A few days ago, I received an email from Stephanie (to whom I'd link here if she had a website) asking "why now?"
Of course all this recent soul-searching has been a long time coming; it's something I've avoided whenever I could because it's painful and upsetting.
I've made a career of ignoring problems and issues, hoping they'd go away; they don't, not even with death.
I'm still carrying around a heavy load of anger towards my mother and she's been gone almost twenty years.
(Why is it whenever I write lately, it seems to turn to her.. she's not the main issue at the moment! Or at least, I don't want her to be.)
So, why now? Because the moon and the stars are in perfect confluence.
My kids are 17 and 20.
My father is gone.
I'm about to turn 50.
If not now, then when?
So, to get back to me.. (what, were we discussing something else?)
To continue where I left off two entries ago:
In the fall of 1968 I was the same age Rob is now, but due to the education system in Quebec at the time, I was in McGill (not Junior College) studying for a Bachelor of Science.
One day in October the Chemistry lab periods began. I remember standing at the long lab benches along with my classmates, many of whom were still strangers.
(The science program had well over a thousand freshmen, accommodating the baby boomers.)
We wore white cotton lab coats; I remember checking to see if mine was clinging against my skirt in the back.
Then I heard words to the effect of "it's perfect" or "it's beautiful". I don't remember them exactly but they were definitely impudent!
I looked up.
Right into the pair of the most beautiful 17 year old brown eyes I'd ever seen.
The rest of him wasn't too bad either.
It didn't take too long before we were inseparable. It happened that we were in most of the same classes; we spent all day every day together.
Besides his appearance, he spoke with a British (at times tending towards Irish) accent, as he spent his childhood in England and Ireland. I thought he was Paul McCartney.
Of the two of us, I was the more practical, down to earth one; (yeah, imagine..) so I helped him stay grounded, and he helped me see things I'd never dreamed of.
McGill in those years was a magical place to begin with - the hippies, the music, the pot fumes, the city of Montreal just outside the campus gates - but to be hopelessly in love with one of the most attractive men there made it almost unbearably perfect.
Through the fog, we managed to pass our courses and then summer came.
He went to work at a hotel a few hundred miles away.
This was not a good thing for me.
He returned and the next year we were closer than ever - probably too close.
I had my first significant depression, and he stuck with me.
But by the spring, things were falling apart.
We were fighting; I knew he was cheating; he would speak in nostalgic terms of his old high school girlfriend and tell me I smelled like my mother's cooking.
OK it's funny now but at the time it hurt.
I probably got a few insults in too but of course I don't remember any of that.
He went away that summer too; by the fall it was impossible to continue.
I remember just about nothing of the break-up except it dragged on for several months.
I joined some new organizations at school and met a new group of people; began to date and soon met future Hubby. Which of course is a whole other story.
So that was my first heartbreak; what's unusual perhaps is that we remained in touch (albeit sporadically). He has his own family now and hasn't lived in Montreal for over twenty years; but through the magic of email we have been able to watch over each other, and of course, still fight.
Some things never change...
He also reads this journal, which is why I haven't mentioned his name since I didn't ask permission to write about him. For now I'll call him Patrick.
I don't think there's anything in the above that he doesn't know, and know well.