The edge

Once I committed myself to playing the Texas Ranger that afternoon, I also committed myself to four walls of concrete grief, no windows, no hope, no relief.. I came to believe there ought to be a natural law that allows clemency when a certain amount of spiritual suffering has been endured. It has occurred to me that perhaps I will have some relief when my debt is fully paid. But that is just another thing my mind mind has made up to keep alive the hope that someday I will have made it right again.

I saw this very graphic movie recently about the last day of Jesus, his torture and crucifiction were depicted in a most extreme way.

He got off easy. Nothing compares to a lifetime without the one you love. Nothing.

Anyway I made that decision, and I would've simply run like hell to get away from her if I had known what an awful thing I was about to do.

The Fall of '75

It was that time of year in Berkeley when you might've mistaken the campus for one of those Ivy league kind of places back east. Berkeley's campus has beautiful discidous trees that make the autumn an incongruous if not colorful time of year. The time of year when everything changes, including me. I did a lot of changing that fall, and it was only the beginning.

She and I had an odd sort of courtship that mostly took place after the rest of the world had already dozed off. I would show up whenever and just slip into bed with her and spend the night making love like two wild animals. I can't say I had much of chance to run after I had been with her a few weeks. I was already too in love to even remember that I needed to get lost before the lie became too big to stop telling.

I re-wrote my biography to fit the first lie, and it just got worse from there. Meanwhile I realized that she was the one I had lived my whole life just to be with. She had that look, with her head cocked slightly to the right ,her eyes, clear, and so blue and well you can guess the rest. I only wanted to erase the beginning and start it right, but the path was to narrow to turnaround and go back.

I wasn't looking ahead to the day when the truth that Jim was not really Jim, but the Jim he was would be revealed.The fact that I wasn't all that much different than who I was pretending to be wouldn't matter. It was still a monstrous and ferocious whopper. I was in for a coupl e of months of pure torture. I spent nearly every waking minute trying to slowly and invisibly become myself, as if I could fool her , her family, and friends by just gradually un-texa-fying myself. As if that would ever work. I actually began to lose my made up accent, and the rest of my ridiculous mannerisms. I was now trying to convince myself that I could sneak up on reality and give it the slip. yeah, right.

In the interim, I was all but wrapped up and ready to lay down my life for this incredible woman who had just broken through the shell I had been in for years. I just loved her more each minute of every day.



The First Mary Christmas

It was incredibly strange the whole convergence of My Truth and My Bullshit. I could almost see it tangibly , like a trainwreck about to happen. The lie would meet the truth and it wasn't going to be pretty.

My niece was born that December, on the 18th and though the details of that month are vague, I remember meeting Mary's brother's at a family get together during the holidays. For Christmas she gave me the most incredible leather vest, made just for me, out of antelope hide. The buttons were made from antelope antler, and it felt wonderful to be in. Just like the love I was in, it fit. We fit, and there was no one in the world like her. She making me a better me.

Meanwhile my heart was breaking under the lie, and even though I had never been so in love, I had never felt so bad either. I was losing it ( my mind ). Every day I tried to engineer a graceful way to break the news, but my clever little brain was running out of bright ideas. The only way out of this was going to be straight through the middle.

Meanwhile the sex was just getting better, and Christmas money was filling my pockets. Every morning I woke to find the most impossibly beautiful human being lying next to me. And every night she told me she loved me.

It all seemed pretty dam good, but I wasn't feeling all that great. My outsides were shining brighter than ever but my insides were starting to be impossible to live with.

The Mary Go Round

I asked her to take the day off, that there was something important I had to talk to her about.

We took a drive to Tilden park, up above Berkeley and I parked the car near the Merry Go Round. Back when I was a little kid my grandmother brought me here many times to ride the ponies and eat ice cream. I had many fond memories of this place, and once we got intot the park, it just kind of drew me there. I had something awful to reveal, but maybe the Marry Go round would make it ok.

As I picked my way through a careful preamble, I started to think there was only one thing I could do that was honorable. Ask her forgiveness and just get out of her life. How could I make it right between us? There wasn't any simple answer to that, just a fast, painful one. But at least it wouldn't last forever.

I managed to gut it out and tell her as much of what was a lie and what was the truth as I could. As expected she was basically knocked over sideways. I offered to do the honorable thing and just disappear, but she wasn't ready for that either. I was hoping that I could just drop this big bomb..and die, or at the very least be allowed to run as far away from her as possible. I simply wouldn't be able to make it right with her. There was only the far reaching agony of my never-ending regret.

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One day at a time

One morning in January I asked her to take a day off so we could go to the park and talk about something important.

I got a strange look but I think she knew that something was eating me alive, and that it was time to find out what it was.

The motor in my VW bus seemed abnormally loud as we chugged slowly up the hill to Tilden Park. I had no idea exactly where we were going but knew I wanted it to take a long time.

Coming around a bend in the road I saw the Tilden Park Merry Go Round. I pulled into the parking lot there.

It was just one ugly ass moment. Me with tears streaming down my face, and she in shock, making an effort to be calm and comfort me, as much as anyone could be expected to anyway. If it were me, I am sure I would've just flipped. The whole thing was a giant fucked up deal, and no amount of mea culpa or apology was going to fix it.

So that's when I made the second biggest mistake of my life. I agreed to take it one day at a time and stay with her.

Over the next two years I loved her more everyday...