Wednesday, July 2, 1997

Journal, July heat 7/2 to 7/29


7/2 To awaken each morning aching like this—it’s been two weeks, will the pain never end? Ibuprofen isn’t working. Or it is… and I’m really in a lot of pain… Laughter is painful, sneezing is torture, but coughing is worse. Sinéad came over yesterday. Alison was stressed/torn between wanting me gone and being too terribly overworked to look after Neil. I refuse to leave. My role, besides dispenser of pills, tea hostess and greeter, is to keep the household in order: picking up stuff, feeding Neil. Chatelaine of the castle. Not hard tasks. I have fits of weeping every few days, the trauma working its way out. Neil just holds and holds me until it passes.

Last night I fell asleep on the couch and he began talking to me, subliminally feeding me. I was conscious enough to remember the gist of what he said. He wished me grace and help on my spiritual journey, for my writing to blossom—why he wanted me to read to him the article on abundance, so that I would have abundance in my own life… I’m sure he said more, for I was aware of him sitting silently, watching me sleep for quite some time before he put the lights out. (Just like in the dream.) I was out of sorts and exhausted from doing too much. Even a bath didn’t help to settle me, my knee and rib ached. He played the guitar for me, serenaded me, attempted to play the tin penny whistle with his poor broken mouth, and the piano. And I thought how lucky I am to have this musical massage. Fresh out of the bath, I sank down into the couch and slept and he tenderly covered me with a blanket.

7/3 Thurs. Novato. Alison took Neil to the hospital to get his nose splint off, he looked so much like himself (instead of a deranged mummy escaped from the crypt) I didn’t realize he had it off! One eye is still bigger and his bite’s off, swollen cheeks but he looks damned good. I’d gotten used to his deranged face, I hardly know what to think; a miracle! She takes us to Marin, to house-sit, and to drop me in Novato. The day is blustery and beautiful. I watch one of my long hairs reach over from Neil’s vest like a snake to tickle and irritate her. She keeps brushing her arm, but my errant hair is persistent. We eat grapes and watch the boats from the Richmond Bridge. With Alison I begin to understand why the Chinese use the ideogram of two women under one roof = trouble. We’re alpha females with well developed territorial urges. (And type A to boot!) At Verona’s, we have our first reunion outside the hospital, each of us glad that the other is alive.

Fourth of July Sunny and cool with promise of heat. It’s a good thing it’s summer. I can only wear baggy shorts and sleeveless tops or a bathing suit. I have trouble dressing, I still can’t use my left arm. Have to put it in first, then get my shirt across my back, and my right arm in the hole. Hike it up, then button it with one hand. A real chore. I can’t wear anything tight around my ribs either. No bra. No tee shirts. I can’t get them on alone. I got stuck in a tank top and my rib began to hurt, I panicked and Sinéad had to peel it off me—quick.

It feels so strange not to look in on Neil, to see if he’s awake, time for meds, make tea, and orange juice, bring him a hot wash cloth to unglue his poor eye, crawl into bed with him and wile the morning away with stories and foot massages. A late breakfast. Perhaps move to another room. More meds. Talk some more, Maybe this time on the couch. Listen to music. Screen a few calls. Receive visitors in the afternoon. Make more tea. Smoothie time—fortified with vitamins and minerals blessed at the ashram. Think about dinner, then a movie, or a serenade from Neil. Late night talks, me falling asleep on the futon mid-sentence. More meds. Him wishing me well in my sleep, telling me he loves me, that mine is the face of grace. Today, the probe lands on Mars and I am missing Neil. (Dust storms, 95% CO2. We are waiting for signals of the probes’s modem to send the first pictures from Mars.) I’m too weak to care about fireworks. My left hand is nearly useless, and I can’t use my right pectoral. Opening bottles is torture. I couldn’t get my Snapple open, and in tears, I resorted to stabbing the plastic bottle and sucking it out the hole.

Yesterday I was still disconvobulated from the night before—Sinéad came down and we went of a drive in the Oakland hills. Too much excitement. I’m shaky. An arsonist setting fire to the Oakland hills right in front of us, reenacting the 1991 inferno. Helicopters and fire trucks converging. At Yoshi’s, Neil and I were so tired we wanted to slide under the table. We were doing Monty Python imitations in the car—old ladies petting the pussy… Neil squares off with his minced sushi admirably well. We still look pretty strange—especially Neil with his bandages, black eyes, cap, frumpy vest and wrinkles shorts—he looked like a boxer on a losing streak.

