Preface/Postscript to Love & Other Madness


You may have noticed that I no longer use this blog as my sounding board. 

It began as a place for me to sound off about the weirdness in my life.

My marriage  was failing, and my step-daughter Maya  had just undergone treatment for a brain tumor. I felt that I still loved my wife Linda, but she had become almost impossible to live with since her daughter had been diagnosed with the tumor. I say this now, but at the time, I simply couldn’t understand her coldness to me. She was depressed, of course, about Maya’s illness, and feared she was going to die. Even after Maya was operated on, experienced the hell of chemotherapy, and then had been through radiation treatments, Linda continued to be depressed and refused counseling. She believed that Maya would die. She drove me and Maya crazy with her obsession with that, despite the fact that Maya had survived and was found to be free of cancer. Her cancer had been an extremely rare brain tumor, one that had not spread to other parts of her body, and Maya’s blood and spinal fluid were free of any cancer cells. In short, there was every reason for optimism, but Linda would not let her fear go.

I learned, through the experience, that I loved Maya fiercely. I had lived with her about 13 years as she grew from girl  to woman,  and I had been shocked and scared as well that we would lose her. It was this possibility that Maya would die that hit me over the head with the fact that I loved her dearly. I hadn’t thought about it before. It was new to me that, (1.) I loved someone else besides my wife, and (2.) it was an unconditional love for another human being, and (3. ) she might die, and (4.) I didn’t want her to die. After she began treatment, I relaxed.  It looked as though she would survive. I felt something new: joy, joy that she would survive. I had been so depressed at the prospect that Maya could die, that the idea that she would not die came as the purest feeling of happiness I’d ever experienced. Up until that epiphany, I had never known such a feeling existed in reality.

In fact, I had been unhappy. Life with Linda had become difficult. Her negativity, her constant put downs, and her coldness were not new. She had been that way all along, and I simply didn’t care. I loved her, so I made excuses for her abusive behavior and her lack of human warmth and kindness to me. I was making do. During sex with her I felt closest to her, but sex was not something she cared much for. It was as though she allowed me to have sex as her duty as a wife. It was not something important to her. I had known passion with other women in the past. I loved Linda passionately, I felt, but she did not, could not, respond in kind. Such is life. I became accustomed to that, but I felt trapped. I wanted more from life. I was willing to accept that Linda gave me all she could, and my love for her was enough. Sometimes I felt that I deserved no better than that.

However, one day, when Linda roughly pushed me away when I touched her, I made a decision, a decision based on years of being pushed away, without explanation or gentleness: I was no longer going to stay committed to monogamy. This was the one relationship I’d had where I had actually felt monogamous. I hadn’t wanted other women. Other women were pretty, but not sexually attractive to me. My life before this marriage had been one in which I was always seeing or meeting women I felt physically attracted to. Being in love with Linda, I found her to be the only woman I wanted to be with. Now, I was tired of longing for her and being rejected over and over. I could have tolerated little or no sex if she had been respectful of me, of my opinions, my feelings, my hobbies. She was not. If she had given me any comfort at all during Maya’s illness, I’d have been happy. If she would have touched me sometimes, with a caress, or hug, or a warm kiss, I’d have stayed happy. But, there was none of that. I’d begun to feel as though I existed in her life only to provide entertainment, and pay the bills.

Having made this decision that I was open to other women, I began to notice the women at work, and notice that I could be attracted to other women than Linda. I spoke with a woman who worked in the department office, and found her appealing. Her accent and manner reminded me a bit of my brother Pat’s Texas wife, who he is now divorced from. She was very pretty. I lightly flirted with her, but she didn’t appear to be interested, although she was single and quite friendly. One day, at an office Xmas party, I was introduced to a young woman who worked part-time in the department: Karen.

Karen and I hit it off right away, discovering that we had an unusual but strong affection for a science fiction TV show,  Babylon 5. Trekkies didn’t seem to like it much, and although we had both been interested in Star Trek at one time, we had both been much more fascinated with the Babylon 5 universe created by J. Michael Straczynski. Karen pointed out articles and blogs by Straczynski, which showed that his politics and beliefs heavily influenced the show, and that those politics and beliefs were the same ones held by Karen and myself. This was beyond belief to me at first. I’d had never met anyone like her.

