Flowers on Sunday Begin Again

I’ve almost stopped crying every day.  Although yesterday I did a writing exercise that unexpectedly made me so, so sad I cried for an hour – but before that I didn’t cry the whole day.  And I only cried a little today.

I take this as a sign the tears are almost done with their work.  I think their work is to help me land where I am.  To reconnect the neglected places back to the current of hearbeats and self awareness, circulating with fresh rain.  To remake the map of tributaries, now free to run to the ocean.

It was always an illusion to think we could see forward into life, with our resolutions and intentions aimed at the straw man of the same, familiar troubles. The only approach I can think of now is to be open.  Not open to the silver lining, or sour jolts of truth.  Just open to the next thing.  That seems like the simplest way to keep going.

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Flowers on Sunday Were Merry

I put out the Santas and the tinsel tree, and bought flowers on Christmas Eve.  I found some music on the radio, and stayed off Instagram.  There was a floor lamp at the thrift store, exactly what I wanted.  My friend brought over cherries and cold, rare roast beef – and went home in fog that only Rudolph could navigate.  With just 12 minutes to spare, I drove to the store for a couple of things I forgot.  The streets were empty.  And then, like everyone, I was heading home.

The roses bloomed on Christmas, just as I hoped, and the clear blue sky chased the fog away.  Santa came. He always does.  My people made sure of me, and the boys got their stocking stuffers and money.  By eight p.m., it was over.  Together, Santa and I let out a sigh of profound relief – and climbed into bed for our long, winter’s nap.

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Flowers on Sunday for Santa

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky. So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. – Clement Moore

We need the funk. – George Clinton

Flowers dried from other Sundays, because the delivery truck was so late Saturday morning, there were no fresh flowers when I went shopping.  But the greenery sent it’s fragrant tendrils into the past, and gathered my little fragments of Christmas into a portal of memory and time.

I suppose I am getting accustomed to all the uncertainties – since I can’t let them go.  I told the close people how lonely I am, and they have helped make it better.  I accept that maybe I won’t stop crying for a while.  I had my heart set on so many hopes.  At least I got hurt from dreaming.  I didn’t think I could do that anymore.

But the soundtrack on Sundays is the funk.  And as long as you make my funk the P-funk, the desired effect is what you get.  Just be thankful for what you got.  Let me put my sunglasses on.

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Flowers on Sunday Alone

I couldn’t help falling in love, and I can’t help the loneliness I feel now – feel as a result of my heartbreak, though the loneliness was swelling inside, untended from long ago.  Probably lurking in my heart since the first time some parent or teacher declared something was wrong with me, and pointed out that I didn’t fit in.

While I was married, it was vital to pretend to myself that I wasn’t lonely, so I could keep imagining that things would still work out.  Because being with someone was supposed to solve being lonely.  I mean, how utterly broken and screwed up must I be, to feel lonely with someone who was supposed to love me?  That’s how I slipped into denial – building a hard, impenetrable barrier between me and loneliness just by looking the other way.

But along with actually feeling love, and feeling desired, and then the physical pain of losing that future, the companion of loneliness returned.  Feeling no heart is attached to yours, knowing there is no one asking themselves how you are doing that day.  Knowing that some part of you – the deepest part that feels most like yourself – doesn’t exist for anyone else anymore.  Lonely.

Denying my loneliness, cutting it off from my self, was part of how I misunderstood the kind of love I had a right to hope for.  Loneliness hurts, but I can’t go back to the emptiness of pretending, either.

Failure, disappointment, heartbreak, loneliness. My little plateful of broken dreams.  If I don’t tend them, who else will?

 

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Flowers On Sunday Upon a Time

This was not the life I expected, or thought I was making.  I have heard of plans and goals, yes.  But no matter what attainment you covet, I think you only know afterwards what you’ve made.  When it’s too late to discover anything besides the forces you couldn’t see at the time.  Your own darkness, unquestionably.  But also the persistent shape of yearning and fulfillment – and that old devil, Hope.

Life is what I’ve done.  What I’ve made, is all told mainly by the losses.

To have love rejected.  There really isn’t any other wound.

 

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Flowers On Sunday You See

I’m just very sad, you see.  Everything is okay, except for all the scary things I can’t do anything about.  I suppose those worries have me tied up in knots somehow, but that is where denial comes in handy.  Not that you aren’t affected by the monsters looming in the everyday.  You are, of course.  But you believe your own pretending – so that’s alright.  You can keep going in your lopsided, circuitous way, wearing avoidance-colored glasses.

