Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's been one of those weekends

I ran away from a class for the first time yesterday. Strangely, it was "just" etheric head/neck/shoulder massage (have you ever had a good head massage? Divine!). But I couldn't handle it. I think it was the close proximity to others, coupled with the deep and vast emotions I was feeling. They swooped in on Friday evening - I am heading into my third week of my parents in-law staying with us (three down, three to go...), so I am feeling quite justifiably like I'm handling a hot potato at the moment anyway - and had fully descended on me by mid morning Saturday.

The crash engulfed me, finally, on my lunch break as I sat and cried floods of tears to match the flooding outside the car (I was over two hours' drive from home, in the thick of an unseasonable band of storms across the middle of the state that have caused road closures and some havoc). And I made the call and left the message that altered the course of the rest of my weekend:  "It's me. I'm not coming home."

Yes, I went there. I was lower than I have been in a long while. Desperation calls for desperate phone calls, in my books. But then, after I'd hung up, I realised..... I had nowhere to go! It was bucketing down. I was a few hundred km's from home (not that I was going there, apparently, anyway). There was nobody I wanted to be with, nobody who would want to see me like this. No one who would truly understand.

And then I turned on the car* and did what any self-respecting girl with any of her mettle left would do: I drove towards Dad's house. FINALLY, his living two hours' drive away came in handy for I was now only ten minutes from him. And I sheltered in his home after navigating the precariously flooding driveway, and accepted his particular brand of bear-hug.... noticeably more frail now after all his health issues and scares. He told me he's at considerable risk of heart failure. But not to burden me, mind. It was almost an after-thought, as if he was just running things through his mind, out loud, and I just happened to be there. He only found out last week. I hid my fear amongst the rubble of my already crushed heart and took his tenderly made cup of coffee for me.

Then I went with him to work on his house. He should NOT be doing this work on his own and for a moment, I cursed the person who should be most aware of this fact for allowing him to say he can do it when he obviously can't. I'm like my father in this regard; he will kill himself trying before saying he can't do it.... He carried three empty boxes up a short flight of stairs and couldn't breathe. This, from my capable, unstoppable father. I turned a blind eye to my terror as he admitted his heart rate flips from 30 beats (far too slow) to over double its normal working rate. The solution is not an easy one for his specialists to find.

And I am crushed even more, knowing this.

I used the surety of his love and safety as an opportunity to calm myself before the drive home, by talking things over with my father as I packed boxes and boxes of his journals and publications - his life's work passing from the bookshelves through my hands and into archive boxes - I felt less insignificant again. More heard again. More worthy and vital.

Taking a warm hug goodbye and a parting piece of fatherly advice - that all I must be concerned with is myself first, and then my daughter and Steve and "the rest will pass" (referring to the current melting pot that is sharing the house for this extended time) - I stopped the car on the long driveway. I gazed up at the old house through the trees, trying to feel something familiar. It used to be so welcoming, this house I was leaving for the very final time. It had become cold towards me, long before my father and his partner packed up and moved to much smaller dwellings in a nearby town. I waited until I made sure Dad had backed his ute back safely into the carport where he had insisted I had parked out of the torrential rain. I saw the reverse lights go on and his little beat-up red ute shifted slowly backwards. He was good for now. I sensed a process taking place for him as well, doing this work all by himself in his now empty, once grand home.

All things must pass, I thought, and shifted my own car into gear again.

From here, I drove home and into the arms of my once-familiar man. The boy I married, eleven long, hazy, crazy years ago. No, it's not our anniversary. But when things are strained for an extended period of time, I suppose one gets misty-eyed and melancholy for "the way we were".

This song is for the two men who anchor me in my life and keep accepting me - no matter what. This song is because one of these men absolutely adores Kate Bush and the other... well, the other is the man with the child in his eyes to me.

It can be a rare thing to receive this sort of ever-replenishing love once. At the core of all that is in turmoil, I know I am ultimately supremely lucky to have it two-fold in one lifetime.

*that's not a poetically licenced exaggeration, by the way. I drive a car that you literally only have to hit a big button that says 'Start/Stop'. No keys to turn, it just.... starts. And stops [handy, that].

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