Okay, I’m not proud of myself. But the grieving process is rather messy. Just like me at ne moment. I spent awhile crying. My best friend is my box of tissues. I hate to say it, but Tammy and Michele came in second. They offered love and support. They always do. Thank God! But my tissues, they held my hand through it all. Fortunately, it’s a big box. But… today is a new day and with it comes a new phase of grieving. Bargaining.
I’m not good at bartering. Whatever an item is priced at.. I pay it. When it comes to relationships however, and letting go of one that I feel has value… I’m one to bargain the day away. My sad little mind began to see that faint light at the end of the tunnel. Just the like the frozen water on the lake in January, that’s when the ice began to form over the wound in my heart. And risk taker that I am.. I climbed right up on that ice with a compromise in my pocket. My mind whirling. The bait… Scalloped Potatoes and Ham. Goose’s favorite. It’s comfort food. I imagine that he’s hurting a little bit too. I don’t think he wanted me to go away. Time will tell.
I picked up my phone and took a deep breath.
“Hello?” Goose replied. (That’s a good start)
“Hi, it’s me… I was wondering if maybe we could talk later this afternoon? I’ll make dinner, Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, if you’d be willing to come here.”
Lengthy Pause!!! (gulp! Don’t get scared now)
In a serious voice, he responded, “Alright… I can be there by 6:00.” (Whew!)
“Thank you Goose, I’ll see you then.”
After several minutes of ice twirling.. I got a package of ham out of the freezer and started making lunch for my son.. my ex will be here soon to pick him up. I set about my tasks, floating a foot above the ground. It’s a relief to put the tissue box away. But my son interrupted my fairytale moment with a request to play a game. At that moment he could have asked for anything and I’d have obliged him. Good things he’s little and had no idea that he could have asked for the world. I’d have served it up on a silver platter with a smile on my silly face.
Now I know you can all see that shark swimming just below the surface of that thin ice.. and me twirling away completely oblivious to the danger lurking there. That’s what denial and bargaining will do to a person. (Two of the five phases of grieving.) I’m cooperating with them nicely, don’t you think?
I made a casserole for my son and set the table for lunch. Being the gracious hostess I am, I also set a place for my ex to join us. He picks our son up at noon on the Sundays when he spends the weekend with me. Today I’m feeling ever so generous. With three place settings, my tiny little table is completely full. No dinner parties for me in this apartment. These days, I’m all about intimacy and connection anyway. It all works.
My ex arrived right on time and appreciated the invitation. So did our son. The three of us shared a nice lighthearted lunch. Light hearted anything is good at this point. We are in the divorce process and it’s a difficult time of adjustment for all of us. We all chattered away through lunch. There were even a few moments of laughter as our son is quite the comic at times. Life is good.
After they left, I got busy peeling potatoes and assembling the fantasy I have in my mind. Maybe I’ve watched too many movies or something. But I think every once in a while we can direct our path, rather than have it direct us. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Once I had everything in place.. the table set, and fresh candles laid out. I took a short walk through my neighborhood. I live in a small community of 5000 people. The focus of the whole town is the lake. Every event and activity is centered around the lake, both summer and winter. In the winter there are ice houses set all over the lake for the die-hard fishermen. Snowmobile races are scheduled. And in February they hold a Kite Flying extravaganza out on the frozen lake. The huge brightly colored kites are a gorgeous contrast to the whiteness of the landscape. During the summer months, our population explodes. Thousands of people come for the boating, and the cabins that they can rent through the summer. The art festivals, craft fairs, concerts in the park, and the Bikes, Blues and BBQ festival that’s one of my favorites. Today I’ll walk the five blocks to the lake and back… my nose should be properly red and frozen by then. Besides, the walk will help me calm myself down a little bit.
Goose has been to my apartment only once before, on the first day that we met. That day we had a pie break about midway through our ‘getting to know you’ drive. As evening approaches I check the oven.. all seems to be managing well. I decided to do some primping of my own.. I chose a comfortable pair of jeans and a sweater to wear. I want to appear warm and inviting. I applied a touch of make up and just a hint of perfume. I don’t want to overpower the glorious creamy smell of our dinner. With everything in its place, I light the candles and begin watching out the windows for Goose to arrive. Out of my nervousness, I called Tammy. She can clearly see the shark swimming back and forth, even with the light snow that has fallen on the ice. She can see.. but she knows I’m not ready to. She offers her words of encouragement.
“Just say the things you need to say, be clear, and be honest. Then wait for him to respond. Watch what he does and hear what he says.”
That’s when I saw his headlights shine as he came around the corner. He pulled into a parking space out in front of my apartment. I said goodbye to Tammy and she wished me good luck. ‘Luck’ I thought? Hmmm. How can he not want the compromise I have in mind?