Some Come Dark And Strange Like Dying

The wheel of life continues to turn. Joni’s suffered an aneurysm, and I learned last night that a guy I dated in college suffered a stroke and has been going through what I am guessing is a long and very difficult recovery. We aren’t in touch all that much. I’m really, really glad that I’m able to say that I’m on friendly/good terms with almost everyone I have dated in the past, which is a wonderful thing. But you know how it is – you drop out of each other’s circles, move on, move away, and life does its thing.

It wasn’t the most important relationship of my life, nor the greatest love, but he saved my life one night when I was new to college and having a very bad time of things. And for that, I have always been and will always be grateful.

I think of how different I was in college, how angry I was when I entered. Furious with everything and everyone. Judgmental and biased. Frustrated with the confines and rules of dorm life, so much different than the extreme freedoms I had appropriated at home. That home was gone almost as soon as I left for college. Mom sold the house and moved to Cleveland almost immediately. She couldn’t wait to be rid of a town that was never hers, where she never belonged, where she was ostracized for divorcing my Dad for reasons she didn’t want to discuss publicly. I’ve said before it should be good enough for people to trust that if you say you had to leave something, you had to leave, without laying out all the dirty laundry for everyone to see. People who are real friends get that, and she didn’t really have any there, so she left. But I was angry about not having any roots or any safety net. When the dorms shut down completely for winter break that first year, I stayed in the basement of the woman who directed me in my first college play. It seems like a lifetime ago. I am not that girl anymore, but there is always a part of her that’s in me, and I watch for some of her really terrible parts in my son, to try to guide him away from the darkness and help him through the bumps.

I don’t know the details of what happened, and it doesn’t really matter, except that it comes as a shock that I’m now getting old enough that friends of mine are being struck down by things like cancer, heart attacks and strokes. I wonder who is next, and selfishly hope it isn’t me. My little bony boy needs me. He says I’m mean when I won’t help him brush his teeth or put on his shoes, but he clings to me when I drop him off at camp in the morning. He groans and whines when I make him do a couple small chores before being allowed to watch TV at night, but then he lays his head on my chest while watching, or rests his little hand in mine, and I wonder how much longer he’s going to allow that kind of connection. I hope it’s a long time.

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