely, was on time and paid attention in class.  All the professors accepted her presence in their classrooms even though she would groan sometimes when the lecture got boring. 

 

When Charlotte couldn’t sleep ( which was a lot of the time because her back would be hurting ) Trudie would be there to let her know she wasn’t alone in the world and that she was loved. They would discuss their problems until Charlotte fell asleep Trudie would snuggle up to Charlotte’s sore back, or up on her pillow if touching her back hurt, then keep vigil through the night.  Charlotte knew she was never alone, and always unwaveringly loved. 

 

Trudie taught all of us more about Love, Sacrifice, Responsibility, Kindness, Forgiveness  and Fun then we knew existed. We were blessed to have the opportunity to know her and love her.  We miss her horribly and will remember her always.  

 

We also want her to know we are sorry we could never provide her with a thumb, and that we we were too dumb to speak her language.  That’s okay now – God will be able to do it all.

 

To Trudie Greer, with All of Our Love and Thanks- Love From “Her Humans”

 

                               

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March 27

Unfinished Novella – PG-13

What a beautiful, relaxing and self indulgent kind of day, he thought to himself.

 

He recalled feeling like a bit of a fool this morning donning boots and jeans with a practical shirt… but before he had much time to revel in apprehension, there was the gravel drive to her barn on the left.  When he thought of her he was affronted by images of lushness, the smell of vanilla and azure eyes that made his groin tighten. Turning attention to the gravel track and various a-sundry dogs that came to escort him, he glanced in the rearview to see nothing but dust in his trail.  The dust roiled up over the trees till the wind caught it and carried it away. The breeze was forgiving for a warm day on the cusp of autumn. Post and rail fences lined the drive, reminding him of the stories she told of laboring to build them. Glossy horses and one rather scruffy diminutive donkey peered curiously over (or between) the rails at him as he rolled by.  Next was a little rickety bridge covering a small creek. The bridge groaned and flexed as he slowly crossed it. Finally around the bend a barn appeared, well kept exterior and tidy yard. Her old truck was parked underneath the biggest shade tree, the bed filled to the tipping with bales of hay; he swore he could hear that old truck rusting. The underside of the truck appeared to be the ideal spot for canine and feline alike to nap in deep shade.  Everything spoke of careful repair if not funds to throw at things. He stepped from his truck and submitted to the inspection of the barn dog contingent. The sun was bright and golden like only fall gives you. The crunch of gravel under his boots, the panting of dogs and a long drawn out whinny signaled his arrival.

 As he stepped into the aperture, all went dark before his eyes could adjust and he could peel his sunglasses off.  It was like stepping into a cooler. The sweet smell of horses, liniment, hay and shavings greeted his nostrils…..and singing?  There she was, with a big grey horse in the crossties, singing to the animal as she brushed. He watched as her long gold braid swung as she moved, hair escaping its confines.  The grey bobbed his head in greeting. She wore green and black breeches tucked into tall black boots with a half unbuttoned billowy old men’s white shirt partially tucked in. Everything about her appearance said hurried, priorities elsewhere yet effortless beauty.  She turned to him with an eager expression of pink-cheeked excitement and welcoming. Her shape beckoned to him. Ample breasted, small-waisted and that lovely posterior that willingly filled out her breeches, swinging as she walked made the little voice inside order him to take her to the nearest hayloft and give her a right seeing to immediately.

