Love changes everything.
It is very clear now that Peggy was right when she said the word “love” changes everything. You can’t quite take it back once it escapes.
Worse still is the nature of this relationship: a younger, more experience woman loving an aging, naïve man, a fine enough concept when egos are left out. But a strange relationship, too, like a dream come true with unexpected twists.
I’ve gone through so many mood changes this last week, I don’t know where I am filled with panic and jealous, and at the same intense passion. I can’t pretend to remotely know the woman I claim to love.
I keep trying to anticipate the pitfalls before I fall into them, sticking out one careful foot to test these new waters of so-called love.
I’ve nearly blown this relationship a number of times, because of all the secrecy that surrounds her, and because my imagination must fill the void, working up scenarios that may or may not exist.
She reads me and my moods with an accuracy that scares the crap out of me, as if have a window in my chest revealing everything about me. She knows when I’m upset, although not always why.
Even when I struggled not to impose things on her, my moods get in the way, panic threatening to ruin something great I might treasure the rest of my life.
I’ve never felt so strongly about anyone – although I am as foolish as a teenager, and Peggy seems the more mature one in this partnership.
But I’m threatened by her experiences, when I know they could be the source of immense adventure and sensual joy.
This typical male part of me aching to possess her, and needs to pretend like there could be no other men in her life.
I actually believe there are no other men, but that she is merely keeping her options open. She needs space in which she can feel free and not trapped, even as her own emotions push her deeper into a relationship with me.
Openness is an issue. I can’t always tell her about things that bother men, when for years I’ve hidden them inside myself, letting no one touch me too deeply where I might get seriously hurt.
I find that in order to keep Peggy, in order to survive as a loving being, I must open my soul – this man of secrets allowing Peggy to walk through me.
It is the basis for trust, but only if she is willing to do the same, and she has not done so.
I am also reluctant to have her see some things about me of which I am ashamed, my closet full of skeletons that might make her think less of me.
This scares me to the point of self-destruction, where I might discard her love or have her walk away with it.
And this after she finally broke down and used the word “love” with me.
It makes all the difference in the world.
Peggy has the urge to run because things are going to bad in the rest of her life.
Her unconscious mind seems to be seeking to destroy that part of her life which has succeeded, because she can’t get the other part of her life to cooperate.
Last night, her car stalled on the way to work – some sign from the cosmos perhaps that her life is on the wrong track.
But lately, she claims she’s felt trapped with herself, and is looking for some excuse to slip back into the wild and carefree life she once had with her best friend, Marsha.
She seems to see the breakdown of her car as a sign she should.
She doesn’t seem able to bring herself to face her responsible half, and won’t do those things necessary to get herself out of trouble her wild past has gotten her into.
She told me yesterday that she is too young to be doing what she’s doing now – this I suppose means building a solid relationship with me – and that her friends are still “down the ladder” from her and that she means to get back there.
Things have her scared, especially, I think, her love for me. She’s afraid to get tied down to a single human being and a specific way of life.
She seems to believe that the bad thing happening to her lately are a sign from the gods that she is going in the wrong direction, in trying to go straight and give up drugs and dancing for a more responsible life in the rule-oriented world of corporate America.
It is difficult for me to listen to all her talk about “taking off,” and getting back to those things she did in the past.
Now that I’ve found her, I’m losing her again.
My great hope lies in her conservative side and that part of her that has always gravitated towards being responsible.
She’s at a critical point in her life, where she has to make a choice, has to resist the lure of the past for a sound, and happy future. The first road will only lead her to absolute destruction, the other to possible personal salvation.
If she chooses the wrong road now, it will be much more difficult later – if not impossible – to turn herself around again.
And I can’t afford to follow her down it either.
Perhaps the whole thing hinges on how she feels about me and whether or not she is willing to lose me in order to pursue her past.
I’m hoping love is stronger than her urge to die, and that she will accept me as part of her salvation, not her savior, she must be her own savior, just someone who might help her climb out of the mud in which she seems to have become stuck.
There is, of course, my own flaws. I am emotionally frail. I have already shown weakness and jealous, and I am no model of virtue. But these are no insurmountable problems and Peggy is more than worth the trouble of my conquering them, if she chooses the right road in her life.
It is a fine spring day – one of two which the month of May has graced us with, Mary’s month, a supposed time of flowers, not rain.
It is also the month of my birth and I like rain, needing the gray skies and wet streets to express my various melancholies – although in truth, the sunshine fits my mood best today, sun rising over the top of the highway bridge.
Yesterday was a wonderful day, and considering the mantic, depressive state which has dominated my life as of late, it may have been one of the best days of my life.
Peggy was swinging the word “love” around with both fists.
But the reason for my happiness is more complicated than that,
I may be coming to grips with myself.
Over the last few weeks, I have been full of self-pity, wanting something from Peggy which she is not ready to give – and perhaps never will be. I’ve been jealous and petty, full of feelings I thought had died in me in my youth, but which came back so readily that they still scare me.
Where is the progress I thought I made over the last 15 years, the sense of growth that supposedly distinguishes me from my younger, more immature self?
So foolish am I that I can easily see myself repeating word for word all the failed relationships I’ve had in the past.
Yesterday – for one day at least – I had a small victory in beating back that immaturity. It is not a permanent victory, but one that tells me that I can win over my darker side if I put some effort into it.