Over time we discovered a mutual admiration for certain science fiction authors, of the characterization in Marvel Comics, of Japanese Anime, and a love of peace, and justice. I came to believe Karen was like a soul mate to me, trite as that phrase is now. I fell in love with her. I desired her intensely. I lusted for her. She is quite sexy. Two major problems: (1.) I was married, and (2.) I was much older than her. At first, I was not that interested in Karen except as a friend; she was just too young. Over time, I decided, self indulgently, that I didn’t care about her age. She was in her middle 20’s and quite old enough for me after all. I found that, although I felt I still loved my wife, I wanted Karen. I loved her too. Initially I wanted both women; something very selfish, and very impossible. Karen made it clear she wasn’t like that. She would never be a married man’s lover. (In theory, since we rarely talked about anything personal). In fact she did not want to know anything about my wife, or hear me speak of her at all. I wondered about that; in my delirium, I thought it meant she was jealous of my married life, perhaps of my wife. I hoped it meant she cared for me. However, she never wanted to meet except  for lunch. Lunches with Karen became very exciting for me.

If you’ve read the entries in this blog, you know that things got worse and worse for me. Linda and I divorced. I briefly hoped that an obstacle to at least dating Karen was gone, but no, Karen told me that even going to a movie together (Silver Surfer) that we had both planned to see was like a date, and a date was inappropriate. After that, our relationship (we had been eating lunch together every Friday for about four years) deteriorated. She was more and more often busy, and just didn’t have time for me as often anymore. Our lunches became rare and awkward, and pretty much stopped. Between Karen and my divorce from Linda, I was often sad, and becoming more depressed by the day. My job no longer gave me any satisfaction, and I wanted out. The divorce had resulted in my loss of the house I had jointly owned, and all the money and time I had put into it. I had previously sold my own house, paying off debts Linda and I had accumulated, so I didn’t think I could retire, as I had no money left to buy another house of my own. I had been close to paying off the house Linda and I owned, but she got the house and I got to keep my pension. After two years, and giving it a lot of  thought, I said: “Fuck it,” and I retired anyway.

I didn’t see my ex-wife again for four years, and I never saw Karen again. I came to understand that Karen may well have been a substitute Linda, for one thing, in that I hoped to have my feelings for Linda reciprocated from Karen. I may have simply transferred my feelings for Linda over to Karen. But, there is an odder possibility that I spent much thought upon. Since Karen was just slightly older than my step-daughter Maya, and initially there was the possibility that Maya could die, perhaps I unconsciously began to substitute Karen for Maya? What that said about my feelings for Maya troubled me, but I came to believe that I wanted Karen more than anyone in the world, that I would die for her, that I would do anything for her, and she was all I ever wanted in the world anymore. It was, I believe, a psychological illness. I was loony tunes, out of my head (well, trapped in my head to be accurate). I no longer had any anchor to reality. Impossible things seemed possible, and the possible seemed false and unreal. I spiraled into a deep depression, and I really did want to die. There just didn’t seem to be any reason to live any more.

It took some time, some brief counseling, and a bit of antidepressant, but I lost all interest in Karen; I can no longer believe I was ever interested in her. It shocks me to think I thought I loved her. I loved my ex-wife Linda, and still do. I love my step-daughter Maya. Nothing else ever mattered; nothing else matters now. I have tried dating, but without success. A woman I used to hike with was very nice to me, but the relationship never went anywhere, and appears to have died out. I was initially extremely lonely and often horny, but all that seems to have faded away now.  I do not find most women attractive. Recently I found myself interested in another young woman, a model I took photographs of,  but that was brief, stupid and doomed to failure, for the same reasons my relationship with Karen was never going to go anywhere.

I once wrote, in the short story, The Boy Who Rode His Bicycle Into Manhood, that I spent the rest of my life simply walking the ditches around my neighborhood, reflecting on my life, and never interacting in any meaningful way with another human being ever again. It seems that pessimistic and depressing ending of my story is actually coming true! That is my life now, although it is not as depressing as I thought then. It just is.