He knew how important this was to her, that this was her world- the thing that fed her soul.  He just wanted to manage not to make an ass of himself today, but that was not likely. So as not to look too awkward, he set about making friends with the gallant steed in front of him.  He was constantly distracted by the gaping due to her missing buttons on the top. Each time she bent over he was treated to the swinging of a breast or a large dark nipple. He marveled at her handiness.  She cared not if she got dirty, sweaty, or banged up. She went about tacking up the big grey talking all the while, including the horse in on the entire conversation. She beckoned me to follow as she threw a halter and lead over her shoulder and headed out the other side of the barn.  She stopped at the opening, on the transition from dark to light, her hair shining like flaxen in the sunlight, her blouse transparent…a silhouette of her breast and ribcage making for a photographer’s delight. I caught up with her and scooped her up. She always yields in the softest way when I command her close.  I couldn’t help but lay little kisses all along her neck from ear to collarbone. She smelled of soap and vanilla with the odor of the great outdoors caught in her hair. I once again stifled the urge to have her right then and there. She smiled at me knowingly with that wicked grin, and walked away down the hill to the paddock below.  I marveled at how her ass swung when she walked, a true bustle. My concentration was broken by a pair of horses knickering a greeting. Next thing I know I have been handed a lead rope with a big black beast on the other end. The horse and I looked at each other for a minute and tenuously made a gentleman’s agreement not to make any sudden moves.  

She set about tacking up her steed while I looked around.  Yep, stalls, horses, horse related stuff. She was standing with my palfrey for the day flourishing the reins at me like I knew what to do.  She then added saddlebags to my horse, stuffing them with wine and a lunch of sandwiches with a sundry of goodies. She added a blanket rolled up to the back of her saddle, which gave me excellent ideas.  We mounted up and I followed her to the trail as she waxed philosophic about the spot we were headed to. She was easy in the saddle, like she was born there. Thankfully my grey gelding was happy to follow the impressive black one who enthusiastically danced underneath her with his neck arched and mouthing the bit.  What a lovely sight, fair maid on a horse, headed to a sequestered place where I could ravage her. The scenery must have been lovely, but I never took my eyes off her… She fascinated me in every way, ticked all the boxes. All I wanted to do is have her on that blanket in her lovely naked splendor discovering all her secret places, drinking her in.

The trail was wide enough for us to ride next to each other most the way.  I secretly thanked my mount for not acting like hers…Head tossing and leaping about, like a tightly coiled spring.  She paid her horse no mind, only occasionally stroking his neck as we talked. I openly stared as her breasts bounced and heaved with the moved with the dancing horse, white shirt slipping down to expose one shoulder in a tease.  I admired how nicely her ass fit in her saddle. I was assaulted by titillating images the whole ride. Her eyes were so blue, her expression so free. I was sure she as most beautiful in this moment.

Time and distance must have slipped by, because we arrived at a secluded glen facing a lovely waterfall feeding a creek.  She deftly dismounted and selected a spot under weeping willows. She dug in to one side of the saddlebags and removed the biggest pair of handcuffs I had ever seen.  She read the excitement on my face and quickly explained that they were hobbles for the horses….but could be employed in a myriad of ways at another time. She quickly untacked the horses, letting them loose to graze a distance away from us.  I began to divest the saddlebags of their contents. I laid the big blanket under the mottled light of the weeping willows. She plopped down on the blanket and pulled off her boots…I followed her lead. She reclined in my lap as we ate and drank our fill.  I slid my hand down that accommodating shirt and palmed a breast, feeling her nipples go erect and her back arch. I watched her eyes flutter as I stroked her hair and slipped it aside so I could kiss her collarbone. She sat up and turned around, helping me remove my shirt and running her hands along my chest and shoulders.  I laid back on my elbows as she hovered over me on all fours looking me in the eye, biting her lower lip. She began to unbutton her shirt, a curtain of hair falling all around her face. I caught my breath a little when she unveiled her beautiful golden breasts accented by the palest of tan lines and untucked her shirt to remove it.  What a lovely thing she was…broad shoulders, big breasts leading to an hourglass waist that gently flared to her broad hips. Her expression became more serious now, it said she wanted something, and wanted it dearly but with the petulant face of a child. I sat up and undid her leather belt, unzipped her breeches. And she rolled onto her back, lifted her hips and slipped them off all the while looking at me.  Reliably, there was no underwear, being the nonconformist she was. Nestled in between her legs, perfectly centered on her tan lines was a golden blond bush..soft and fine. By now my raging erection was popping and I was absentmindedly fumbling for my fly in an attempt to be a willing participant. She came to my rescue with one hand deftly freeing the monster and sliding her hand down my shaft to pull him from his confines.  I quickly divested myself of the remainder of my clothing and wrapped my arms around her to kiss her deeply. She had a way of playfully, teasingly nibbling at my upper and lower lips, then brushing them lightly with her tongue, it drove me wild. The when you least expected it, she would plunge her tongue in my mouth. The thought of it makes my hips jerk.  

