I do my morning exercises in the great outdoors, at least before the winter comes, and as I rolled around on my mat Sunday morning, trying to stretch and tone my body, listening to Joe Turner, Billie Holiday and John Lee Hooker, I watched the leaves of the trees up above me, swaying in the breeze. Billie sang: "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone", which got me to thinking about relationships I have had, particularly as this weekend marks an anniversary (my wedding day to one man, which I called off), and the birthday of another. Both men were Libras, the astrological sign of Balance, and both are not in my life anymore, but I hope that we all have attained some kind of balance; I believe that we do learn from every relationship, even if it doesn't last forever, and I wish them both well, the first and last loves separated by so many years.
And I, as I wrote many years ago in my diary, go on my way alone. It's hard, and sometimes the hours are long, but it's also, (I guess) what I want. It's the "better prospect" that someone said I was always searching for, although he was not being complimentary; he meant it as an accusation, an infidelity when I was with him. A nasty remark, one born of angry insecurity, I think. In any case, it wasn't true in the sense he meant it. I never seek men; mainly, I suppose, because they have always come to me. I'm grateful for their love and tenderness, but I think I learned early in life that I had a different path. Any relationship is constraining, and men in particular want a woman to be a certain way. I'm not any fixed way, and I don't want to be. I despise the ownership of men.
Yesterday, in the desperation of one of those long hours of my life, staring into space in my living room, I dragged myself out to hear some music downtown. I sat on a bar stool by myself and stared at musicians instead, a good band which got me bouncing to their tunes. A young woman came in and sat on the stool next to me, and we both watched in respectful silence. I was thinking of the bar that used to be a few doors down, now demolished, where I had gone by myself forty years earlier, and where I began a love affair with the musician who was performing there, and who had come over to my table, seeking company. I silently cheered the woman beside me for going out on her own too; I thought, 'she looks about the age I was then'. When I finally spoke to her later, she was delightful; good-looking and cool, but not in the way that people try to be; she simply had a good sense of herself. She came from a country in Europe that I'm going to visit soon, and we ended up trading emails and phone numbers, and especially, laughing a lot together. She was precisely the age I had been at the old Bourbon Street bar, as I had guessed, and she represented for me, by her attitude and spunk and artistic nature, just the kind of woman that I think women should be. We both went home alone, but much cheered. That's the "better prospect" that I know is out there, and which gives me heart.
|ready to fly to Rome on Wednesday|
|me (rt) and my mom (left). I'm about 8 years old; she might be around 12 or so, not sure.|
I recently found this poem that I had copied a long time ago; it was written in 1896 by the English poet Ernest Dowson, and is timely all the time:
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate.
I think they have no portion is us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses,
Out of a misty dream.
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.