I love waking up here. The lighting and filmy curtains drape just so . The sun is warm and yellow and I hear but don’t hear the sounds of the city….horns and cars, dogs complaining, birds chirpin’ and the chicken next door….she bok boks and warbles and must be laying some egg.

That I should even be here is another of life’s mysterious twists and turns. This is Andrew’s house. It’s full of books and records, camera’s lying about, old shit. Dusty boots, clothespins, and peanut butter on toast.

I am drawn to moody artists who have no choice but to live in their own box. But I am not inside Andrew’s box. I was all in Ron’s square space and I think of him now. Rumplestilskin. We drank wine and took pictures and were consumed by the esthetics of being together. It was all visual and tactile and close, until it wasn’t. I’m too old to stick around when the crazy starts hailing down like goofballs. He called me an evil effin c-word.  Everyone wants to know what I did to deserve that and the answer is I didn’t do nuthin’. It just went from dreamy to unsustainable, from “you’re the sweetest woman I’ve ever been with” to me bummin’ his high…in a blink. Drugs will do that, and later he told me all about it, and why his temper was so hair-trigger. But by then he had already scared me….away. No going back…I couldn’t unsee it, unhear those words…

Now, there are too many men circling. Good men, lazy butts who just want a booty text and more serious and industrious types. But it’s only Joe who calls me. He’s a whippersnapper alright and we are just friends, but it’s real. We are playful and funny and on fire and the point is that he picks up the phone and calls me, sometimes four or five times in an afternoon, sometimes not for a few days, but he calls, and always answers. We have a rule that we always answer. And that is huge.

Everyone else is out there doing their own thing, but when I am lonely, which isn’t very often anymore, but when I am lonely, not one of them is real, or mine. Sure, I can shoot off a text, and I do, mostly to Andrew,  because I’m musing and crushing on his stuff, and on him, but it’s just wankin’ off the way I wank off when I discover a person who truly resonates. I bond hard, but I know wut up. And I also know better. Not better enough to contain myself, just better. He doesn’t trip on it, and I don’t worry, though I do find it curious that I feel compelled to turn up the volume and throw it all at him for no good reason besides desire.  He makes me want to say, “Hey, look at this.” So I do. I say it whenever I feel like it and to hell with protocol. I’ve felt it a lot, but it will all quiet down. It always does, unless the fire is stoked.

Suddenly I want that feeling of being all-in. I remember when Ron would say, “I fucking love you.” And he did. I remember him setting up his camera and handing it to me. He could do things I couldn’t, and helped me see the world through simpler eyes. His heart was open, even if it became askew and scary. He made me cauliflower and sausages with arugula. He was missing teeth. His eyes were sweet and salty and loving and kind… and a little bit sad, too. His body was tight and jumpy and he would spin records and flit around in his desert boots. Or naked. We spent hours listening to records, eating and drinking,  and drinking each other in. We were a story with an ending, but a story nonetheless. We are still friends, because as nutty appleas he is, he is stable and honest and true.

I have to go to work and get back to being regular which is a hard fit because I’m on a creative bender and in some real pain on account of this arm. My surgeon showed me that I had full range of motion coming out of the O.R. ,  but now I’m swollen and tight again. My job is to push through the pain and keep it moving. Owie owie.

Work is always something I love, even when I’m in a different space. Even when my own life could use some attention, I never regret being there doing what I know how to do. There is always a sweet little face, baby hands that can’t resist a  high-five, a grateful parent – there is always something and someone to love in every day. Not the “I f*cking love you.” kind of love, but it’s love nonetheless.

I don’t know if anyone will effin love me again, or if I’ll allow for it. (Duh, of course I’ll have lurvy love again, I think?? Ugh, I don’t want to think.) The sun in the window calls for someone to nuzzle my neck, so I turn to Garth. He looks at me like “wut.” He doesn’t fret a thing, for there is always someone waiting to kiss all over him. He has me, too, and I make sure he is fed with lots of open space and room to hunt and run free. He is a dog with needs that are met; his warm and weighty body grounds me and keeps me safe.

Freedom and love and creation and destruction and loneliness and weightiness and survival. That’s what these windows, this light, these birds, the cars, the sound of the gate opening – that’s what it all means. Another day, in a place I didn’t know I’d be. Aaah, life. Please take me some place groovy and full. Please fill me up while my heart is open. Help me be the old woman with the smile on her face wading in tide pools. Never let me sit on the bench for long. Keep me moving and reaching and noticing it all.

The light in this room is gorgeous. Sigh.