The unexpected

Last night was rough.  An unexpected email led to an unexpected phone call which led to an unexpected apology.  To me.  Very few people have ever hurt me that badly and this apology was two years in the making.  I’m happy to have received it, finally, but it doesn’t change the way things fell apart or the way things will never be put together again.  Can we try again?  I’ve changed. 

No.  We can’t.

We gave each other our well wishes and expressed how we really felt  about each other…then and now and what happens next? 

What happens next?  Well, here’s what I do:  I hang up the phone with my mind made up, standing firmly with what I’ve been saying for the last 2 hours and refusing to apologize to you for the umpteenth time.  For the wrongs I never actually made but for the wrongs I’ve been made to feel were my fault. 

You do what you need to do.


It’s 8:30 this morning and the love of my life blows through my bedroom door – It’s morning!  I’m hungry!  Don’t forget to feed me AGAIN, Mommy!!!

(I failed to feed her lunch a few times this year, this child who is perfectly capable to using a toaster/microwave/butter knife to feed herself.  She hasn’t threatened to call DCF on me yet but that may only be because she’s not yet aware that they exist.)

Elle is reminded again of why I bought her that box of nasty Pop-Tarts (go feed yourself I’m tired…aaaah!!!!) and she huffs off to the kitchen. Minutes later she returns with a Rice Krispie Treat jammed down her throat and trying to justify eating it by pointing out that it’s made with Rice Krispies…’cause it’s a cereal, Mom!!

Fine.  I’m up.  YOU WIN!!!

An hour later, we’re at my therapist’s office…the beach.  Elle had brought with her a huge carton of Goldfish crackers, a beach towel, and her boogie board.  I had packed my own beach towel, a paperback book, and my slip-on blue dresslike swimsuit coverup.  My beach chair was propped up perfectly, reclining enough to keep Elle within my sights.  I closed my eyes (so much for keeping her my sights, I know…) and tried my best to not let the events of last night dig at me and make me feel horrible because I’d made him unhappy with my choices.  Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do.

Everything I need is right there at the beach…the scent of coconut sunscreen, the sounds of children laughing and waves colliding with the shore, the blue of the sky meeting with the blue of the ocean.  That, to me, is peace.

I was so relaxed that I could actually feel the sun tingling on my skin.  I suddenly noticed the young teenage couple next to me and how the boy brushed the girl’s windblown hair from her face when she was talking.  I also noticed the two women behind me, girlfriends spending the morning together at the beach with their dogs.  The family to my right was trying to wrangle their three young children from wandering into the ocean alone, fearless and mesmerized.  The lifeguards next to me were switching shifts and gathering at the bottom of the tall, red chair.  Elle was daring the ocean to send her a wave on which she could ride.  Nothing big, nothing small.  Just enough to give her the thrill of the ride.

My mind was clearing and I felt good about the last 10 or so hours.  I decided to head into the water with Elle, to laugh a little and have some fun with the enormity of what could possibly swallow me whole if I let it.  My back arched and my arms skyward, stretching out of the tightly wound body in the chair, the unexpected took itself to a whole new level.

My bikini top snapped loose and POW!!!

Elle ended up having to hold my straps around me while I fished around in my beach bag, blindly groping with my one free hand for that slip-on blue dresslike swimsuit coverup.  In the meantime, Elle couldn’t stop giggling and pretending to let go of my straps and asking me Did they get floppy!?!?  HAHAHAHAHAH!!!

Shut up, kid, or I will never feed you again.

And so life goes on.  Decisions are made, hearts are broken, feelings are hurt, apologies are made, and sometimes your boobs pop out of your bikini top.  At some point in one’s life, all of these things happen. 

And so life goes on.


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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