I managed to swim the length of the pool four times, sans arms. Exhausted I, ate a sandwich only to discover the bread had hazelnuts in it. I washed out my mouth, took my allergy drugs, drank lots of cold water. A benedryl-induced sleep took me through the afternoon (my throat didn’t constrict). I slept three hours. Neil called while I was asleep, and again later. He sounds so tired, he’s in Tiburon with Alison who’s house-sitting. He says, “I’ll see you this weekend.”

7/6 Sunday. Sinéad, Séan and I visit Neil in Tiburon. This seeing him, this attachment, where will it lead? Sinéad noted, “He’s reserved around you. He’s holding back.” He seems so different around Alison, more dependent, less vibrant. I like him less that way. Today I awoke thinking just as soon as he’s out of the clear, I’ll tell him, I’ll make it easy for him—if he doesn’t love me, I’ll remove myself from his orbit. But this accident has bonded us together in such a way that few are ever bonded. Do you go through a life and death experience with someone and then just walk out of their life? We’ve got more living together to do, but I’m afraid for my heart. Am I already in too deep? It’s absurd, you really can’t protect your heart. If he doesn’t love me, then what? The honorable thing would be to let me go, for I now know I can’t be just a friend after all that we’ve been through. I have dreams of removing myself from him—no letter, no calls—but he visits me and I run off into the orchard. Then the erotic dreams take over. There must be another way to deal with this. Should I show up with a man on my arm, play on his jealousy—if there is any—for twice now he’s remarked on how much the landlord fancied me. To what end? Is he playing matchmaker, foisting me off, or is he testing the emotional waters? I hate these stupid games. Such a waste of time and emotion.

(In Novato, I swim at least once a day, rebuilding stamina. The bruise hasn’t gone away even with arnica. I still can’t touch it, not even in the shower.)

7/14 I awoke at Wendy’s. Neil’s house-sitting. Sinéad brought me down on his request. Fixed us dinner. An incredible moment: Séan and Neil at the piano. Séan’s hips are slowly healing, he has to keep still. He was at Stanford quite some time. Neil’s asleep in Alison’s bed so I draw a rune Othelia reversed. Separation, retreat, inheritance. The rune of radical severance from the old life. And it makes me cry for I know I cannot go back to who I was: she died in the crash. Wunjo, joy, the light. You have come to yourself. The shift has occurred. Renounce existing plans, goals. Submit to the rune of restoration of the self properly aligned to the Self. An absence of suffering and sorrow. Hagalaz: Disruption. The psyche need to break free from material reality to experience the archetypal mind. Events out of your control. Expect disruption from the Great Awakener. Radical discontinuity and growth. The universe & your soul demand that you do, indeed, grow!

7/16 Highland Hospital, waiting for Neil’s doctor since 7:30 AM. Fragmented dreams of missed alarms (3 times!) Arthur awakening me in a strange house. Something about mismatched cups for coffee in an odd place. A white room, a touch of blue, as if living inside the china. We awoke to heavy fog. Neil asks, “Is it raining? Is there rain on the roof?’ Deep summer, we don sweaters, thinking of other countries, other states of mind. Why am I here, in this room, in Oakland, reaffirming my vows to stand by this man—at least for the duration. But every time I make a move to leave, to go away, it becomes eminently clear this is where I belong. It’s a deep gut feeling, I feel all wrong elsewhere.

7/16 We’re going to sell satellite disks, I have no clothes. A mad shopping spree at Ross yields khaki pants, a silk top and shoes for under $30! Odd to have him dressing me. I model a basic black skirt slit up to the thigh. No. Too sexy. A maroon jacket. No. He surveys the crumpled kingdom of clothing with a critical eye. I am auditioning for a role in the corporate game and I resist the dress code, uncomfortable with the preppy image, Neil calls my number on it. The security woman wants to know if he’s my father. I say “No, my sugar daddy.” I’m scared about tomorrow. He says “I had dreams about this.” We go home and nap, exhausted from the excursion. Tears again. Will this crying never stop? Is it only the accident? What am I grieving for? The ego, the self, the witness? Neil holds me, resting his poor injured face against my back—he’s not supposed to lean down—the pressure. I’m afraid he’ll hurt himself.

7/17-18 After a shower I watch Neil transform into the role of sales rep, the odor of aftershave like a parade of adoring fans. The mantra repeats itself endlessly, a mobius strip, time collapsing in on itself, making its limits known. DDS Satellite training, a piece of cake—just like doing CPITS. The model’s the same, the patois is different. When making an ax handle with an ax, the model is always close at hand. Thought I was going to faint walking down the stairs. My lungs hurt. I meet an Irish guy I immediately like. Says he’s from Dublin. Turns out Neil knows Lofty. Who doesn’t he know?