What prompted this sudden return to this blog? I went to a salsa concert the other night. I was enjoying the music, and watching the dancers, and then Linda walked in. A friend of hers recently moved here and they share our old house, so they came together. I think they both saw me, but neither acknowledged it. They looked in my direction when I was the only one in that direction (up on the balcony above their heads).  I was shocked to see Linda, and that she looked really good to me. I considered going over to where the two sat down, and asking Linda, or her friend, who I had been friendly with, to dance. But then I saw Linda dancing with someone, and having a great time. It reminded me of how much we loved salsa dancing and how often we went: usually once a week, but sometimes twice a week, and for most of the 14 years that we had been together. It wasn’t unusual for Linda to dance with other men at the club we went to. Most were friends she had danced with before meeting me, and other times she just liked to dance with the experts. That’s the way things are in these salsa clubs and dances. Even if people come with a date, everyone dances with everyone else. A man usually asks a woman’s date or husband for permission first, and after a few times it is understood without asking.

So, I was not jealous seeing Linda dance with another man the other night. It was a feeling of sadness, terrible sadness, that I was no longer part of her life, that I could never dance with her again. My feelings so overwhelmed me that I stayed rooted to one spot for an hour. Then, I considered jumping off the balcony. Obviously I didn’t. I never asked anyone to dance, never went over to Linda and her friend to say hello. I just listened to the music, watched the other dancers, and drank three beers. I am not part of Linda’s life and can never be again. We could not live together anymore anyway, but my desire for her is no less, after four long years of sobriety, soliloquy, and solitariness. Oh, well. That is most certainly the way life can turn out. I had a good run. I stay busy these days, hiking in the mountains, reading, watching old movies, and helping make wine at a local winery. All of it distracts me from my sadness for brief amounts of time, so I’m optimistic that I will actually find happiness in just living again. I used to want passion in my life; now, I would just like a reason to live. Love & Other Madness was a small slice of my life, a time when I slipped the bounds of reality and dared to dream of greater happiness and passion. In so doing, I lost everything I cared about. I make the motions now, do things, talk with people, get some exercise. It’s real.

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Message FROM Karen


Well, hey, I finally got a reaction from Karen.  I had asked her to just email one word, like “No” and she’d never hear from me again.  She didn’t respond, hasn’t responded to anything I’ve written her, which is response enough, but being the hard-headed type, I wanted to hear it from her that she really wanted nothing to do with me anymore.  We had been friends for years at work, eating lunch once a week together. At first, it was a simple friendship, despite a big gap in our ages.  We talked about anime, and Sci Fi, and writers we liked, and the world of animation, comics and manga.  We traded books and videos.  It was great.  I was, unfortunately, married when I met her.  Before long, however, I was in love with her.  We stayed friends, even after I was divorced.  She considered the idea of the two of us meeting outside of work to have dinner, or seeing a movie together, as dating, and dating was, in her word: inappropriate.

Still, up until I left that job, we still ate lunch together, but the weekly ritual had lessened to an average of every other week, sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on her work schedule.  That was fine.  I missed the regularity of our lunches, but I was still in love, albeit unrequited, a strange state of being, an alternate reality where there was a slight chance we might connect some day, even though I knew how unlikely it was.  The psychology people call it limerence.  I was crazy, basically.  I felt I got over it, and let Karen know what my feelings had been all along, how I’d gotten over it, and how I wanted to resume our normal lunches.  By this time she seemed to be avoiding me.  After that, she was avoiding me, even to the extent of spinning on her heels and going the other way.  Well, I left that job anyway, so I didn’t see her again.

I didn’t, however, stop thinking about her.  Recently I watched a fascinating movie, Mary & Max, about an older man in New York with severe Asperger’s Syndrome who ends up as a pen pal to a little girl in Australia.  Despite the difference in ages, they strike up a real friendship, and write regularly.  It is a great comfort to both, because neither have any other friends.  Well, I bought a copy and had it sent to Karen.  I wanted her to watch it.  Unfortunately, after I did that, I noticed that, although the movie was in English, it was only formatted to play in Australia.  I quickly sent Karen an email, saying I’d made a mistake, but maybe she could still view it in her computer’s DVD drive.   Not getting a reply, I found another copy online, and had it shipped to her.  This time I made sure it was the correct region for US DVD players.  No word from her.  After a period of time, I was going to write to her, ask if we could be friends again, just like Mary and Max, writing each other, and sharing events in our lives, what we were reading, watching and doing. Her 30th birthday is approaching, and I was going to wish her a Happy Birthday also.  Hell, I thought, maybe she wouldn’t think I was a pervert anymore. Yeah, she’s way younger than me, but it wouldn’t be that perverse of me to be interested in a sexy 30-year-old woman.  I mean, she is an adult, right?

