I know you said that you were planning on being less nice to people, but the letter you wrote me was one of the nicest letters I've ever received and if that's what you mean by 'growing your kindness' then I think you're nailing it dear friend. It was the kind of letter that made me keep going back to reread it and I found myself nodding a lot in agreement and having imaginary conversations with you in my head about all your different points.
One of the things that people in therapy do is that they get to a point where they can pretty much predict what their therapist would say about any given situation. Their therapist becomes the voice in their head. With my little reading people I try to do the same thing. I want them to hear me saying "Make your reading sound like talking" or "Does that make sense? Can you say that?" and then I want them to act on those things they've heard me say without me ever having to utter a word. I want them to hear me every time they pick a book up, until my voice is their voice, and then eventually they don't need to hear those directions any more.
So when I read your words about your fractured friendships I could hear my therapist's voice telling me how things are never black and white. How happenings are to do with what we think they're to do with, and also to do with a whole lot of other things as well. I'm sorry to hear that those two friendships have gone west, but I bet my bottom dollar that those friends (at first I typed fiends. I should have left it there for dramatic effect) are as much to blame as you. Might a little bit of time put you all in a place where things can either be discussed or left to rest? Might stubbornness and apathy turn out to be a much needed cooling off period? At any rate, please don't blame yourself for your half without taking stock of the whole picture. My therapist always tells me that I'm just not powerful enough for everything to be my fault.
I was forced to look at Ben through new glasses last week (this is Nitagate I'm discussing now). I happened to notice on his Facebook page a post from a woman asking him how work was going and posting a holiday pic of some beautiful place. I'm always asking him who fancies him at work; he's very handsome and he works with a lot of boring bankers so it stands to reason that there must be someone (or someones) who think he's a dish. He always says 'No one' and I always say 'Whaaaaat, you're so spunky, there has to be someone!'
After seeing this post I suggested to him that without a doubt the postee fancied him and he said yes, she did, but she was gone from the bank now. He reminded me who she was: the woman who had been having a fling with the older married man at work. The pretty one I'd met at the park that time when I was huffing and puffing after running 7kms and she hadn't broken a sweat after running 20.
Ben hadn't done anything wrong. Neither had Nita. She'd just fancied him and he'd known it and not really minded. I wasn't finding out about an affair. There were no strained conversations or tears of hurt between us. He told me shamelessly because he had nothing to be ashamed of. It was just that I looked at him and realized that nothing is completely safe. You could lose somebody you don't want to lose just because someone else decides they want them. This woman was so pretty and so much younger than me and I was forced to confront the fact that I'm relying on the attractiveness of an intelligent mind, on 15 years of love and great depths of goodwill to get us through. Is that enough? (It's hard to tell as while Ben is the most loyal man in the world he is also simply terrible at saying anything reassuring or comforting.) I am left to presume that for now it's enough. It will have to be enough Michael - it's all I've got in my arsenal.
You're right about Arlo - he has a soft spot as big as a wedding pavlova and he kisses me and hugs me and loves me fiercely a lot of the time. I love him right back. And I'm with you about Skype: kissing and hugging and fierce love are so much harder to achieve through that medium. Anyone who tells you differently needs a time out. Skype is better the no Skype but holding hands is better than video calls.
If you could have a superpower what would it be? Ben would like to be able to read people's minds - not to find out their secrets but rather to be able to figure out exactly what they're saying to him and why. My chosen superpower would be to be able to make other people's sadnesses go away. I would make you and your boys be in the same place. I would magic away the brutalness of missing.
Last time I wrote I forgot to mention the John Butler Trio song that you posted the link to. I had never heard it before, and the best treat was that it was instant love. I only had to listen to it once to immediately download it and listen to it 20 times. It took me to a place that shimmers right on the edges of my memory. A place where when I try to catch sight of it, it disappears. Do you know what I mean? I feel like maybe it's somewhere I was when I was about 17 but that might be because that's where you sit in my memory.
This last week I've been listening to some old Guns'n'Roses, and some Coldplay and a little bit of David Gray. Here is a favorite of mine; I couldn't chose a total favorite by Coldplay - there are too many and they're too good, but there's some beauty in this one.
At our local supermarket there are TVs with music videos playing on them. That is one of my favorite parts of the supermarket shop - seeing what's coming next on those screens. I didn't go to the supermarket today so I'm out of the loop regarding what played on those screens, but I did go out without a coat on today and I didn't pay the price, so I'm in the loop as far as warmth and sunshine are concerned. My feelings reflected the weather. And Grandma came home from her exciting adventure around the world and delighted Arlo beyond compare with her presence and presents. He said 'Thank you Grandma" many times. It wasn't enough to stop a tantrum at teatime but he was open to negotiations and you can't ask for more than that.
At the weekend you'll probably write back to this. I'll be looking forward to it. And then on Tuesday I'll write back to you. It seems like that's how this thing is gonna roll.
Sending you much love,