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March 25

Whiteness I

The world glows white outside..the snow generously giving the moon back its azure light.  The trees stand like sentinels, shoulders hunched wearing epaulets of ice. The sound of cold, like a breathy echo, absorbing all the audible details.  As the world shivers under its innocuous looking burden, all the living things hunker down, the itinerant and homeless suffering under their lack of defense against the whiteness.

 

I sit here, in this cold.  Just when it seems I am resigned to doing research, seeking technical terms to describe the nuances of behavior, words become too much, and I come sit in the all encompassing argent.  My head is filled with strategic transverse areas, all comprised by several forms of energy my islets can no longer suffer. When my governance of such thoughts becomes too much, I let concentration glide away beyond understanding of the scientific.. and slip into one of the comfortable anterooms of my mind.  The transition is so effortless, so freeing, I lose myself in the dark corners..

 

As my breath clouds and accumulates in my face on this night of supreme whiteness..this night of silvery blue magic, I imagine imps in the wood, puck of the dusk lurking behind trees, watching me with suspicion.  For this is their night, a night filled with all that is ethereal, all that is magic. As the trees creak and groan with ice and are forced to bow to the wind, as the wee owl takes his perch in the highest tree, I escape the surface with him.. My mind carries me over the frozen wood, over the glowing blue fields.  I find myself far away, but yet some place familiar.. Now I am in a friends wood, alight on the big branch outside her door. I sing to her as the wee owl would.. I tell her of the lovely magical night, of all its promise.. I beckon her forth into the glowing azure and argent. I want her to share in my foray into the whiteness unending…and because she is my friend, a touchstone, she abides.  She is the loveliest barn owl, she owns the night. And we set off together, like the puck of the dusk, in the cold wood. Her wings broad and silent, her call plaintive, we listen to all that is left unsaid as we fly. Soon light will come, and our adventure will cease to be, until another magical night presents itself to us.. Until it is time once again for our spirits to fly.

 

Until next time my beautiful creature…

 

Charlotte von Wolfle Greer

2.14.14

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March 25

Great Moments

Sometimes you are aware when your great moments are happening, and sometimes they rise from the past. Perhaps it’s the same with people.

 

Her life was one in which everything was left undone—letters unanswered, bills on the floor, the butter sitting out all night. Perhaps that was why her husband had left her; he was even more hopeless than she. At least she was gay. She stepped from her littered doorway in pretty clothes, like a woman who lives in the barrio walking to a limousine, stray dogs and dirt on the way.”

 

“Women fall in love when they get to know you. Men are just the opposite. When they finally know you they’re ready to leave

 

“I’m tired of my life, my clothes, the things I say. I’m hacking away at the surface, as at some kind of gray ice, trying to break through to what is underneath or I am dead. I can feel the surface trembling—it seems ready to give but it never does. I am uninterested in current events. How can I justify this? How can I explain it? I don’t want to have the same vocabulary I’ve always had. I want something richer, broader, more penetrating and powerful.

 

The book was in her lap; she had read no further. The power to change one’s life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark. The lines that penetrate us are slender, like the flukes that live in river water and enter the bodies of swimmers. She was excited, filled with strength. The polished sentences had arrived, it seemed, like so many other things, at just the right time. How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?”

 

Why is it so difficult to assemble those things that really matter in life and to dwell among them only? I am referring to certain landscapes, persons, beasts, books, rooms, meteorological conditions, fruits.” 

