Slyfoot said he was half deaf, half blind, and half crazy. He said I drove him sane…
I didn’t think anything he said about himself was true. I was a realistic, but when it came to people, one on one, individually, I was an optimistic.
People say all sorts of weird things about themselves on the internet to make thems sound interesting. I’m not sure all those particular ‘half’s’ are all that interesting, but I thought it was just an attention grabber.
I didn’t know Slyfoot, or Sam as I came to know him later, irl (in real life). I just thought he was some gamer/hacker/computer geek who was way too into Linux and rosaries. I never put it all together until we started talking in earnest–and that didn’t happen until after the dream and we were making plans to get married. By that time it was too late. God had already let me set my own trap and watched quietly as I walked right into it.
I couldn’t blame Him. I had given him permission. I’d invited him to in a flippant moment. Truth be told, I had practically dared him to. I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, and I never imagined it would end up the way it did.
It all started two years after my divorce. I was in my mid thirties. I had four children, but only the two youngest lived with me: Erin, my daughter, and Josh, my youngest son. My two older boys, Benjamin and Bryce, lived with their father in the same area we had all lived together before the divorce: Katy, Texas.
At that time, I lived in the northwest of Houston in a decent, inexpensive (relatively speaking), townhome apartment, struggling as a single mother still having a difficult time with my ex, even two years after we split.
My father told me to start dating. At this time, my father had been divorced three times and married four times–twice to my mother. I told him I would work on that, with no intention of doing so. I gave the appearance of respect. I didn’t tell him that he was the last person I’d take advice on romance from, or that I couldn’t understand why he and my mother decided to get back together with him. But being my dad, I did listen and I thought about what he said, but not much more than that.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) we have Wards instead of a Parish. And instead of a parish priest, we have a Bishop. You can’t switch wards or bishops, as some people outside the Mormon church do, with some special exceptions.
None of the clergy in the Mormon church is paid.
Temples are not like Ward buildings, where Mormons meet every week to partake of the sacrament, attend Sunday School and auxiliary meetings. They are sacred places where ordinances are performed that tie us to our families for eternity and give a glimpse of heaven. Only worthy members, those with a recommend, are allowed in the temple. To obtain this recommend, members have to adhere to the Word of Wisdom–a guideline to a healthy, God directed/centered lifestyle–pay their tithing–1/10th of their increase, be interviewed and found worthy by your bishop and your stake president, who is a little like a Bishop of the several parishes in his district.
Sometime after my father had told me to start dating, I went in to my bishop for a temple recommend interview and he,Bishop Slack, told me that I needed to start dating. I laughed nervously and told him that my father had said the same thing just a few weeks earlier.
I made no commitments and didn’t do anything more about that admonition than I had my fathers.
When I went into the interview with the stake president, I didn’t expect much small talk. Stake Presidents have even less time to themselves, and more appointments to get to, than bishops. It was a bit of a surprise then, after the stake president started with the question on how my life had been–the trials of single motherhood, how hard that is in a ward full of functional, intact families–that he told me that I needed to start dating.
I laughed and decided that I better take the advice before one of the Twelve Apostles called me. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting all the way up the chain to the prophet.
I started to take the idea of dating seriously, and tried to be open.
While I was trying to put together in my mind what I wanted from a potential husband (something I never really did when I was young) I kept writing and stayed in contact with most of my family and friends through email, livejournal (the precursor to “blogs”) or instant messaging.
Writing consumed most of my free time at this period in my life. It was a good diversion from feeling sorry for myself, my situation, being angry at the ex, and trying to adjust to being a single mom. I was delving into scifi, something I hadn’t really done before, and my first serious foray was a short story called: A Rock and a Hard Place. I posted on my livejournal and it went like this:
Richard “Rock” Klein
Captain’s Log 14.10.2665
Outside Uranus (isn’t that ironic)
Kerry Portsmith Station
Docking Bay 24
They say space is cold. But it’s not *just* cold. No one has ever really felt how cold it is and lived to tell about it. We know instinctively that anything so vast and so empty must be cold.
