Our home was in shambles. Torn apart from top to bottom. In splinters. Swirling. Inside the funnel we were. Out of control. Landing dangerously and loudly on the ground like stick characters in a bad OZ review. All three of us walked on top of the pile of life we'd made. Stumbling in silence. Surveying - and surviving - the damage.
I awoke gasping for air. Shaking. Turning the lights on to get my bearings, I knew this dream - like my rose dream - was different. There was something oddly prophetic about it. It came out of the blue like watching a motion picture in slow motion reruns; to this day I still remember it.
Through the day-to-day of a lifeless and suffocating marriage, I made a promise to myself that I would reclaim the woman I knew. The person I was did not need "finding".....she needed to fly. I would put my son's needs first (and I did) but when the time came once he was grown, I'd have no regrets.
I literally prayed "God, I know what I have to do, I just don't know when or how. When the day comes, I'm asking You to show me and let there be NO doubt whatsoever."
So I placed that out before the Universe and left it there.
Twenty-four hours after the tornado dream.
It was the worst possible timing and I didn't understand it but I knew that I knew that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had to leave. Not in a week. Not in a day. But right at that moment. I was not about to argue with an answered prayer.
I, Mimi Pencil Skirt, drove a stick shift Ford truck on the road to a new life.
I had no idea where I was going. Somehow the truck did.
One night down. Two nights down... By the second evening, I'd begun to realize the significance of the dream. Things, from that point on, seemed to fall into unexpected piles of grace, much like the unlikely three who stepped out of hell and walked into a hurricane. My flight was ordained. Need proof? I needed a place to live. The next day I found a Realtor with a Fall special running with no deposit required and the rent due 30 days later.
I signed a 6-month lease and found myself in a tiny two-room upstairs apartment in another town. After the dust settled and life got back to "normal" I still found it difficult to think about that time - even six years later. For some reason today I want to remember it.
Except for the endless journaling I did, I've never written about it.
My green truck year was a monumental leap of faith. It taught me the excruciating noise of isolated pain and how really alone alone can be. Many nights I cried myself to sleep and awoke the same - the kind of crying that rocks your body and doubles you over in a ball of crumpled pain; your ribs ache, your chest stings, you can't catch your breath, nausea, swollen eyes. ..... when every bitter tear erupts in a loud loud sob and you have no clue which part of you just broke - you only know it did. The loss and rearrangement of families - even dysfunctional ones - are brutal transitions.
My soul had a strange new home, my body slept in a rented bed and I couldn't see past the next day.
I told almost no one where I was.
It was a lonely time.
It was also a wonderful time.
I shopped at dollar stores, bought knick-knack furnishings and clothes at thrift stores, ate a lot of tuna, survived an ice storm without heat (how I missed my fireplace back home) educated myself about antique china, went on buying excursions and made extra money at night selling porcelain English transferware on an online auction site. It paid my divorce attorney and kept me afloat in thrifty nifty pencil skirts. So I made a teenie-weenie home out of an upstairs rented space attached to a cute little balcony with plastic chairs that looked out (thank God) over a beautiful lot of trees. It reminded me of Bloggingham - which I didn't know at the time - if I'd ever see again.
Every time it rained, I cried like a baby and missed my house. I could smell the trees but I couldn't see them. Concrete and parking stripes doth not a forest make.
I never spoke to my neighbors; I just watched them transition in and out. I hated the feeling of transitory unrest in that complex.
Sterile white walls with no life written on them and a patio of scary squirrels who laughed at the weepy woman - every time it rained.
I find it odd that there are no pictures of me at that time or that apartment.
Oh, how I wrote. In a little brown journal with my angst and my anger and very very dark ink on the white white prissy paper.
I remember the smell and feel of the clean smooth countertops, the painted steps I climbed every evening and the very thin standardized door where I turned the key and wondered which former tenant still had an old key lying around somewhere. The boring beige carpet, the white white walls I couldn't hammer holes in, the small and cozy bathroom with a tub I soaked in to hide from the world in a sea of nightly jasmine candles and the stacked washer and dryer in a closet - which one day burst a pipe and leaked into the apartment below. A bar with no stools, a couch with no end tables and my grandmother's bed taken out of storage just for the occasion. It was antique, comforting and smelled of her. I bought new linens and a new bedspread with a dust ruffle.
Cheap sets, plain crisp off-white earthy colors - a palette to paint.
So I tossed a few pillows on my grandmother's blanketed cocoon and began my life again. The year my divorce was final, Rascal Flatts came out with a song called "Movin' On". It became my divorce song. I swear they read my life and penned it to the paper. Every time I hear it, the rain pours from a stopped up balcony gutter and for a moment I am communing with squirrels in an upstairs sanctuary of plastic patio chairs.
I remember a dream, a promise, and a prayer.