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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.
My dearest Sam,
I left your meditation corner all clear and ready for you. The light is on. You can visit if you need a rest or a reminder.
Miss you much.
I want to make it clear, first, that I am not “miserable.” I am just not happy. Everyone has their advice on how I can be happier, including faking it, which I do and have done very, very well. I even feel it most of the time when I’m with other people. It’s just those little moments I get choked up, or when I have time to actually think, or when I see your picture, or when something reminds me of you, and most of the time, I don’t even know when or where that will happen–it’s then I cry and cry and cry and cry. No one’s advice has helped except one person I never really expected to be a help to me through this. There are others who offer no advice at all, they are just there and supportive, and those are people I hadn’t expected either. They are all people I met through the internet. I’ve met them in person, but only once, so I get really defensive when people talk about how bad the internet is for relationships. First, I met you through the internet–and I will never, ever say that was a bad thing, even if it caused me the most emotional pain I have ever experienced in my life. And these other people I met through the internet, I wouldn’t want to be deprived of them just because they are not people I see IRL every day.
I think maybe I’m crying because Erin isn’t here, and she doesn’t have to see it. Maybe I feel a little more free to cry without the kids here, but it still makes me feel broken and unhappy. Maybe I am broken. I’m not quite sure, and I’m not sure it actually matters.
I had been writing our biography, but I got to a place where I just can’t write it anymore. It just hurts too much right now.
I have your ashes beside me. I don’t know if I can put them in the containers they are supposed to go in to give to your brothers/sister and the special container I got for you. I have asked someone to do it for me, but I don’t know if they will yet.
I’m calling someone about counseling tomorrow. I’m also going to take a day, maybe two, off because I just am so deeply, emotionally exhausted and I don’t think I can sleep well without sleeping pills and I don’t think I can stay awake tomorrow if I take them. If I can pull myself together tomorrow, I will go back on Tuesday. I will talk to the lawyer and try to do the things I can’t do while I’m working.
Heavenly Father did clear the way for making this as ‘easy’ as possible on me, I know, and I can see all the little ways he’s done it, but it’s still not easy. I don’t think I’ve cried this much since that first week you actually passed. Maybe it’s hormones, mayve it’s your ashes, maybe it’s the weekend, maybe it’s the kids not being here, or a combination of all those things. Maybe I just really miss you and still love you so incredibly that I don’t want to think about 20 or 30 years without you.
I’ve decided I will work on the fantasy allegory of our life, the one we’d been making up as we went along “The Book of Calinor.” I’ll take it seriously and try to make it reflect us and our life, and maybe even our future. I don’t know yet.
I love you.
I wish there weren’t a veil between our worlds, though I suppose it would take all the faith out of being here.
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…
Today, I don’t like the bedroom. Remember how I painted it dark blue with white trim so you could see the doorways a little more clearly? I know you felt a little more comfortable in the dark with only one light to focus on (usually your computer). But this is not helping me. Dear Daughter helped me put up stars on the walls and ceiling, and I even put up a blacklight, but I don’t like the dark walls. I am depressed and I can’t say that the walls aid the depression or merely reflect it.
I am having a hard time getting a hold of your death certificate. It is quite frustrating. The funeral home tells me to call the county and the county tells me to call the funeral home. The lawyer needs it, however, and I will probably just have to make a lunchtime trip to the clerks office and get a copy–which is, of course, how every girl loves to spend her lunch.
Mother’s Day was ok. #1 gave me an edible arrangement. #2 bought me new lights to put up outside on the patio–and they are delightful–then he told me later that he was leaving the church. I said “ok.” I really am not into micromanaging or putting additional emotion into something that seems fruitless at the moment. I am emotionally tapped out. This is his journey, and I guess he wants to do it alone. It’s a lot harder that way, as you could probably tell him from past experience, but it is his choice. I went to the deaf branch and gave them your suits. I went to the hearing ward too, and I will be going out on Saturday with an aquaintance from R.S. Maybe we’ll be friends. Who knows? All of this has really brought so many people out of the woodwork to tell me they love and support me. It has been wonderful, overwhelming, and bittersweet. I wish it hadn’t taken you dying for it to happen. I feel so selfish, but I can’t seem to help what I’m feeling because at the same time, I don’t think mourning is really all that selfish.
