Last night was a time of a sad transition for me personally. I spent it in quiet contemplation and mourning. Nothing to celebrate, like a funeral. No ball to spike, no endzone; and nobody to hold.
I slipped off to the beach, long after dark. I emptied out a water bottle and refilled it half way with Cinnamon tequila, clear and fluid, easy enough to pass a quick inspection.
The ocean was huge, and I felt small. The ocean was loud, and I felt quiet. The night was dark, and I felt invisible. The stillness of the earth and stars properly punctuated my mood on this sad night.
When one door closes, another opens, but for me it is important that I stand, with my hand on that doorknob and understand fully the transition. I feel a spiritual need to peer backward and forward for a few minutes, an hour, or for an evening under the stars. I have held onto that doorknob, while others want to rush forward, every time. I did this every time we moved, every time I lost a job or gained one, with every death of a dear one and with the birth of my only child. Of course the night ending my lifelong marriage would include a time of stillness within myself.
How about some Sinartra (singing Johnny Mercer):
You’d never know it but buddy, I’m a kind of poet
And I got a lot of things I’d like to say
And when I’m gloomy, you simply gotta listen to me
Till it’s talked away
I’m feelin’ so bad, wish you’d make the music pretty and sad
I could tell you a lot, but you’ve got to be true to your code
Just make it one for my baby and one more for the road
Well that’s how it goes and Joe, I know your gettin’ pretty anxious to close
And thanks for the cheer, I hope you didn’t mind my bendin’ your ear
= = = = =
So I miscalculated my BMI ratio, and how to translate a half-liter water bottle into jiggers. And cinnamon tequila goes down smooth, is warm and comforting, and (as I was told) “sneaks up on you”.
When I could no longer read my phone, I stopped writing long, self-indulgent, self-pitying text messages to friends. When the stars in the sky doubled, I realized I could not uncross my eyes, let alone ride my scooter home. I stood up to find I had no balance. I did not remember to bring a chair, so I had been sitting on some poor soul’s beachfront stile, a five step redwood stairway I pretended was a front porch from my midwest childhood.
I needed to close my eyes, for an hour, to rebalance my system, and poured out my water bottle lest anyone in authority dropped by during my nap. I’d need no more ambrosia tonight. The ocean waves were deep, and lush, and lulled me to a safe sleep. I wore my black fleece hoodie jacket, and the hood became my pillow on the hard wood rung.
Then the security guard stopped by, his face backlit in the bright flashlight beam in my eyes. I bluffed my way through with melodic poetry. “No, I’m just enjoying the natural sounds, I’m not sleeping. The ocean is just a symphony” I cooed with enthusiasm. Yes, I replied, they monitor for homeless squatters but I explained I was from Clearwater and had a B&B inland, 5 miles from the beautiful ocean. As a poet, I added, “Isn’t the reflection of the waxing moon just beautiful on the waves?” To make sure I moved along he said I should enjoy my experience, but that he didn’t want me to wake up and find my wallet or phone had been taken by someone nefarious (on a oceanfront beach, empty for a mile in each direction). And with the seed of doubt planted, he left.
I dozed, and rode the tequila spins, until from nowhere someone grunted and walked up half my stairway bed. Yes, he was gruff, and young, and visually unsettling, but was probably also just enjoying the surf and the waxing moon. But the seed of “fear of the other” had sprouted, so I stumbled off to the 7-11 for some carbs, then to another spot to sleep another hour nap, and back to the store for some protein and a cold caffeine drink (an alert drunk).
My melancholia was long gone. Now all I had was my urge to get those 5 miles into my rear view mirrors; to be home in bed not sleeping on a cold and hard concrete breakwater. I could stand and I could walk and there wasn’t a soul on any street. So I oh so carefully mounted up and slowly motored home. And at 3:30, fully clothed except shoes (per the ancient ritual), I crashed on top of my bed, newly single.
And I released the doorknob.