Friday, August 29, 2008

The Week That Was


So, yes...on Tuesday, the first of my cosmos plants began to bloom with this lovely white offering. It was a pleasure to finally see it. Except, it was not what I had expected. If you look at the photo on the seed packet at right, you'll see (and may recall my mentioning in my anticipation) that I actually planted the seashell variety of the flower...and this is not that.

Now seed sorting is certainly not a perfect or absolute science, so such things are not all that unexpected. You may recall the solitary white cleome that grew from a pack of supposedly strictly purple cleome seeds earlier this summer, in fact.

Not only am I a big fan of the cosmos big beautiful flowers, that once begun will come again and again until Frost, but Owen is, too. They are one of the few plants in the garden he will actually make mention of when they are blooming. And so for both those reasons, I am always sure to include at least a few.

This, as you will see, is sort of ironic.

My friends, I have been quiet with you on a particular subject this summer, as I have spent much time looking into my heart and examining my life and trying to figure out what pieces of the puzzle were missing. There've been a few times that I've alluded to something, or suggested that I had things on my mind, but as I've mentioned time and again, I see this blog more a place to talk about the garden and the good things in life...and I don't imagine you come here to for the Big Bring-Down that Life can be sometimes.

But on Tuesday of this week, I told Owen that I would be moving out. Ten years, I've realized, is a long time to stay in a relationship with an alcoholic who's world view is wrapped almost entirely in his own opinions on any given subject.

I'm not saying there hasn't been plenty of good times between us in those ten years. What an incredible fool I would be, otherwise, to have stayed so long.

But there's also been lots of pain. Not physical pain - that would be much easier to walk away from, it turns out. But the more subtle pain that comes of knowing that someone you care for isn't interested in what you have to say, doesn't care about the way you see the world...or what you think about much of anything.

I could offer a long list of my unhappinesses here, but those have already been expressed to him and it's largely a personal matter. Despite living in Massachusetts, one of the few states that recognizes gay marriage, we are not. That numbers among the issues, though just now I am sort of relieved that we never tied that knot.

He was completely surprised at the two and a half hours of things I had to say on Tuesday evening, which just shows you how f*cked communications have been between us. And that alone encourages me that I am making the right decision.

Owen has asked me to stay, to help him overcome the alcoholism and to give him a chance to make it up to me. To his credit, he's not had a sip of vodka since Tuesday night. The apologies, the roses, the dinner and movie (*) are all nice things. But honestly, I'm not sure that I can or should stay.

Coming to this decision and preparing for it as this summer has progressed has been one of the most difficult things I've ever done. I feel a little broken at this end of our relationship. I need time alone, to regroup, to repair, to reintroduce me to who I am. On one hand, this is a sad thing, but truly, I'm also more than a little excited about the possibilities the future holds.

Of course, I have no idea what those will be. I have identified an apartment, a place which will be good for me in a variety of ways. There are some gardening possibilities there, though who knows just what form they may take. More on that another day.

You, my friends, you and your friendships have helped me through this difficult time as much as the beautiful flowers in my garden this summer, whether or not you knew you were doing so. Thanks.

Just a few of you have had my confidence as I quietly explored my heart and laid my plans, and I offer special thanks to each one of you for listening and helping my thought processes and comforting me and encouraging me to be true to myself. Better friends no man could ask for.


I have received a few emails from some of you who were a little disconcerted by my not posting as frequently this week, expressing your concern, wondering if everything was all right. Well, not exactly...but it could certainly be much worse. How am I? I suppose it's safe to say that I am f*cking Smurfy, which leaves things wide open to all sorts of interpretations.

What do you know, Java's right: these mushrooms do look better with a little person of some variety standing beside them.

And look: the canna lily is finally fixin' to bloom!

I haven't really been watching the Democratic National Convention this week. I'm still tired from all that late-night Olympics coverage. And considering all else that's going on, you and the Dems will forgive me. But fear not, our deaf neighbor Ellie's been watching with the volume up real loud, so even though I've been about other things, I feel like I've not missed a moment.

For those of you who haven't seen the new web cartoon from Jib-Jab--you know they do one for every election now--I'll send you off so you can have a laugh at their latest.

(*) In response to one of my lesser complaints that we never do anything together outside the workplace, last night Owen and I saw Mamma Mia at the local cinema. Not in the mood for anything particular deep, or painfully fluffy and pink or explosively action-packed, this was probably just the right thing. The setting is beautiful, the story amusing and of course, all the music straight from the ABBA library (lest you forget, the first record the Midnight Gardener bought with his own money was the single of "Dancing Queen" lo those many years ago...).

Meryl Streep was, as always, pretty fantastic, and has a surprisingly nice singing voice. Pierce Brosnan, too, sort of...though there was one part near the end where it just didn't sound like him and I wondered about lip synching.

Amusingly, I've learned that the "sing-along" version of the movie hits cinemas today, with all the songs subtitled, because, as one wag put it, "You can't do worse than Pierce Brosnan". There was no need of subtitles last night, though, as everyone in our cine-plex seemed to know the lyrics.

