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Archive for April, 2013

“And the underworld of Greek mythology contained five rivers,” my English teacher lectured. “A well known one is Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. When a person entered the underworld, they came upon this river, and they were enticed to drink from it. In doing so, the river’s water took away all their memories, and they knew nothing of their former lives for the rest of their stay.”

If only that river were beside my home. I would be outside in this beautiful, picturesque day, drinking ravenously from it. To forget…to forget…I would give him, to forget.

Summer was passing away, flowing into the past and out of everyone’s head like the linear equations in math class. I was the one who said it. We had been sitting under a weeping willow tree, breathing deeply the dark shade its bowing limbs offered while the midday sun scorched the earth. I smiled and laughed in joy. He shot me a questioning grin. The breeze stirred and tossed his already wild hair about his face. I said, “Forever.”

“Oh?” His grin widened. “Such a long time. Something, surely, to drink to.”

And I laughed again as he lifted his water bottle in mock salute before he downed the rest of it, managing to dump half of it on his sweat stained shirt. Forever, forever… The words now ring in my ears like the chimes of death, but then I had only heard them as summer-land bells.

I said it, but he meant it. He wanted forever, even if he would not say it. But I did not. I wanted freedom. I wanted liberation. I wanted everything the world could offer, and everything it could not. I wanted everything he could not offer, but I took what he could, having no thoughts of consequences. What were consequences, at 18?

I was 18 years old and on top of the world. My grades were good; I was already accepted at a good college; and scholarships were paying for most of it. Senior year had just begun, so my friends and I had a whole year together. We had plans and parties and concerts all the way until next August when we would go our separate paths. When we made those plans, he was not on my mind.

Only when we were together, was I utterly crazy about him. And even that lasted but three heat burned, lazy summer months. Reality grounded me, or maybe it was that damned search for ultimate freedom that drove me from being tied. Either way, I was done being serious with him. He, however, was just starting with me.

The night I gathered the courage to tell him I was breaking off our relationship, he was acting insane. Before I could say anything, he grabbed my shoulders and stared into my eyes so intently I could not look away. He was rambling, shaking me slightly to emphasize points I was not grasping. He was nodding, and I was shaking, confused. All I could see were his eyes, grey orbs turned black frothy waves, rising up and crashing over me, overwhelming me.

“Do you remember that day?” he finally asked, his voice suddenly pitched low.

“Which one?” I questioned, squirming under the bruising grip of his hands. I was not scared. Never had he even expressed a want to harm me.

“When you told me ‘forever.’ Do you remember? I don’t think I got it then. But ever since it’s been echoing in my head, and I can’t escape it.”

“Will…” I started, but he impatiently cut me off.

“Listen. Don’t you see? I finally get it. It’s you, Faith.”

“What’s me?” I asked faintly.

“My life,” he whispered.

And as I stared at him, speechless, dismayed, he broke out in a radiant smile and gently pulled me into an embrace. Words still eluded me, dancing beyond my stunned brain, and all I could do was to listen to the erratic pounding of his heart. The sound reminded me of war drums, but then the world around me slowed until his heart beat was a solemn, solo snare, tapping away the steps to the guillotine, beat, beat, roll…

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” he murmured into my hair.

Say? What could I say? I was going to an out-of-state college in a year. He was staying here to attend a trade school. The world’s riches, sparkling and lustrous, were on the horizon. William’s dreams were of a simple, modest life. My brow creased. “What about school?”

“We’ll worry about it later,” he answered. I felt his chest rise in a sigh. “We have all the time in the world,” he added in a blissful voice.

Forever. Tears stung the corners of my eyes.

Maybe I somehow knew. School flew by, as everyone always warns. And, as everyone always says will happen, I wished for it all back. Not because I was not ready for the future. No, it was because during that year I lost my future. Will trapped me, although why I let him, I will never know. Our families heartily encouraged our relationship. And a month after his confession, proclamation, he begged me to stay with him while his parents were away for the weekend. Like a good girlfriend, I complied.

