Once upon a time, I loved a man. Very much.
A few weeks before I met him, I had met another love. I had only spent an afternoon with this other love, this country, as it was not yet time for us to be together. When we got separated at the border, I sobbed as though ripped apart from myself.
Mexico had entered my heart.
During the years spent with this man I loved so very much, I sometimes mentioned my other love to him. I spoke of going back, of making a new life in that country I ached for.
This hurt him.
Sometimes he told me so with his words and sometimes his eyes told me.
After several years, our lives took different paths. It was painful. Our love never fully died, it shifted. Eventually there was room for me to speak of my other love to him without hurting him so much.
Once, a few years ago, he took care of my pup while I went to Mexico for a few weeks.
Eventually, I was able to move to Mexico indefinitely and even though we missed each other, we both knew it was right, that it was time.
We spoke often on the phone.
He urged me to buy land, down there. Down here.
One day, he told me about his new love and I knew that she was going to be a very special part of his life.
This week, he, his beautiful love and I got to share a long hug and several meals in a sunny part of the US. As family.
On a crisp, blue skied morning, this man I love very much held me tight as they both dropped me off in front of the Mexican consulate in Arizona where I was finally going to receive my resident visa.
A couple of hours later they picked me up in a shiny white convertible Mustang and were the first to see my newly adorned passport.
Then the three of us spent the day playing, talking, eating - and celebrating the richness of Life’s surprises and gifts.
Together, we spun more love.
As soon as I hear about it, my heart cracks for him.
Then the busy whodunnit human mind wants to know: What happened?
Was it a parting gift from a never diagnosed but likely bit of Covid, left on her front porch after ringing the bell and running like hell before she could open the door?
Or was it her body’s overflow at 60 years of non-stop smoking?
Or maybe it was her human makeup saying that two vaccines and a booster was too much weirdness?
Like many things these days, I will have to drop it in my WTFK file.
My growing, almost soothing Who The Fuck Knows file.
What I do know is that as I hear his voice across the phone last night, across the miles, the border, the Gulf of Mexico, my heart breaks.
“The nurse told us on the phone that she walked 100 feet today,” I say. He didn’t know. He likes this.
He tells me that he sat with her as she did her therapy and as one of his last grading assignments, he gave her a C+. I can feel him smile through the terror.
We both laugh at her confusion about being asked what day it is because heck, we don’t know that either. “These are not very good questions” he comments.
Hearing him laugh helps and aches at the same time. I’m not completely sure he’s not doing it for me.
I bet it’s been a long day.
When I ask about him, he tells me about her.
Tonight he’ll sleep alone in their bed for one of the few nights in the last 55 years.
I tell him he must eat. He tells me that he’s boiling a few shrimp.
I know she’ll be okay no matter what because that’s who she is.
She’ll find a way to boss everyone around at the rehab center, and they’ll still fall in love with her. Infuriating and enchanting.
My mother in law.
Because as she was lecturing loudly to all of us here in Mexico just a few weeks ago: family is family and we don’t throw family away. I have heard these words from her for the last 35 years.
The new day starts here and the roosters are busy making sure we know it.
I hope he slept.
I hope he ate more than five shrimp.
I hope today he gives her a B - and I hope hope hope that she is back in their bed next to him soon, bossing him around and rolling her eyes at him not remembering what day it is.
Then, she stopped running. She stopped pushing, pulling.
She stopped running.
She looked around and decided that nothing needed repairing, really.
Not today, for sure.
She checked her bank account and decided that it was enough.
Her fridge was full.
She looked inside her closet and found that it only had invitations she could say yes to.
Her kids were good. Forming their life chapters in their very own way. A way she recognized and made her heart smile.
Her dog was sleeping in the sun and her cat was taking as much room on the bed as a baby tiger.
Her mind whispered that surely she could create something. That her bank account could go away, her clothes shrink and the floor fan break (at first, she spelled it "flan")
She knew the whispering. She knew its tempting way. She smiled at it and blew it a kiss.
Then she climbed into her orange hammock with a book. Which she may or may not read.
After forty years, she had stopped running.