It was a great time, at least until we got to Meryl's powerhouse performance of The Winner Takes It All, which sliced a little too close to the bone for me this week. Still, the credit sequence at the end was pretty fantastic, with its flashy costumes and cameo by ABBA themselves...and we got to hear "Dancing Queen" twice!

The crickets in the neighborhood were singing up a storm when we got home last night, so they don't need the subtitles either. But then, this louder voice drowned out all the others. With flashlight and camera in hand, I followed me ears outside and found this katydid in the garden across the street, it's chirruping sound almost deafening.

It seems to come from the vibration of those membranes beneath the wings visible here.

Just for the record, despite everything else, it's now been 42 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes and 44 seconds since my last smoke.

Smobriety
, it's a good thing.

* * * *

"I was in your arms,
thinking I belonged there

I figured it made sense,
building me a fence

Building me a home
Thinking I'd be strong there
But I was a fool, playing by the rules."

The Winner Takes It All,
ABBA, 1980

27 comments:

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Oh Greg I'm so sorry to hear how things have turned out for you. I am just starting on this "gay life" journey so I am not in a position to give advice. I'll just say do what you feel you must to lead a happy life and cyber *hugs* from me.

Jenn Thorson said...

Sending well-wishes your way as always-- but yes, I know you already know that. :) Still, one can never say that sort of thing TOO much.

Smobriety... that's the first time I've heard THAT one! :)

Greg said...

Steven, the hugs and support are all that matter. Thank you. Ditto to you, Jenn!

"Smobriety" was a new one on me, too...but I liked it!

(I suppose if one were to decide that people should no longer be allowed to walk all over them, then that might be called "schmo-briety")

Birdie said...

Wow, that had to take some real strength to say to Owen. I know your heart is breaking, and I am so sorry. Owen must recover from his alcoholism on his own, for himself and not for you. Your absence may be the catalyst, but only time will tell. If he's serious about wooing your return—and after some space, you're amenable—he can do it from afar. It seems you need your own place for now, to recover from the hurt.

It never hurts to keep talking, as long as progress is being made in whatever direction you wish to go. Keep talking to the point that you both agree on the outcome, perhaps even amiably.

Please accept my prayers for peace and healing for both of you.

MartininBroda said...

As one of your readers which were a little disconcerted, maybe you could remember my 8 reasons, why people may like gardens, I had sent to you.
“Sometimes nothing can relieve our loneliness with the exception of a garden…
Sometimes we are tired of people, but a rose never can tire.
In a garden we could see all loss is following with a beginning.”
I wish you from the bottom of my heart a healing good new beginning.

Greg said...

Birdie...your thoughts and prayers mean everything and they are accepted with thanks.

Martin, I thank you once again for that list you sent on earlier this summer--it was a comfort to me as I put all this in perspective. I appreciate your good wishes.

TigerYogiji said...

Greg, I hope that everything works out for you, Hon.

Keep us posted. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. ((HUGS))

CJ said...

All the pictures are smurferific. The Cosmos is just beautiful.

Marc said...

Greg, I am so sorry to hear about your very difficult situation. It's never easy to do what you have done, but it's often necessary. And I applaud you for bravely continuing your quest not to smoke in the face of such personal trials...you have a strength that others would only aspire to! You are in my thoughts, and I hope if there is anything that any of us can do to help, that you let us know.

country girl said...

Those who have commented before me have much wisdom. Recovery from any addiction is a solo journey. You found that out with your smoking. Please take care of yourself. A small garden is better than a large garden with someone who makes you feel small. My ex-husband did that. But no more. I'm sending you lots of energy and good thoughts.

Patrick said...

Ah my friend, I'm sorry for the pain you're feeling right now, but it sounds like you're proceeding with the same clear-eyed vision and sensitivity we've all come to expect here in the Garden. That doesn't mean you have all the answers now, or (god help us) having any FUN... but you sound grounded. You have every right to expect to be seen and heard by someone who claims to love you. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself, and hope that you keep that foremost in your mind as (if)you continue to talk to Owen. I don't know why the damn cosmos has to be so satirical, but sometimes these things happen (remember my bear and faun story?).
I'll be thinking of you.

Butch said...

Greg, I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through "the troubles". Believe me, no relationship is ever a failure. From what I have seen of you in the blogs, I think you are a very strong person and I also think Birdie said it best. Sometimes, removing yourself from a toxic relationship can be a catalyst to move Owen into a healthier situation with himself and with others. Perhaps, this isn't the end with you both but only a separation and wakeup call for Owen. In any event, You have my support and email address if you ever need it. I am here.

Java said...

Love the smurf! He does look quite at home there, no?

You have a gentle strength that I think will serve you well in this turmoil. I applaud your convictions. I applaud your smokelessness, too. You are in my thougths and prayers, dear friend.

The Hunky Gardener said...

Too bad about the cosmos. I was looking forward to seeing them as well.

Sorry to hear of your troubles. I don't know you or your situation very well but you are in my thoughts midnight gardener.

Have a good long weekend!

Greg said...

