There were two prompts really… One, writer self-care, was to write in a place you don’t usually write, notice the difference in self and mood. I took myself to the river, to the place where the fishermen’s have trampled the grass and left me a place to sit, and the river runs a bit deeper and slower.
The other, the writing prompt, was about what do we carry with us, what is in out pockets or purse. The only thing i really carry in my pockets are work related (knife, phone, paper scraps, malt bag strings), so I’m using the far more interesting talismans I carry in my messenger bag.
The first is an oracle coin; hamsas, clouds and the word YES on one side, a winged skeleton and the word NO on the other. It’s big and weighty, like two toonies weighty. Substantial. I don’t use it often, but I like having it for when I want to put some randomness into my life.
The other is a tiny version of the Travellers Notebook, released for their 10th anniversary. I refused to buy a tin at $40, but bought two at $10. Once I put it together, I got caught in my what if I wreck it what if I run out of pages, it needs to be perfect loop of inaction. After staring at it for months, I hand wrote the Laughing Heart poem by Charles Bukowski in it. It’s my reminder to live my best badass life.
The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski
your life is your life don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission. be on the watch. there are ways out. there is light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness. be on the watch. the gods will offer you chances. know them. take them. you can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wait to delight in you. — by Charles Bukowski
I saw The Specials the other night with Katherine and Michael.
It was a spectacular show, bringing back memories and leaving me energized and sore (I should have warmed up before dancing that much).
But that’s not what I want to write about. I want to write about the fact that Andrew was there.
Since the conversation with Sarah where she revealed that he had slept with Billie before we even got married (oh, how I hated seeing some of those weirdly shaped puzzle pieces finally fall into place), I had spent far too much time imagining what would happen in our inevitable chance encounter. Inevitable not because we run in the same circles, but because you just know that you will run into your ex at some point in your life. The world is always smaller than you think.
Should I glare, sneer, give him the cold shoulder? Maybe I should confront him, ask why cheat, why go through with the wedding, why gaslight me into thinking all our problems were my fault, why accuse me of cheating when it was him all along?
So many fucking whys.
I never really stopped and thought, do I really need to know?
I picked at the small unsealing scab for years. Rage and hurt and betrayal would bubble to the surface again and again. I knew this was not good for me, yet I could not stop.
I was not blameless. I know that. I but did not fuck someone else before getting married, and then still getting married.
And all my friends knew. Even my best friend at the time who stood up with me.
I’m standing in the lobby of the Opera House, waiting for Katherine to buy a T-shirt, and look across the room to see him looking at me.
He knows it’s me. He’s got a deer-in-the-headlights long stare of recognition on his face.
I notice he’s embraced his baldness (finally) and shaved his head.
I notice he’s put on weight (so have I), gotten jowly (so have I), has grown a beard to try and mask it.
I notice what hair I can see has gone grey (so has mine).
I notice he is surrounded by friends, laughing and joking, not noticing how still he’s become. There’s a woman with silver-streaked dark hair who I assume is his Zoe, standing beside him and looking up at him with smiling affection.
Katherine interrupts my staring with a funny comment. I look away from Andrew and laugh loudly. When I look back, he’s gone.
OK, I’ll admit I laughed louder than I should have, loud enough to cut through the murmur of the crowd. I’m pretty sure he thinks I was laughing at him. I’ll admit i hope so. Unless he has changed dramatically in the last 22 years, there are few things he hates more than feeling like he is being laughed at.
It’s small and petty of me, but I am ok with him thinking that. I’m not perfect.
But really, I find I no longer care. My happiness with my life right now can be ok with his happiness.
I find I no longer want to know why. I no longer need to.
3:14am: wake up, remember that I set the alarm for an hour earlier, set it back to the usual time and go back to sleep until 4:40
4:40am: alarm goes off, hit snooze
4:54am: realize I turned it off instead of snooze, and that if I don’t get up now, I won’t.
5:04am: out the door.
5:30ish: see a glorious sunrise over Georgian Bay from the top of Blue Mountain. I’m tempted to pull over and take a photo, but I already have scads of glorious sunrise shots. I hope I never grow tired of this.
