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A beautiful Indian summer day like this is meant to be enjoyed outside. From breakfast of caviar on toast enjoyed on the porch of the Crimson Tower Palace, we moved on to flying across the Island in a sleek little convertible, with no noticeable traffic. This is what driving was meant to be. A late lunch at a waterfront restaurant is the perfect transition from the parkway speeds. We said goodbye to the warm sunshine with drinks and an array of finger food on the back porch of the Gatehouse, lingering outside for hours after sunset in the warm evening.
I am still in shock. He managed to charm the guard at the gate of Manursing Island and we were allowed access to the very private enclave, where his grandparents had once had a home. The reason: to give me a view of the Frank Lloyd Wright house that I had been in search of for more than a decade. And there it was before my eyes, the first time I've actually seen a FLW house, even if only from the outside. What a gift, and he still doesn't understand the significance of it, just that he made me happy.
Even knowing the past history of uncaring, unfeeling, almost inhumane handling of situations by senior management, I am appalled by their latest gaffe, a simultaneous mass email to mid-management and staff detailing their Brave New World New Deal: this is how they choose to tell employees about massive changes to pay periods, 401K benefits, the anticipated zero level raises and bonuses in March, and that, yes, layoffs are coming in the next two weeks. Did this not warrant a Town Hall Meeting, or are the residents of the corner office, the CEO and SVP HR, too cowardly to face staff?
I am beginning to see a whole new possible future spread out in front of me, waiting for me to approach. It shimmers brightly, masking some of the details, but it is more wondrous than I could have ever imagined. Geoffrey sees it as well, which is the true wonder of it all. I have to remind myself that we've only known each other a month in this lifetime. I am so used to imagining my immediate future as my own personal struggle, it is difficult at times to refocus, to filter the possibilities and dreams through a different lens.
The day is filled with the anticipation of a child before a slumber party, and in fact, that's not far from the truth. I know that this will be unlike past scenarios: the arrivals at the Chelsea studio after class uptown at the IFA followed by delivered Chinese food, or getting across town to meet at the ferry and spending the evening in a cramped, noisy apartment choking on the cigarette smoke. And Phil and I almost never met during the week because of his schedule generating the image files in the computer studio. Current reality is so much better.
I am beginning to seriously hope and believe that this consulting gig could manifest itself fully-formed and truly be my next job. I daydream about giving notice at work, taking a week for myself, and then working a four day work week. I've already decided that Fridays are my "free day" to get stuff done, so that there is more time to spend with Geoffrey. Interestingly enough, it seems Dad is more accepting of the concept of the somewhat unsteady nature of consulting, but perhaps that is more a signifier of how bad things are at my current day job.
A full day, with too much to digest and interpret. An exhibition with Constable and Turner at the Met was quite disappointing and it made me hunger for the magnificent collection of the Tate in London. I remember taking time out with Rachel in 1991 to see the museum, never mind about Egyptian art I was supposed to be seeing. Geoffrey recently asked me if I wanted to go back to school, to finish the doctorate. I have never even considered it, it's not a viable option for me, alone: I'm still paying off the loans for the first go-round.
Before the full moon with a full lunar eclipse, we say goodbye to the guardians of the gate, sending away bad things with the evil face and inviting good things through the smiling face. After a dinner at Trio, complete with holding hands on the table, the eclipse was completely visible from the library window. The best viewing position was from the floor, so we curled up on the rug and enjoyed the spectacular celestial display. Another day filled with many moments of absolute beauty, peace, and happiness. There seems to be a pattern forming on days spent with himself.
After he leaves, I am left alone in the quiet house. I'm almost ambivalent: it is not a good thing, I'm not delighted to have the place to myself; but it is not a bad thing, now I can take care of chores that have been building up all week. I say almost ambivalent, as I would most definitely prefer that he was still here. I can't ignore the realities of life, working, shopping, cleaning and cooking; I need to find the rhythm of this new cycle, still getting as much done but with two nights every week spent elsewhere.
A day spent puttering around the house alone is apparently what was needed for Fionnbhear to relax enough to come snuggle for a minute. Creatures of habit, we all often need the trappings of familiar routine to be comfortable after periods of change. I believe that the impending change - hopefully, impending - will be easy to make, as it will give me more time. I have become greedy, not for money, but for time. Memories of what life was like earlier this year, when I was on a reduced work schedule, are a very powerful lure, seductive at times.
