Saturday, March 8, 2008

Marcie's Modesty

I have been asked before and have recently had the question raised anew: "Would Marcie really want you to do all of this?"

The answer is that I do not know. But a deeper look at her sweet and demurring soul might just be revelatory.

Sometimes Marcie was modest, it is true. She did not like too much attention focused on her and shied away from recognition. At work, she considered little awards to be nuisances, and recognition to be a little overwhelming.

"I just want to go to work, do my job, keep my head down, be left alone and come home so I can enjoy my life," she said once. "I don't want to go out after work, I don't want to go to lunch with the herd, and I don't need to be pointed out for my work."

For the most part, that's how she lived. But being the beautiful and talented woman she was, word got around. She was an expert baker, a solid and smart worker, a brainiac, a delightfully friendly ear... she was recognized for the jewel she was.

She won little awards, but never brought them home to share or hang up. She never took me to her work's annual dinners, which she avoided by and large. She shied away from the acclaim.

I think it is because, no matter how much people told her they loved her, respected her and admired her for her talents and her every little thing, she was unable to accept it as genuine.

She barely believed me for a long time, and when she did take my compliments as honest, she just melted. She told me why once.

"No matter what, I was too fat," she said. "I loved to eat, and i was overweight, but it was the only thing my dad focused on. I was too fat."

She had dreamed of broadcasting and had even started doign the news at San Diego High. Her father had an ally in the teacher.

"I was always told that I might be a big hit off-camera," she told me once. "I quit the program the next year."

She was, of course, a curvy but absolutely toned girl when I met her, but those scars persisted. She could never get over the way that every accomplishment was overshadowed, unheralded or dismissed over some flaw that consumed her father's entire view of her.

I am sure that all her swimming medals, awards, accomplishments and character traits were sources of pride, as was her beautiful body and pristine beauty. I know she loved my long lists of praise on the couch or in the bed.

I think that she decided to enjoy so much of what she earned on her own, or just with me, privately, because she could never trust the wider perception of her to not become fixed on one flaw, long gone. She kept her head down.

She did let me perform grand public gestures, though. Sneak attacks with flowers at work, candy sent up from the employee entrance and other things only caused the most cursory of curses to be heaped on me, smiles and blushing the balance to that.

Would Marcie forbid me to pursue a long trek in her honor? Probably at first. Would she hate that I extolled her greatness on this site? Perhaps. But would she get over it all? I think so.

I know one thing about my baby very very well. Marcie could be convinced that she was all she was touted to be, but she very much discounted anyone she had not let in, and those people were few and far between.

I was chief among them. She would know I am sincere. I only wish that, as I prepare to change my life around and launch my trip and try to secure someone to publish the tale, I would be doing so in honor of the great courage she showed as she healed, instead of as she was taken from me.

Then she could yell at me and be embarrassed and furious, but then then kiss me and make it all okay again.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Little things she might have liked (Part 1)

Marcie and I did not do a lot of the things we had planned to. Some of those things were fairly straightforward, such as heading over to the most authentic Irish bar in San Diego and having a pint over Irish music.

I didit for her. I went to The Ould Sod and had a couple of pints, enjoyed some music and snapped some shots. I also tried to take a movie, but the lighting was such crap that it proved pointless.

However, to help you understand how interesting and nice the music was, I did save a snippet, mostly for sound:

There was at least a tad more success with the flash on my camera and some shots of the musicians. Take a look at the instruments and how I used the mirror in the shots:

It was looking to be a decent night when I left. But I really wasn't in the mood for a good night. I just wanted to go see the Tuesday night players for Marcie, and that I did.

I left very much wondering what she would have said about it all, as she had been to Eire before. When we did pop in, she didn't say much, really. I also wondered what it would have felt like to show up at such a pub in Ireland with my hot Irish-American redhead in tow. I imagine I would have been very proud.

I'll never know either, I guess.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

No progress, really...

I had so many plans. I would start clearing out all the things that didn't matter, that had no meaning. Valuable? It would be sold. Valueless? It would be given or trashed.

But it's so hard. Everything is a memory and every breath of her is such a treasure to me. Marcie's every little thing is still in my home, and my heart is just sick over what I will do with it all.

I can't keep it. There is too much and I don't need it all. Too much furniture, too many knickknacks, too many clothes. Every single bit was brought here, into our little life, by her. Some of it is quite beautiful.

Even the not-so-beautiful things are emotionally loaded for me.

I tried to cheat on the whole thing a bit, to get our friends to take little bits of things as mementos, but to not much avail. I guess I am still way too raw.

I think this whole thing is complicated by the one thing that Marcie said to me that left a bad mark. She was mad that I could not move her into the front room and that she couldn't go for a walk. I was scared she would fall, and her legs were too weak to even raise, much less walk.

"You are just going to shake me off and move on when I die," she said, glaring and accusative. "You're just going to shed me like a skin forget I ever happened after this, aren't you?"

She was not in her right mind, and she quickly soothed me when she saw how much it hurt. But it stuck in my head and cut deeply, because regardless all of that, people do not say such things unless they believe them on some level.