But this loneliness is a silence that’s been there a very, very long time.  And for a minute, I really thought I heard a voice, another voice – so close, I felt the breath warm my ear and send goose bumps through every limb.  I was wrong, as it happens – but the echo is like a sonar that has detected the depth of the silence that was there all along.  Which is something I have to reckon on my own – a fact that in itself reflects the situation I’m in.

So, Flowers on Sunday – I’m just very sad, you see.

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Flowers on Sunday Thank You

Well, I am just especially thankful for every listening ear that has even tried to understand.  I didn’t realize until lately how much I wasn’t telling – because I didn’t know myself how much I had turned away from the life inside.  And I don’t try to tell everyone.  And I have told a few people and it wasn’t for them – and really, that’s fine.  I’ve been in those shoes, too.

My heart still feels broken, and I think it will have to mend into a different shape – a shape it didn’t have before I tumbled into love and kept falling.  That sadness is so deep, and very, very old.  Much older than me.  Older even than Marv and Barbara.  I doubt I will ever know where it started.

And yet, how can I even say how fortunate I feel?  To know that beyond this loneliness, a web of loving voices – connected and strong – knows the way I am, already.  To have the winter light, and roses to give it form and purpose.  To search for a way the unknown heart can begin her life anew.

 

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Flowers on Sunday Another Time

Jarrell and Louis delivered my mattress yesterday.  That’s not the name of an exclusive mattress brand you haven’t heard of yet.  It’s the two young men who pulled their delivery truck up at my curb at exactly 10:15, and took just about 15 minutes to set up a brand new place for me to sleep.

Louis set up the frame, while Jarrell brought the box spring in by himself.  He remarked on the paintings in the hallway. “Did you paint them?” he asked, looking at the canvas outside my door.  It’s kind of a crazy painting, with collaged lips floating over a pear made out of a few too many colors.  “No,” I answered, and then I asked, “Are you an artist?”  I always ask people this question if they mention something about art to me.  Because people who notice art usually have an artist somewhere inside.  And artists like it when you notice.

Jarrell looked a little shy. “Well, yeah.  I used to draw, and paint. But I guess I kind of haven’t in a while.”

“You should get out your pencil and draw something today.” I said.  “Make some art.”  He brightened up.  “Yeah.  Maybe I will.  I haven’t had much time lately.”  I wanted to let him off the hook, because I know it is hard to start again, when you lose touch with something you really like.  “Well, it’s true – you do need 5 minutes to yourself!” I said.  Jarrell laughed, and went back to the truck to get the mattress.

In the afternoon, my friend treated me to a house warming gift.  New sheets – the deluxe kind I wouldn’t usually buy for myself.  A gorgeous copper color and silky thread count.  I got in bed at 8 pm and fell asleep listening to some old radio shows.

The bed feels so good, it’s like heaven.  I couldn’t help but be happy.

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Flowers on Sunday Go On

November is here; a month the color of ghosts.  Vibrant gold ginko leaves, silver strands of grass, the improbable red of ornamental maples, as incandescent as maraschino cherries.  All these remnants of life lived this summer, the sum of preceding summers brought forward in thick roots and pulsing inner channels – sap, bark and woody pulp.  Not empty husks, these ghosts – but brilliant infernos of nourishment and light that have ebbed away.

I have to start something over, just when all the world is drawing in on itself to rest.  Start over with home.  Start over with love.  Start from up here in the windiest branches, clinging like a leaf that wouldn’t shake loose, where another species of ghosts blow frosty, invisible currents.  These slender limbs are connected to the roots – but those anchors feel very far away.

You understand, don’t you?  I let myself hope for things I know are beyond my grasp.  For love and desire.  For a home.  Hope even for those things, together.  All those brilliant colors, the last remnants of what I wanted to find, something I mislaid summers and summers ago.  But you can’t add the leaves back to the trees, and you can’t cling to the wind-lashed branches, waiting to fly.  You have to climb down.  Go deeper into the woods.  Gather kindling, and light a fire – and start to sing the song the ghosts taught you, calling your companions.

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Flowers on Sunday So Far

Take a bowl of sunflowers, for instance.  Easier to imagine than to see.  Seeing asks so many tedious questions of what is and what isn’t.  Imagination has no such concerns – and rightly so.  Somewhere in the dark of uncertainty, seeing and imagination haggle out a third reality that neither quite anticipated.  And you might not know the deal has been struck until much later.  You won’t always recognize it when it happens.

I seem to be on more solid ground – but barely so.  My sad little one is right here at my elbow, and we won’t insist on too much cheerfulness or optimism.  But we won’t ask too many questions, either, about the quiet peace that arrived with Sunday night, clearing all the flowers away and fixing supper.

We’ll just say, “Phew.  That was really something, wasn’t it?  You did your best.  I’m proud of you.”  And see what comes tomorrow.

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