Through the train window I see a sunrise slowly begin to burn through the trees, an aching reminder of Rousseau's painting of the forest at sunset that hangs in the Met. It is one of a handful of paintings that grabs me every time I see it. One in the Art Institute in Chicago fascinated me when I worked there, a large, vertical, cubist painting by someone I'd never heard of before (and whose name I've since forgotten), filled with dark purples, dull golds, mottled greens and full of life and vitality. The NYC subway seemed to me its inspiration.
If someone does me no harm to me when I'm feeling strong and confident, or takes no overt action even when I'm at my most vulnerable, is that trust which is engendered, or not? If someone reaches out a helping hand when you've fallen, is that trust? I believe trust something that accrues slowly over time, gaining stature in small steps, an ephemeral construct that takes time and effort to appear. Trust can vanish in an instant, rendered obsolete by a single action.
A business choice made by senior management destroyed what was left of my trust in the company.
Stamina and endurance. My watch words for the next week. I've been called upon to be True, in both thought and deed, with pure, precise and clear intentions. To not be distracted, to anchor myself, to explore the deepest depths. To know exactly why I am where I am at all times.
This is a tall order. And yet . . .yet it is nothing more than allowing my core being to flow. Yet being so truly myself is what usually sets me at odds with the "the office." I've not been able to discern any correlation with other environments, mind you.
A rough end to a rough week at the office, I am once again the recipient of tender, restorative care. Although we have lost several of our limited supply of hours together, he is nothing but gentle understanding. As we talk through past entries, I hope that he understands the real meaning to some of the more veiled references, the ones he doesn't ask about. It is a risk, giving someone this much access to my inner life, but if he can't accept the real me, I need to know now before it is too far past too late already.
Knowing exactly why I am where I am. I thought about those words this evening as I made a deliberate choice, setting aside plans made a few months ago to sit by the fire with Geoffrey. In truth, I'm still bone tired from last night. Amid Viennese pastries and Glayva, such a serious conversation could have been an interruption but then he makes a statement about us that completely undoes me, the words steeped in mystical, poetic romantic notions but with a common sense delivery that leaves me breathless. This is why I am where I am right now.
I return home early enough to take care of most, if not all, the chores that await me. As I move though the house alone, cooking and tidying, it seems oddly empty and quiet. Startling to realize I now feel more comfortable with someone than without him. Talking with Grandpa, and later with Dad, I sense they're both a little more receptive to the concept of the new man in my life. Realizing that most of my former boyfriends were not able to be supportive or nurturing when I needed it has helped me understand my family's initial skeptical attitude.
To be a chameleon or a weaver? I understand the symbolic difference inherent in the choice: the chameleon blends in wherever he happens to find himself, thanks to his genetic inheritance, but a weaver chooses the pattern and the materials to please herself, she decides on the garment to be made. I have spent the last several years being a chameleon, not really having had much input about the specifics of my working days. I'm trying to weave my future now, several different patterns all at once, but the favorite pattern is obvious and is at a more advanced stage.
I have already identified that part of the consulting gig that is likely to irk me the most: waiting for the client to commit to a date and time. Perhaps this is the worst time, because I view the first significant commitment as a prerequisite for me to leave my current job. Although there is quite a lot I need to do to be truly prepared for this future --I could easily take a week or two-- I am not willing to jump into the complete unknown, although Julia Cameron would recommend otherwise: Leap and the net will appear.
I am still working on the train ride, but no longer is it for the office. I am handling personal work now, trying to clear out a backlog things that need attention. Sometimes I work on my laptop, sometimes I'm reading or doing needlepoint for gifts, but I still have a large block of productive time, unlike the trips to and from Rye. Aside from the seats (so very uncomfortable), the Metro-North train is crowded and the ride is short, unnaturally so it seems to me. A commute like that is simply a waste of time, sitting on a train.
In the aftermath of the alumni gathering, which dispersed astonishingly quickly and early, I contemplate this Greenwich Village bar scene. The bar's microwbrew is decent, but the food is completely unremarkable. The law school crowd across the bar quietly continues their gathering. A group of impossibly young boys begins to assemble near me, ordering cocktails and sipping them through the little red straws; this must be the current college crowd. The patrons and the bartender strike me as decidedly dull. As I think about Fitzpatrick's ten years ago, I can only smile: we were nowhere near this bland or boring.