I’m still in pain. Hours later, the aha! factor—I undo the bra during the seminar, the pain diminished. It hurts to wear a bra. I ban mine in the bathroom, my ribs too unstable for the subtle pressure. All those women with their hair and (bras) and make up … I feel the impostor. Neil says it’s time to change outmoded perceptions with the wardrobe in order to grow, check out those enclaves of resistance… He’s right but I’m still uncomfortable. He’s making me stretch—a new experience.

7/19-20 Selling DDS isn’t hard, it’s educational. I’m shocked to find I actually like it. What’s hard is the standing up for hours on end. I learn to tone down the presentation to conserve energy. I met a man from Dublin (Ireland-I was in Dublin, CA!) who said “You must be from Cork, judging by your name.” He bought another unit and I wished him well. “Beannacht loive.” Sending him off with a farewell in the ancestral tongue—so long banned it nearly became extinct. Blessings upon you. To Berkeley to pick up Neil, we’re so beat, we barely make it home. It takes days to recover from exhaustion.

7/22 Thurs. Dream Journal: We were selling DDS systems, a deluxe package that included the coastline… We were in a airport, between borders, Neil disappeared into the throngs. I found him in a hotel, which was an airport lounge. No chairs, just couch beds all in a row. He was curled up, asleep, no place for me on the narrow couchette. The family on the left had taken several extra spaces with luggage, parrots, a spider monkey—the animal odor was overwhelming. I was distressed having nearly lost Neil, and here he was, curled up on his bad side, with no one to watch over him. I removed the cordon ropes, and slept beside him on the floor. Elements: public/ in transit/ between countries, having to fight for space (he was suffering, injured, without protection), no place for me to sleep (no rest), some danger (I might get lost). Where are we going? He sleeps alone, isolate. What am I doing chasing after him if this is what he wants? Making space in his life. What about me? Where do I fit in?

Waiting for my cousin Barney O’Reilly to come. I’ve fixed up the back area into a little patio, I love to sit on an impromptu bench as he showers. You’d think that after a month we’d run out of things to say. We even talk in the shower. I’m feeling a bit rummy from yesterday. Too much work. I’m exhausted, nauseous. Strain also of living with someone who is not my lover, a situation where the rules are skewed. Define it? Stalemate. He obviously doesn’t want a relationship and I am torn by the schism between reality and the dream world. Yesterday I awoke repeating the dream’s advice, “We will be going through a very difficult time coming up where it seems everything is challenged, seems over, finished, but it’s OK, we’ll come out fine. Trust it.” Am I afraid to ask for what I want? Am I merely content to wait? Godot? I fell asleep on the couch, and awoke to him stroking my cheek, my hair, saying everything would come out all right.

7/29 An extraordinary experience while giving Niall a chair massage, I played with energy fields, pulling energy up from his head to see if it would alleviate his headache (2 vicodans did nothing). The magnetic pull was so strong I was able to direct the energy. I didn’t touch him for his head is too injured. The energy foiled grew stronger than anything I’ve experienced, enveloping me as well. He said it was as if a beam of light was shooting out of his head. I had the sensation of pulsing rings of blue light descending down my body until my feet fairly buzzed. (We give each other nightly foot massages, but this was different). He called it the shaktipat. And I realized many of the nameless things I’ve experienced have names in his world. Says my 3rd eye is about to open. Holding my hand in his, he puts his other hand on my head, thumb on my 3rd eye. The energy waves continue unabated. So this is what he means.

Yesterday was a day of real work: we were talking without addiction. Observing each other. Offering truths. No stories to interfere with the process of deepening. Something indeed has shifted. The connection is growing. Our Freudian slips are showing! I mumbled bed-breaking when I meant bread making—which drew a few sniggers. Yesterday, at UC Berkeley, a secretary offered us almond candy, He turned to me and said, “You know what these are good for?” Then blushed. “I’m wondering why I’m telling you this…” “What? Tell me what?” “Well, almonds are good for producing sperm and ovum…” backtracking, “Monks use the energy in their meditation. That’s why they’re celibate.” OK…

Helen Johnson zeroed in on me asking if I wanted to do a degree at Berkeley. I was flabbergasted, My jaw dropped. He said: “Think of it you and me at Berkeley working on our degrees.” Dial a fantasy? Yes! Doors seem to be flying open for us. He’s decided not to move to the dorms but to get a roommate (but he already has one—me.) Maybe if I help him through school, he’ll do the same for me?

Mindlessly shopping in Jack London Square with Neil singing “Heart of the Country.” I keep thinking I’m living inside the mirror that is Russia.