So I look at all her old medication, her clothes, her unopened, unworn gifts from her birthday, and all the stuff I have left in place in our room. Then I look away ashamed for wanting it to be gone.

I know I want to send much of it off. I know I want to sell the stuff that could help pay for her trip, and I know I want to give much of it away. I want to empty this big house and just keep the most essential things, but I cannot.

I want to keep every scrap with her writing and every picture, every book she touched and was touched by and every CD and song her heart sang to. I want to have only those things most "her." But I keep the junk and the clutter, too.

I guess what is in the way is that I am afraid that if I do pare it all down, the dreams will stop, the emptiness will grow and her presence will fade in my heart.

Worse, I wonder if sometimes, when I am lonely or when I chat with someone I realize is quite attractive, I am not living up to her lowest expectations of me.

Either way, it all hurts.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No update tonight

I had some pictures to share but that will have to wait, as my camera is apparently still on my desk at work! Bah. I have been trying to get to little engagements around the neighborhood, some of which are quite fun.

One of them Marcie said she might not mind going to, but she only found out about while she read up on the neighborhood...

I'll share it tomorrow.

Night, F.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Marcie and redemption

I will return to the places of Marcie's and my early love in time. First, I need to take a trip up to Humboldt (for pictures of our place). I think I should snap photos of it. It was a very special chapter in our lives, if also a tough one for her.

I am having so many dreams about Marcie. I am, in fact, having so many that I somewhat wanted to stay home and sleep all day today. I did not.

I found myself reflecting on some of the more esoteric reasons Marcie and I were so in love with each other today. I overheard a coworker kvetching about her brother.

"Oh, he is not going to change," she said. "People don't change and they can only fake it for so long when they try."

Marcie had a different idea, which I came to share. Marcie thought that everyone could change, but some people simply would never choose to.

"Some people change or they just fix their problems" she said. "Some people are perfectly happy being whatever they are, no matter how mean or dirty or how ignorant they are."

My discussion with Chrissy reminded me of another aspect of Marcie's outlook on people. Some people change, some people don't, and some people medicate.

"I am telling you, it is a total Prozac nation," she would say. "People think they can get away from their problems by just popping a pill and forgetting they have them."

Marcie understood the need for some help in a crisis, but she was disturbed by the number of people around her on permanent regimens of antidepressants. I had a theory.

"Maybe it's the environment that makes people sick," I said. "The drugs might fix a chemical issue caused by the polluted world around us."

I would never have dared offer it if I was on antidepressants. Thankfully, I never was and never will be, short of being forced.

"That's a total excuse," she said, her pretty blue eyes rolling as one hand went to a hips and her other circled dismissively.

"Oh, I was exposed to whatever, so I am depressed," she said. "Oh, I am sooo sad that my mom didn't love me enough. BLah Blah Blah! People need to get OVER it already."

But she was afraid of sounding silly, and she was wise to boot (as well as pretty and clever and well-read, and any number of other good things).

"You could be right," she said as she disengaged from the conversation. "You could be totally right and people might be completely toxic from the world or whatever. But that's just like throwing up your hands and saying nobody is responsible for anything."

But her belief that people could change and be redeemed was most comforting. Marcie had an immense capacity to forgive and to love, even if she was hurt. It was a measure of her tender toughness.

I will not say who she forgave for what. I will only say that, though we fought from time to time, I never did anything that tested her capacity to forgive me. But I still weep at the thought of her pain with people at times.

There were many times she was ashamed or just beyond the veneer of her pride, and it was a privilege to hold her and comfort her in them.

I was so relieved when, as I told her I apologized for anything she was too good to tell me hurt her feelings or that I had done to hurt her, she simply smiled and squeezed my hand.

"You don't have to redeem yourself for anything, honey," she croaked. "I always knew you wouldn't ever even conceive of doing anything to hurt me."

I realized at that moment that some of the things I had heard her talk about and held her in my lap or arms over still, on her death bed, cast a hurtful shadow over her. Like so many times before, I simply enveloped her in my arms and kissed her.

Sometimes, she did not share what her crying was about. In retrospect, I would get frustrated, though I held her anyway. I now know that consoling touch was more important to her than any silly lover's quarrel.

What she was telling me that very sad day was that the reasons didn't matter. That I just made sure to love her did, though.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The all of you

"Smell makes the strongest memory," you said.
You inhaled me and I felt the cool of the air there.
"No, taste leaves the strongest association," I said.
I savored you like a wine and drank kisses.
"You are so striking to me," you said.
You demanded I not shy from your lens.
"Your voice soothes and bewitches me," I said.
I called every day to hear it, be calmed.
"I love how you hold me," you said.
You wiggled against me and I stroked you.
"I love how it feels to touch your skin," I said.
my hands still remember velvet on curves.
The warmth of you squirms on me and pushes
back against me, snug and soft all at once.

Your voice still rings true in my dreams,
It echoes in my heart as I wake.
It never tells me you are gone,
but insists that you love me.
You always look so perfect to me there,
but I can envision no less of you.

