Sunday, February 17, 2019

one is indeed the loneliest number

2 weeks before my life changed

I grew up in a family that stood firm in our beliefs about used cars, shag carpet and the use of duct tape for various purposes.  And with that shortened version of my truth, today I walk back in time to a sampling of the many places my old cars left me stranded over the years.  More than I could ever begin to list in one blog post, but the highlights alone are a story worth telling. 

There was that time that I had to run across 6 lanes of South Buckner Blvd in the dead of night, wearing a leotard, leg warmers and carrying a bag full of cash from my part time job at the Big Town Mall ladies fitness gym.  Yes, I was supposed to be carrying the bag full of cash as I was trying to deposit it, but instead guarded it with my life as I dodged traffic, ran through a ditch and banged on the already closed and locked door of the KMart till the manager felt sorry for me and let me in.  It was probably the crying and the leotard that convinced him.

And there was that time in College Station, Texas, independent college girl though I was, when I got stranded in the left turn lane of one of the busiest intersections in town and gave up on just about everything and again dodged traffic and mean stares as I ran into the McDonalds across the street and collect called my dad. It wasn't a good conversation.

And another one of my biggest and all time etched into my brain memories, though certainly not even near the end of the list, was that time on the dive bar and cheap motel stretch of Samuell Blvd where, thank the good Lord, it was at least daylight.  I don't remember if I was wearing a leotard that time, but chances are good - and I found a pay phone outside a liquor store somewhere between the Lido XXX Theater and the Palm Motel - and again, collect called my dad at work.  And though on that particular day I looked nearly, if not exactly like a prostitute on her lunch break - just hangin at the Swif-T Beer and Wine - it was right then and there that I declared an end to the madness and soon after bought my very first brand new car.

And I felt like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind where she's already picked enough cotton to make her hands bleed, though thankfully not while wearing a leotard, and waves her fist in the air with before - its - time woman power and says something along the lines of... as God as my witness I will never drive a beat up old car again.

But I spoke too soon and found myself stranded in the drive through pharmacy line at the CVS with a dead battery last week.  I also can't turn off the heat, but we can save that one for another day.  And trust that it had already been a day above all days with the Uber driver forgetting to pick up Kid 3 for school and 6 hours at work with low blood sugar and no snack, and I sat in that drive through and cried some very desperate cries of frustration. You can ask anyone inside the CVS who could see me through that big glass pharmacy window, telling the pharmacist about that sad woman out the window who could probably use a sedative, on the double.  Anyway, a nice young mechanic came by and got the car started and led me off to an even nicer Islamic man at the car repair place who taught me all about his culture and his beliefs as we shared Hershey miniatures and I poured out my soul. Maybe I left a better person for the low, low cost of a $200 battery and a nervous breakdown, but really I still just feel the same.  

And it seems that every day of late for the Walters is a new moutain to climb.  And though this week, for the first time in almost 3 months, I actually had 2 days where I held conversations with people other than myself without being hysterical, and foolishly thought myself getting stronger,  I then remembered I wasn't.  

And it turns out to be totally true that one is indeed the loneliest number, in every sense.  I did, however, get a sweet offer from a crazy man to move in with me - since my husband is dead, and his rent just went up $30 a month at his apartment.  Then I remembered that I had been so long inside my safe and secure bubble that I forgot that I live in a world full of insanity and danger.  And for the curious, though I think it would be grand to share the cost of my high water and electric bills with someone, I politely declined his kind offer in such a way that made us both feel better about our time together.  Then I went home and text documented it to everyone and checked my door locks.

And y'all, just when I think I've got myself a little bit together it's like a big ol' explosion of emotion hits me again.  Like today.  And yesterday.  Thank you Travis County Medical Examiner for sending me right back to the starting line.

And the news is that Fireman Dave died of natural causes.  Causes that are making me so angry right about now that should he pop in to pay me an after-worldy visit, he should be sorely afraid.  Causes that may force me to, if given the opportunity right now as I speak, just kill him myself.  So people, listen as I begin this week's sermon:   Take care of your bodies.  Admit when you may not be feeling in tip top shape and then do something about it.  Something that does not involve ignoring the situation and denying the reality of the fact that you hold not only your own life in your hands, but that of everyone who loves you.  Now pass the offering plate and Amen. 

So today I feel more lost and lonely than ever, because the time that has passed has made the burden of alone even heavier.  I use the word alone as a noun because I firmly believe it to be not only a thing, but the person that I am right now, and a place not unlike hell on earth.  I thought time was supposed to heal, but obviously someone lied.  And y'all, lonely aches all over and makes me cry anywhere and everywhere including, but not limited to, driving down the road, shopping for groceries and putting gas in the car.  All things that I actually did today all while crying like a baby. There are so many witnesses.  

And to me, lonely feels like doing every single thing by myself, and even thinking and planning to do every single thing by myself.  Maybe for the rest of my life.  Chores, decisions, discipline.  Home management, doctor appointments, errands, household repairs, upkeep and paying for......  like - everything.  Family crises, dramatic teen outbursts, broken down cars.  Driving new places, learning where to park, learning how to shop for or fix or make things I never even thought about before.  Plus my usual load of cooking, cleaning, laundry, working my job and getting up like a farmer each day to find time to do it all.  Maybe if I subtracted out all the hours I spend crying, I might be a better time manager.

And lonely feels like me quietly hating it when someone else refers to their love, their significant other, their person, with fondness, affection, .... with knowledge that they even have a person to love.  And it feels like anger when I get messages from people who are made obviously uncomfortable by my unhappiness and work like heck trying to swing me over to the other side.   

I know more this week than I have in the last few months.  But I feel like I've been knocked down from my ledge of comfortable ignorance, where I had started to develop a sense of routine.  And I mostly just want to feel lost and confused again instead of lost and hopeless.  There is actually a difference, but I never knew that till now. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Kristi - Your humor and honesty; love and loss are vividly communicated. I love the photo of you and Fireman Dave, and I am so very sorry for all the pain that surrounds you and your sons.

  2. Your writing continues to impress me, even when writing about such pain. You and your family are in my prayers Kristi.


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