Right now, I’m not certain I will stay at this job when my contract is over. If the house were paid off, I think I would stick to trying to write, live off my art, but then again, I’d probably get sick of being poor. I dunno. Today I was just really not happy with being at my job, and it wasn’t because anything had gone wrong. I have tremendous liberty there as opposed to the last job. They treat me like an adult and not like a high school student that needs to be monitored… you know… just in case I’m 2 minutes late from break. I’m trying to be practical. I’m trying to plan and make good choices, but I don’t think I’m doing a very good job.
I think our new parakeet is suffering from anxiety. The cats trying to get him every time he flies to the window probably doesn’t help. He runs from end to end of the magic window, trying to get out, until he gets tired and goes back on the perch we provide for him. He acts like I feel. We’re just trying to let him get used to being in my room, make him as comfortable as possible and happy, we hope, with his freedom–such as it is.
I really, really want to like my life–my life without you here–but I don’t. I wish I could at least be content with it and do something I thought was productive. Something I felt was making the world better, if I have to still be here. But I don’t. I had an email exchange with the probate lawyer and it doesn’t make me any more happy to be here following these bread crumbs that the spirit has to leave me because I just can’t think as clearly as I used to be able to. It’s like I have ADHD but I’m too depressed to notice. I told friends I feel like I’ve lost a limb — like my right hand — and I just don’t know how to use my left hand even half as well.
It’s more than a hand, you know. It’s more like half of my heart, the part I used the most.
Do I sound bitter? I hope not.
Why can’t I keep myself together? I just want to know when will I stop crying?
I just told everyone on Facebook your secret love language to me was lolcat. I don’t think you’ll mind.
Your fluffy kitteh.
Today was not a good day. I can’t say the weekend was all that good either, but you’ve already heard about that. The day started with printers not working and my mind constantly wondering back to you. I find I’m just not that interested in life right now, but I can’t even get myself to be interested in fantasy or science fiction, or much of anything. Maybe this is all perfectly natural. It makes complete sense to me now why men die so soon after their wives. It gets to feeling like “What’s the point?” I know everyone will say the kids need me and blah blah blah, but they don’t really. Only the house needs me right now. It’s the only thing that needs my income to get back to health, to be repaired. But I’m just not that into the house without you. I can’t bring myself to clean the closet, do my laundry, fill a scrapbook page, write a card.
I got a bill for your surgery and your first stay in the hospital today. I also got the name of a lawyer to talk to about your case. I keep trying to psych myself up to do this or that, but I still end up here, at this place, with a big black hole in my chest and wet cheeks. I want to be interested in something. I want to be diverted, but nothing helps. Even food does not taste good. Nothing makes me feel like it’s worth eating–but don’t worry, I won’t lose weight, that would just help me live longer.
I’m having a hard time wanting to go on, but I don’t want to alarm anyone. I’m not suicidal. I’m just not that interested in life. I’m trying really hard to find a way to pull myself out of it. It’s not easy. It’s much harder than the last time I was seriously depressed. That was just over finances and our situation (which turned out to be a blessing). This is something significantly more substantial, and I really can’t give much of a crap about finances at the moment, which would worry me normally. Who else will take care of finances now if I don’t? As for the kids–I just honestly don’t think they care all that much about me. Sure they would if I were GONE, but I’m not, and they are all pretty AWOL, except my daughter. I think I will rewrite my will to leave her everything. I will have to rewrite my will now anyway, since I had written it to leave everything to you. One more reason to talk to lawyers.
Speaking of which, I am going to be talking to one about medical malpractice.
I can’t write anything creative right now. All I seem to be able to do is write these letters. I’m not sure if they are actually helping, then again, I’m not sure anything can help right now.
I am wondering if your sister Bethany met you when you arrived, or maybe Billy Joe, or Steve. Maybe your mom met you.
I’m having a really hard time, Sam. Please come home, or take me home or help me think of what makes it worth it to be left behind.