A few blogs back, I promised you a story about the day, fifteen years ago, when I caught my husband “cheating” on me. We were taking care of my father, who was extremely ill; we moved him to a house out in the country, where he lived for a year-on his terms-no nursing homes, praise God. I loved my dad more than I have ever loved another soul, or perhaps the love I have for my husband is equal-but completely different types of love.
Dad was my best friend and, quite honestly, the only person besides my husband who really got me. We were extremely close. We laughed at the same things, had the same interests, and thought hiking was the greatest thing next to grilled cheese sandwiches. I take after daddy, in almost every way. Mom was the writer in the family, and she was very talented. It is no small wonder that my brother and I are the artsy, fartsy, poetic side of the family. I think it rather neat that my brother is a musician who writes amazing songs-not unlike myself-who writes about music-daddy was the musician. I can still hear him singing the Midnight Special, banjo in tow, at three a.m. after an argument with my mother. Good times. Good times.
I would do anything to have those times back.
So, between working evenings as a waitress in a busy diner (one of the biggest tourist spots in Lancaster County) and taking care of my family-well, I guess you could say I was just a tad stressed out. If you saw me in passing, you would think me a demented Flakka head, on the verge of going off the deep end; at any given moment in time. You would also be correct. About the losing my shit, not the Flakka. When my husband complains about the two cigarettes I smoke each day with my coffee? I always say:
It could be worse. You’re lucky I’m not on Flakka. Or crack.
Jiminy Cricket, I was wound so tightly, I actually pitied the fool who got in my way. Back then? I was anger personified. I seethed with an all consuming rage that basically enveloped me-my mother abused me emotionally, and my memories were a big reason I drank to begin with. I wanted to take care of dad, believe me, but the sad truth? I was scared senseless. My alcoholism had progressed, then eased after he died. Eventually I came to a place of rewriting my story, and forgiving mother. Years of my life, consumed with bitter ire-and a tragic notion that I needed to be punished, put in place-as mom had made it perfectly clear that I was undeserving. Forgiveness is incredibly freeing, and you should do it often-not for them, but for you.
Finally, to the point of the story. I was in the aforementioned condition while driving my Jeep Wrangler up Route 501 on a Friday afternoon, headed in the direction of the pharmacy in Myerstown-to get my father’s refills. My hair is fried, not tended to; I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth. I am breaking out-not only in zits but pimples as well-my first outbreak of acne, ever. Stress pimples and blackheads.
I head North and see my husband’s baby blue Chevy pick up headed in my direction. I believe I went into a fugue state the moment I saw the blonde. I was a jealous madwoman back then-it wasn’t my husband I didn’t trust, let’s just say that.
“OMG, who the FAZUCK was in Dwain’s truck? How long has this been going on? I’m taking care of my invalid father and the bastard is cheating on me? What the FUCK?”
I ran into the pharmacy, almost hyperventilating when I see the long line. This is the most impatient moment of my life. I fantasize about killing the man behind the counter. I want to slap the woman who forgot her insurance card, and truth be told? My thought cloud was rated RRR. If not ZZZ.
I raced to the jeep and drove like a stunt car driver all the way to Dwain’s work. I see him in the park, akin to his business. I aim for him as I drive, he jumps out of the way.
“Oh my GOD honey, what is wrong with you?” He looks more than mildly alarmed, but he knows on many levels what this is all about. I jump from the vehicle, not thinking to put the jeep in “park.” Dwain jumps into said car and saves it, saves it from going directly into the pond behind us.
I scream and holler. He tells me he took her to drop off her car, to have it inspected. I eyeball him from toe to head. Calmer, yet not quite assured that all is well; I head for my car. He gives me a hug, chuckles and says these exact words:
“Honey, why do you have spaghetti sauce all over your face?”