June Tune, Soon Done

June 26, 2009 § 2 Comments

anniversary_cakeYesterday was my wedding anniversary. Today is the anniversary of my first date with my lover.

This is not coincidental. Nine years ago—when my marriage was in tatters after a long buildup of anger neither of us had the tools to address, and my husband was unemployed, and I had confessed a brief affair with the brother of my recently deceased close friend Ann, who’d been dying of cancer all spring, and whose memorial I had just attended, a service my husband didn’t attend because of the brother—nine years ago, my wedding anniversary consisted of the two us eating spaghetti with bottled sauce and no grated cheese (why bother?) on our laps as we watched TV.

I think we remarked on how pathetic this meal was, but perhaps not. It didn’t seem to matter. We were too numb. I had begun to spin away.

The next day, I was scheduled to go to our country house for a week alone, but woke up so depressed I impulsively called the office number of a man I’d been chatting with online. He invited me to lunch. He told me how pretty I was. He said he’d like to touch me. I took his hands. We sat like that, a two-handed grip in the white tablecloth Italian restaurant, and if this were a romance novel I could say whole centuries passed and you’d get the point without fanfare.

Centuries didn’t pass and we didn’t know we’d found love, but something happened and soon my shoe was off and my foot in his crotch. (I was being a show-off, yes, but it was good.) He carried his astonishment and pleasure well, a slight adjustment of body and expression conveying a hard-earned sophistication. I was 45 and felt like every girl Sinatra’s referring to in the classic, It Was a Very Good Year. *

And then all the rest of it. Other days and nights, other years. Broken dates, broken hearts, marriages melted down and cast into strange new shapes. We each live apart from our spouses, but our spouses remain primary. My husband was just here from Florida and we celebrated both his birthday (a week late) and our anniversary (4 days early). We went to hear Junior Mance at Café Loup. Charles went up to Junior afterward and said, “I’ve been a fan of yours since the ‘50’s.” I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie though it’s only the ordinary passage of time. Charles is older than me by more than a decade, but still. I remember when the ‘50’s were 20 years ago.

After that we went to a bar and had too many drinks and the next day Fitzroy was upset because I didn’t get out of bed at the usual hour. He walked on my back, up and down, then settled between my shoulder-blades, meowing. Get up Mom. What do you mean, you have a hangover?  Moms don’t get hangovers.

I got up. Eventually.

Tonight I’m celebrating with Philip. I have 24 red roses on the bureau I’m trying to keep the cats from eating. I’m wondering if I should have taken over the restaurant planning. I’m thinking June is a bitch. But I don’t regret getting married, and I don’t regret that day nine years ago. Life is an unwieldy machine.

*It Was A Very Good Year

When I was seventeen
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls
And soft summer nights
We’d hide from the lights
On the village green
When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls
Who lived up the stairs
With all that perfumed hair
And it came undone
When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We’d ride in limousines
Their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days grow short
I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
And it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

–written by Ervin Drake in 1961 for the Kingston Trio. Sinatra’s version won him a Grammy in 1966 for Best Male Vocalist.

Making Jewelry

December 5, 2008 § Leave a comment

Detail

Detail

I’ve been working madly on making jewelry all day, trying to get it on my ebay site in time to send out a newsletter and perhaps make enough money to pay the fees for my ebay site. Making the jewelry is deeply satisfying, scanning it and photoshopping it is fun; looking it on ebay and seeing what they do to my photos is not fun. I have to work on ways to make the best use of their pitiful platform, being too overwhelmed to attempt my own. I should also put everything on sale, slash prices, 50% off, but how can I do that when I hardly charge more than the cost of making the stuff? I am a bad businesswoman. I love my materials. I take my time. My image of myself is always as a eccentric-gypsy-crazy witch woman in a cave or hut, making art or medicines or magic without heed for the world until the world comes to me and then, since nothing cost anything to begin with, I can sell it for whatever I want. I blame the stories I read as a child. I remember takes of labor–the wheat from the chaff, etc, all those tasks that involved the kindness of elves—the cold miserable years of Psyche’s quest to find Eros after she spilled candle wax on his delicious nakedness because doing it in the dark wasn’t fun and her sisters said he was a monster: fairytales and legends are full of travail. But living in the woods, or an island, or in a cave upon, basically, nothing, what the earth would give freely, was what resonated with me. One might say this was because this was how I already lived, in a house. I was just adding some solitude, injecting autonomy into the easeful days of childhood. But I think artists do live like this, even if only for a few hours at a time.

I am purely happy when I make things, and then the social whirl is is too carnal, like a rib roast of beef salivating on its china platter when you only want a few autumn vegetables with a sprinkling of fresh thyme and a piece of whole wheat bread. If I had no engagements for the next two weeks, I would be disconsolate; having them, I feel pressured. They are stealing me from my leopardskin jasper, my venetian glass, the fantasy novel that will make me solvent.

I went to a party at St. John the Divine last night; the reopening. It was quite beautiful—the huge vaulted space, the tapestries, the crowds—and I saw a few friends, met Jonathan whom Philip has often spoken of. Saw my brilliantly talented painter friend Camilla. Then went home with Philip and he heated me up some frozen tamales from Trader Joe’s and we made love until we got too tired. That middle aged thing—the fucking is nice, but we can finish it tomorrow, right? It was nice to feel excited, your body against mine, tenderness; orgasm is no longer required. Not that it ever was for me, but I’m used to male lust. To feel it changing int osomething–dare I say–softer, is disconcerting but rather pleasant. As long as it’s not because I’m not losing my charm, which of course I must be, but perhaps very slowly

15 years ago I stopped having sex with Charles because, a) it had been deteriorating for a long time, and b) he told me I was too fat; I looked like a ‘giant green hamburger.’ (The green was the tee shirt.) That led to many years of misery culminating in Internet wanderings and Philip: the erotic frenzy of the turn of the century. Now Charles is visiting his old flame–the first time he’s seeing her that I know about ahead of time, and it makes me feel so amazingly calm. Happy for him of course, relieved of my own guilt, but also just calm as if the world is back in order. I don’t know quite how to explain it. I don’t want to think about what they’re doing, feel none of the prurient, anguished left-outness I still often feel vis-a-vis Philip and Christine, but am still glad that there is a story there, real emotion and event happening—just nothing that’s my business

Meanwhile my sister’s boss dropped dead of a heart atttack while running on a treadmill. I’ve always thought they were dangerous. I used to hope GWB would drop dead on one. This man, my sister’s boss, never sounded very nice, and I never met him to care one way or another, but still it is unnerving how death just snatches us. I would like to write more about the underworld before I die and am disappointed to not find one.jasper-pendant

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