Friday, December 3, 2010

Epiphany Comes Early

It’s been a long week. The Mister was out of town on a hunting trip for the first couple of days, and between part-time work, the early morning class I volunteer teach at school and all the rushing around that the holiday season brings, by Thursday I couldn’t believe the week wasn’t over. I staggered blearily through this morning, in a foul mood over a thousand trifles.  By mid-afternoon I’d regrouped and found some Christmas spirit and was decking the halls with boughs of holly, berry sprigs, red bows. As the sun set, our wee dwelling was festive with bright swags and warm candlelight, and the smell of Friday night homemade pizza filled the air with a savory garlic aroma. Our dear friends, fellow West Coast weirdos and school carpool lifesavers, had picked up Phartacus and taken him to the school basketball game with their kids. They dropped him off and stayed for an impromptu cocktail and nosh. The candles flickered and Ella crooned in the background as my friend suddenly said, in a low voice, that her husband had been promoted and they will be moving to Chicago.

It took a few moments for it to set in, and I tried to make sensible conversation while my throat closed and my eyes stung. They stayed for a couple of hours, during which time I made several trips to the bathroom to take deep breaths and drip Visine into my eyes, willing them to stay clear. It’s a secret, you see, that their kids don’t know yet because it won’t be made official until after the holidays. Which means I can’t let Phartacus and Slappy know that their best friends will be leaving soon. I dread their tears more than mine.

My heart is breaking.

Typing that secret, sitting next to Phartacus, I knew I couldn’t hold it in any longer, and went to the bathroom and lay down on the tiles, sobbing quietly so no one would hear. I tell Phartacus I’m catching his cold, because I can’t tell him yet, and I don’t want to ruin his Christmas. Because it will. I know Phartacus. Slappy too.  And that makes it just that much worse.

I’m three-fourths devastated to be losing the best friends we have here -- both for me and for the boys –- and one fourth jealous to be left behind in Splendaville while our deserving friends move onward and upward. They’ve earned it; they’ve been here five years and worked their asses off. It’s a dream job. It was only a matter of time.

We’ve been here 8 years. I thought it would be only two. No dream job beckons. I hate being left behind, happy as I will make myself be for them.

I feel lost. I can’t imagine school and weekends without these friends. I want to curl up in my bed and cry til spring.

5 comments:

  1. Oh, Patsy. So sorry. I have lived near Chicago and would not wish the climate on anyone.

    I wish the friend had waited until after the holidays to tell you.

    I miss YOU still.

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  2. I am so very sorry. I can definitely hear the sadness, perhaps despondence. ...I was just considering running away from home. Join me? We'll go all Thelma and Louise.

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  3. My heart is breaking for and with you, sweets. CS - can Thelma and Louise tolerate a sidekick?

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  4. You all (y'all) are good for the soul. I wish they had waited too, but I understand the need to share big news. Friday night and about half of Saturday were fairly despondent, then I got over it. I guess I grieved for the end of that form of the friendship we've had, for the summer days by the pool that won't be, the ease of you-take-my-kids, I'll-take-yours, the help we give each other, the countless dinners, guitar sing-a-longs... We'll still see them when they visit town and when we visit The Mister's family in Illinois, but of course that's not nearly the same. And it feels like a double whammy because they've been so tied in with my experiences at the kids' school. All who have moved around know how many times you strike out before you find real friends, so I was a little surprised at how fast I "got over it", like I just closed the book. I mean, nothing has changed in my relations with the friends, but now they're on their way out, and it feels different... yet it doesn't. Can't explain it, but I sure don't relish the thought of going through it all over again with Phartacus and Slappy. I wonder if my reaction is normal and just the result of experiencing enough lost friends, or if I've become used to friendships fading and have hardened up.

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