Friday, 6:15ish and it took approximately an hour to drive the 12 miles from TheBigBank to Mac's in Stamford and I wasn't in very good shape to begin with. Texting while driving; not so good. Texting while sitting in a parked car; perfectly ok as far as I'm concerned:
Me at 5:33 Parkway is crawling. I'm so sorry. Please wait for me.
Him: Of course.
Me: Thank you.
Him: I started drinking though.
Me at 5:45 Good. Then if I walk in there crying you'll be prepared :-)
I walked in there crying. Seriously. I hate it when this happens. You know, your face gets all puffy and there's snot somewhere, probably still coming out your nose and no matter how good you look, or might have looked at some point in the day, you are now officially disheveled.
I am the strongest woman he knows outside of his family and then, given the cultural differences you probably have to put us on separate scales, I didn't start out on a farm in Italy. That's a whole other sort of strong. Or maybe not. Hard to say. In any case, he knows me well enough, or maybe long enough to have a pretty good handle on when I break and how I break or what that looks like. I sure as hell don't cry about it or not for very long as far as he's concerned.
Well, some things I cry about and for a good long time. But not too many and those things scare the shit out of him.
Therefore his response was, what the fuck happened to you?!
I fell off my bike, stop staring at me that way and give me your damn napkin or something.
If I give you my napkin, you're going to blow your nose in it, aren't you?
OK, here. I'll get another one.
Ever blow your nose into one of those slick poly fiber white napkins? Not a good idea. It doesn't stick to the fabric. It sticks to your face. Better to use your friend's sleeve. Unless he sees you're coming and ducks back behind the table and then you're stuck with your own sleeve or maybe just grab the waitress on the way by or something. Anyway, I sort of cleaned up or eventually dried up.
It was a shitty week.
This is my twin from The Factory. He's still there, he'll be there for as long as he needs to be there. It works for him. We don't see each other as much as we'd like because our schedules just don't align well. He's in the middle of some pretty uncomfortable family stuff and my life is just, well, full. I got a text at 3:30 yesterday which is absolutely unheard of, he's not a short notice, last minute kind of guy. *I* am spontaneous, *he* is controlled, measured out and organized. I never did get around to asking him what came up that he was suddenly available early on Friday evening. My answer was
Usually we are talking about his state of affairs these days because they've been so damn awful, painful, unbearable, nearly unbelievable and, Twin, how on earth can you have been tolerating this for so long with your back so straight and your face so placid? And not a word out of you.
Oh, right. That's why we're friends.
He's actually doing better. Last time I saw him, not so much. I might be the only person he talks to where the shit actually comes out of his mouth and he slumps forward with his head in his hands, pain slapped across his face hard enough to leave a scar. Except when he sits back up he wipes it off and the scar recedes back under the skin just far enough you have to know what you're looking for.
Right. That's why we're friends.
Him: I reiterate, Alecto, what the fuck's wrong with you?
Me: There is absolutely nothing wrong with me! Why do you think there's something wrong with me? I had a bad day. Shit's broken. Shit's been broken for over a week and I don't know how to fix it and my boss actually yelled at me. He yelled at me. It was amazing.
Him: You've been yelled at before. You just sit there until it's over.
Me: Yeah, that's what I did this time too.
Him: So what's the problem?
Me: Stuff's broken.
Him: Stuff is always broken. You fix it. That's what you do.
Me: Twin. I want to come home.
Him: You can't come home, you know that. Now what the hell is wrong with you?
Me: I'm having some technical difficulties.
Him: Spit it out.
Him: Are you being emotional again?
Me: Does it LOOK like I'm being emotional again?
Me: Stop looking at me in that tone of voice.
So we talked for awhile about vulnerability and personal responsibility and this is hard because Twin is well, one of those guys who does and does not quite get it. Except maybe he does. He has simple black and white answers. If it hurts, stop doing it. If it feels good, then do it. That's why he's an accountant. It's why he's an assistant corporate controller and one day why he's going to be the controller of a VERY big corporation. But it doesn't explain the grey areas in his own life and that's where he listens from when I walk in the door looking like I've been rolled at a truck stop.
We sat there for a very long time. I didn't spit out details because I'm just not comfortable doing that. I spit out some of what I'd done personally and how I felt about it. We sat there in it and then eventually I went home. I waved at the girls, walked into my bedroom, kicked off my shoes and laid down on the bed. Disheveled in dress. I plugged in Billy Bragg & Wilco and shut my eyes. I'm just going to lay here and listen to this and cry for a little bit. Which turned into a long, long bit after which I sent a text to the wrong person and eventually got up and sat with Cletus who accused me of being antisocial.
And then I really did spit it out and I'm still disheveled.
Life is messy, though, yes?
Do not quake and do not bark
You will find the spark
If your tree should bare no fruit
Do not turn and do not spill
You are beautiful
If your clarinet should break
Do not cry a million lakes
Do not cry a million lakes
When the winds surround your house
Do not twist and do not shout
Wait it out
If your hand should lose it's grip
Do not tremble do not sweat
For where then would you get
You have got the looks my dear
To make a mountain shake
You have got the voice my love
To melt a lake of ice
If your heart is unemployed
Do not rush but do not stall
For I am waiting
Listen. This works for me and I'll tell you why. You'll have to look at those words very carefully. It's not soothing the same way lullabies are soothing in terms of everything will be alright, or it's not as bad as you think or I'll rescue you or whatever. This says, yes, something has happened, yes, the wind is blowing, yes, something is broken, yes, you are indeed slipping but you must not lose your grip. Yes. All of this. Yes. It is true.
But. Wait it out. I think that's probably the most important part for me; the waiting it out. All that wind blowing about my house and eventually I come up out of it, breaking the surface of a lake, elsewhere maybe which is not where I went in, but up and out anyway and I am OK.
I also love that (Don't) is a parenthetical. So yes, go ahead and tremble. Of course you are. For god's sake, cry it out. And speak your words truly. (I'm talking to myself)
and don't use the fact that you can't speak them perfectly to not speak them at all.