Monday, June 6, 2011

Terrible Teacher

June 6, 2011

Hey Andrea,

You teach people how to treat you.  Two people told me this today, a teacher and my sister.

 I have been a terrible teacher. 

This knowledge bubbles up and spills itself into the corner of each eye, makes rivulets down my cheeks, falling on my breasts.  It curls me into myself, then hurls me back out. 

Even the quail couple foraging on the rock wall outside this window cannot distract me tonight.

I am full into it, and I just have to ride it through.

There can be no name for this, this total carnage of myself.

If I can just catch my breath, I know I will be fine.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe in and out.  Don’t hold your breath.  Don’t let it grab you by the throat and tighten its fingers.  But release to it.  Release.  Become fluid.  Become the salt water in the rivulets burning ditches in your face, dripping on your shirt.  Let it be.

Is this my lesson, now, with Steve? We have reached a point today that seriously tests the longevity of our relationship.  It remains to be seen how it will play out.  He is ignoring me.  And the harder he ignores, the crazier I become.

Look up.  Look out.  Breathe.

While I am here, I might as well stay awhile.

Scott was your first, and I believe, only true love.  His mom tells me you were his true love.  I know it provides little solace to you now, but Scott wishes he had given you that wedding you wanted.

I remember when you and Scott first moved in together.    A few months together, you called me.  Before the first word was out of your mouth I knew you were upset.

“Mom, Sadie and I are coming home.”  Each word punctuated by a sob.

“When?”  I asked.  Having you home would have been great.  I was selfish.

“I can’t stay with him anymore.”  You hiccupped the words.

“Why?”  I asked.

That conversation lasted for an hour.  At the end of it, you began to see things differently, I told you to make demands of him, let him make a choice.  If he continued to make bad choices, then at least he was forewarned.  Before you hung up I told you, “Make sure to bring your pink KitchenAid I bought you if you leave him.  I’ll pay for the postage to get it back here.”

I wish I had really learned, known that I was teaching people how to treat me.  I would have worked at it and done a better job.  I probably would have been much happier much earlier in my life.  Instead of here at the table typing this pathetic letter with red swollen eyes.  Wondering how one day I can be laughing and think things are going wonderfully, and the next an atom bomb has dropped and I wonder if there are any pieces to pick up.   One step backwards, one step forward.  Some days I am lucky if I can keep even. 

But here tonight, as I lift my head, see the quail couple out on the rock wall, blue delphinium, pink peony in full bloom, marigolds, hear the song of chickadees who are nesting on my front porch a current runs up my spine. 

I am going to become a better teacher.