I still taste you, your hair and your skin,
your kiss, my palate your pallet still.
You are right. Smell is the strongest.
I remember you in every ward I visit.
But I recall your musk and your perfume even more.
Your visits leave it lingering so briefly, sharply.
Like the taste of you on my lips,
the sight of you in my dreams,
your faintly echoing voice,
and the giving firmness of your hips.

I wish they would linger,
but I am grateful for the ghostly warmth of your touch,
the phantom savor of your kiss,
the echoing hint of your voice,
the beauty of you in my dreams,
And the scent of you that flees when I wake.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Meet Cavinia

Here is a little short film I made of Cavinia on a recent visit to her neighborhood. The film is a bit grainy, but should look okay. I have added sound, a little song into I looped, but I need to get a better sampling program that is vista compatible...

At one point I lost my footing and scared Cavinia, but she's a trusting and sweet kitty and soon was letting me make up for it.


Cavinia-Marcie's Friend

Marcie's little friend Cavinia was a companion for her during the worst of times. She was discovered immediately following Marcie's assignment to recovery, and with it disability leave. Marcie enjoyed exploring Niormal Heights on foot while she convalesced.

I remember the day she told me about Cavinia. It was following one of Marcie's walks, and Marcie prcatically bounced into the house and took off her sunhat.

"Well, I have some exciting news," she said.

I looked at her and thought of many things regarding breasts and chemo and cancer and reconstruction and a number of things far off her mind.

I made a new friend!" she said. "Her name is Cavinia, and she lives on Mountain View."

This was flabbergasting in its own right, as Marcie was certainly not quick to meet someone, get on with them and declare them simpatico.

"Really?" I asked.

"Oh, honey," she said. "I did. She's just the sweetest little thing, and she's got long hair and green eyes, and I met her while I was walking. She just wandered out and stopped me on the sidewalk!"

I was completely baffled but I nodded and smiled as I worked on cleaning the fireplace. "That's cool, honey," I said.

"Her name's Cavinia, and she's a long-haired gray calico kitty," she said. "And we will have to go see her together soon."

"That sounds wonderful," I said.

Marcie was not doen, though. "But there is one pain in the ass. This dog with no vocal cords makes these horrible hoarse honks while you pet her and spins just inside the fence by her, which I just know gets her poor little kitty heart upset."

"Well, she's probably used to it, honey," I said.

"Oh, I know that, honey," she said. "But we can't commune in peace without it yapping and wheezing like he's going to die and it ruins it for me."

Marcie soon turned the yapping dervish, known as Charlie, into a feature, and turned its vehemence to her own advantage, admittedly with spite, though.

"I just pet her and pet her while I look right at him through the fence," she said. "He gets so mad and he spins so fast that sometimes he falls down. I think he must get dizzy." She laughed a little at her speculation.

I loved it. She was simply letting the dog know she was more stubborn than he was.

I eventually made it down to meet the sweet little kitty. She had to be a decade and a half old, so frail but so very friendly and relaxed. The dervish huffed and he chuffed, and he spun himself down while we pet her.

It was quite dramatic, and Cavinia was quite the love bug, as Marcie called her.

"Are you a little love bug?" she cooed. "Are you a love sponge?"

Marcie saw her every chance she took to walk for three years. When I shared my cat adventures with her and she was unable to, she was disappointed to see no Cavinia images. But I made it up to her.

"Honey, would you like to go see Cavinia," I asked on a day when she seemed happy and active, her chemo beginning to wear off and her glow returning.

"Oh, that would be lovely, honey," she said.

So off we went, with me holding Marcie's hand. We strolled to Cavinia's house and she was there, ready for us, sitting in her favorite place. It never changes:

Cavinia's usual spot: The middle of the driveway!

Marcie spent a full five minutes trying to coax Cavinia out of range of the barkign dervish dog, but to no avail, so she went and pet her.

She spent a lot of time with her, and she had a hard time getting up until I hlped her, taking the moment to steal a kiss and making Marcie "happy annoyed."

"What are you doing? Frank, stop," she said, then grabbed my jacket and pulled me in for a better kiss. "Take me home."

I did, carrying her for a little bit as we got close. She was very tired, and I swear she slept for a minute or two. I just remember thinking how light she was.

"Don't ever tell anyone about this," she said. "I don't want to be humiliated."

I don't think there was anything embarrassing for her in it, but she had such pride. I hope she understands me sharing it all now.

Marcie never went cat-visiting again. But I do. I still see Cavinia and all the rest, and they seem to like that pretty well. I really do it to replace her in their lives, though.

I feel we all know what it is to lose her, and that means we have a lot in common.

A visit! And some plans

Marcie's friend Chrissy Patterson will be visiting sometime this week, so I guess I'll have to clean the house. Bleah. But the visit will be good. Chrissy and I actually got to hang out (along with her hubby Tom) a few times, unlike some of Marcie's pals.

I hope to get pictures of Marcie's cat pal Cavinia so I can finish off the story of their little love affair. We'll see if she feels like entertaining photographers, and I will try to film, as well.

I'll catch up later tonight. Have a good Sunday, folks