Today, I can honestly state I am better.  My bones are healed.  I am no longer limping.

I am closing a year.  Over a year since I met Amy.
This will be the last time I will write about this.  I have no more need too.

Looking back at it I see this year for what it really is—or now— was.  The musician of choice is Sara Bareilles.  My song is Uncharted Waters.

I was on this ocean boat.  I have never been this far out before.  I didn’t need to find myself.  I know (and knew) right where I was.

Tossed and too sad to be mad. 

Betrayal, for me, leads to a deep grief. 

In these deep cold waters I felt demoralized.  I felt so very tired and broken. 

All I could do was float and breathe.  Breathe and float.

I already confessed to you my coping strategy.  I would simply just read and write.  I was experiencing this human condition.  I did not find comfort in any God, in any of his books, or in any of his churches.  There is, and remains, no comfort for me there. 

Instead I filled my soul with Hemingway, Steinbeck, McCarthy, Conroy, McCourt, Larsson, Chopin, Coelho, Bronte and others too numerous to count.   I set to fill my soul with new people, new places and new experiences.

If I became bored with my night-time reading I sunk my teeth into my day-time work drama. 

My grief began slowly turning into a morbid curiosity. 

I wanted to drink in dysfunction because I found myself living it.

I was looking for the missing pieces to my jigsaw puzzle.   At our mornings at the Y, Amy would lovingly remind me that sometimes I might not find all the pieces.  I might not be able to make sense of the picture.

But I find it so fitting and odd that this weekend I found it.  I am a hoarder of books.  I have hundreds of them.  The girls have been boxing them up because our tiny house can’t contain any more. So I need to sort and purge.  It’s as if I knew this yellowed paged book was waiting for me in my basement.  A required read when I was fourteen. 

Too young and naive to understand and appreciate it’s message then.   

The world hadn’t shown me it’s harshness in a way I could understand it.  
(It’s like going to a funeral and you know full well of death.  But death becomes real only when you lose someone that is an extension of yourself.)

A part of me would like to think John Knowles wrote this book for me. 

I was Phineas. My 341 man shook the tree branch. 

If it had been my ex-husband I would have been fine—I would never had gone out on that tree limb.  I would never have fallen because I would have known of the underlying danger.  His nature had revealed his truths over time.   His revelations were expected. My heartbreaks with him were continually repeated.  Then there was just nothing left to break.   

I was left with a vat of nothingness.  There was no more hurt or I really can’t remember any.

And then when I wanted to leave I was subjected to an underestimated cruelty and hate.  To any outside observer it was a true validation of all of my reasons for fleeing. 

But in this new love affair I am so very trusting and excited to jump.  We are above the water’s bank.  I turn my head to find him jouncing the limb. It’s my face that has that funny look.   I am falling and then there is that sickening crack. 

The truth is this man is less honorable than Gene.  He does not offer any confessions.  I muster my courage and ask him why he did what he did.  He could only red faced,  blurt out, “Look at nature all around you.”

I am looking at this nature.  I want to change it.  For all women.  For me.  For other people.  For my girls.  I want to change it. 

This thinking that a man unilaterally has a right to violate a trust regarding a physical course of action without a woman’s consent.

This right, where a man just takes and makes a decision, that he has no right to make.  To go against another’s will without a fair warning. 

This jiggling a branch to watch another just fall.

Oh, I struggled.   I was formulating a new commandment to my personal decalogue: Never accuse a friend of a crime if you only have a feeling he did it.   I was Phineas in denial.

 Our truth was a deeper injury than his shaking and of any falling.

If I could only believe that the tree, in fact, shook itself.  If I could have pretended I didn’t witness or know of what he really did.

But I am stronger than Phineas.  I know trees don’t shake themselves. 

In this harsh season I impart a lesson of warning to my girls–words that I cannot take back: 

Trust only in and of yourselves. 


I am sure, if the circumstances and facts presented themselves, I could also be a Gene.  Anyone can experience this brief burst of animosity, lasting only a second, a part of a second, something which came before we could recognize it and which could be gone before we knew it could possess us. 

And in the end John Knowles shows us that sky full of daggers.

I have reached my own separate peace.

I too am stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth.