Monday, October 1, 2007

prompt from Mid-town Writer's group: maybe there really are only 5 important calls in anyone's life

Marcia was doing laps in the indoor pool after our afternoon writing group. Word Dancers had started to meet at the condo because it was more convenient for me, the one person who didn’t drive, and because we could sit outside in the shaded garden by the pool. Secluded and quiet, it was peaceful to sit there, drinking the iced tea I brought from the house. I don’t remember any arguments amongst us then. We were planning our first poetry reading and we were inspired. For once the five of us were focused on cooperation and accomplishing the task at hand rather than our personal and interpersonal dramas.

My partner was sinking into another fall of depression and I craved sunlight and company as much as I craved silence and solitude. He had worn me out. Behind my back, my friends were praying for the relationship to end. I wasn’t ready to let him go even though he begged me to give him permission. I didn’t believe that we have the right to take our own life at that time. But little did I know how bad it could get.

Marcia was in her 60’s, petite and lithe, with a halo of frizzy gray hair. She was a medical astrologer honoring her creative side. Before we left the sun-dappled tranquility of the garden, I had said to her, “I don’t know what to do. I can’t leave him. I’m waiting for a sign.” Then I gave her the key to the spa and walked slowly down the sidewalk that connected the buildings, dreading the return to the musty smoky apartment where Michael might still be in bed, driven by the chemicals in his brain that controlled his moods.

There was a message on the machine that my piece about the women’s moon lodge had been accepted by Goddessing. I stood there by the phone listening to the message in stunned surprise. I had submitted that piece so long ago, I had forgotten about it. Then the adrenaline kicked in. To get something published and not just in a neighborhood desk-top newsletter! This was big news. I ran back to the pool to tell Marcia.

“Well, there’s your sign,” she said, doing the crawl stroke across the vivid blue surface of the pool.

Yes, but what did it mean? It didn’t tell me whether or nor to leave Michael. It didn’t even tell me that my intuition that he was getting worse instead of better was right. Simply that I had something to say and it was time to say it.

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