It's hard to express just how wonderful it feels, all this good and positive energy coming my way from so many different directions.

Perhaps the clearest comparison would be at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life", you know, when Martini's bust-ah da jukah-box and all of Bedford Falls is caroling and Clarence reminds George that "No man is a failure who has friends".

Why, any minute now Somewhere Joe will come into the Comments section dressed like Harry Bailey, war hero. : )

Thanks, everybody!

Hunky Gardener, there are still a number of other cosmos plants which haven't yet begun to bloom, so I'm holding out hope they'll still be "shell-style". We'll see...

somewhere joe said...

You have a great heart, Greg, and the kind of wisdom and patience, a sense of the seasons of life, that gardeners know and understand better than most. Whatever happens from here, I trust that wisdom. We, too, need good soil in which to grow and prosper, and the right kind of care.

I haven't seen a katydid in ages. My friend Walter, who spent a number of years in China and Japan, told me that they're sometimes kept as pets in little bamboo cages there. Whether the katydids are happy with that arrangement is, of course, impossible to know.

The Jib-Jab was funny. But I've grown cynical. "Then we spin you around and poke you in the rear..." Some candidates will say anything to court the gay vote these days.

tornwordo said...

Yay for the continued smobriety. I didn't know about the other things, but did he? I mean, it seems like he's willing to work on things, but it doesn't really sound like you want to. I hope it works out peacefully for the both of you.

Greg said...

I should never comment on blogs at 5 in the morning...I'm afraid my Its a Wonderful Life reference makes me sound a little more upbeat that I feel about all this.

Torn, this was a surprise for him, partly because I'd grown accustomed to my points of view, thoughts, fears and hopes being belittled or dismissed to the point of my not even bothering to express them anymore. Not a healthy thing to bring to the relationship table.

This week, now that I've said I'm leaving, my opinions suddenly matter. Cynically, I remind you the rent will be due soon. But how long before he doesn't want to hear it again? That's what I don't know, and you might understand my hesitation about staying to find out.

dykewife said...

i'm so sorry for the things that have come to pass, but you must do what is right for you. one thing about alcoholics is they'll promise the moon if it means the status quo will remain the same, however, that rarely manages to be lasting change. if you choose to stay, please reach out to al-anon for support. perhaps even now they might be of use to you.

any blog, especially one about a garden, has place for the less cheery aspects of life. thistle is prickly, some plants are poisonous and others will spread relentlessly sucking the life out of more delicate growths.

please remember to take care of yourself first. you've become a dear addition to my life.

Da Old Man said...

I wish you well.

Greg said...

Thank you, Dykewife...I am trying to take good care of myself and not let my own compassion trip me up in all this. I have been to Al-Anon in the past and haven't ruled out possibly stopping in to a meeting sometime over the next week or two.

And I take a good point from you about balancing out all aspects of life, no matter the subject of the blog!

Thanks, my dear.

Jess said...

I'm so sorry to learn of this. It's not easy, but you must take care of yourself. You're not the first friend of ours who had to save himself from a partner's substance problem. Clearly, this is neither simple nor easy, and perhaps something can be salvaged, as you seem to suggest, although it sounds like the chances aren't great.

However things work out with Owen, I am glad you are looking out for yourself. I'm sure you know this, but there's no harm in saying that we want all the best for you! *hug*

lostlandscape said...

Greg, sorry if you get this note twice but my computer seems to have munched on the note...

Anyway, I was surprised at your relative silence. I'd thought it was just some extra late summer busyness on the Cape...but this?

I've only known your briefly and through this blog. But quite frankly, for you, someone who brings the world into your blog, I'd found it a little unusual that you hadn't mentioned Owen much. Like there was some distance going on there.

Change can be good but it can be awfully painful as well. I know you've thought this through carefully, and you'll come up with what's best for you. Here's wishing you more beautiful days as you follow this wherever it takes you.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Talk to Tater. He's on my sidebar. Best wishes.

afod said...

So sorry to read of this news, Greg. May you be granted the strength to weed through these trying times that you are facing. ((((Greg))))

Robin Easton said...

Dear Greg, I have tears in my eyes and am very touched by your humanity, your courage and your goodness as a human being. You are SUCH a good person. Hey, anyone who loves flowers the way we do HAS to be a GREAT person. :)

I just want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Have courage my friend, even when you don't feel it. Move toward Life as much as you can, always.

See, you don't know it but I'm older than you are so I'm like your Auntie that dishes out advice and comfort at times like this. LOL :) :)

All I know is you have deeply kind, warm soul and you deserve the best. I also know it is hard right now. I've been in that kind of pain at times in my life. It's not easy that's for sure. But remember....you are a bright light in the world. So kind to us all and you really deserve a good life filled with people and things that warm your heart and make you happy every day. You deserve to be treated the way you treat flowers. Remember that. Hugs, Robin

Bear Me Out said...

I'm a newish reader but want to express my sadness in you tough times. I'd bet there is great sadness AND relief. Mixed emotions that swell up as conflicting thoughts and feelings. Just let them be. Prayers for you and for Owen. Shalom.