The irony is that all the things we spend time with while in space also make us feel cold and empty. We travel in cold metalic ships from cold empty space to cold empty space.
Machines have no disability like perception. Filled with Artificial Intelligence and hundreds of processors heating up their hard drives, they are still only metal and plastic. They don’t care if they sit in space or in a shipyard for twenty years. They do not desire warmth and companionship. They just exist.
If you have one of those new bioships it might feel a little more like a horse than a cold lifeless THING, but in the end, it’s still a machine. It gives out as much personality and intelligence as an animal and it only lives to fill it’s purpose. It knows exactly what it should be and do. There is no goal for a spaceship to one day be a station. It is what it is and will never be more.
We try to fill the spaces with ego or warm it with personality. Those of us who spend so much time in space hardly know what exaggerated bravado is. We believe the lies we tell ourselves. We believe all the fantasies we create about ourselves and the things… and people, we love – or maybe it’s just ‘want.’
I’ve given up trying to tell the difference between love and desire. I just want warmth.
We leave a planet’s atmosphere to be greeted by a sheet of black with pinpricks of light. There is so much empty blackness between each point of light, that space seems cold even without feeling the temperature drop. We spend much of our time trying to make it feel warm and filled.
The ship is cold and empty this morning, but it won’t be tonight. Tonight she comes.
Three years ago she warmed these halls. It was three years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. No one has ever turned me on, out and completely neutroned me like Sam did. We were good. No. That’s a lie. We were slammin’ fantastic. I know how good it can be between a man and a woman.
That’s why I hate her.
You might look at the logs from six years ago and come to the same conclusion I did: She could be a cold hearted bitch.
Still… a cold hearted bitch is better company than an empty starship.
It was just a little story told using the method of narrating from a captain’s journal, but there was a reply from someone who had never replied to my journal before and the comments after the story went like this:
Slyfoot: Hey, I’m a Sci-Fi fan!
You’ve really got me interested in what happens next!
I really am interested, it’s not just ‘coz it’s the polite thing to say.
Me: I believe you. You don’t normally drop me ‘polite’ comments just to tag my LJ, so I appreciate the attention. (and I’m serious about this story, so it’s good to have someone to help me gauge if it’s still interesting).
Slyfoot: Yeah, keep at it! Maybe you’ll be the next Orson Scott Card. 🙂
PS: I have a Star Trek tattoo, too, lol.
Me: Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
Today might have been the worst day I’ve ever experienced since your death a few months ago. So what happened is the bank wants to reclaim your last SSDI checks that were deposited erroneously. They want this money redeposited because the Government says he died. But guess what? The bank won’t deal with me at all until I can prove that you died. So the government will get that money from the bank because the bank believes your dead, but they won’t believe your dead for me unless I bring the death cert which I STILL DON”T HAVE BECAUSE CARNES FUNERAL HOME IS A ROYAL *&$#UP house. But that’s what happens when you have to deal with a county program. You get $#*!!y service and you have to be glad for it. It isn’t that I don’t want to pay them back. I was prepared to, but I can’t do it when they want it, in FIVE DAYS. And it’s brought up all these memories about you dying, dealing with the funeral home that never ever went well, ordering a DEATH CERTIFICATE that never came, and just everything that has to do with you DYING. I cried about an hour at work. Got paid 20.00 to do it though… so I guess there’s that. I cried off and on having to take calls, thinking about how this entire thing SUCKS and how nothing about this has gone right, though I still feel blessed to have spent the last 7 months of your life with you almost 24/7. I say “I love you” much more now than I ever did when you was alive, and I told you “I love you” a lot when you were alive. I guess I do love you even more now, I hope you love me more too, but this sucks. I really just want to feel like I can emotionally handle these things, and I just can’t. I want to get to that place where these things don’t make me cry all day and for an hour straight at work. I don’t want to forget you, I just want to get to a place where it’s okay to be frustrated without feeling like I’m being pushed under water again. You grok?
