Thursday, October 9, 2014

Always Doesn't Last Forever

One of my favorite things about being a server was being touched. When you're a server and you're in the wait station and you're crazy busy, there isn't always time for excuse me. There's the hand on your back as someone reaches over your head to grab a straw, the fingers on your shoulder as someone reaches past you to grab a lemon, the occasional hand on your waist as you're moved ever so slightly out of the way so someone could grab a pile of share plates. Some people can't stand other people's hands on them, but I've always loved it, and when the hands are taken away, it's always felt like something is missing.

When I was in high school, my high school boyfriend, Louie, had a specific way of hugging me. Instead of a regular hug where he'd put his arms around me and I'd put my arms around him right back, I would hold my arms up in front of me, crossed into an X, right fist to left shoulder, and left fist to right. He'd then encircle what seemed like my entire body with his arms (it wasn't too hard since he was 6'2" and I was barely 5'), and there we would stand, my head to his big, wide chest, until I felt ready for him to let me go. I used to tell him that was my favorite way to hug because it was the only way he could hug all of me.

The last time Glenn and I were separated, when I was feeling particularly lonely in the middle of one night and couldn't stand to be alone in my bed for another second, I went downstairs to the family room where he was sleeping on the couch and lay down next to him. Since he was lying on his side, facing the room, and since we not only have a pretty wide couch but also an ottoman that butts up against it, space wasn't an issue. What the real issue was, of course, was that I had no business getting "in bed" with an estranged husband who for months I'd had nothing but negative communication and interaction with, but what I have no business doing and what I do are often different stories, so onto the couch I got. I crawled across the ottoman, turned around, and positioned myself right into the crook of his body. I don't know what I expected, but I know what I hoped, and that's that Glenn's arm would wrap around me or he'd pull me closer by my hip or his hand would settle on my arm. I hoped for any kind of acknowledgment at all. After about ten minutes of not getting any, I crawled back across the ottoman and left, even lonelier than before.

Now that I'm once again sleeping alone, whether it be physically or mentally, sleep isn't easy. I just don't do well with too much space.

I don't know why I've always wanted to be cradled, to be touched, or for "all of me" to be held, but I'm guessing having a mother who didn't even bother to call me when I found a lump in my breast substantial enough for my doctor not just to send me to get a mammogram and ultrasound but also to see a breast specialist probably has more than a little to do with it.

But this isn't a mom blog. 

It's not a feel-sorry-for-myself blog, either.

It's just a blog blog, like all the others.


A few days after the get-onto-the-couch incident with Glenn, I was telling a friend about what I had done. God, Kelly, you make yourself so vulnerable, she said, shaking her head. How sorry she felt for me--how pitifully she regarded me--was amazingly clear.

My stock reply when somebody tells me I changed my hair came to mind:


I don't know any other way to be.

But that's okay because I honestly don't think I'd want one.

This same friend told me once that when her cat dies, she'll never get another pet. She'd already experienced so much loss in her life, she said, that any loss she could prevent, she would. Why get a cat if one day it's no longer going to be here?

I may make myself vulnerable--incredibly, stupidly, embarrassingly, heart wrenchingly vulnerable--but I don't think I'm the one who needs to be felt sorry for. 

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