(If you didn't read about Christmas, it can be found at: http://open.salon.com/blog/pastvoices/2012/01/10/the_greatest_present_i_could_desire)
The joy of Christmas Day had allowed me to float above the depressive (SMDr) episodes of the preceding months of continuing confinement. I lie on my stomach on that ethereal bubble and have watched the smiles, the laughter, the pictures, and the updates carry it high above the tightrope January would have been.
I took a class for a science requirement almost 12 years ago. The class prepared teachers to teach elementary science. It was team taught by three professors, each covering equal sessions of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics (cue Twilight Zone theme). Their three grades would be averaged into my final grade for the class. Did I ever mention me, " hating science and math?” I excepted all sciences but physics from that statement by the time I finished my degree.
I took the course as I needed the Physics credit. I had several Biology (A’s) credits completed and vaguely recalled some of the things we were supposed to be taught (operative word, another time) in the Chemistry class my Senior year in high school, a course I barely passed, technically failed 26 years earlier. Physics, a higher step than Chemistry, petrified me. The elementary nature of the subjects gave me a certain comfort level in Chemistry and quick pick-up of the Biology. I was hoping that same elementary level would be my saving grace in Physics. (It wasn’t, I had private tutoring two hours a week to survive.)
Toward the end of the semester, we drew lots for which of the three subjects our elementary science fair-type projects would be. Oh day, lucky me – Physics! The teacher for the subject met with each of us. He gave me several “easy” ideas to tackle. They fell like dominos. I finally chose viscosity. I would compare the viscosity of “bubbles” depending on the ratio of soap to water. Boy did I go through the Dawn®! While entertaining the cats gathering the data three different times as required.
However, when my professor/tutor ran through my data with me I had left out (so we thought) necessary factors. He decided I should replicate the experiment in front of him so he could make sure I retrieved all the data necessary. I had class only two days a week (full load), so I came to school on one of my days off when he had more than one free period in a row, he booked us a lab, and oversaw my replication of the work involved. He was kind enough to keep the stopwatch, but the first dip that came up and I blew a bubble, he knew the problem. Though we later timed bubbles at each addition of soap, the actual timing I needed to have was how long the mixture held together in the wand. He also made sure I had all the data three times over. He had to leave to teach a class after two hours and I carried on. It only took four hours (three for him) to kill another bottle of Dawn®. I took all the data home, put it together in a PowerPoint presentation and got my A.
I learned a great deal about bubbles and whether it is the water or the soap providing long life to the viscosity of an ethereal bubble. After all this explanation, without going upstairs (not on list of “things I can do” yet) to dig out the paperwork or figuring out how to convert the PowerPoint from floppy Microsoft 2000 to Microsoft 2007 (as if I could), I can’t tell you which it is.
I can only effectively tell you that the virtual bubble I was trying to hold onto, above the muck, was holding great. But this afternoon it’s strength was destroyed with a virtual punch to the exterior leaving me to fall, hard, in a belly-flop to the floor, the resulting fetal position and tears, copious amounts of tears. Of course to spare the bubble destroyer who can’t stand crying, I held back all the release of the pain until they were down the driveway and onto the street. See I found out they came to go out for a Sunday lunch with just dad.
His girlfriend kept her head down, unable to look at me or even answer my cheery, “Where you guys off to?” No one else answered either. When they returned, I was on the phone with my heart friend from South Carolina, she had held me together the 90 minutes they were gone. Will smiled as he carried in and handed me a box of four small pieces of lukewarm pizza from the new place with the honest-to-gosh old world pizza ovens of wood and brick construction. Even cooling fast it was a nice top-off for the tears, internal pain, and internal physical reactions I am experiencing. I was able to tell them it was delicious. I would prefer to try it hot and experience the ambiance. I don’t go those places alone.
Do others even consider the pain they inflict on others? I grew up with this kind of pain inflicted on me by one parent. I promised my future children, before they were thought of; they would know they were loved. I would not inflict pain on them intentionally. I was hands-on, cuddling long after they had learned to walk (until they were too big for my lap around age 12 for the youngest). The reasoning being that after I could walk maternal cuddling, hugs, ended.
I was strict but tried to divorce anger while using logical consequences for punishment. If you screwed up at school, the conversation with the teacher or principal and their punishment was the punishment and was sufficient. I crossed that line when it involved money for damages or suspension. (Sadly, I had to confront both.)
Our warning for adolescents up was, “Get arrested for something you did, won’t bail you out.” Got that from my dad, the judge. Works too!!
Do not lie to me. This was after six years of enduring lie after lie from the first. “Tell me the truth and we will handle it, together, calmly.” The one who always chose lies over truth made our relationship very difficult. It is a gap to this day.
They saw my relationship with my mother, always contentious, even before they came into our life. The distance, being pushed away, was painful for me. They only know stories (mostly from outsiders to the two of us) about the 55 year history that is written in stone now. They don’t have any of the true reality and each has decided I was the one causing her pain without knowing if it did actually cause her pain. Two don’t remember her behavior toward them when they were small, or have blocked the way they were treated by her when they were little. They don’t know that I didn’t keep her from them, she kept herself from them, for reasons I will never tell them as they hurt me too much. Should I have explained as we went along. I didn't want to color the way they saw their grandma though I suspect I was the only one not coloring.
Is it perhaps they are inflicting the kind of pain she inflicted on me since they believed it was me carrying the sword instead of seeing my empty hands after running out of olive branches?
How do you mend a broken heart? If anyone knows I should, but I can’t seem to counsel me.