November 25, 2009


The graduate. Lenora and Lessa, 1981.

Himself: Applied for three jobs yesterday. Wanted Mexican out, and ate chocolate cake. Was happy all day.

Herself: Got a lot of small things done yesterday then ate too much dinner/cake combo. Ah well, it was all in a good cause.

Reading: This has been the longest period in my life that I haven’t had my face in a book.

Balance: Seeing the Geezer so happy.


February 7:
It was a bad day! I do not often have days as bad as this. A fender bender on the freeway, acute acid indigestion, and lastly, I dropped one dozen eggs on the floor at Safeway.

February 10:
Some days pass like clear glass and leave little to show for their passing. Others I spend in agony. My stomach has been worse. I am so depressed about Jo. Nothing can be done about either. Always sick, never well. They have stopped Jo’s chemotherapy. Her blood count is too low. She sleeps her days away and eats Percodan by the handful.

March 17:
Lenora and I have been sued about that long ago, stolen money order. So today, dressed to the teeth, we went up to small claims court. I brought journal number eight with us as it was the only proof that Milaka had lost her State of California ID in June of 1980. Someone had used it to cash a stolen three hundred-dollar money order.

We kept looking around the crowds wondering who was suing us. We were asked by the bailiff to iron it out with the other party in the case, but we had no idea who our other party was. We were called with the defaulters in the beginning, and we were out on the street again winning the verdict by default within five minutes. The woman suing us never showed. It was amazing. She had made great efforts to serve papers on us, and she even sent a young man out to the house with a set. Both of us wondered why she didn’t come to court.

April 7:
Jo left a message on my answering machine yesterday to say that I never call her. This morning, I called her and actually reached her…often these days she is asleep. I let her talk. I savored the sound of her voice. Sometimes when you chat with someone, you listen to one part of the person while they talk, other times, other parts. Tonight, I was able to listen to the whole. They have her on 30mg of morphine now, but she sounds clearer than she did a week ago. She is still dreaming, and now that the pain is dulled, she can laugh a little.

“Find me another one whose cancer has metastasized from her breast and lived more than three years, and I shall have hope. But they never live beyond three years, do they?” She asked quietly.

April 8:
Again, Lenora and I dressed to the teeth and presented ourselves at the courthouse. The woman with the money order was given a second chance to sue us and did.

A darker courtroom, and we felt darker ourselves. We were number six. When the judge called out our names, we held up our hands. When he called out the woman’s name, there was no response at all. The judge got the oddest twisted look on his face, and as he looked down at the file and at his clerk, I thought we might win again. We did. We celebrated at Jeanie’s Restaurant with pancakes.

May 8:
At the beach, I sat myself down by the jetty. For a moment, all was peaceful except for the surf. A big group arrived near me on the beach and settled just behind me. Twenty teenagers and several older adults off a big yellow bus, no sun had reached their skin ever. They amused me. So much alike all of them.

I watched them do their rituals with a smile; perhaps I was even envying them their youth and friendships. They laid their towels on the sand in rows, they changed into suits, and they formed into groups. All the boys were in one group, and all the girls in another. I could see the smiles and hear the giggles. Then they all ran into the surf.

From this moment on, I knew what was going to happen. It was as if I had already read the book or seen the television show. Preordained. The girls pranced a bit on the edge of the surf, all of them emitting little high-pitched squeals. The boys were brave. Onward into the surf they went. Always pushing and jumping into the waves. I watched them in their innocence swept south. I watched the lifeguards watching them. When the first of the units arrived, I walked down to sit on the sand nearby. Two guards ran into the water with boards and a can. The rubber ducky arrived almost simultaneously to pick up the boys from outside the surf line. It was all over almost that fast. It was an excellent mass rescue, textbook good. I stopped to thank the guards in the unit, and all one could do was shake his head and laugh.

“All from the Midwest,” he said.

June 20:
The prom. Lessa looks darling. She Graduates. Lots of fuss. Gosh we are so proud of her turnaround. Good grades. Her painting of the school namesake greets everyone at the door. Her teachers love her. She won an art scholarship. Ceremony, lunch at the yacht club, fuss and party everywhere. We are all so relieved. Everyone from her past turns up to cheer her on.

June 25:
Lessa came to me early in the morning and insisted that we talk. She is ten weeks pregnant and having an abortion tomorrow.

“I didn’t want to tell you until I had taken care of everything so you wouldn’t get mad,” she said.

“I had guessed as much,” I told her, “Ever since you began vomiting.”

Despite the changes, she seems to have to do everything the hard way.

June 26:
Home from work today to find that Lessa came through it all fine. A call from Jo. What a joy to hear that the tumors are shrinking for the first time.

June 27:
“You must never tell anyone that I come here. No one should know,” he said.
At that point, I exploded in anger. I, who always wear my heart on my sleeve, almost threw him out the door. Nothing in my life has ever been hidden. Even my madness was lived out in the open. I will not hide my love life away in a closet. I do not want him around anymore even as a part-time lover if I cannot be open about him in my life. I do not think it is worth it. I have never minded being a mistress, but when I have been one, I have not been hidden. Often I have just been a shoulder to cry on. I have always known I am temporary and that suited me well, but I will not be hidden away. It all seems such hypocrisy.

July 30:
I had a violent reaction to those emetics needed to clean me out for the upper and lower GI’s. Afterwards I was so buoyed by getting them done, I couldn’t’ stop talking. ““We have a character here,” the doctor said as my mouth kept going.

August 6:
I feel hungover and know that I am not. Pain again. The agony was so intense that I had to call in sick at work. One thing I hate the most about this is appearing unreliable. Who wants an unreliable employee? The doctor will be gone all week, so I will not know the test results until he returns. I huddle in agony.

Mother had sold her beloved Oldsmobile out from under me. She had swung by to pick up the registration and the extra key from me. Out on the front porch, we had a confrontation about it last night, however brief.

“You are breaking me,” she hissed between clenched teeth.

I’ve been using the Mobile gas card she gave me to get the kids to school. She wanted it back, and I would not part with it.

Never before did I allow myself to be dependent on her. This time I believed and trusted her and structured my jobs so that I could only get there by car. My car, now suddenly her car again. Reality combined with illness forces me to back up and regroup.


  1. This sounds so painful and hard. I wish I could have been a shoulder to cry on, but you still needed to grow.

  2. These entries are so amazing, M. I move between laughter and tears at how wonderful and how hard moments were. I love the picture of the bookcase (I imagined it as such) and I wish you BOTH and ALL a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

  3. And a joyful and happy day to you both. Hugs too.

  4. Oh a very sad time. And you stayed sober, I commend you.


What a delight to get a note from you. Thanks for leaving one.


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