I had a very intense dream. I dreamed that I was sitting in my truck, parked outside of my Yoga Teachers house. She came out of the house, and gave me a pendant that was in the shape of two hearts, joined together. This pendant was my ticket of entry into a world-class Art and Zen Buddhist artifact exhibit. The dream was so intense that it woke me up, and I knew that it had a very significant meaning. I did not go back to sleep for the rest of the night. I was near the end of a 7 year long relationship of disaster.
I think that relationships are difficult. At least that’s the way I rationalize my difficulties with them. If there is anyone who finds relationships easy, please don’t tell me. You will destroy a lifetime of solitude built upon this concept. It’s not that I haven’t tried to relate to people. It is that I have not often felt like I have a reciprocal relationship. Folks tend to want relationships that are based upon their own personal comfort and desires. The person has to be of such wealth, or of such and such education. Only certain social status or involvement will be acceptable. Then there’s the “not balding” or “height-weight proportionate” restrictions. Rarely does one find a relationship that is based upon the simple fact that two people thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, and truly want to simply relate.
At one point, I approached an older gentleman who was a friend and mentor. I stated that I wanted someone in my life to relate to. He suggested that if I truly wanted a relationship, I should pray for one. He said that if I prayed for a relationship, I would have no less than a dozen opportunities forthwith. Following his suggestion, I said this simple prayer in the silence of the night, as the tires of my old truck chanted to me on the long drive home: “Dear God: please bless me with someone to be with.”
When I got home, there was a message on my answering machine. It was a friend of mine, who knew of a person who had a room that she wanted to rent. There was a phone number with the message. These two ladies, my friend & the lady with the room, lived next door to each other, and they were best friends. I called the next day, I visited the next Sunday, and I moved into the room the next week. Within 4 weeks the entire endeavor (as it is often stated) became history.
The first time I met her, my heart went out to her. She was tall, 5′ 11″; thin, soft & tender, blond hair w/green eyes, and she was typically quiet with a knack for understatement. There was something in her demeanor that set off an un-namable element in me. From the first, we responded well to each other. As we became friends, sometimes we would sit together, not doing anything in particular, and I would often feel like I just wanted to crawl inside her skin. This was, for me, a very new form of intimacy that I had never known.
I often sensed a caution, or distance, in her. She could not always accept the intimacy that seemed to come naturally between us. I have often wondered if this particular space in her was a cushion, or a barrier, from people in general, or from intimacy itself. I wondered if somehow, somewhere, something in the universe had maybe screwed her over pretty well. Subliminally, she called me to my own trust issues. I wanted to protect her in a natural way, that also left me to explore my own vulnerability. As we grew intimate, she confided that she had a tenuous early childhood, and she cited episodes with her parents and brothers that were beyond any of my own experiences. I had the impression that if I had been the victim of similar abuse, I would have been as reserved as she, if not more. We started, and kept, a journal together.
The next six months were like no others that I had ever known, before her or since. For the first time ever, I belonged to someone who belonged to me. We belonged to each other as two lost pieces of the Great Cosmic Puzzle found. We fit together as the proverbial “hand in the glove.” I pursued her heart with every ounce of psychic energy that I could summon. I gave my love unreservedly. I have always known that this potential existed inside me, and I have never experienced it again since our time together.
At that time, my daughter was young, and she came to visit often to spend time with us. Her son & I became good friends. Sometimes, we would all talk for hours, or order pizza and rent movies. Maybe we’d spend the weekend camping. For the first time ever, I felt at peace, in family, at home. She was the only person I’ve ever know with whom I could just sit, quietly, and drink coffee, maybe listen to the sounds of Nature, and feel the love just roll between us. There was a prevalent sense of acceptance, as if everything was going to be just fine, no matter what life would bring.
Sometimes we would stay awake all night, and lay in each others arms. There were times when we could not get enough of each other. We would often enjoy each other in simple ways, just sitting on the couch, looking out the back door. There were moments of silence when I felt we were drinking each others presence.
This is not to say that we did not argue. The fact is that we could argue very well. At first, not much came of it, but we were both strong willed. The arguments slowly escalated. At one point, I threatened to move out of the house. Finally over a period of time, and given the fact that there was beginning to be no resolve to our differences, I did move out. This was the only way I could see any peace for all the parties involved. We needed some space to become individuals again, and there was not a mechanism in place which would allow us to be functional individuals. On the day that I packed my belongings, I looked for our journal. She must have known what I was up to, she was gone, and she had hidden the journal.
