Today, I hit the 10,000 word mark on the new book. That's a lot of words. I've written through my life all the way up to where Rosa and I bought our house.
So, here's a couple of weird things.
The biggest one is that I find it hard to write "Rosa". I keep wanting to write "Vicky". I guess my mind has replaced the woman I love, replaced "Rosa" for "Vicky". So, when I write about being in love, my mind thinks "Vicky", even though at the time it was "Rosa". I find this pretty funny.
The other things takes longer to explain.
After the divorce and after the suffering and after the Grand Canyon and after trying to get Rosa back, all I could remember, the only thought in my head, was how much I missed her and how much I'd lost. I felt completely bereft. But now, I've written about our first apartment:
Robert Sassone, an old, high-school friend of mine, had helped us move but there wasn't that much to help with. We had a bed, my old one from home, and a dresser, mine too. We took my desk and a couple bookcases, which were mine after all; I'd purchased them to house my books. Rosa had been buying things for the place for the past month: appliances, towels, plates, silverware. We moved all of it in the trunks of our cars, and the furniture was trucked over in a shuttle van that I sometimes drove for a job I had at a local hotel. Most of the work was done in short order and the three of us charged out to the grocery store to stock our larder. Rosa and I were filled with the excitement of the new place and Rob was having a dandy time, too. When we got home, Rosa made us Hamburger Helper and Rob and I sat on the balcony, watching the people pass below and thinking of what would be great to throw over. (Common at they may seem, water balloons were the best. You could aim them better. They had more heft.)
I've written about our wedding:
But then, she walked into the chapel, my father walking her down the aisle. Her dress, hand-made, was beautiful. Her dark brown hair fell down past her shoulders, framing her face in curls. And what a face! It was a face I could spend years looking at and continue to crave. Hers was a beauty that made you want to cry. She was the most beautiful woman in the world and, even to this day, after everything that has happened, remains in the top three. I loved her more than any man had a right to love anybody.
I've written about the romantic times:
You see, I'd been there about a month before and I'd spoken with the manager. The balcony wasn't being used by any parties that night and the manager was gracious enough to leave it for me. As we ascended the stairs, we saw he'd put the twinkle-lights on and I turned on the boom-box where he'd planted it. From the speakers, Harry Connick Jr. began to sing "It Had To Be You" and we danced.
Rosa and I would dance often, whether she wanted to or not. I would put my arms around her at the grocery store, in the produce aisle, and we'd dance. I'd come home from work, put my arms around her, and we'd dance. So, of course, we had to dance that night. Our heads were light from alcohol and romance as we danced and kissed over and over, high above Anaheim.
I've written about how she took care of me:
In the end, that procedure did little good. My arm had to be re-broken and a fixation device, which looked like a big rod attached to the outside of my arm and held in with pins, was applied. The device was on my arm for several months. As Rosa finished her nursing program, we actually made an educational video with the school called "Pin Care", for cleaning the holes that the pins went into. Rosa demonstrated. I starred as the arm. Rosa got her RN shortly thereafter and started her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. I needed another surgery on my arm a couple of years later. The doctors have all told me I have a lot to look forward to when I'm old, mostly in the form of arthritis. Sure, I'm really looking forward to that.
Today, I also wrote about buying our house.
And it's helped me realize something. That maybe those 15 years weren't a wash, maybe you can take things with you even if you no longer have the life you once loved. Maybe this is closure. Maybe "closure" means to find the happiness again that you thought you'd lost and you can feel the loss and the love at the same time. I know it sounds like a paradox. It even sounds a bit goofy.
Originally, I'd decided to throw in the years with Rosa to help the story. You can't start it with, "I got divorced" because that doesn't mean anything without context. You can't say, "I was married to this shrew" because then there's no loss, just relief! Originally, I decided to tell about how my relationship with Rosa grew and changed and, eventually, self-destructed because that's what loss is about and it puts the next few years into perspective. But I'm glad to find that I'm taking something else away from it. The whole point of this is to come to terms with my last marriage and the loss of that before I start my next one and, without knowing it, I'm doing that much more that I had originally intended.
Yesterday, as I was paying the dentist for an hour of torture, the receptionist and I were talking about where the wedding would be. She'd known someone who got married at the Hacienda and told me that she loved it. She asked me, "Is this your first?"
And the answer caught in my throat. "No. This is my second."
And now I know the first one wasn't all bad. I wasn't a horrible person.
And the second one will be even better.