Monday, 30 March 2009
There I am in May 2008 at Q's wedding with no idea of how my life was about to change come August.
And here I am today, in love and post surgery at my computer.
Happy Birthday to me! Wow what a year! I am in a completely different world than where I was last year, both physically and emotionally.
Last year I was living in Morocco, quite happily, working on my book, and taking myself to Paris for my 58th birthday; all while keeping in touch with my daughter and her plans for her upcoming wedding in May 2008. I was alone, but by no means lonely. I had a plan, and a back-up plan and I had Paris. I had a little house in the Oudayas with tourists walking past my door daily and the sounds of the mosque ringing in the early morning chill and the mid- afternoon heat. My ears were filled daily with the sounds of French and Arabic. My eyes were filled with the 11th century brushing up against the 21st as I walked the streets of Rabat.
Today – I am in Houston, Texas usa (I know!), fingers poised to finish one book and begin another, readying for a big writer’s conference in July, and planning (here it comes) my wedding for 7 June 2009 to the love of my youth – all while looking for a house to buy for us. My days are filled with the sounds of the Texas twang and the singing of birds in the tree outside my window. The 21st century rubs up against the 22nd all around me, and my eyes are filled with the sight of the man I love coming up the stairs, grinning ear to ear, arms loaded with flowers and gifts (amongst which were five new books, and a gift certificate to Anne Fontaine – the man knows me), saying “Happy Birthday my love!”.
That’s right lovely readers (ladies may sigh and swoon, Ian will grin, the rest do as you will) he wrote me a note on my blog last August after thirty-three years, we ran his mobile phone bill up to five thousand dollars, and wrote daily reams of post.
He wrote me poetry ladies, good poetry. Yes, sigh indeed. I told him, “If you want me, you have to come and get me” And so he did. We met in Paris for a week in October 2008. He said, “I love you. Please don’t go back to Africa or on to India. Come home with me.” And so I did. That is the really, really short form.
There will be more for you later. There will be a book – oh yes. I am not a silly person.
And so as I sit here in my little tree house apartment in Houston, Texas watching the mourning doves fetch new twigs for their nests and waiting for the temperature and humidity to rise (oh dear) I am well and truly happy. It is not that there are no problems (oh no, there is “our” ex-wife and two teenage children that are his, but becoming mine as well), and my child, and the daily travails of life as a human, but mine are minor and doable.
I am back at work writing after a six-month lay off to be romanced, move, fit in a new life, have a cancer scare, and then have happy-surgery and recovery. My fingers are itchy to get at the keys. The conference in July gives me a definite deadline. I am tomorrow six weeks post op, which for me the big to-do is the return to as much intimate physical interaction as I want (and trust me after a lay off of more years than I’m willing to tell you, the resumption of a sex life is very, very, very …(you get the idea) welcome!), and back to the gym – I’m terrified my body will turn to Jell-O!
I will say this about the plastic surgery. I had planned on this for years and saved for it from when I was in my thirties. I am very happy with the result – I guess it’s a good thing that we really can’t see a difference in the face, but oh baby! had I known the joy of a breasts lift – I would have had this done five years ago! Oh happy day! No bigger, no smaller (I told him, I have a couple of drawers of expensive French underwear I have to be able to fit into) just higher and so happy – days without any support makes me feel very sassy and naughty.
And so here I am – 59 years old. Wow. It’s been quite a trip. I can tell you I have never been bored. And now I am renewed in so many ways - I have so much love (and lust, such a good thing) in my life, and I’m looking forward to the next thirty or more years. I have to tell you I feel quite fortunate, or in the vernacular of the populace here – ‘pretty damn lucky’.
I had no idea that romance, in the form of true love, would ever enter my life again except on the written page. I have been so blessed in the past, and there has not been a shortage of men available and willing even through my fifties, but…never the one, never even close enough that I wanted to change my day, let alone my life. But then J. wrote, and called, and wrote, and called – and we were like a couple of twenty-year olds in Paris, but better, as we have both known enough pain to really appreciate the uniqueness of our love affair that has spanned our lives from young adults whose brains were not yet fully formed (“Why did you tell me to go away?” I asked. “Because at the time I thought there was one of you on every corner. I found that was not true. I was an idiot,” he said. “You were very young,” I said) to two people in their late fifties grateful beyond words for a second chance.
We spoke, at first haltingly, and then in a torrent as we stepped back into each other as though it had been yesterday that we parted, and not decades ago. Every day is now filled with romance (ladies trust me on this one, eat your hearts out – I’m talking flowers, unexpected gifts, those small touching things like leaving out a band aid because he noticed I had a blister on my foot… the constant and oh so welcome barrage of words and physical display of love and lust) and more laughter than I can ever communicate on a page. Leave it to say that my dimples are constantly sore, and I have trouble breathing at least twice a day.
My mind is still working, my imagination is enhanced with experience, and I am in love – deeply, peacefully, but with great excitement every day, in love. I am for the most part; a couple of notable hiccups for sure, healthy. I am so grateful that I am grateful – an odd sentence for sure but true in sentiment. Every day remains a day of discovery. I remain insatiably curious about everything. Years ago my best friend showed me a card we both thought brilliant that stated, “how old would you be if you were as old as you felt?”. For me that age is 34, I don’t know why other than it was a good year in a tumultuous decade, but I feel 34. So I choose to be 34 for a while longer. Enough said.
I remind myself (from my note board) to “step out of line”:
“For every nine people who denounce innovation, only one will encourage it… For every nine people who do things the way they have always been done, only one will ever wonder if there is a better way. For every nine people who stand in the line in front of a locked building, only one will ever come around and check the back door.
Our progress, as a species rests squarely on the shoulders of that tenth person. The nine are satisfied with things they are told are valuable. Person 10 determines for himself what has value.”
Za Rinpoche and Ashley Nebelsieck, In The Backdoor to Enlightenment
I try every day to be the 10th person.
MY Happy Day to you all!