1970 something

Going to my elementary school, there were about thirty kids in my class.  Hell, my graduating high school class there were 562 of us.  Recess was always fun.  Our playground was pretty nice because I lived in an affluent suburb.  It had what most nice school playgrounds in suburbia do.  Plenty of swing sets, slides, see-saws. Box-ball and hop-scotch were even painted right on the hot top itself.

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I became friends with Jimmy in second grade.  We were in Mrs. Drapeau’s class.  There was a few unforgettable things that happened that year.  Like the time that Henry Altenwen puked and peed his pants at the same time in the front of the class.  The time that Eric Frobert puked all over his reading book.  And the time that Mrs. Drapeau yelled at me in front of everyone for helping a classmate pronounce a word when they were struggling, during oral reading.  Asked me if I thought I should teach the class.  I remember feeling my face felt hot and I felt ashamed. I was only trying to help him, my heart was kind.  It’s amazing the influence that teachers can have in shaping children.

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Jimmy and I stood next to the teacher aid at recess you see.  I didn’t get much attention at home, my life there was a living hell that no one would ever find out about.  Jimmy? well he was physically sick.  I didn’t really know with what.  His shoulders were always raised up by his chin because he struggled to breathe.  So we both had different reasons for hanging out with the teacher aid at recess while all the other kids frolicked about on a beautiful sunny day.

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Me being the little chatter box, and not really grasping at age 7 that Jimmy was so sick I treated him like anyone else.  I asked him all sorts of questions since he could not run or walk around much.  Why this, why that.  He laughed at my questions.  I told a lot of stories and a lot of jokes.  I asked if he was ever going to get braces.  I asked him all kinds of crazy shit.  (I used to ask my Catholic grandmother if I was reincarnated and maybe I were a rock in another life)

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Jimmy and I went to St. Mary’s Church together as well.  So I am sure that I yapped about CCD too.  I liked our time together.  Me, Jimmy, and the teacher aide.

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Jimmy had been out from school for a few weeks and one morning I came into school and the Mrs. Drapeau said that Jimmy wouldn’t be coming back.  That he was in heaven.

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Her words hung in the air like a garrote, choking the love in my little heart.
*****
Jimmy as I would later learn had Cystic Fibrosis.  I spent a good deal of time in my teens doing the Stair Climb, an annual event during the early 1990’s at the Prudential Center in Boston to raise money for my favorite childhood friend that I lost to death.

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Every year my dad would drive me to Boston and I would get people to sponsor me for each floor that I could walk up. I always made it to the top of it’s 52 floors. Course my legs felt like rubber when I got done. I have asthma, and  sometimes it was a struggle and I would get winded.  It would occur to me as I walked, how Jimmy struggled day after day. How winded he must have been.  That I get relief with an inhaler…. that he suffocated.  I cried as I climbed.

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Since 1965, the term “65 Roses” has been used by children of all ages to describe their disease because it’s easier to pronounce.

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*****
After Jimmy’s funeral, his mother sent me a card.  It read, “Thank you Lexi for being there for my son.  You were his only friend.”  Her words gripped me and I will never forget them. To this day I never realized that all the other kids, were frolicking around, never talked to him, never stopped to get to know him.  Strange, how because of the hell I lived and the horror of what happened in my house, God brought Jimmy and I together.
*****
2 weeks ago, I received a text from my mom which made me ecstatic! It read, “there is a new treatment for Cystic Fibrosis!”  So I ran over and googled it. Sure enough, there is.  It is a brand new FDA approved drug called  “Kalydeco.”

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It reminded me of Jimmy and I smiled, then cried.  Some 35 years later, the love for my friend still lives in my heart.

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~miss you Jimmy~ xoxox
…. … …

Clowns scare me

The elephants smell bad.  The food makes me sick.  The port-o- potties always lean like the tower of Pisa and I fear they are going to fucking tip and fall whilst I am inside them.

I always end up sitting on that unknown “something sticky” on those bench seats.

‘Aint it ironic though, that lately my life feels like it’s become a three-ring fucking circus.

I’ve got this recovery thing going on in the main ring.  Which includes my shrink and my 12 step peeps.

In ring number two is the old Gypsy woman Maleva, from 1941 film The Wolf Man , who seems to whisper for me to grab her pentagram necklace for protection because my qualifier, “the wolf” is always an imminent threat.       As she yammers her ever so famous line,

“even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers at night, can become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the Autumn moon is  bright.” 

Stupid gypsy, he came over on Valentines day you know.  Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t wearing the necklace and he bought me.

Then in a third ring there’s this new crap emerging. A new guy.  We’ll call him B.   New, but not new really. Same old pattern.  addiction, is like that, it progresses and proliferates like a cancer, if untreated.  This this time oddly, I seem to playthe role of the love-avoidant.  Part of me feels smothered by his advances, part of me intoxicated by finally attracting a truly kind and decent man somehow (this truly escapes me as I have NO self-esteem).

BUT EVERYTHING IS WRONG.  The timing is especially wrong.  I need recovery! not someone to rescue me.  I”m not a kitten stuck up a tree somewhere.  (Even if I feel like I am)  My sponsor warns me, that  a 4 attracts a 4.  That if I am still broken, I cannot possibly be attracting a “together”person, however he is presenting.  Veneer is veneer.

Sweet Jesus.  This is scaring me.

My shrink is starting to scare me.  Well not her, but what is going on inside me….She matters to me.   I really like her.   I have gone through shrinks like Grant took Richmond.   Most of them don’t know their ass from their elbow.  This one, is bright, witty, funny as hell and knows her shit.   She is the first to find a way to ground me when I start “drifting”.    That speaks volumes alone about her ability in my mind.  No one of her predecessors even was aware I was drifting.  I am afraid she will leave, maybe her husband will get a job someplace. Maybe she’ll get hit by a bus or some shit.  Yanno, crazy irrational shit goes through my mind at night.  All that transference shit that is supposed to happen is happening.  And that’s a good thing I suppose.  Then I wonder if she likes me back or whether she dreads me coming into her office.  But I actually( amazingly even) told her all this shit.

When I get close to people, or shall I say, when they get too close to my heart I tend to run.  Run from safety.  I tend to sabotage things.  Sometimes unconsciously, sometimes knowingly.   I believe my shrink may be able to help me.  At other more pessimistic times, I feel beyond her help.  Either way I’m scared to death.  She invokes some pretty strong emotions in me, that go back into my childhood.  She has power over me and she doesn’t realise it.  Or maybe she does.   Thus far, people in positions of power have mistreated me.  So the knee-jerk reaction is to run like hell as fast as I can away.

I haven’t been going to 12 step meetings as much probably for the same reason.

I am so very frightened right now.  So I have returned to what is familiar.  Those old circus clowns.  They scare me, sure they can hurt me.  But they are a swamp I know well.  I know every inch of that mother fucking swamp.   But it’s a familiar swamp.   I know how it reacts, and how to react to it.  The type of pain that lays beneath its murky waters.

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To seek wellness, wholeness is to embark upon uncharted territory?  It is to walk a tightrope ten-thousand feet up over a chasm with no safety-net below…..