Scotland. We’re driving the silver rental car over narrow, gravelly road. Our destination, the second-floor Scottish pub, resides on a dead-end ally. Then we’re parked. Right side of the street, the front bumper pointing to steps that lead to giant Woden doorway. Up the stairs, then through the ornately giant door.
Shiny, caramel wood walls. And bar. The left side of spacious the pub is all glass. Windows. And random stained glass–flowers, a cross, a colorful, happy mosaic. Outside is grey. Wet. Scotland feels like we’re always walking through clouds.
Now: Vegetarian food hunt. J sits on a bar still, and I climb onto a bar stool. Onion soup, shouts the white writing on the chalkboard. We are meandering in the highlands, with Cawdor Casting today (or tomorrow’s) destination. J orde soup and a beer. Ireland, Scotland. I never acquire a taste for beer. I have developed a taste for cider. cider an. And some fried stuff. Later I’ll ask J. to stop at a market so I can get some cookies.
Now, a local asks us where we’re from. We are told that this man’s son is currently in New York, but the father doesn’t seem to know why, exactly. He drops his shoulders and laughs. We laugh too. We’ve observed that Scottish people have big smiles and big laughs, so it never feels super gloomy here. Not really.
We haven’t yet been invited to the Scottish boy’s birthday party, that happens later. We’ll see a young man lifted up, while sitting in a chair, and he’ll be carried around the large room to pick up the pound notes his friends and family are waving at him.
I’ve been coping better in unfamiliar places. J. has, without purpose, made this happen. I never feel unsafe with him. He’s confident, he’s the smartest person I’ve ever known—that never changes. It took me some time to realize I was safe, with him. I’d never known what it felt like to be safe. It gave me a sense of safety that would grow, allow me to take a lot risks. Taking risks, with J. is what forced me to start living.
Making a few stops along the way, I wander back to sleep. I wanted to travel more. I wanted to go back to that super Scottish road that wound and wound and wound. I then woke up in Hawaii. That was okay. I loved waking up there. Especially Kauai.
It wasn’t our honeymoon. It was when we stayed closer to the North Shore. We drove our shiny blue rental car to a spot on the road where there was a sign that pointed to the right side of the road. We parked there and hiked down a slippery path, down to a beach. We walked through all the trees and mud, and then to the sand. We set up on the beach. We saw fish. We swam in endless Every time I got into the water in Kauai I was in awe of the warmth of the ocean. Every time. I’d no idea that the ocean could be so warm. It wasn’t in Half Moon Bay. Or Humbolt. Or Mendocino. Those were the only oceans I’d been in, until I met J.
Someone said, “Be careful. Watch out for jellyfish.” That freaked me out. But it was okay. When I was with J. I was okay. I knew I always would be okay
I woke up. I was in my art gallery. I loved my gallery. J. came by to set something up on my computer. I’d been looking at the DWR catalog. I wanted to get J. something nice. I wanted to get him something to sit in, something that was beautiful, and wouldn’t be uncomfortable. I wanted him to be able to be comfortable and didn’t tweak his back. I was researching the Eames Lounge Chair. And Ottoman. It was beautiful. I knew he’d love it, but wouldn’t ever buy it for himself
I was sipping a cranberry martini that J. made—when I started waking up. In this room. In Dallas. I hadn’t opened my eyes and I don’t want to. Ever.
I never wanted to believe all of the things I knew were true, about me, for other people. I’m a piece of shit. And I’m insane. It says so right on my medical records. So far today, so many times, I’ve wished I could rewrite my story. And, now, I see a life, my life, that hasn’t stopped living even though I’m no longer living there.
Every day I wake up all over the world. I think about how to stop the incessant waking the fuck up. So far, none of my attempts have worked. The other day, I woke up in Ireland. We’d just hit a cow. And I went to sleep in Dallas. By myself. Knowing that the biggest memory loss I’m living with is the fact that I’m hardly a memory, for anyone, anymore. I hope that, soon, I wake up in that little white villa, in Andalucia. We drive to the convent, with that 5′ wide, windy road, and we ate those delicious chocolate treats the nuns cooked. J. purchased a flower from a nun. He gave me the flower. I hope that I wake up again here, soon. And that I never go back to sleep.
I find some yarn, at the bottom of a bag of of a tangled yarn. I know this yarn. This yarn is a soft merino wool. It’s been dyed by an artist in California. This wool is varied in hue, all shades of deep green, like a bunch of olives. The strands of this yarn are not too thin, just thin enough. It’s a very strong and beautiful fiber.
I pick it up, it’s as strong and as soft as I remember. I don’t want to know why I have it. I don’t want to know that I have it because I want to knit him a hat with this yarn. I don’t want to know the exact pattern for this yarn that, perfectly, will reflect the red in his hair. I drop the yarn. I’ll pick it up again.