Yesterday C and I set out to find Bolinas. It only took us three hours, a detour in Pt. Reyes, discovery (by me) that he has a built-in compass on his rear-view mirror, and by both of us that we can get lost without losing our tempers. Good thing to know. The woods and mountains and ocean were dazzling--we had all three. By the time we actually got to Bolinas it was too late to rent a wetsuit and the tide was all wrong, there weren't any waves anyway, but we had a romantic walk on the beach and more talking talking talking, flirting, teasing, splashing and just wallowing in the unbelievable luxury of free time.
I had started feeling stress yesterday because my work life keeps intruding--got to prepare for a one-day workshop I'm teaching on Saturday, there are still details from last year's New College advising, student work to read, essays to send out, the house s a mess, I should be preparing for Malawi, I'm 12 pounds overweight and it never ends. I was longing for the pure freedom of my twenties when I ate all the peanut M&Ms out of the gorp and stayed skinny, when I ditched all responsibilities and took off for three months at a time with nothing to think about but the next meal.
But I was free then at a cost--I hadn't yet built a life. Now I have and it needs tending. So even though I want to lose myself deliciously in C, and this new love, I broke away and slept in my own house last night, because I knew I needed to face what I faced this morning--a pile of papers that need sorting, emails and phone calls to return, lessons to plan.
There's pleasure in coming apart and coming back together--that rhythm. It's a dance, it will always be a dance, his life, my life, our life. Always moving, like the tides, sometimes even seeming to cross each other.
I let go of the goal of completing a rough draft of the musical before I leave--that would make me crazy. Meanwhile, I know that there's an essay/memoir about Alan lurking in the shadows of my subconscious, waiting to be written. I've tried and failed to write about our time together before. Or rather, I've written bits of it--the light-hearted parts, and only touched on the shadows. I don't know how to hold the whole of it in one piece, but perhaps the time has come for me to do that. the other day a line ran through my head about how restless my dead people are--my mother and Alan. How they died with so much unresolved and unfinished between us.
I am going to have tea with Alan's widow tomorrow, the woman he was married to when he died, the woman who took care of him for the last four years of his life while he battled leukemia. I'm trying to organize a meeting of all three of us, his first wife, me, and his third wife--maybe for September.
Yesterday would have been my twentieth wedding anniversary. I don't feel envy of the bride I was--well, maybe envy for my own slenderness--but I was so nervous and ungrounded about getting married. I didn't know how to connect with my partner the way I needed to before we took such a huge leap. So we took it anyway, we leaped, and flew, and fell. And now I get the best gift of all; a second chance.