noun: farce; plural noun: farces
1. a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations.
I met Lucas while I worked at Whole Foods; I worked in the bakery and he was a regular at the store. I would later find out he was a fine amateur chef. Later still he would become a professional, but that was some time after us. When he showed interest in me I told him I was 2 months pregnant and in the process of an open adoption. He asked for my number. Our first date was on Valentines Day in 1998 at a nice Italian place with great lighting. He was older than me, by 29 years, which didn’t make me blink but caused it’s own kind of tension outside of us.
To say I was rough around the edges was an understatement and I still have no idea why we worked, but we did. Lucas lead his life in a very singular fashion. It didn’t matter if he was by himself, there would be a full dinner, seating, and candlelight. He seemed to live in a different era, well beyond the age difference. He taught me about wine, food and opera. I gave him tickets to NYC Metropolitan Opera’s Lohengrin for his birthday and he spent hours going over the translations with me, so I understood and could appreciate it when we actually went. He went to every lamaze class and OBGYN appointment. We made each other laugh. His friends thought he was insane and were varying degrees of hostile with one or two exceptions. It would take me another decade to realize how totally bizarre and uncomfortable the whole pairing seemed from the outside.
I have never had a family to deal with and my friends had drifted away in the face of our lives disparities. They worried about curfew, grades and allowance, and I worried about my electric bill, work schedule and birth plan. It wasn’t malicious, we just didn’t have any common ground. He became a lot of my life and I enjoyed his passion and patience. Lucas always had a child like joy about the world and whatever thing he was focused on.
When I finally gave birth to the boy, Lucas was there. Afterwards he took me away and I think that simple distraction allowed me to stave off the initial insanity. We went to California and visited San Francisco, Carmel, Big Sur and Napa Valley.
In San Francisco we stayed at a B&B on California Street. I remember laying in the giant tub, that was so big, I had a hard time not sliding under. I looked through the water at myself and my hands explored a landscape I didn’t recognize. MY breasts were full, swollen and hurting; sustenance with no mouth to feed. My belly was a war zone. The boy had not dropped until the very end and my skin had no stretch marks prior to that event. All of the sudden, seemingly overnight, it looked as if some giant clawed creature had played with my skin, making dark purple rivulets from my just above my belly button to the top of my pubis. The skin was flaccid, sore and felt dead to me.
Just 2 weeks ago it was filled with life, I was a bearer of life and now my body was as ruined as me.
In Big Sur, we had dinner at a restaurant that seemed to touch the clouds and I wondered fi I could walk out into the sky and disappear into the waves below. I felt like all the beauty was wasted on me.
Lucas was personified patience and i managed to go out with him but often had to stay in or leave unexpectedly and retreat to our rooms. I just wasn’t capable of the farce for very long anymore.
I had spent most of my life, playing this part, tough, straight talking and above all else, someone who didn’t let emotions rule action. I didn’t get bullied as a child despite my idiosyncrasies, but I beat the bullies up and collected my band of misfits. I held people’s hands, and made appointments for the clinic, I didn’t pull punches or hide from hard truths. I was a person that viewed sex and love very separately and was considered cold for it. I could be found in libraries and bookstores, filling notebooks. I was many things, a survivor, a fighter, a hard worker, a smart cookie…I was not this sniveling mess cupping her belly and leaking from her breasts.
I wasn’t this misshapen creature with no idea how to get through a conversation or a simple day from beginning to end without a full on breakdown. I hadn’t cried when my mother died, when my grandparents put me back in foster care or whenever I found myself alone and lacking resources, I WAS NOT this person.
I broke apart and didn’t know how to put myself back together again. I didn’t know much right then but I knew I couldn’t pretend I recognized myself or the relationship that had sustained me during this period. I was playing at being capable and strong and doing it badly.
We came back to NJ and I broke it off with Lucas. He deserved better and I needed to find less kindness, less patience and less love. I couldn’t stand it.
“When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.”
~ Set Yourself on Fire by Stars