I was still reeling from the previous night and with my childish images of love and what I was supposed to get out of it, and how I wasn’t, realizing at one moment yesterday that I have someone wonderful in my life, who cares for me and that I’m missing it for all of my immature fears.
Why do people like me need to own love? Why can’t we take it and enjoy it while we have it, instead of causing its destruction by trying to nail it down?
Yesterday – at least for that day – I decided to enjoy Peggy and not paint us both into a corner with unnecessary demands – and to give her more love when my insecurities try to convince me that I’m being cheated.
She has love and tenderness to give, filling me with hugs and kisses with unexpected generosity at times.
Perhaps this has been the cure for my desperation all along, to show and mean love, not merely to demand and take it.
But as I said, it is but one small victory in a very emotional battle.
It is Monday morning, the day after Mother’s Day, a significant time in my life because this month’s disasters usually spread the seeds of next fall’s more positive harvest – at least emotionally for me.
This spring I find myself reverting back to my youth, struggling with issues of self worth and future goals – although the emotional turmoil over the last few days has left me too exhausted to care about anything but making it through each day.
Life with Peggy and my uncle Rich has been an up and down affair, with me desperately trying to keep some sense of order.
On Thursday, I made dinner for both of them. Things went well. I found a strange sense of peace briefly.
I rocked in Peggy’s arms at Peggy’s mother’s house and made love to her on her mother’s bed, and woke up in time from the love-sleep later to even get to work on time.
I also managed during that afternoon to – by no great talent of my own – fix Peggy’s car.
By Friday afternoon, however, all this had changed.
She called me up early in the afternoon telling me I had to come over and help her get her car. She had left it at her apartment and had slept over at her mother’s. I figured on getting a few more hours of sleep and offered her a compromise, saying I’ll be over in about an hour and a half.
This wasn’t good enough.
So 40 minutes later, bleary-eyed I rushed up to her mother’s door to find Peggy seated on a beach chair smiling at me, her bear legs propped up, she saying she needed me.
We sat there for another 40 minutes – 40 minutes more I could have slept.
Then we came and went, back and forth, until I was so weary I didn’t know if I was coming or going, and in a fit of kindness, after all was over, Peggy told me to go home and get some sleep.
I took this badly, hurt and angry. I hadn’t come over just to be sent home after all her chores were done. It became a moment of pain for both of us and resulted in me calling work to tell them I would not be in.
This is a bad habit I’ve developed, but one that made serious sense at that moment. I was involved romantically, and I needed time with her or it would all fall apart.
Then her car failed to start again. This time it was something electrical; the battery was dead for no apparent reason – wires touching metal somewhere and something I wasn’t likely able to fix.
I drove her home, she making me promise that the car would be all right in the morning.
I wasn’t so sure.
“Promise me, Alfred!” she instead. “I need for you to lie to me.”
So I lied. Badly. But it was enough to relax her.
We made love again, and then again. But in the middle of the night several important things happened. Serious words popped up between us such as ‘love,” “babies,” and “marriage.”
I managed to twist all of these into a knot that left Peggy hurt and angry.
But this meant something more than just another down on the roller coaster. They represented a way of thinking that didn’t exactly leave me feeling secure.
The fact that Peggy mentioned them mean she was thinking in those terms, positively or negatively, and I still don’t know which.
The next day she said she loved me a little less because of it.
We went back to work on her car. Another miracle occurred: it started.
We spent a great deal of time talking with her mother when she got there. Then Peggy and I went back to her apartment, and from there I went to work.
In the morning, I took my uncle back to the mental hospital, and slept a few hours only to be woken around one by Peggy who wanted to know what was what.
Then she told me to go back to sleep. I tried. But Mother’s day was saved for mothers and the road of motorcycles on my street.
Warm days had returned, letting people loose on the streets. There was no way to sleep through that racket.
Then, Peggy and I became parents for Mother’s Day, escorting the grandson of Peggy’s mother’s boyfriend, Charlie – a man El Peggy said wanted to fuck, but he still hadn’t put the moves on her.
I couldn’t get over how well Peggy did playing the role of mother for Emmett, as if she had planned this and was testing us out to see how we did – how “Alfred” would do in the role of father.
In the middle of all this, Peggy managed to shock me again.
We were at the kitchen table when she began to get suggestive with a cream-filled donut, her letting her tongue linger on the hole, and then let the cream linger on the tip of her tongue. She told me later that it would have been all right if I had put my hand down her pants while we sat at the table – even with Charlie and El sitting across from us.
Then, she shocked me again. While we were seated in the living room with Charlie and El, Peggy exposed her vagina at me.
Neither of the other two saw the act, but could have easily. I was stunned.
Back at her place, we made love again, but it didn’t come easily. There are times when she simply cant’ make love with a man – some violent past event leaving her with emotional pain so acute it affects her physical ability to receive me. Whether was raped or beaten or something else, I don’t know. But it is a worry.
She doesn’t try to hide her affection – or love – for me, and in the high moments of her mania, it almost feels like the hero worship she previously reserved for John Wayne and the New York Giants.
I know I love her.
This, of course, is all part of a newly emerging cycle which may or may not last, but at times tends to be calmer and more pleasant than some of the previous incarnation.
I anticipate an extreme exotic summer if it does last.
I head off for our third separation, going south to
But I still am confused.