Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Night Before Christmas...


Today, I had a dream (or a vision or a burst of creative imagination from watching too many Christmas movies). Whatever it was, I met three women who are (or will be) a part of my life, and they showed me three snapshots of my life at Christmas. 

The Spirit of Christmas Past

I already knew who it would be before I saw her.
You guessed it. My Mother. I happily took her hand as we walked into my first vision.
The date is some time before Christmas in 1997. The family is scattered all over the living room. We are preparing our special song for the house fellowship Christmas Carol service. As much as I try to see further into the vision I cannot remember whether or not we had a tree, but I know for sure that we were truly happy. The vision shifts without warning and I find myself in an audience in the well lit front lawn of a family not far down the street.

We are together on the makeshift stage: Mum, my brother, my sister and I, singing:

There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus
No not one, no not one

Jesus knows all about life's troubles,
He will guide 'til the day is done

There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus
No not one, no not one

I always wondered why she picked that very un-Christmas song for a carol service and I never remembered to ask, but during the days after she passed away ten months later, and every other dark moment since then, the words of that song come back to me and they hold me together.

She walked away humming No not one, no not one....

The Spirit of Christmas Present

She looked so beautiful. So graceful, regal almost.
I have never seen her as I saw her now.
Of course, like a true 21st century spirit, my sister did not appear in a gauzy halo of bright lights. Instead she called me on the phone. But as I spoke with her I saw her in front of me, like she was right there. We talked about everything, and about how our lives were changing. As we talked I realized that I was blessed. Everybody seems shocked that I am spending Christmas alone in New York this year, but how can I be alone when I am surrounded by so much love. We are both embarking on very different journeys this Christmas season, she and I, but it goes without saying


She will be there for me and I will be there for her
Merry Christmas Omotara ♥

The Spirit of Christmas To Come

While I was sleeping I felt a cold hand tap my shoulder and immediately turned my face away from the disturbance to snuggle deeper into the warm blanket around my shoulders. Seconds later a face hovered inches from mine and I felt a warm breath on my cheeks. I opened one eye to stare directly into a face that was exactly like mine, only younger, and then both eyes snapped open. She giggled and clapped like I had performed a wonderful magic trick, and I knew.

My daughter, Addison (one of the names I plan to give her ☺).

She hopped down from the bed and held out her hand to me. I took her hand and we walked out of my studio apartment together into another place in another time. We came out of one of the rooms in another house to see a family at the bottom of the stairs, and we both kneeled by the banisters to watch them. Addison is about three years old, now and in my dream, and she is running around and getting in everyone's way. There is another child, a boy, he looks to be about seven and he's chewing his bottom lip in concentration as he untangles the lights for the tree and lays them out in a straight line on the carpet. The tree is huge, extending towards the roof of the foyer and there is a man on a ladder arranging ornaments from a huge tray that I am holding up. I look at Addison with my eyebrows raised in question, she smiles and nods in reply and we go back to watching them. This is my family.

He climbs down from the ladder and grabs Addison by her tiny waist just as she is about to frustrate her brother to tears and twirls her above his head. I smile at the sound of her excited squeals and his fake helicopter buzz. In a second, her brother is on his feet with arms outstretched, demanding his turn. An inexplicable sense of peace and calmness flows over me. But the more I try to see the face of the man at the center of my vision the more it is taken from me, until I am jolted awake in my bed.

Christmas Eve 2011, 8:41am

I never thought about it before but for me, it has always been about family.
Merry Christmas all...

For TheRustGeek, whoever u are...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Underwater...

I expected him to be surprised to hear my voice on the phone. But I did not expect the resistance that followed my invitation to meet up for dinner.

"Oh come on," I purred into the mouthpiece, "After all this time we should be able to share a simple meal for a few hours. Besides, I know you would like the satisfaction of hearing that heartfelt apology you deserve. Please?"

He finally agreed. I gave him the name of an outdoor Italian restaurant in the West Village and we agreed to meet at 6pm the following Thursday.

Once upon a time I would never show up early for a date.