Today, wonder of wonders, I got a package from Karen.  I knew what it was before I opened it: the two DVDs.  Sure enough, they were both in there, and neither had been opened at all.  She hadn’t even thought enough of me, or is so disgusted with me, that she didn’t even try to watch the movie.  And, a note fell out with the movies:

Well, that was plain enough, even for someone like me.  I just had to have it spelled out clearly, without any possibility of misinterpretation.  Thanks Karen. Message for Karen.

What does death taste like?


The_Sweet_Taste_of_Death_by_JasonGoad art by jasongoad.deviantart.com

I wonder what death tastes like.  Does it taste like the blackened bits of carbon that burn forever on the sides of a cast-iron pan?

Does death taste like brown and yellow agglutinated crap served cold?

Perhaps death tastes of the rotting, putrefying meat of dead animals slaughtered for food served steaming hot?

It is often said that the stench of burning human corpses is sickeningly sweet.  Perhaps death brings an overwhelming flavor of sweetness with it?  Burning corpses layered with fatty oils, burning, smoking greasily, filling the air the nose the lungs the tongue with a cloying odor of blackened leather?

Is death sweet? The aroma of almonds, dead and broken, cut in bloodless slices, layered with caramelized sugar; does death taste like that? Or sweeter still, like the honey of billions of dead flowers?

Or could it be, could it taste like bitter astringent pee? the pee on her labia, like a sharp spice around the honey within?

Oh. Back to her. Her, she, the one who makes me long for death.  Her of the twisted mind and tortured soul like me, the one I longed to be with for these wasted years?  What of her? She is life itself, and smiles and joy and soft flesh and music and reading and video and laughter and companionship.  And death. She is death for me. To long for her is to long for death. O, to taste her would be joy!  Joy denied. Love denied. Laughter denied. Companionship denied. The sweet look in her eyes.  The poetry of her hands moving about in space, the hands I long to touch, to caress, to feel warm in my hands….  A_Day_Without_You___2nd_Phase_by_Beloved_Creature A Day Without You by Beloved-Creature

Zombie Karen If she were a real zombie, I’d rush to her, embrace her, kiss her, and die.

But it is death!  It is death to touch her, to want the untouchable.  It is death to taste her, death to want to smell her honey, taste it on the end of my thrusting tongue probing her sweetness, stirring our flesh into spasms of delight and ever more desire, fevered heat on every part of our skin, and all is sensing and touching and smelling and tasting without thought.   Sugar Skull: Dia de los Muertos Karen

And there is la petit mort also.  That is the death I would taste.

It’s Raining Again – Wonderful!


desert_rain Started raining not long after I got home.  I love it when it does that – waits for me to get home.  Traffic goes nuts in the rain, and I’m not too fond of riding soaking wet.  It had been hot and humid today; unusual for this dry desert-like climate to be humid.  So the rain cooled things off, and sounded good coming down, hitting the roof, pouring down the walls, splattering on the sidewalk and patio from the canales.  It stopped for awhile, and I hadn’t given it much thought until it started in again. Not too hard. Pleasant.  Soothing.  I got to thinking that I don’t know what to write about anymore, at least as far as my life.  The obsessive infatuation I had at least gave me a focus!

I don’t see Karen anymore.  She avoids me.  She’s always busy. Once she told me she’d be busy throughout May, but she’s still busy now.  I’ve asked a couple times if she wanted to continue having lunch, and she said she did, but she was just so busy. It’s a good indication, I think, of her immaturity.  Can’t say outright she doesn’t want to have lunch, even when I give her an opening.  Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore.  I like her still, without the infatuation, and would have liked to continue the friendship, but her interest in me, whatever it was, seems to have evaporated.

Still I’m taking an antidepressant, something I thought I’d never do.  Lacking any zest for life, or feelings for anyone, any reason to continue living, seemed incentive enough to try something.  I am still practicing guitar, and hiking in the mountains.  I have a pretty and intelligent friend I hike with, and we both like sushi and salsa dancing and hiking.  I have every reason to be hopeful.