5:40: at work. I revel in the silence of being the first one in while I pull on my boots and look for my knife. Then it’s turn on the Sonos (brewing like a mofo playlist), and get going.
5:46: get brewhouse ready, start mashing in the new lager. Have an impromptu solo dance party on the brewhouse when Rock The Casbah by the Clash comes on.
6:10ish: mash in and program started. I get my hoses sorted, take the ph of the mash and the sour.
6:30: realize the HLT is not heating. The usual tricks don’t work, so I spend the next 15-20 minutes wiggling connections, getting tools and cursing.
6:45ish: realize that the HLT is not heating because I have not turned on the boilers and compressor. More cursing, at myself this time, and turn them on.
6:50am: mill the next brew. It’s a small one, only 20 bags, but I can already feel how my hands are going to hurt tomorrow. Time to admit to myself and Dave that I am 57, have arthritis, and can’t do everything. I curse some more.
7:30am: milling done. Down to the brewhouse and start the wort line CIP. Hear the splashing noise that means I did not notice that Oliver left the overflow valve open. Turn off the pump, close the valve, start over. More cursing.
7:45 – take a break. Finish my coffee and wish I had another one. I can get one upstairs but it’s a Keurig. Keith has spoiled me for other coffees.
7:55 – decide to sit outside but am stopped by the sight of a dead bird in front of the door, it’s neck broken from flying into the glass. It’s the sight of it’s mate standing close by, not moving that makes me want to cry. I can’t bear to watch Coleson move it to the trees with a shovel.
8:15 – upstairs making coffee. I tripped going up the stairs and banged my knee. Of course I’d have to do this post on one of those days. Sigh.
8:36 – “huh, why is the level on the lauter tun sight tubes so high?” I ask myself as I climb up to the brewhouse with my coffee. Because, dear idiot, you have left the valve open to put the foundation water in rather than using the flow meter like you have for the last year and a half. Cue me dumping a third of the hot liquor tank down the drain. Fuck me, is the whole day going to be like this?!?
8:46 – apparently it is. Customer walked in wanting to buy beer. I left the door open after the bird incident. But who tries to buy beer in this province at 8:46 anyway?!?
9:00 – mash in second lager. So far, so good.
10:15 – it’s been an hour, and I haven’t forgotten anything or screwed up. Maybe, just maybe…..
10:39 – helping on the canning line to free Keith to mill for me. A fair exchange.
11:29 – wort line rinsed, mash almost done, lauter tun entire and rinsed. I have 10 minutes before a hop addition. Time to eat.
12:20pm – country and western on the Sonos. Trying hard to ignore it.
1:03pm – first brew cooling out, second one sparking band the third in the mash tun. And an hour to go!
2:15 – Done! No more incidents of slight stupidity!
2:45 – Using up the rest of my Craft Cider Passport today, first stop the Cheese Gallery in Thornbury for a cheese pairing with some Spy Cider’s offerings. The cider maker is there, someone I’ve met when I first started at Side Launch (can’t remember his name), with an extra sample of a very delicious organic MacIntosh cider.
3:12 – To Thornbury Cider, for two very sweet ciders and a chocolate brownie with whipped cream. Insta-headache. Grace is working there now, it was good to do a brief catch-up.
4:00 – Aaahhhh. Coffin Ridge. So glad I left this to the last again. Excellent cider and a thoughtful pairing. Add in a glorious view from a comfortable chair, and the sound of a bullfrog from the little pond in the barn ruins, and it was a perfect end to the day.
I wish I was the kind of person who could cry freely, who could weep and wail and teat at her hair and clothing and let it all out. And once it was all out, it would be like after a summer thunderstorm, cleansed and fresh and ready to move on.
Instead, I suppress because I have the background that I have; repressed. I hold it in, push it down. A few tears might leak out, a few sobs or cries. But no more. It leaves me feeling worse, with a headache and scratchy dry eyes.
I’m going to look at 2013 as the year of the plot twist, and move on. I’m not saying that life went wrong, but it certainly had an unexpected detour. I thank my beloved, my family and my friends for all the times they talked me off the ledge by reminding me that I have both mad skills, intelligence and the support of the people around me.
I like this representation of my year, a mosaic of all of the daily photos. Going by this, 2013 wasn’t as bad as all that.