Archive for June, 2012


That it was always-already-doomed I knew going in – but what I couldn’t know then is that thirteen years later, I’d not only still be tied up in some kind of complicated knots about it somewhere in that mess of my head, but in addition I’d also be cast into the role of friend, confidant, cheerleader, and comforter of the spouse I had a hand in deceiving. Thing is, I was under the impression that no deception was happening. Turns out I’m not the judge of character I thought I was. We were both being lied to, come to find out, but where she was being kept in the dark, I was actually being manipulated and emotionally tortured in a particularly sadistic way.  Just when it had all finally started to fade to the point where it was finally becoming memory instead of flashback, the bastard shows up at my doorstep, ten years to the month since I last saw him, and my stupid ass lets him — and all the bad dreams — right back in. Only now I suddenly have to be her friend, too, and make her feel better about her anxiety and insecurity, and send dozens of emails telling her how wonderful she is and how sorry I am for making her feel uncomfortable and that I knew he never felt about me the way I felt about him, just rehearsing all the acid in the wounds, again and again and again, and my God, haven’t I paid for it enough yet? My two pathetic, stolen weeks of pretending I wasn’t fundamentally mis-assembled, that I hadn’t dealt out so much damage before that I would never, ever really have another chance again?  Three more years, and that I’m the shoulder to cry on now that the marriage has finally gone to hell in a handbasket is really, in retrospect, just more of the same incredibly complex misery that is my poetic justice for getting involved at all.  That’s what I get for grabbing at ten minutes of temporary bittersweet self-delusion. I have paid, and paid, and paid, and paid again, a thousandfold, for every single time in my life I have ever made that mistake.  It’s all starting to bleed together, to turn into the same mistake, I think, except this one is actually different, because I don’t think anybody has ever been so deliberately and simply cruel – before, or since.

There are not even any more amends to make, I’d think, but I’m still fucking paying. I really do believe I will pay for the rest of my life, one way or another, and my God how could I possibly have known what I was bringing on myself? How could I possibly have known?  I resented you before, for over ten years I resented you. But now I hate you – for this, this sad little exchange, the tumbling down of a flimsy card-house that lasted so long because we both needed you to be as damaged as you are and as honest as we blindly (desperately, stupidly) hoped, this cruel and twisted drama that you’ve engineered and then, incredibly, escaped, right before it all came down in twisted metal, torn skyscrapers, sickening collage of flesh and steel and these are human beings bleeding in the middle of this, you bastard, and some of them are your children. I cannot believe otherwise than that this is some point of detestable pride, of secret sick pleasure for you, the strings you’ve pulled and the tunes we’ve danced to, the wreckage you’ve made of her life and the neat trick of putting the broom and dustbin in my hand. I have often said that I’ll take my ten minutes of happiness where I can get it, and that I went in with open eyes and willing to pay the price, and that ultimately it was worth it and I have no regrets. I never say that I’d have done it differently, given the chance. Congratulations on changing that about me, too, because I wish I had never laid eyes on you.

Maybe this is exactly what I needed in order to wake me up, finally, to the fact that I keep getting into these situations because I don’t expect anything better, I don’t demonstrate much self-respect or ask for much respect from anyone else, and not even a blind person on a reality TV show could miss how clearly the last 5, or even 10, or hell even 15, years have demonstrated this.  I loved you in part because you are damaged, I loved you in part because you are unattainable, I loved you in part probably because loving you was some sort of penance, a secret wound, a perversely sweet, prolonged type of emotional self-flagellation. But I draw the line at being used as a pawn, or a prod, in damaging someone else.  You are going to have to carry on with that business all by yourself. Congratulations – you demonstrated the tremendous amount of power you can still wield over me thirteen years later. I’m not sure how much of a coup it is, how proud of yourself you should be, because in actuality, you’re not alone at all. I’m a sadly easy target, and as far as destroying me goes, you’re too late anyway. The others already got to me and picked through whatever heaps of bone and rag and scrap caught their magpie eyes.  There’s nothing left but enough bitterness to drive even the most patient away.  But reaching back across more than a decade and turning even those last few good memories sour? That was a pretty neat trick. There’s an astonishing sort of cruelty in that one, considering that a few cold memories are all I really have left that isn’t bitter poison. I just don’t understand what motivates you and I don’t care. I forgive a lot, since I seem to collect broken soldiers, but I don’t even want to try to understand you anymore.  I suppose the thing that hurts the most is that I think you really did understand me, without even trying too hard, and what you chose to do with that understanding was pretty awful.

I don’t need friends like you, and lovers like you are a dime a dozen.

***

Hole – Violet

Doc Watson dies at 89

Hearing that Doc was gone was a bit like hearing that a family member had died – maybe not an immediate family member, but maybe that uncle you loved so much as a kid and had lost touch with the last few years.  I sure did cry all the same.  It’s hard to explain how much of an influence he has been on more than one area of my life. The Washington Post story on his death has a quote from Doc that I really like:

“I sure wouldn’t have gone on the road with the guitar,” he once said [speaking about what he would have done had he not lost his sight in infancy]. “But a man’s got to do what he can do. When they let you in this world, they hand you a little box. It’s invisible, of course, and it’s got a few talents in it. And if somethin’ happens that you can’t lean on one, why you got two or three more you can get hold of.”

Here’s a youtube clip where Doc explains the St. James Hospital/Streets of Laredo connection, which I talk about a bit on my page for that song.