Still, I get into rages.  I nearly blew up at the Parking Services clerk.  I had visions of coming back at night to destroy the building, or at least break the windows.  I even thought about seeing which car was his and coming back to break his windows.  Such a pitiful excuse for a human being.  Him, or me.  I was angry so long over that, but the director apologized, gave me my money back, and trained her staff on how to do things the right way for motorcycle permits.  Over and done with.  I sure was angry for awhile there though.

Generally, I’m improving. Life does not appear so pointless and empty anymore.  I think less of dying. I still think about moving to Afghanistan to help them rebuild schools and infrastructure.  Might still do that.  Retirement from my current job looms ahead.  I look forward to it, but fear the loss of income and shaky future of it.  My plan had been to pay off the house my wife and I had and retire without any house payments. Our divorce screwed that up royally.  She got to keep what she’s always thought of as her house, even though we’d borrowed money to pay off her ex, and it was in both our names, and I’d made all the payments myself, including the extra money.  I’d had my own house when I met her.  It would almost be paid off now too, but I sold it at a loss to pay off debts, debts we both had.  I never dreamed that I’d end up with nothing for all that.  Well, I have my pension, but that’s all.  Rents are high.  I won’t have money to travel as I’d planned. I really don’t know what the fuck I am going to do.  I’ll probably end up working part time at something.  The chances of making a living at writing or photography seem slim, but I’m going to try.  Maybe I’ll end up playing bad guitar on the street for spare change.

I did have a real surge in my life recently.  Rarely do I go out to dinner or anywhere much anymore.  I’d been trying to get together with my step-daughter for awhile, ever since she had her last brain operation, and we found out she was cancer free after all.  It hadn’t come back.  I wanted to celebrate so much when I heard that.  I’d have bought champagne for my ex and partied, but she was in Texas, and hadn’t wanted me there.  She had a pleasant dinner with her daughter and the first husband, Maya’s dad, who she hadn’t spoken with in 25 years, but we could have gone out to celebrate if I’d been there.  Even after telling me she didn’t want me there, she called, at Maya’s insistence, to tell me how it went, and how she wanted to celebrate, maybe find a bottle of champagne.   Well, anyway, I took my step-daughter Maya to a very nice fondue place in the Old Town part of  Albuquerque. melting-pot We had a great time. We didn’t eat too much, or drink a lot, but we laughed and talked for three hours.  It was the best time I’d had in two years.  Maya said it was the best date she’d had in a long time.  It was fun, and we  reconnected.  Always had a good relationship with her.  We opened up to each other more than usual, and it felt comfortable.  A wonderful boost to my morale!

Things at work, however, are deteriorating. The loss of gas and oil revenue the State of New Mexico depended on has meant less money coming down from Santa Fe. Everyone is cutting corners, cutting operations, looking for things to cut, purge, or lay off to make ends meet.  My lab may be next, before I even get a chance to retire.  The bean counters are king now.  Regulations require that I not overcharge anyone for the work I do.  The Dean of the Medical School is slowly cutting me off of the tobacco settlement money they’d used to pay my salary, which meant my lab went into deficit for the first time ever.  I can cut costs, raise prices some, but the crazy people there don’t understand what it is I do exactly, so they have come up with outrageous calculations of costs, based on a spreadsheet that is badly thought out.  One example is raising the price of one service by 15 cents, but increasing a similar service, that actually costs less in supplies, and takes less time and effort, by over 30 times the current rate.  Unreal.  They don’t even think it’s a big deal, but it means there will be no more revenue from that service ever.  I can’t get them to understand. I accept we have to raise rates, but it has to be based on real data, not numbers plugged into a hilariously inventive spreadsheet, just to satisfy auditors.  Gotta have a paper trail to prove we are charging the right amount!  Even when the premises of the spreadsheet are insanely wrong.  Doesn’t seem to matter that we cannot long operate under those conditions.  We need more business, more efficiency, not less income.  Idiots!  I’ve worked so long and hard at this job, and now pencil pushers are going to ruin it.  It makes me furious.  I see red, feel violent. It attacks my own efficiency all these years in maintaining a tight budget, in helping scores of researchers, and contributing to dozens of their research papers.  My knowledge is suddenly inferior to a paper-trail spreadsheet.  It must be right – how could it be wrong?  Haha.  Idiots.  Little tiny minds, desperately trying to feel important, destroying everything they touch. Fuck the assholes.  I may be depressed, but I don’t have to let them destroy all this when they don’t even understand the basic fallacies behind their calculations.

