Monday, April 16, 2007

The Most Inopportune Times

The trouble with grief is that it has no sense of timing. It doesn’t understand when is and when is not a “good” time for a person to be reduced to pitiful pile of tears and snot. It comes on, uninvited and unexpected, pretty much whenever it damn well pleases.

Kyle and I were enjoying a lazy Saturday morning, dreaming and chatting about our potential future life together and how wonderful it would obviously be. I shared with him a scene I’d painted in my head some months ago. It would be early on a Sunday morning. The kids would still be asleep (I have GREAT kids in my fantasy land – they always sleep till at least 10 on the weekends.) Kyle and I would be sitting on the balcony just off our amazing bedroom, in matching monogrammed robes, reading the Wall Street Journal (or something else grown-upy like that), overlooking our perfectly landscaped yard filled with jasmine and wisteria, drinking fresh ground coffee and eating grapefruit.

Grapefruit? Kyle asked.

Sure, why not. It’s healthy, and it seems sophisticated, don’t you think? It would go so well the scene. Besides, I had a grapefruit tree growing up and it was DELICIOUS!

Ruby Red or Regular?

Growing up? Ummmm… it was… I… I don’t remember.

And like a wave rushing over, the thought pummeled me. I couldn’t remember something about my house. I knew EVERYTHING about that house. How could I just not remember?

I felt the tears well up and I immediately shoved all my emotions into a tiny little box. And then I tied a neat little bow around it. And then I stuck the box on the highest shelf in the waaaay back of a closet. And then I shut the closet door. And locked the closet door. And locked the door to the room leading to the closet. And then I went outside to play.

Several hours later, at bar in San Francisco, I sat with my friends having a grand old time. Laughing and chatting and taking pictures. My ex was there, which is strange for a million reasons, but we all seemed to be getting along nicely. It was a pleasant surprise. In fact I was quite pleased with whole the evening.

Until I remembered the flowers.

Out of no where I remembered the bouquet of flowers that my ex had sent to my house for my dad’s funeral. They were STUNNING. White lilies and roses. I remember how touched I’d been when he sent them. And then the little box, with its little bow, tucked way back in the locked closet… exploded. One moment I was remembering sweet smelling flowers and the next I was thinking about the funeral and my dad and how pretty my house looked that day and how I would never see it or have one of those grapefruits again.


I lost it the corner of the bar and could not for the life of me pull myself back together. I sobbed until my eyes and face begged for mercy – all red and puffy and stingy. I couldn’t even bring myself to leave the bar. I cried until last call, when the bartender handed me a jello shot to help cheer me up – because, clearly, what I was suffering from would easily be cured with cheap vodka and corn syrup.

The grief overwhelmed me and I couldn’t keep it in a little box one second longer.

And of course half the people in the bar thought I was crying, inconsolably, over my ex who was sitting not 5 feet away. Awesome.

That’ll teach me to keep things in little boxes.