My baby was born before school ended. She was a healthy, beautiful, cooing, and gurgling certificate stating my demise, and I named her Hope as tears streamed down my pale cheeks. As the salty water ran into my mouth, I wondered if that was how Lethe’s water tasted. I wanted to forget. Whether it was the life I dreamed of, the life that called to me, or this nightmarish reality that I wanted to forget, I could not say.

Another summer, and I had no out-of-state college to look forward to. Everyone convinced me that I had to stay home, had condemned me to a self-inflicted prison. Will was working full-time, enthusiastically embracing his fate as he had me that day. I did not want Hope. I did not want Will. I wanted me. I wanted freedom.

Life is the sweetest elixir when one is on top, but the most expensive drug when one is finished. From where I was, sitting outside bouncing my baby on my lap, I could see the rest of my life. It was a barren wasteland, no change, normal. Simplistic. Just like Will always wanted. What I always despised.

But here I was, and here I will stay. After all, who was I to chase dreams? A bitter semblance of a smile spread across my face. Who was I to run like a coward from my destiny? I laid Hope in her crib for her nap. Alone, I sat on an uncomfortable, wooden chair in the kitchen, ignoring the dirty dishes and sipping chilled water. My imagination ran wild at that moment, and I could see the wondrous Elysian Fields stretching before me, promising contentment and everything a person could want. Another sip, and I was back in my junior year, where everything was perfect and undecided. Another sip, and I was jumping up and down as I read my college acceptance letter. Another sip, and I could see the whole river trickling around me.

Another sip, and I saw the rest of my life smash down around me. My mind suddenly remembered that Lethe did not exist. I was nowhere near the Elysian Fields. There were no plains, but rather four walls covered with cracking white paint. The windows needed washed, and the floor tiles needed replaced. I was in a house that was cheap but enough to get us by until Will’s boss gave him a raise. I threw the glass across the room and watched it shatter. Shards of glass sprayed from wall to wall, mingling with the remaining water, and the concoction winked at me in the light like a sea of water-contained memories wrapped in a mirror reflecting my angry face.

Hope cried out at the sound, and Faith broke down and cried with her.

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I am doing what I think a lot of women are doomed to do to a point–I am reliving my mother’s life. Now, I have a good relationship with my mother, and I love her…but this is one point of her life I would rather not relive.

Let’s back up just a little.

I still consider myself newly wedded. We aren’t even at our one year point yet. And, to be completely honest, I used to unfairly judge people who got engaged and then married really quickly, until I did it myself (yay for being a hypocrit…I really do try to not judge people so quickly anymore). I’m not really going into details about what all led to the marriage, etc (no, I wasn’t pregnant, despite what my father thought…though he claims he was kidding, I really don’t think he was), but the thing is…we probably really didn’t have all the kinks worked out by the time we said, “I do.” I mean, I doubt any relationship has *all* the kinks worked out, but we probably didn’t have much worked out. Unlike what I thought at the time. And it’s fine. We really don’t have many problems. I would have preferred to live with him for a while before we actually married, but that wasn’t an option for another reason we don’t have to go in to.

So, back to my original topic. I won’t pretend to have all this wisdom, but I feel that a few things that I “knew” before actually *mean* something now. Such as, communication is key. Oh, my, goodness…it is key. I am going to be very stereotypical right now, and say that most men and women do not speak the same language. I’m pretty sure men and women are not even the same species, to be completely honest. You know, the whole, a guy says, “Oh, that’s fine,” and he means it’s fine with him, and a woman says, “That’s fine,” and she means, if you do that I’m going to kill you later. So couples really need to learn how to communicate!! I heard that over and over again, but until it gets to the point where one of us is clueless as to whether anything is even wrong (my husband), and the other one has been severely pissed for three weeks and is ready to explode (me), I did not realize that no one was lying when they said communication is important.

He’s not a mind-reader. And here’s the problem: I went to my mom with my problem. Simplified: When my mom married my dad, my dad’s mother made it clear *to my mom* that she was going to be the most important women in my dad’s life, and not my mom. My dad, of course, either didn’t believe or pretended to not believe my mother when she would tell him all these things his mother would do or say to her, and he wouldn’t talk about it, and the only two *bad* fights I ever remember my parents having were because of my dad’s mother. Same. Freaking. Problem. Here. Except, I think my mother-in-law is way more cunninng and manipulative than my grandmother (in my opinion, naturally), and I think my temper is way worse than my mother’s ever was. Not a good combination. So, I went to her about something that happened. Little things had happened between my mother-in-law and me before, but this one was like…the breaking point for me. Mom’s advice: Just drop it in front of Joe; don’t talk about it; don’t make him mad at you; you guys will be fine because your dad and I got threw it, and one day he will see what’s she’s doing.

