The Lake (7)

May 18, 2020

My Michelle … Not My Shining Moment

The end came at The Shining, of all movies, at an old theater on Clark Street. You, Michelle and your best friend, Omar had entered the theater just as a big storm erupted outside. Omar sat to her left you to her right. During a particularly gruesome scene –the dead crone in the bathtub- there was a crash of thunder, loud enough to be heard over the chilling soundtrack. The power failed and worse pieces of the old movie house’s ornate decorations began falling from the ceiling. Many in the audience, already frightened by what they’d witnessed on the screen, started hollering and scrambling for the exits. You were one of them. Without thinking, you climbed right over your date, literally stepping on her to escape.

It was a cowardly move, one you did without hesitation.

By the time Michelle and Omar had met up with you in the lobby, order was restored. Not so much with Michelle. She was pissed. And you couldn’t blame her. The three of you then went to dinner, which was awful. Nothing you could say, not after what had happened. Omar did little to defend you. Without panicking, he’d stayed by her side in the theater and he sat by her now, stoically. When the dinner mercifully ended, Michelle bolted in a taxi. You forget her parting words. Omar hung with you for a while, providing scant commiseration. But soon, he too, quickly departed.

Later, you found out the two of them had rendezvoused that very evening. They started seeing each other and that was that. By your own hand you’d voided the code among friends regarding one-another’s girlfriends. You’d forgotten an even older code: women and children first. While you resented Omar for betraying your friendship and taking advantage of the situation you accepted it as penance for your shameful behavior. You’d put yourself before her and so lost her. You broke your own heart. That your good friend became beneficiary only made it worse.

Still, a part of you had been relieved. Michelle would dump Omar soon enough. That was certain. Orbiting her hot sun, always vying for the light, had taken its toll. Getting burned was inevitable.

Next Chapter Coming Soon!

And it’s not always pleasant…

Some people I care about are in pain. A Marriage is blowing up –quietly on the outside; loudly within I’m sure. There are children, who make these things complicated, torturous and toxic. For them. And for their parents. It’s bad.

Without great sin involved, taking sides is ridiculous. He’s not a villain and she’s not a witch. Shit happens.

Alone now, my own children sleeping, I sit here in front of my computer, doing what I always do when my mind is feverish: I write. But unlike conjuring a tag line or pithy words about a current event, for this I got nothing.

And so I said to the man whose wife is leaving and taking the children with her: In one year things will be fantastic, you just can’t see it now. Let her go…for now. Let her have the little ones…for now. Things are too toxic. The damages are severe and accruing. Rightly or wrongly, she is the nurturer. In one year things will be fantastic. Compared to now.

Is this advice? If so, is it good advice? As we get older they say we get wiser. I wonder, then, why so much shit happens when we get older. I have an idea. The expectations of youth ferment into resentments. We expect our marriages and our families and our jobs to always be right by us. When they are not, we are left impotent and seething. It is almost worse not having a villain. We look inward. Maybe we learn from it. But more likely we burn. Bad things can happen. We make poor decisions. Alcohol and people are waiting to intoxicate us.

Getting over loss is brutal. I’m not referring to death. Not here. In a way, unless unforeseen, death is a mercy. Unlike an estranged spouse, or former job, it is not still there, residing with another.

And so I said to the man who just lost his job and has no idea what’s next: In one year things will be fantastic, you just can’t see it now.

Alone now, in front of my computer, I pray that they do see it even if I know that they can’t or won’t. I also pray that I see it should something like that ever happen to me.

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