On Monday, I lived a day I envisioned when I rented my apartment. I went for a three-mile walk in the morning to run some personal errands and start some of my Christmas shopping. I navigated around downtown, counting on the muscle memory of my younger days to lead me. My bum knee began to hurt after a time, so I Ubered it back to Discovery, (my apartment) enjoying, really enjoying, all the sights along the way.
After putting away the packages and having a cup of tea, I adventured out to a coffee shop right below my apartment to do some writing. I sat, sipping my delicious teas, and writing another chapter in my third book. I ventured back to Discovery to eat my dinner and get ready for a night of Trivia in my apartment complex.
Let me just say, my mind is a storage unit for useless information. I struggle with calculating a tip at a restaurant, but I can tell you the cartoon Arthur began twenty-three years ago. And please don’t tell me tricks to calculate a tip because I will never retain it. It’s not how the wheels in my mind run. They do, however, move in an almost-Savant way to recall facts long forgotten by most. I have a laser-sharp focus on trivial facts. Numbers? Not even a flicker of light. I mean, those things are just nuisances. And now you have a glimpse into the frustration I sometimes caused Peter, yet he loved me anyway.
I was scared to go to Trivia Night. I blasted texts out to my daughter and friends telling them just how frightened I felt. It was a pretty big step into the uncomfortable, surrounded by people I did not know, and using a skill I was good at, sure, but probably possessed by most of them there.
When I entered the room in the apartment building where it was being held, I felt like the new girl in a lunchroom. Where should I sit? Who should I talk to? Will they like me? For a grown-ass woman to feel this crap all over again, was a nightmare. Death handed over fistfuls of insecurities I haven’t held since seventh grade once Peter died. Peter was my touchstone, my fall back, and on Monday night, it was just me, solo act me, trying to balance without him as my net.
I ended up being on a team with two other people, stragglers without a team. Two other teams were already formed in friendship. The room was full of young people…like I could have been all their mothers young. My own team consisted of a man who graduated college when I was giving birth to my second child, and a woman who was born when Clinton began his first term. They didn’t understand a Joe Marino clue (dolphins) and I only knew one of the ten songs in the 1997 category. Somehow though, we flowed together; each of us took from what the other could offer.
I can say this in all honesty, I had fun. And yes, we won which was the cherry on the top for a competitive person like me. My team of three , beat out teams of eight and six. My Arthur information actually came in handy, as did knowing Arnold Schwargzneger was 1973 Mr. Olympia, and Chaka Kahn was the lead singer for Rufus. (Sidenote: I also knew Gerald Ford was one of six presidents that served in the Navy, but my teammates doubted me on this. If I wasn’t a newbie, I would have sung I told you so when Ford was in fact named as part of the answer. But, I was, so I didn’t. Of course, that didn’t stop me from pointing out to them and the room, age gave me wisdom. They laughed…I hope with me.)
So, yeah, Monday went well, what I hoped it to be – a new independent, me, trying out the different life I was handed, however reluctantly. I tried on my widow shoes and started to learn to walk. I ‘ve been walking in them a little at a time since Peter died, only they were too uncomfortable to keep on. On Monday, the shoes were starting to break in a little. I still have a long way to go until I can stop my wobbles, even my falls. And I know I will continue to get blisters caused by the constant rubbing of Grief. But at least Monday, I walked in them anyway.
Then, on Tuesday, coming back home, to face the realities of a house filled with memories, projects, stuff, and messes, the place Grief takes over, I had a hard time even standing. I sobbed and cried and begged and wept and pleaded for the pain to go away. It’s what happens when Grief takes over.
Discovery is not a place to mask the grief. Rather, it’s a place to show me the other side. To let me know I can live a life as a solo act, of doing my passion, and continue with a broken heart. Discovery is not to erase the memories of Peter, rather move with the memories of Peter. And it doesn’t mask the reality of all I have to do in order to move on but gives me a bit of a break until I move on again.
So, I will always have Monday and I will hold onto that. I will look to it as an example of what can be, hopefully, will be. Once I can clean up the messes, put away the stuff, finish the projects, embrace the memories, and get things ready to walk away from home, Peter and my home, my widow shoes will be broken in more. Maybe to the point of the most an almost comfortable fit, I felt in a long time. Until then, I’ll keep on trying…at Discovery and at home.