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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

miss understanding

"you are losing a lot of hair".

my husband noted this over the 3 nights of my self-imposed catatonia at cedars.

[one benefit: you don't notice how uncomfortable the beds are]

the fact that he was even present, is certification of a paranormal phenomenon.

ever observant, so observant, too observant...this honed trait makes him a remarkable photographer, and a remarkable person.

he was right. i glanced down at my brush. curled around the black, plastic spikes were masses of coarse, wormy, red strands; far exceeding the average amount.

now in rehab, i have very little to brush. long and fine. strawberry blond. parted down the middle. looks like the "old" henriette...but it has become dry and brittle and breaks easily, much like the veneer shellacked over my heart.

["everything must change"]

from the hell that was prograf, pain meds, stress, getting older. who knows. it will have to be cut.

and, so i trip headfirst into another muddy, life lesson.

[hose me down like a stray dog, 'cause i'm still sitting in the gutter]

when i was very little, we lived in an apartment block over in high park, in the west end of toronto. driving back from work, my daddy would blaze around the corner like a superhero in his ferocity to arrive home. as he peeled off bloor st., he fairly maneuvered a tilt on 2 wheels. driven. and as he settled onto high park ave., the magnificent maples indiscreetly swayed, goading him into his daily call to prayer.

["beep, beep, de, beep, beep, ...beep, beep..."]

like a sleepy bat roused from its cave, i would rocket towards the balcony, regardless of the season, (i. am. canadian.), and unfurl across the barrier, gangly limbs sprawled like linguni. oh, to catch a glimpse of our car! but if i didn't, there was always a second chance for this little bat, answering the beacon of the batmobile. tearing like...you guessed it...i would flap my way over the hallway's parkay flooring and into my bedroom, where i zoned in on one simple, wondrous thing. the bedroom window.

through it, i would soon be able to witness him carefully turning the parking lot corner. that much closer to home. adrenaline threw me mercilessly up against the window; thrusting me up and into the same smudge marks from the day before. permanent idolatry in the shape of a nose mark. and then that shiny blue jag would angle slightly and pause at the underground entrance. careening somewhere between above and below ground. then he would wave and i would wave back zealously, until he and the car would disappear underground. and i couldn't see him anymore.

forever and ever, i held onto his lab coat with a fixated grasp. with fists clenched so tight they became bulbous red, throbbing with angry, jaundiced veins.

cutting off all feeling.

now i know why they call it rock bottom. you tumble into a downward spiral, scratching and scarring yourself and others against the craggy stone. jagged surprises spike and score as you land, face first, against the cold, hard truth.

i feel the disconnect between myself and those who don't suffer with addiction. it echoes back on a string between two empty soup cans. i feel their love, but their inability to relate rattles me like a storefront garage door coming down and i'm left locked inside. it's loud. and dark. and i am afraid. afraid that understanding won't be able to lay down those final planks and i will plunge down into an isolated abyss, bloodied and torn from the fall, as i attempt to crawl my way back to embracing these people into my heart.

[mind the gap, indeed...]

"but daddy would've understood me!", she stomps and cries. "well, honey, daddy doesn't live here anymore."

i unclench my fists slowly, allowing the blood to kindly find flow, and in the blossoming of my palms, i surrender. and let him go. let everything go.

i have a kidney transplant. and i have family and friends...
they have children. and i have family and friends...
we are all different. and i have family and friends...

what's that caramel corn cliche?..."if you love something set it free, if it comes back to you, it is yours, if it doesn't, it never was."

like my hair that will have to be severed, i begin to sever the past.

and will look into a mirror with a new face.

newly shorn. newly born.


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  2. I haven't suffered from the addiction of which you speak. I don't think any of my vices can compare.
    Token piece of information to contribute... The quote that has been clichéd to death was first credited to Albert Schweitzer.
    Some of his better quotes have been used less frequently. One of my personal favorites:
    At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
    You are loved tremendously...

  3. Poignant observations, heart-wrenching memories and revelations. May I suggest that all of us are limited to some extent by our past experiences/perceptions? The potential for some distancing to occur isn't necessarily about you, then - but about the individuals' own filters which often work to protect them from what may be threatening, or beyond comprehension. Your loss (more than once) of your darling dad not only left you without closure, but perhaps also with a feeling that somehow you had something to do with it/his choices... Eventually, I hope you can genuinely reassure that beautiful child within that it wasn't her fault, and yes, it felt damned awful, like an ominous void. One must grieve thoroughly before what's built atop can be stable. You are loved, for very good reasons, Henriette...because you are you. M