I arrived more than 30 minutes early and asked to be seated near the small fountain at the back. While I waited I lit a cigarette and sipped a small Manhattan, and I relaxed. The past twelve months have been really interesting, and tiring. I have been trying new things: traveling, celibacy, a new hairstyle every now and then, Buddhism, going Vegan. Now, I am rebuilding bridges...

His shadow fell over me before I heard his amused chuckle.

"You're here," he said in disbelief, "I had a list of new drinks I was going to try out before you finally showed up."

"What can I say, I've changed." I smiled as I got up to give him a long, welcome hug. He smelled really good, different from the signature scent he had worn every day since his sixteenth birthday until the last day I say him almost three years ago. I sniffed deeply before I stepped back.

He seemed a little embarrassed by my display of affection and there was an awkward moment as we took our seats in the setting sunlight. I lit another cigarette and waited for him to look at me.

"My my. You were not kidding about the change," he said with an appraising look and a brief, pointed look at the stick in my left hand.

I smiled without a reply.

He reached out to touch the dimple on my right cheek with his thumb, and lingered. I held my breath and closed my eyes, allowing myself to savor his touch as he lightly caressed me in that one spot. Suddenly he took his hand away like the touch was a mistake and the moment passed. We ordered more drinks and made small talk as we waited for our food to arrive.

It was strange, after all the time we had been together we were like strangers. He said he had moved to a different part of New York City from the apartment we shared before and he had been busy with work. I told him I had been traveling the world. Guiltily I remembered we always wanted to do that together.

"I still cannot believe you smoke," he said as the waiters left the table after bringing our dinner, shrimp salad for me, something with lots of meat and peppers for him. "You absolutely hated smoking...and smokers. Plus, its bad for your health."

"Stop it. You sound like my mother," I chided him and he returned a sheepish, apologetic smile. "I saw her last month you know."

His head snapped up at that. "Th-that's great! When? Where?"

I raised my hand to stop the barrage of questions. His pleasure at the news that after almost five years of silence I had finally made contact with my mother was endearing. No need to tell him it was a disastrous meeting that I wished had never happened. I simply told him I had flown back home for a week and sought her out and apologized to her like I was doing with him.

My mother did all she could for me. She was a single mother at a very young age with a family that really did not support her. She worked very hard to send me to New York to follow her dreams of attending an Ivy League university and for two years I kept up pretenses as I trained and developed myself as a fashion designer in the city. She found out about my new profession from a television program and told me never to come home to her again. I obliged for five years. I was too proud to recognize her fear and pain, I was too proud to need my mother.

I was too proud to admit to my boyfriend that I needed him.

I was 18 when I met him in the school library six years ago in my Freshman year a few minutes after I decided that it would be my last semester in college. He had big dreams of becoming a litigator but my dreams of cutting up flimsy fabric did not seem ridiculous to him. He supported me through design classes, late nights crying and bingeing on ice cream because my instructors were mean and cold, and he held my hand when I launched my first successful line less than two years after I arrived in the city. He was by my side every day for three years. But I lied, I cheated and I broke his heart.

Now I was apologizing sincerely for being a fool. And asking him to take me back.

"I accept your apology. We were young and things were moving really quickly for you, but we can never be what we were before. We are different people today."

"We can do it because we love each other. I never stopped loving you. Do you love me?"

But he just shook his head. We finished dinner in silence and he insisted on paying for the meal. Before he left I did something I had not planned to do. He looked at me sadly and said he wished I had kissed him like that three years ago, like my life depended on it.

*

My therapist told me that I was wrong to think that there was no one in the world who cared enough about me to make me give myself another chance. I was twenty-five, with no real friends, no family, no one. But he told me to let myself live again. And he told me to go out there and find love. So I emptied my bank accounts and I visited every place in the world I had ever dreamed of. I did everything I ad held myself from doing. I broke all my own rules. And when that did not fill the ache inside of me I went to my mother. She told me she despised me. Her daughter was dead. Whoever I was, tattooed, addicted to expensive drugs, worldly, I was not her daughter. And James, he took back his promise to love me for all of eternity, saying he could not love me because it was impossible for me to love anyone but myself.

I wrote a letter to my therapist to let him know he had been wrong. If I stayed, I would fight the cancer all alone.

And on Friday I killed myself.