And… I dropped my phone in the toilet and it stopped working so I had to get an AT&T paygo phone because it’s a holiday weekend and I wouldn’t have got a new phone by MOnday. I’m not sure the deductible is worth it anyway. 125 for that Nokia Lumina 925, which I don’t even really like anyway… I might just get something else for the same money.
Anyway… After all of that I went to counseling and cried some more. I think I’ve spent most of the day crying. I will probably have a massive headache tomorrow.
I bought chocolate.
I love you.
Remember when I told you there were only 3 men who could make me cry, and you were one of them? You know what’s ironic about that old fact? It’s not really true anymore. Anyone can make me cry. All they have to do is say something and trigger some memory or something. And you know how we were doing so well? We hadn’t argued in months (once you accepted I wasn’t home to “babysit” you). You make me cry almost every day now. And we aren’t arguing at all…
I went to counseling on Friday. It was good to have a place to cry and work out who I am without my Hobbit. I haven’t been able to finish the autobiography that I have been working on, and I have felt a sense of loss at not even knowing about Sam’s childhood. There is no one living who knows about Sam’s infancy or toddlerhood. He wasn’t adopted until he was six. But all the pictures that his biological grandmother gave him are in a book and I am using them to make him a scrapbook, because I am trying to fill those memory holes that not only I have no idea about, but Sam himself didn’t know about. I will try to make a book, like I’ve made for most of my kids, so they can remember Sam and experience his life–the life we didn’t get to find out about with him, the past that we didn’t get to talk about with him because we didn’t have enough time. I felt like this would help me somehow, help me fill up that hole that exists because there just wasn’t enough time to know all of Sam’s stories.
This is the first page:
I don’t think you can appreciate how obvious Sam’s feelings were because he not only would grumble, not knowing who was around or in ear shot, but he would type out his grumbles when he was at the computer and just not hit enter. It didn’t matter, however, because his screen was so huge everyone in the room could read it. I had to force myself to not read or to try to pretend as if I hadn’t seen. Sam and his thoughts were literally public almost always. He was always really interested in truth and honesty, but he knew that it was important to not take everything people said at face value. Sam was a scary guy sometimes. He had that wandering eye that wasn’t quite able to focus on you when he looked at you, besides him being blind. Being deaf just made it harder because he would grumble so much louder than he realized. Everyone knew what he thought. It was hard then at first to accept him at his word when he said things that did not agree with his grumbles. It became easier because his actions were so clear that they started to speak louder than his grumbles. In the end, it was clear that what goes on inside our heads, those negative thoughts, all came out with Sam. That was only clear because Sam’s actions: the little gifts of donuts for the kids, candies, flowers for me, going to church with us, going to scouts and young women-sitting in the foyer just to be with us, just for us to be family (as normal as we could be), being cheerful even when he was so tired of his disabilities… All those actions and many more made Sam’s Grumbles something we just ignored as an external version of what normally happens inside. We still love him for all the little things he used to do for us. Now we try to do things we think he would have volunteered for: Feeding families in need, working at the church, helping friends that helped us.
I cry almost every day. I want to stop crying and at the same time, I’m afraid that I will stop crying. Does that make sense?
There is more to say, but it all sounds selfish and childish upon examination, so I’ll let it go.
I miss you.
Maybe if I was a better woman, maybe if I were more Christlike, I would be close enough to the veil to feel you. But even great prophets mourned with sackcloth and ashes. I am not better than they.
I do wish the veil were thinner…
Funny story, kinda… I had to go home early from work just to be able to deal with the ton of paper work that your death has brought me and I missed the bus by a few seconds. I could see it pulling away from the stop a block away. I had to wait 30 minutes for the next bus. I called the funeral home and found out they already filed your death certificate and no linger even had a copy to send me. I thought, wtf? I’ve been calling for weeks to get it! And as the bus pulled up I thought “wait till I tell Sam about this,”. I’d forgotten in s matter of moments that you had passed and it was the whole reason I was set up to complain in the first place. Funny right? In a sad, I’ve no one to complain to at home sort of way…
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