The Other End of Sunset

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A secret shared is a secret lost

It’s always worth thinking about to whom you tell things, or let things slip, or let things be seen.

I’ve been around this block a time or two
And I’ve made some big mistakes, I promise you
-- Don Henley

For me, at least, pain erupts from my soul. Forcefully. Without control.

In contrast, betrayal is different. Slower somehow. Less directed.

It makes me think of getting a tattoo. When you get a tattoo, you lie down under a needle. It hurts. A lot. But afterwards you have a mark, a stain, a visible brand of something. (And hopefully it’s not a cartoon character on your butt, but that’s a different story.)

After you finish under the needle, tattoos, the big ones, anyway, ooze a clear fluid. It comes up out of each place the needle touched. It creeps out, silently filling the bandage, staining your clothes.

It lasts longer than the blood.

The clear ooze is as much a mark as the tattoo is. But it’s not as visible, as real, as honest.

Like betrayal.

Lately, I’ve been missing details, words, meanings… But it’s your essence I keep with me.
-- Jeanne, in an eerily prescient letter she wrote to me right before she moved to San Diego.

I’m supposed to be writing the last three pages of my book. These pages are easy, just a few sidebars on some interesting topics. The kind of stuff that erupts full blown like Athena from my forehead.

But I’m not expressing that content.

Nope, instead, I am drinking champagne, listening to heavy metal music, and thinking about JR.

June 23rd is coming.

I spent part of today cleaning up my files. I found all of Jeanne’s letters and cards to me.

I don’t recommend reading love letters near the anniversary of someone’s death. The experience is bizarre.

Almost unworldly, to hear her voice, her humor, her annoyance.

And then to turn up, next in the pile, her death certificate.

I don’t recommend it.

We’ve been through so much – I want you to remember me as brave & full of fight.
-- Jeanne, in her goodbye letter to me, written 10 days before she died.

I’m really supposed to be finishing the book. I promised Jim I’d do it in the next day or so.

That was yesterday I made that promise.

OK, I’ll go work on it next. I’m actually pretty excited about the book. I’ll tell you more about it over the next few weeks.

But I’m not going to finish it right now. I’m going to go sit outside, watch my dogs chase small ground animals, listen to the waterfall, and think of those loved, and lost, and found, and held.

Jeanne, I still hold your essence, and remember you as brave, full of vigor, and with a healthy dose of sarcasm.

And I know that Jeanne wouldn’t want me to wallow in self-pity. She thought that self-pity was the antithesis of bravery.

Maybe she’s right. I don’t know.

I have other things in my head, other than self-pity and regret. I have the now, and the future.

For example, SL lost her suitcase in New York. I know her suitcase held her favorite sweatshirt, a purse I bought her in Singapore, and a piece of jewelry I designed and had built for her.

She’s upset, and feels embarrassed and sloppy. She feels like she did something wrong.

I think it happens, and nobody died, so the harm is pretty limited.

But I think I’ll go buy SL a present, so she has something to open when she gets home. She’ll smile, and laugh, and maybe cry a bit.

It’s important to be here, in the now.

And then I’ll go write those last three pages.

See you all soon.