 

Happiness is often at its most intense when it is based on inequality.

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March 25

Perfect, After All?

Perfect, After All?

Many years ago, I requested that my then-husband and I attend marital therapy. After years and years of covert, hidden abuse, I thought I was losing my mind. I had reached a point where my fragile sanity was questioning whether I was making the abuse up.
This is what happened when we entered therapy for the first time.
I sit down on the sofa first, my husband sits in the seat opposite before standing up to remove his jacket and stare idly around the room looking I know, for somewhere to hang his precious clothing. I note our therapist clocking this. He takes my husband’s jacket and hangs it on the back of his door.
My husband has shown his hand.
I wonder to myself if our therapist has noticed the first clue of my husband’s character — his unmistakable self-importance. As the three of us have never met before, I know he will be absorbing every cue, both verbal and non-verbal.
I am stiff as a board — my body is tightly wound up; clusters of agony from our 12 years together: heartbreak, tension, and anxiety and trepidation are scrunched up like a ball of old paper. My mind and my soul are heavy with anguish.
When our therapist asks us what has brought us here today, my husband — the love of my life answers coldly —
“Well I think Charlotte should tell us as I don’t even know myself.” A disinterested scoff leaves his possession.
He has shown his hand again. How he — the smart and cunning one — doesn’t realize is beyond me. Despite the depth of heartbreak moving my soul, I still see him for all that he is  — deeply self-loathing, and fervently motivated to prove that the opposite is the case to a human being that he has never before met. That cause is more important to him than his loyalty to his own wife.
I wonder to myself: Don’t you think our own therapist can see through you?
I feel for him. And I am reminded why we are still together; because I have forgiven a thousand sins in the name of empathy and understanding. I have chosen him above myself from the day we united.
I open my mouth to speak and struggle to find voice. Heaving arrests my form; you can hear it in my vocal chords — the hoarseness coming from difficulty breathing, deep in my diaphragm.
I tell the room in between heavy sobbing, that I love my husband more than life itself — that we have been together for 12 years, but we are broken. I tell the space in front of me, that my husband is aggressive and passive-aggressive, that I can’t discern what is real anymore and I don’t remember what is normal from what is not. And I say that I no longer feel safe in our union, that my spirit has been under attack for as long as I can remember.
I break down. I literally, cannot cope.
For all the seriousness of my words, they are underscored by a fear that our therapist will view me as the perpetrator and my husband as the victim — cognitive dissonance running amok and wreaking havoc in my broken mind.
Our therapist spends time listening to my husband’s response, which I don’t recall. I just remember that he was complimenting him — on his intelligence, and his power. My husband was confused, I was not. I knew what he was doing — road testing his instinct that my husband may have NPD.
I know my husband agreed with our therapist’s compliments, but he so dislikes being swindled, or rather — having somebody one step ahead of him, so I see the cogs of his mind whirring fast — trying to establish or verify the authenticity of our therapist’s comments.
I don’t remember exactly, but I think around 40 minutes in, our therapist suggests that taking a personality profile test may be useful — for us to understand each other better. We both agree to take the test.
I know what’s coming.
We spend the next week apart, and seven days later we return to our therapist’s little room, our eyes not meeting once as they have done day after day for eleven years.
Our gentle therapist tells us the profile assessments are complete, and he will now hand us our spouses report to read.
I feel like something or someone has died and he’s announcing the death to us much like a surgeon does to grieving loved ones in the waiting room, when he has failed to save the life of their beloved.
Our therapist explains we will then swap and read our own reports, and discuss whether each one is commensurate with our own perceptions, of each other, and of ourselves. We acknowledge the instructions silently and take the reports he hands to us.
I read the first paragraph in milliseconds before collapsing into uncontrollable grief. I can’t cope with what I am reading. My brain hurts, my spirit is splintering for certain. This is a pain like I have never known before.
The assessment of my husband confirms that he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
In this micro-instant, I think my heart shatters into a thousand shards. A million thoughts and fears race through my mind.
I am heartbroken for my husband; the little I know about this disorder tells me that NPD is borne out of suffering and neglect in childhood. What fate befell him as a child?
I am heartbroken for myself too — as I thought it was me that was the source of all our problems; years of covert gas-lighting have totally eroded my sense of reality, I have come to believe that everything my husband had said over the years is true —that in his words — I am “the damager of everything”.
The bittersweet pain of relief is literally overwhelming. I finish reading the three pages of his report, whilst he is still reading the first of mine.
Over the course of the following weeks, I watch as our therapist so carefully ‘handles’ my husband’s personality disorder. He is clear, firm, and plays along to all my husband’s character flaws; his need to be seen as all-powerful, supremely intelligent and superior, and his need to be seen as the victim.
Our therapist plays into his hands. And this is for one reason and one reason only – that were he not to, he would lose this client – my husband would have abandoned the process of therapy if our therapist had tackled him and his personality issues head on. Instead I watched in admiration and awe, of how skillfully he brought out unconscious drives and behaviours in my husband.
In the end, I asked my husband for a divorce. He never returned to therapy after that moment – entirely normal for someone suffering from NPD. Why would they need therapy, when they are perfect after all?

