Friday, July 4, 2014

A Year After Divorce: Confronting the Fireflies

Are you there, readers? I’ve missed you. A couple of conversations yesterday made me realize that even though I don’t fit into any scenes or anything anymore, my adventures are probably far from over. I’ve missed telling you stuff, so if you don’t mind that it might sometimes just be pictures of flowers, I’ll start posting every now and again.

Yesterday an old muse texted out of the blue with concerned questions, since it seemed like I’d ended the story on a down note—it didn’t seem that way to me but it WAS a rough spring, a hard transition from poly to post-poly, from unabashed to still-unabashed-but-with-pants-on. I freak out sometimes lately because I’m not sure where I fit into the world, but I do know that things are unequivocally better than they were a year ago.

Last Fourth of July, Sweetie and I went to watch some fireworks over the river. We were lazy and dawdled getting out, still in limbo out of the jumping-out-of-the-car incident, and I was all heartbreaky about Mr. Sweetheart. We pulled over to the side of the road and watched the fireworks, having missed meeting up with friends.

As we pulled away, families were streaming across the street, kids with glow bracelets and those light up toys that are always for sale at these things. I was supposed to meet Angel Face and his new boyfriend afterwards for dancing, but I was crying so hard on the way to being dropped off at the club that I had to ask them for a dancing raincheck. Sweetie and I went for a sad, slow, humid, beautiful walk in the woods instead. (We’re lucky enough to live in a city that magically has woods in the middle of it!) Gloomy as we were, the trees were not—they were completely full of lightning bugs, so bright and blinking that they rivaled Christmas trees. Like the girl in a movie that I sometimes am, even my heartbreaks tend to unspool in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Lightning bugs were always one of our things, so when they started to return this year, I was predictably grief-stricken. (It still comes, though a little less frequently.) The more she and I get along, the harder it is not to get nostalgic and want to go back. The trapped feeling, the name-calling, the feeling that I’m way too close to death, those are all gone, only the good parts are left. I pressed myself to do evening walks on my own, and was relieved to see that the lightning bugs are still there, and I still love them.

Last night I woke up in the night for no particular reason and saw, on my ersatz bedroom clothesline, a firefly. He lit up the front of a drying beach cover-up, flashed emphatically around the room, and was gone. Can’t confront the fireflies much more than that.

So today, I woke up happy. My life may still be in flux and missing some crucial elements, but the crisis part, knock wood, is over. I’ve been placed in a school for next year that seems, at least so far, to have a less mean-girl-oriented staff. I have the summer off and a season pass to the local fancy garden, and it’s sinking in that I can go and sit by the fountains all day long if I want to. My mom is planning me a 40th birthday party at the end of the summer and I’ll be overjoyed to blow out the candles with my niece and nephews, hopefully after a family trip to the comic shop.
And, accomplishment of accomplishments, Sweetie is now a best friend who lives a few blocks down and was persuaded to join me in being old ladies at our city’s Fourth of July concert, which features, among others, my avatar/hero Nikki Minaj. We will make no effort to be near the front. We will sit in chairs and watch people. Tomorrow maybe I’ll join my aunts and cousins at the beach.

I’m not awesome at singlehood. I do panic hard every few weeks or so at the prospect that I may have missed out on having my own family. A few weeks ago, I was staying with my sister and got to see her kids off on their second-to-last day of school, and that really lit up the family pangs inside me. Of course, it may have been less cute if I’d been trying to see myself off to school at the same time, but we’ll see what the future brings. I have no way of knowing.

My point is, dear reader (if you’re there) is that this is nowhere near being a down ending. There’s no ending here at all, just life moving forward in its gorgeous, mysterious, sometimes-aggravating way. There’s no more fighting-through-it to do for a while, and I am, for a few months, nothing but free.