Grief alters everything.
For the past few years, I have been living a well-structured life of order and discipline. La dolce vita. I’ve been slavishly compelled in keeping everything tidy. No ragged edges or hanging threads. Meticulous synchronization. My ducks are all in a row.
I’ve maintained strict jurisdiction over the basic components of every aspect of my existence.
Its very precision has allowed me power over obstacles and emotions with fluid control. I denounce disruption or intrusion. I’m closed and cloistered, as I dance the dance of the seven veils.
No jolts. No surprises. Nothing to mar its perfect symmetry.
I have custody of the empire. I have dominion over all I survey. And best of all, I am the alpha Yoda to my tribe of little Yetis.
I have even declined making New Year’s Resolutions of late, because I wanted to change the world, not me. The world is witless. Sometimes the planet seems feeble-minded and predatory, and this whole satellite could use a serious frontal lobotomy.
All this has created a state of grace…an exquisite, impeccable life.
And what could possibly be wrong with that?
It seems, unbeknownst to me, I’ve been suffering from twin surges of pride and delusional myopia.
This was a somewhat stark and rather unwelcome revelation. Is it possible perfection is not all it’s cracked up to be?
Where did I go wrong? How did this happen? Did some of my ducks break rank?
Okay. So. A while ago, I began seeing someone. I know. I know. This flies in the face of all my decrees and proclamations I disgorged with vigor, that this ain’t EVER happenin’! I would NEVER accept invitations from the well-meaning, but chronically confused.
With grim resolve, I determined to remain feloniously solitary.
But with the passage of time, a curious thing happened. I began to calcify.
So one day, I suspended my habitual reticence. In this case, the exception was justified. After all, Michael and I have been friends all our lives. We were even participants in each other’s weddings. When his wife passed away, it was only natural that we would gravitate toward each other.
It might have been chance, or karmic distribution, but as time went by, I discovered life could have even more meaning when raised to the power of two. I also discovered it was ultimately more satisfying to be centered than self-centered. Who knew?
Not sure just how this whole thing evolved. After all, I had established my universe on such admirable traits as being logical, sensible, dependable, responsible, respectable, reasonable, and level-headed. But sometimes this becomes the refuge for the weak. What good is it to build a dream residence if it’s nobody’s home? Living in solitary confinement guarded by a phalanx of Tibetan Warrior Monks humming Gregorian chants might not be as exciting as it sounds.
But then came Michael.
Apparently, fortresses of cinderblock don’t count for jack in his mind.
At first, I politely uh-huhed his invitations. But then they began to take on a certain appeal. He preferred watching sunsets in Zion, and going on early-morning bike rides that tested my endurance and made the back of my legs feel twangy, to murmuring mantras in the lotus position. He has an aversion to too much intellectual inbreeding.
As a lawyer, he has taught me words like “scintilla” and “tort.” I try to work them into every-day conversation, like, “Wow! Take a look at those torts!” (Hey, I’m working on it.) He also explained the concept of “quid pro quo.” If I understand correctly, it simply means that if he gets the movie tickets, I get the popcorn. It’s all so easy, it’s a wonder I never went to law school.
He can make a contract that is legally binding and as tight Scarlet O’Hara’s corset, and then turn around and belt out the old novelty caveman song, “Allie Oop.”
Michael is articulate and fluent in French. Recently he wrote, “Que tes revec soit doux.” Loosely translated, it means, “Darlin’, you have spinach lodged between your teeth.”
Most important, he was Dennis’ boyhood friend, and mourns his loss as I do.
I, on the other hand, have had a rather confounding change in attitude and latitude. I’ve been seriously contemplating removing the sewing machine from the oven so I can bake cookies. Yeah, right. Like that’s ever going to happen!
But I do find myself wanting to pluck, shave or wax all rogue facial hair, and firm up the protective arm flab that’s marbled with juicy fat and serves as a playground where the Mbuti Pygmies of the Congo can frolic. I want to become smothered in muscle. I no longer hang out in long, winter woollies. I’m trying to soften my architecture. I may be multi-chinned and Buddha-esque circumferentially, but he doesn’t seem to notice, much less care.
Michael carpet-bombed my well-ordered citadel, and persuaded me to follow the life I never planned.
Sometimes we all need rescuing from the predicament of the “perfect” life. It helps to be fearless, but it’s not a prerequisite. Maybe change isn’t always for the worst. I’ve learned nothing works out according to plan, but it always works out.
A relationship is a living entity.
I don’t know what will eventually happen, but perhaps for the first time in a long time, I see alternate possibilities. Maybe my myopic vision has distortions, after all. But I’m ready to take a chance. It’s an adrenaline rush.
Who knows? Maybe it’s just a matter of time.