So, I don’t know if I’m improving or not.  On the one hand, I have good days every once in a while.  On the other hand, my bad days seem worse.  I will be lucky to survive the next few months without killing someone.

Forbidden Love


forbidden-love

See more or buy this print from the artist, at: http://la-sera.deviantart.com/art/Forbidden-Love-105120975

In scarlet Town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwelling
Made many a youth cry well a day
Her name was Barbara Allen Karen Ellen

It was in the merry month of May
When green buds they were swelling
Sweet William Terry came from the west east country
And he courted Barbara Allen Karen Ellen

He sent his servant email unto her
To the place where she was dwelling
Said my master’s sick, bids me call for you
If your name be Barbara Allen Karen Ellen

Well, slowly, slowly got she up
And slowly went she nigh him
But all she said as she passed his bed
Young Old man I think you’re dying

Then lightly tripped she down the stairs
She heard those church bells tolling
And each bell seemed to say as it tolled
Hard-hearted Barbara Allen Karen Ellen

O, mother, mother go make my bed
And make it long and narrow
Sweet William Terry died for me today
I’ll die for him tomorrow

They buried Barbara Karen in the old church yard
They buried Sweet William Terry beside her
Out of his grave grew a red, red rose
And out of hers a briar

They grew and grew up the old church wall
Till they could grow no higher
And at the top twined a lover’s knot
The red rose and the briar.

Life is what happens while you’re making other plans


July 09, 2007

cypressaloneagain.jpg

Well, now I have my wish. Don’t you just hate it when you get what you wish for? I’m living alone. Got my own place, but it’s a rental. Signed a one-year lease. Don’t know what the future will bring, but at this point, I’m not planning anything. The dragon wants the keys back, but I told her I’m still paying the mortgage there so I couldn’t see why I’d want to give my keys up. I’m dangerously in the hole now; I’ve seriously overdrawn my checking account. All three things hit on the same days: deposit on rental unit, rent, and mortgage on the old house. Three weeks to go without real money. Sigh. I hate buying food on credit.

Of course, my fantasy has always been that Karen (remember her? – she was the reason for this blog) would be able to date me now. Insurmountable obstacles insurmountable.gif and boundaries. boundaries.jpg The other day Karen’s brother said he’d like to set her up with a friend who is into all the same things as she is: anime, manga, sci fi, etc. The only problem is, that he’s much older! Like ten years older! Really, really old. ha ha ha. But Karen says she prefers guys a bit older; that guys her age are too weird. Immature, I think. So, now I have the full story: when Karen told me she had dated older guys, she meant slightly older, not my age! This entire fantasy developed from that conversation (and the lunches we share). She says that she doesn’t think 10 years is TOO much older. So, finally everything is clear. It never was about my being married; it was always my freaking age. I mean, who can blame her? Our age difference is much greater than 10 years. Well, hell. 02couple.jpg

And the marriage is definitely over too: I now have proof of my suspicions all along: that the dragon only wanted the house, that she always thought of it as HER house, not ours. Hell, she even wants the keys back while I’m still paying the mortgage! No divorce yet, not even a legal separation, no agreement on the house at all, even after I paid the mortgage alone since I moved in, and she wants my keys. All those repairs to appliances, windows and doors; helping lay down new flooring, buying a new refrigerator and stove, installing a new toilet, installing crown molding, building raised garden beds, digging up and moving a railroad-tie fence, tearing off and replacing an entire roof by myself and nearly completing the addition, and it’s not even partly mine? Money down the drain. All that work for nothing. Spending, spending, spending to keep her happy, to buy expensive meals, lots of wine, and travel too. I should have known. And she thinks I’ve been holding out on her, that I have money stashed away, when the reality is that she kept me in constant debt! On top of which she was demanding we save money to travel to India while building the addition! How? She calls me a cheap bastard and a liar, but she is the self-centered, angry, selfish, heartless ass.

yellowhead.jpg Why do people stay in such relationships so long? Sigh.