Now, she told me this out of experience and out of her own context. I mean, she’s my mother, so she’s just a tiny bit more than double my age. She was never a passive person, but I think even just 26 years ago or so, women were supposed to hold their tongue more. But I was really distraught, so I tried really hard to listen to her advice. I failed a few times when I would apparently glare daggers at him or make a snide and not-all-that-subtle remark or, you know, kick an empty pop-can box across the kitchen…lol. But then I really did just pretend to drop it. Because he flat out seemed to really not want to know or talk about it. I talked to friends about it; I talked to co-workers about it; and it actually made me feel better and worse at the same time. Better because they were so supportive and were trying to make me feel better; worse because of that same reason. People I had known for even just a month were supporting me and trying to make me feel better, when it seemed like my husband wanted to pretend none of it was even happening and thought I was being a trouble-maker.

Three weeks later, and it just finally happened. We were discussing something, and I said something along the lines of, “I’ve been just so mad at you for the last three weeks.” And he really seemed to have no idea why initially. He really didn’t know I was mad at him! At one point, and I didn’t tell him this, I envisioned just ramming my car into his while it was parked in our driveway. I know, real mature, but I was seeing red at the time. And you know what…it was bad. He was upset, and despite what he claims, I know he was kind of mad…and I was crying, and so mad and upset…but after an hour…I think we were okay. And I even said, “I know it’s not fair of me to be mad at you and not let you know.” And he agreed. I still don’t think he really knows how to communicate well, because it was like pulling teeth to get him to say what he did, but at least he was really trying. And I realize guys are brought up to be “tough” and “not talk about their feelings.” Whatever. Any guy who can cry in front of me or tell me what they’re really feeling and why scores thousands of points in my book any day. It obviously didn’t solve the original problem, because it involved his mother and not him, but at least we are okay now. I don’t have to worry that every day he comes home and I wake up (I work nights, lol), that he’s going to have divorce papers waiting for me. And just to throw this in there, he kind of hinted that he knows what his mother does, but there was still a lot of denial in him…guess I will just have to wait another 25 years like my mother *rolls eyes*.

But you have to communicate!! And if he can’t accept it or won’t participate at all…maybe counseling is needed, or maybe he’s not the right one for you if it’s really something that’s bothering you. And that goes the other way around, and for couples of the same sex and everything. Both people need to know what’s going on with the other one. No name calling, no bringing in off-topic things, no cutting remarks, no attacking the person rather than the subject…you have to do it right. And while I was upset and I could have flown off the handle about his mother and what I think of her, I didn’t. I probably didn’t have to, really, but I didn’t. I told him that he hurt my feelings when he didn’t seem like he was supporting me. Because it’s important that we have each other’s backs if we’re going to be together forever. I told him that he doesn’t have to call his mother and say he hates her and is never talking to her again, and he doesn’t have to agree with everything I say, but he needs to at least support me. And be there for me. And I think he felt bad that he came off that way, but again…men and women are so different (typically).

And we’re back to acting like we always have around each other. I’m sure this will come up again in a few months when he’s tired of my pretending like his mother doesn’t exist, but for now….I am so happy that I just listened to myself and said what I thought should be said.

Listen to your heart 🙂
AV

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I recently came across the name of Robert Chambers, and I honestly have never heard of him before. But after reading about what he wrote and that he was an inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft, I had to look him up. I don’t have a Kindle, but I do have the free app on my PC…and lucky for me, I could download a collection of his best stories for free! My favorite, haha. So I haven’t finished it yet, because unfortunately my job doesn’t leave me with lots of time to read anymore. But I wanted to talk about one of his stories from the collection “The King in Yellow” called “The Repairer of Reputations.”