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March 9

Liars of the first degree

So we sit back and watch it unravel… slowly letting go of all we held dear. You light the match, I put the fire to everything….just one more dirty battle in our dirty little war. We’ve done nothing but give each other the hard lessons but we aren’t learning… drawn lines in the sand, but the world keeps on turning. So as our dance winds down, and our music fades, we get few opportunities to say what we feel, even fewer to feel what we are saying. So as we take one step up, in slow time to the music, we must take two steps back and somehow get through it.
Last night I dreamt I was in your arms, the music played and we loved each other for just a minute…
just one little minute to represent all the millions of minutes we’ve loved and hated and wasted and thrown aside. But waking stole the moment away. Leaving me with yet another debt to pay the sandman.
And here I am, in my car, driving somewhere, anywhere, away from you, which painfully only circles back around to you. I fumble for a pen and any piece of paper, and as the gorge rises in my throat and my eyes mist over.. I lay it all down. I lay down the happiness and the outright joy, the passion spent, the labors, the feeling content. But no matter how I put it to paper, it still does a slow dance in my imagination. Painfully, one step up and then two steps back, lives in suspension.
I wonder, do you get quiet and think of me? Bury your face in your hands so you can’t see? Does the regret, and pride, and the bleeding ever set you free? Because pride will bring us both down a good measure, just wait and see. It will keep us from each other’s pleasures. Stop the sharing and stave off any caring. Leave our beds cold as we grow old. I see you look at me, and say I am still the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen, but it does me little good, and you less… Because there is no room for you and me. The mistakes we have both made are unforgivable. And I beg you to stay your blade.
I was your something fragile, something to be handled with care. But if you care, then hopefully you will someday regret your rough handling, your pride outstanding. I am not sure when you stopped loving me, but I guess I needed to be free.
Now the music comes to a close, our movements nearly imperceptible. I see that muscle hammering in your jaw, and you must hear my heart beating. We stand there and let it all slip off track, the line has reached its inevitable end. And all that exists now is the space between, which might as well be an unnavigable fathomless place of darkness and little grace.
…and I say let it go, and you agree, but we are both liars of the first degree.
Charlotte Greer Slater 2.17.13

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March 9

Why did he do this?

I am a mother, often left not knowing the well-being or the whereabouts of my daughters. My
daughters were made to believe their mother was a terrible person that didn’t love her children,
that I chose something, anything else over them, that I was somehow unfit, abusive and crazy.
Their heads were filled with outright lies about their past, their little minds tasked with rewriting
of their history. Neither my girls nor myself were afforded the opportunity to be present in each
other’s lives for a long and important period of their lives. No matter the intentions, what my ex
husband has done to both his daughters and me is wrong. Why did he do this? He has
exacted his revenge down to the last, because I left him due to years of abuse, because I was
afraid my girls were going to witness the total unraveling of their mother at his will and his
hands.