She wanted to have a baby. I couldn’t see it. I wanted to be a musician. She couldn’t stand it.
I moved away, and it came to a couple of years. I moved to an area where I could study and pursue my musical dream. We slowly lost contact. Every now and again, I’d get lonely, and I’d say my simple prayer. Each time, from the silence, I felt compelled to call her. This happened 2 or 3 times, and the pain of these conversations was rather overwhelming for me. I took to walking in old cemeteries. I felt alone, more alone that ever before in my life. I did not say that prayer ever again, and I still haven’t.
One day, in the Spring of ’93, after a very deep and honest conversation with an older friend whom I trusted, I called her. It was a very unpremeditated act, and on the spur of the moment, I asked her to marry me. She asked what I would do with her if she said yes. I told her that we would have a baby, and buy a house. She said that she loved me. As odd as it may seem, this was the first time she had ever admitted to her feelings. I started to call her more often, and we started seeing each other again.
Her mother had a house far away, in a small town called Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The house needed some work, and she arranged it for me to go there to help out. Old Saybrook was a beautiful little New England town, near a saltwater marsh which is created by the Long Island Sound. I loved that town every bit as much as I loved her. The trees spoke to my soul. The ocean mesmerized me with the ebb and flow of the tide. I loved that town more than my own home town, more than anywhere I had ever lived.
My sentiment for Old Saybrook could only be negated by the shriek of her mother. If resolve was difficult with her, it was impossible with her mother. Finally, the old gal came between us. It must have been difficult for her to choose between me and her genetic family. Once again, for the second, and final time, our relationship was closing.
Near the end of my time in Old Saybrook, I had a dream. I dreamed she was lying dead on the side of the road. She arose, and mounted a big white horse. As she rode, she came upon herself, lying dead on the side of the road. She said, from the horse, to her other self: “Hey, it’s great to be alive!” The second of her selves rose to her elbow, and said: “Don’t kid yourself, sister.” I woke up, it was 2 AM. I didn’t go back to sleep. At dawn, I called her, she was awake. She told me of a dream that she had that night. She was standing naked before a strange man. She was sure that I was the man.
We tried to bring ourselves into focus. Things didn’t go well. We argued. There was no resolve. Obviously, something was wrong. I felt that I was compromising my integrity to continue as we were going. In spite of all the words that we could say, communication was non-existent. One day, when she was gone, I searched for our journal. I took it outside, and I put it in the Weber grill where we had so often barbecued our dinner. Slowly, and unceremoniously, I doused it with charcoal lighter, and set it afire.
As soon as the fire grew, and I sat staring at the flames, the phone rang. It was her. For the first time in months, we had a meaningful conversation. I was able to tell her that I felt like she was not taking care of our relationship. This was the first time I felt listened to in months. As we talked on the phone, the flames in the Weber grill slowly died, and the journal that we had put years of our lives into was never to be retrieved.
I went to church a couple of weeks later. I was praying for guidance. The sermon was extremely appropriate for my situation. The pastor read a quote from the bible, which stated that a cheerful and industrious woman will make all the days of a man happy ones. I realized, at that moment, how nagged and belittled I had been feeling for so long.
I have never prayed my simple prayer again. I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t know if I could go through all of this again. I feel like the life has been choked out of me, at the expense of my best and highest effort. Many years have passed, and she has never had a baby. I have never since been able to come to terms with my guitar. Sometimes I hate her. Some of my friends say that I am still in love with her. If this is love, where is hell? I do know that I can’t bring myself to call her. Sometimes I wish I was dead. I do know that life will continue, with or without me. I also know that my involvement today is with myself, and not the memories of the past.
Of all the lessons that I have learned from our time together, this is the one that comes to the fore: When a person believes something they believe it for themselves. The truth of believing is that one doesn’t truly believe for the sake of a result; they don’t really believe for another person, or for an external reason. One believes because of what the act of believing does to them. When a person believes in something with complete abandon, they become transformed, and the dynamics are such that failure does not exist, retreat is not an option. There is no foe to be more feared that the one who has nothing to lose. What we shared is what I believe in.
About a year after our final break, I was cleaning out my car. Deep down, in the ash tray, which I used for collecting junk, was a broach she had left. I decided to bury it, so I went to my favorite cemetery, and dug a nice deep hole. It was a place that I considered sacred. I placed the broach in the hole, and started to cover it up when the sun glimmered off one of the stones which where embedded on the broach. Then, as I threw the dirt over the broach, I realized that it was the shape of a double heart, joined together. It was the exact shape of the pendant which I had dreamed of nearly ten years earlier.