I love his concept that runs through the stories from “The King in Yellow.” If you don’t know anything about it, basically there is a play that is reference that is entitled “The King in Yellow.” And whenever someone reads it, they are driven insane in some way. But it’s not the whole play that drives them insane–the person is fine until they read the second act. But, as far as I know, it is never revealed why the person actually goes insane from reading it.

“The Repairer of Reputations” was a really good short story. I actually would have to say I enjoy H.P. Lovecraft better so far, but I can see where this is an inspiration for his works. Apparently, Robert Chambers found out he could make more money writing romances, so that’s kind of sad that he didn’t write more in the science-fiction/horror genre. But anyways, I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone…if you are at all interested in stuff like Lovecraft, go read it! It’s really different from a lot of horror stuff you find today…because it’s not bloody or gorey. It’s a slow build of suspense and what I would consider “psychological horror.” This is the kind of horror that I like to read (not a fan of the gore, though I have read books where I can overlook the blood). It’s weird and strange…the guy who is the repairer of reputations is a very interesting character. He is described as deformed and very small, and he has a mean cat, which he likes to torment into having it scratch his face all up. I would say he is definitely the most interesting character in the story, though the main character pulls the whole story along.

So go check it out…if you don’t feel like buying it until you know if you like it, search on amazon for the collection that’s a free download.

AV
P.S. Sorry if none of this makes sense…I have wanted to write a little blog about Robert Chambers for a few days now, and I’m running on about 4 hours of sleep and my husband and his two friends are talking loudly all around me. I honestly don’t even know how I typed actual sentences, to be honest, haha.

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I hate bullies. I hate people who literally say whatever they want, and then are all like, “Oh, I’m just blunt. That’s just how I am. I just tell it like it is.” Well, that’s great, except when you use that as a really poor excuse to make people upset, angry, or feel bad about themselves. Why is it suddenly okay for people to say whatever they want to anyone they want? What happened to common courtesy and morals? It’s even worse coming from someone in your family…especially from the “in-law” side of the family. Because I think then you really know they mean it, because you’re not actually related to them, and they probably resent you for marrying the person in their family. It just blows my mind how absolutely *mean* some people can be.
Listen, I’m not all nicey-nice 100% of the time. But the thing is, I will be straight-out civil to you at *worst* if you haven’t done anything to me. Some people just don’t get along, and some personalities just don’t mesh, and that’s okay. So just act professional around each other. But when you just start attacking me every chance you get and then try to turn it around on me like I did something wrong, I start to get a little pissed off. As I think anyone would. But it’s more frustrating when you’re kind of alone in the fight. And when you have more morals than the person who’s attacking you, so you can’t quite bring yourself to stoop to their level. So I feel stuck and trapped and alone, and I absolutely hate all those feelings, because I used to feel them all the time. Especially when I was seriously depressed. And I don’t want that cycle to start all over again, just because someone has to be a bully. At least I know I won’t break and give in like other people have done to this bully, but pretending like they don’t exist is going to be tough just because of the family relationship. Gah.

Why can’t people just treat each other with respect? And I’m sorry…I can understand not wanting to get in the middle of a fight, but if I’m closely involved with someone, and someone attacks them, and there is clearly a right and wrong involved, I will say something. I may not just freak out on the person, but I would say something like, “Please back off, you’re being a bully.” I may be wrong about this, but I feel like women are more likely to defend someone close to them than men are. And obviously there are exceptions, and I’m not hating on men, as much as I like to sometimes 😉 But seriously. I get really angry when someone makes a close friends or family member feel bad for basically no reason. And it seems that a lot of men like to pretend like it’s just not even happening. Which I don’t think solves the problem. It’s like bullying in schools. If no one ever says anything to the bully, why would they ever stop??? They probably get to a point where they really don’t think they’re doing anything wrong, because no one ever says they’re doing anything wrong!

I’m going to stop here, because I feel like I could go on and on for hours, and it would probably say the same thing…I was hoping just by shooting something out into internet land, I would feel a little better, but I actually don’t this time. Maybe I should go and get my first tattoo, lol. Piercings are kind of out of the question right now due to my job…

A very frustrated,
AV

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