The saddest thing of all, is that when the shoe was on the other foot, so to speak, and I
first left my now ex husband in 2009 (we ended up reconciling), my then attorney recommended
I go for full custody and I flat out refused. I explained I would never do that to my daughters or
him. I saw it as selfish and cruel… no matter his character or actions. Depriving a child of their
parent is unfair and damaging in the extreme. My girls tell me that when they ask him why they
cannot see me more often, or why I cannot do some activity with them, he blames Dr. Drutman,
or the Judge.. but never looks them in the eyes and give them the truth. The truth is he is to
blame for this misery, this great loss. He is the reason they miss their mother. He can never
not win, nor can he take ownership of his actions.

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December 27

Driving

Driving

In the late winter evening she passes familiar landmarks.  The traffic is thick but moving. The stores are clotted with people.  The flashes of eye-catching signs making for distraction. It is dusk now, she is moving into the country… Headed home on the long curving stretches, lost in thought, egged on by the music on the radio.  By the time she crossed the river the trees were black silhouetted by the deep blue of twilight. She flew along, in the left lane only, above the limit, tired and wistful , filled with plans. Her eyes stung with tears held back.  On the seat behind her were bags of groceries, on the floor were gas slips, parking tickets stub, dog leashes and water bowls, mail that had never been opened, bills. Every scrap of paper filled with near illegible ramblings of her prolific muddled mind.  Penned at stoplights, in carpool, and even braced on the steering wheel while headed down the highway. All left on the floorboards to be trampled underfoot. Maybe the trampling of her thoughts serves her right.  

The road runs along the throat of the mountains, for most of the way there is no house visible, not a store, nothing except the long galaxy of distant houses on the hillside beginning to shine in the dark.  She turns from the main road onto a side street. She sees houses she knows intimately without any idea who lives in them. She sees parked cars she recognizes, a wooden fence with the same rail missing, the same two dogs tied and looking lonely in the same backyard.  She is nearing home, but she doesn’t want to go, she wants to keep driving. Driving till the street lights run out, till there is nothing but country. She wants to find a pasture somewhere and lie down in the dark to scream at the stars. She wants to accuse the satellites of mimicry.  She wants to feel cold ground on her back; she wants to feel something, anything but this. She wants to breathe, she wants space unlimited. If she let go of the wheel, the car would surely take her there. She rakes her fingers through her long hair in a frustrated moment. She rubs her nose, and then wipes her eyes angrily.  The tears flow now, and she hates the tears. She wonders if she could go to the barn this late, would they detect her? Huddled in a stall somewhere, her face buried in a sympathetic mane. She craves the smell of soothing horses and calm, quiet munching; the occasional shift of weight, swish of tail, anything to soothe her. She would stay there all night if she could… Hiding like a naughty child.

But here is her turn, and she dutifully puts on her blinker.  She regrettably makes the turn for home. She steadies herself for the onslaught…whether intended or not, it will be waiting for her…it always is.  

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December 26

It is a day of little sunlight and much rain.

It is a day of little sunlight and much rain.  I sit at my desk, the room is silent. This is what sets me thinking; all was suddenly calm.  So it is again time to spill it all onto the page.

A perfect day begins in death, in the semblance of death, in deep surrender.  The body is soft, the soul has gone forth, all strength, even breath is lax. There is no power for good or evil, the luminous surface of another world is near, enfolding, the branches of trees tremble and stand witness outside.  Morning, I wake slowly, as if touched by the sun. I am alone; the blue-grey coat of my cat curled on the duvet drinks the burning light.

