Joy can be measured in moments. And a few last a long time, enough to fill in the empty spaces. I slept solid until a steady tap, tap, tapping woke me. A soft light filled the room, dawn had come, the tapping ebbing as the critter moved away from the porch roof. All is quiet once again. The quiet is nothing like home, it is deeper, complete, and my insides unfurl with the solitude and peace.
I shuffle out, turning on the coffee maker, taking the first cup over the pine needle covered path to the bench. The red sun is just breaking through as a squirrel spits out a warning as I’ve disturbed his peace. I sit contentedly watching the array of colors change, brighten, and throw reflections of colors and clouds on the water.
Stevie was kind to invite us to their favorite restaurant to celebrate their 35th anniversary last night. We rode around the lake as he told us about several spots, some he rented out, others just of interest. The restaurant had a wood fire oven, and his wife loved the pizza’s there. Samuel and I chose fish and chips.
Over dinner Stevie said, “Did you know we went on a cruise with Seth to Alaska in May?”
I shook my head stunned at the news. First, You didn’t ask me. Second, Isn’t that when Seth gave me an ear full about my book, shaving me down with his wrath? Maybe Seth is tormented, stretched between his closeness with Tom, and not wanting to know the truth about me. So he chose to lash out at me. Typical.
I became quiet, or quieter. My body, I noticed the feelings in my body, or where feelings left them. Seth had lashed out at me around that time or earlier. And he played the money card, how he didn’t have any, and he was in such dire straits he had to sell his home and move to a less posh area.
Poor Seth. He has always talked about money and his lack of it as he goes to Europe, goes golfing, or buys a $300 blender. It’s his way of keeping the conversation off me, and on him and his woes.
And his manipulations worked as always. I both emailed and sent a card, letting go of his culpability in the conspiracy of sexual abuse by his beloved elder brother. I told him I loved him, and that he has helped me as best he could throughout the years. I haven’t heard from him since. I’ve not felt compelled to email him, and all communications usually began with my emailing him first anyway.
But this isn’t Stevie’s problem. I realized I needn’t be upset with Stevie, though fighting that urge was hard because why bring up your cruise that I wasn’t asked to go on with you? Nor the other one to the Bahama’s with Don and his wife. Peace, You can keep the peace inside. Don’t let anyone take it. Be at peace. Stevie moved on, not mentioning more about it, nor did I ask how it was.
If he needs connection with those he hadn’t much connection with, then let him have it. Losing his daughter is a greater loss than any losses I have suffered or will ever suffer.
I find myself moving away from Don and Seth. But feel at least, so far, Stevie and I are OK. Not great, because we never talk about the real stuff, and we certainly don’t now. But we can be together and be OK. He and I were the two youngest. It seemed as if we were a separate family together so much, and on our own. I was often both Mother and Father to him.
Talking about anything more significant than the ant walking by on the ground would probably cause explosives. Growing up in a chaotic group such as ours makes life hard for each one. There is only so much one can give as it takes all one has to figure out their own stuff.
I find myself ready to put up boundaries if necessary. One thing I won’t do is talk about someone else unless it is directly to them. That is what they do. Talk about me behind my back. And what is said is none of my business.
Stevie will come each night to our house on the lake because I’ll make an easy supper, and I have the time. Those two are super busy with the rentals. They bring their tall, quiet son, who also is working.
And, so far, I am at peace on the quiet lake.