He persuades me to take a nap. I am tired, and being sick, he is in obvious need of more rest, so I agree, figuring a little down time will be good. When the alarm rings hours later, I awaken from deep sleep, completely surprised and befuddled. I don't take naps. But yes, I am very tired, worn out by ugliness and boredom at work combined with the mad rush to find a new job. There was never a month of peace and quiet this year, just more upheaval and stress on top of the last two years of it.
Watching the early morning light play across the skylight, I drift for a few minutes in contemplation of options. Being clear about what I want is responsible for most of the changes in my life the last six years, but it does require regular re-evaluation. Himself curled around me, clutching me like a favorite teddybear, I am lost in the realization that it is here, now. The day drifts past in a dreamy blur and even the long commute back from Rye doesn't seem real.
The choice I was supposed to make today seems completely obvious, if as completely internal.
I accidentally discovered the local holiday regatta in progress and eagerly join in the watching crowd. I have never attended this event before, although it is well-established in this small waterside village. Throngs of people line the marinas, restaurant parking lots and backyards along the inlet, and although it is not yet Thanksgiving, the shouts of "Merry Christmas" echo across the water. Brightly lit, the sailboats and powerboats glide past, including one of the ferries. Some play music, or have elaborate themes; two are beset with power problems and are but dark shadows on the water, ghosts of Christmas Future.
The site visit was honestly fun. Seeing how other IT shops are run, talking with staff to gain their confidence so I'm not seen as a threat, and seeing the problems that exist and knowing that I understand the probable root cause, even if the onsite admins do not. This could be gainful entertainment for some time to come, particularly if I am allowed to help make the case to solve any of the problems discovered. It is a combination of solving puzzles, deep thinking and educating / mentoring, but with no long-term commitment, no responsibility for people management. Groovy.
How quickly we spin off possibilities and plans, create wished-for future realities from a single bit of good news. One could interpret this tendency as an indication of how essentially hopeful we humans are, that which sets us apart from the beasts. And how slow we are to find our way out of unhappiness and misery when left to our own devices. It seems to me a human illustration of Newton's first law of motion, that objects at rest and objects in motion tend to stay either at rest or in motion respectively, unless acted on by an outside force.
An absolutely beautiful sunrise this morning with crimson streaks feathering out to rosy, blush pinks against a pale blue sky that deepens to a faded indigo. The crisp outline of trees are stark silhouettes against the lush pastel explosion of color that begins to race across the sky. Small moments like this can make the day worthwhile. My favorite moment of the day is when I step off the train, and see him standing by the car, waiting for me. I start to glow from within the minute I spot him, and walk into the welcoming shelter of his arms.
Upon reviewing the gifts of the last year, I realize am indeed rich: The post-surgery recovery has gifted me with better health, the hours in the pool have restored flexibility, strength and overall tone. I have an expanding circle of friends and neighbors. My job, however discouraging it can be at times, still pays the bills while I seek alternatives. I've got healthy and happy parents who don't mind a working vacation at This Old House Long Island. And at long last, a truly wonderful man who wants to be part of my life and make me happy.
A one day mini-vacation, we stay at home in the Crimson Tower Palace while the rest of the world rushes to the mall as the holiday shopping season begins. The damp but mild day lends itself to snuggling quietly, no cooking, traveling, or working at all, not even chores. I am a body at rest today, my constant motion stilled by the outside force of himself. It seems odd to be this still, within and without, and I become aware of a great weariness, long masked by that self-same motion. Returning to "normal" life at warp-speed will be very difficult.
Watching a smalltown holiday parade as the wind scours the streets, I feel so connected to my life I can hardly contain myself. Classic cars and lovingly restored fire trucks throttle by, politicians and rescue workers wave and toss candy to the children lining the street, accompanied by the rustic music from bag and drum corps…this is a community. Which was the idea buried in my head when I saw the movie, "Nobody's Fool" nine years ago, although I did not recognize it immediately. I am not yet part of the community, but I am part of my life again.
Saturday Night Movies, an education in the classics and eclectic. Keeping watch over the flame during Winter Solstice. Listening to King Crimson from A to Z, sharing favorites with one another. Going to the January Picnic together. An evening of Bobby Short and drinks at Café Carlyle. Two more unseen confections of lace and silk tucked away in the drawer. Learning the taste of figs with prosciutto. Seeing Manursing Island from the Sound. Watching sunrise on the water, from the water. Reading Gaiman's Stardust aloud to each other. That it will only get better from here.
Promises for the future.
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