For the day to unfold it must in its blueness, its immensity, hide the conspiracy I live in, enclose it, invisible, like stars in the daytime sky.  Life is contemptuous of knowledge; it forces it to sit in the anterooms, to wait outside. Passion, energy, lies: these are what life admires. Still anything can be endured if all humanity is watching.  The martyrs prove it. We live in the attention of others. We turn to it as flowers turn their lovely faces to the sun. But do I still endure? I feel as if the ground subsides beneath me. I feel as if my own mind has undermined my cause, my plight.  I feel nothing and everything at once, I am overwhelmed.

There is not a complete life.  There are only fragments, selective memories.  We are born to have nothing, take nothing, letting it pour through our hands like a sieve.  And yet this pouring, this flood of encounters, struggles, dreams one must continuously endure.  For whatever we do, even whatever we do not do prevents us from doing the opposite. The very acts demolish their alternatives, that is the paradox, the boolean way of existence.  So that life is a matter of choices, each one final and of little consequence, like dropping stones into the sea, who would notice the displacement? We had children therefore we can never be childless.  We are moderate; we will never know what it is to spill our lives. I am Charlotte, how could I ever be anything different? They all think of me as knowledgeable and capable, but I am shite.  

I am not myself, I am vague, adrift.  I am lost in the woods and the midges are biting.  I am panicking now. I am frantic, so I cannot be calm, I am angry so I cannot be happy, I am very very sad, so I cannot be.

Today is the day they are going to put it back to me, and I was supposed to have a plan.  But all I have is a shell, and I can describe it in great detail, with passion and great regard, but it is only a shell.  Hollow, hear the echo? It is a lovely shade of green, it is my shell. Yes, see the dings and dents? That is the flotsam of life barraging me at all times, and now that I am hollow, it is even louder when it strikes.

 

~Charlotte    3.27.09

 

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December 26

Driving

Driving

In the late winter evening she passes familiar landmarks.  The traffic is thick but moving. The stores are clotted with people.  The flashes of eye-catching signs making for distraction. It is dusk now, she is moving into the country… Headed home on the long curving stretches, lost in thought, egged on by the music on the radio.  By the time she crossed the river the trees were black silhouetted by the deep blue of twilight. She flew along, in the left lane only, above the limit, tired and wistful , filled with plans. Her eyes stung with tears held back.  On the seat behind her were bags of groceries, on the floor were gas slips, parking tickets stub, dog leashes and water bowls, mail that had never been opened, bills. Every scrap of paper filled with near illegible ramblings of her prolific muddled mind.  Penned at stoplights, in carpool, and even braced on the steering wheel while headed down the highway. All left on the floorboards to be trampled underfoot. Maybe the trampling of her thoughts serves her right.  

The road runs along the throat of the mountains, for most of the way there is no house visible, not a store, nothing except the long galaxy of distant houses on the hillside beginning to shine in the dark.  She turns from the main road onto a side street. She sees houses she knows intimately without any idea who lives in them. She sees parked cars she recognizes, a wooden fence with the same rail missing, the same two dogs tied and looking lonely in the same backyard.  She is nearing home, but she doesn’t want to go, she wants to keep driving. Driving till the street lights run out, till there is nothing but country. She wants to find a pasture somewhere and lie down in the dark to scream at the stars. She wants to accuse the satellites of mimicry.  She wants to feel cold ground on her back; she wants to feel something, anything but this. She wants to breathe, she wants space unlimited. If she let go of the wheel, the car would surely take her there. She rakes her fingers through her long hair in a frustrated moment. She rubs her nose, and then wipes her eyes angrily.  The tears flow now, and she hates the tears. She wonders if she could go to the barn this late, would they detect her? Huddled in a stall somewhere, her face buried in a sympathetic mane. She craves the smell of soothing horses and calm, quiet munching; the occasional shift of weight, swish of tail, anything to soothe her. She would stay there all night if she could… Hiding like a naughty child.

But here is her turn, and she dutifully puts on her blinker.  She regrettably makes the turn for home. She steadies herself for the onslaught…whether intended or not, it will be waiting for her…it always is. 

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