I've always mused about it.
One thing I've discovered recently, on one of many long, sun-drenched, hot-as-hell runs,
is that even if we could see and know our future, we wouldn't believe what we were being shown
anyway, so that is one argument 'for' the uncertainty of life.
I run this argument again when I leaf through stacks of family photos, smiling, all of us, no hint of the terror of my father's cancer, his last months. Horror movies hold no sway over my emotions anymore--my father's death, my mother and I at his side, just the three of us, ensures that no mere image on a screen can frighten me.
Back to the concept of time travel.
I travel back in time, in my mind, many times a week, over the last two-odd years, and how upside-down my life has turned, standing on its head from where it was, from January 2009 to now.
January 2009. My boss's beloved mother, a woman whom I long admired for her strength, her staunch survival skills, her humour, and her sheer love for life, loses her battle of cancer, a loss that I knew was coming, but God. It still hit so hard.
The same month, I re-connect with an old boyfriend (third time a charm?) and things look promising. I've written about it on this very blog. People can change. I can change.
May 2009. One of my best friends in the world gets married in Muskoka. Mr. Third-Time-A-Charm accompanies me to the wedding, and we spend one of the most memorable weekends with a huge group of friends, watching my friend L. get hitched. There is love everywhere. I can feel it.
June 2009. Mr. Third-Time-A-Charm has a birthday. We celebrate in Little Italy and decide to take The Next Step in our relationship, and move in together that summer. My parents are happy. His parents are happy. I'm happy. I'm so happy I can't believe how far we've come together.
Also in June, 2009. I get news from a long-cherished friend, that she has lost her sister. I am devestated for her. We re-connect, and spend that summer having very long conversations on the phone (she lives in another city) about life, and all the big stuff. I am back down to earth.
August 2009. I turn 36. He moves in. He has ALOT of stuff. I take time to adjust. And let me tell you--the adjustment is not fairy-tale, it is not easy.
I don't like it. But I love him.
At least I think I do.
October 2009. I see my long-lost friend for the first time in almost ten years. We have a fantastic dinner and visit and I am reminded about the amazing time I had in my twenties, despite the strife I often experienced. My friend reminds me of how great our conversations were, and how our friendship has spanned a time period over which most people would be unable to connect. For me, it's like she's never left.
November 2009. Third-Time and I go to Jamaica. While I love it there, we have a tame vacation, sitting on the sand, I read seven books and drink innumerable cocktails in the sun. Dinners in shorts and sundresses. Michael Jackson-tribute shows. I am relaxed but something in me is unsettled.
We return home on my father's birthday, November 13th, and I see my dad two days later, celebrate then.
December 2009. I'm at work on a Monday morning when the news reaches me, via email, via ex-boyfriend. A long-ago, lost-love friend has lost his life, far too early.
I have to leave my desk and find somewhere in the office where no one can see me completely freak out and cry. I am numb for weeks, through his wake and funeral, through the aftermath of pulling out every memory I had of him and then trying to find a new place to put it.
My old friend from far away, as I call her in my head (from a book title we both find ironic) flies in for the day. We play catch up again. We are sad together.
My live-in and I put up a Christmas tree 'together' meaning he puts up the tree and decorates it, and I zone out, drink chardonnay, watch Some Kind of Wonderful on tv, and dream of another life.
We all spend Christmas together, my parents, his parents, my sister and her kids, we visit old friends, we agree--best Christmas ever. It's the second last Christmas I'll ever have with my whole family of origin. But I don't know that yet.
The other thing I don't know yet is that my relationship with Third-Time is already over. I will never feel that kind of love for him. Somewhere inside him, he senses that I'm gone.
January 2010. My relationship is worsening. He plans a trip to Cuba with a guy friend. I am livid. I have no trust. We go to counselling. I don't like it. I have a session alone with the shrink. She tells me I have a disdain for men. My disdain, I say, is for her. She concludes this 'isn't working'. By 'isn't working', she means me and her. I mean him and I.
February 2010. Third-Time goes to Cuba. I love the week I spend alone in my loft, everything neat, quiet, and no disruptions. I take up running, a long-ago pastime. I run through the snow and slush of the dark winter.
It's the Family Day long weekend, and I have my mom, dad, and sister over for lunch. Even though it's February, I grill chicken on the bbq, and we all have a lovely lunch. It's the last time my father will ever visit my loft.
March 2010. Uneventful. Quiet. I construct a vision board. Inside I sense my desparation in this act. "Let me out of my life...."
My father has the nagging sore throat. Could just be a cold, one that won't go away.
April 2010. I go on my first real business trip, to Chicago, and I love it. I feel free, I feel single, and I feel...alive. In my hotel room on the second night, a quiet night in, me and my book, a spirit visits, a distant warning. Now I am having trouble swallowing.
May 2010. Life implodes. The cancer diagnosis of my father reveals an inoperable tumour, an aggressive, insidious mass, and the day I find this out, Third-Time checks out. He leaves 'our' home, (my home where he somewhat lives) for three weeks, without telling me where he has gone. My focus remains on my family and keeps me from committing any federal crimes.
The 911 call that comes toward the end--of--May, beginning--of--June is the true icing on the cake.
We quit each other, I change the locks, and start running in 10k blocks, sometimes three or four times a week.
June 2010. It's officially summer. Third-Time is officially out of my life, but more surprises loom.
I call an old friend who lives in the States. We re-connect by phone, and slowly we make plans to meet at the end of the summer. My father starts his treatment. My sister and I coddle together, too worried to talk about anything.
July 2010. I find out the real reason behind Third-Time's disappearing act. As my wise boss says, be glad--at least he's out of your life and someone else's problem now. As stinging as it is to my pride, I have to agree. As my friend A. says "he gave you a gift". I recall standing on a street corner downtown one May day, waiting for a kitchen delivery, and trying to call him, and him not answering (typical m.o.) and knowing....ugh. This (he) is so not for me.
August 2010. I turn 37. I go to the U.S. for two weeks, to see my old friend, and not so surprisingly after all our long late-night talks, our lonely lives meshing over the phone, we fall in love.
I am running on the beach with him, I am looking at the stars at night, I am eating pizza, I am going to Boston with him, and to see my friend L. in NYC with him, a lifelong dream to see the city. I run in Central Park, one of the highlights of my life.
September 2010. I come home, back to reality, and dig into work, life, and the business of my father's ending treatments.
October 2010. My new love, M., comes to Toronto for a visit, meets my parents, my aunt, and sister, and we spend a beautiful weekend together. The cloud of the last months has lifted and I run more than ever, I have so much energy.
My father is given the good news that his cancer has responded to treatment. I greet this news, truly, with uneasiness. I ventured onto the internet only once to look at the stats of his type of cancer. Then I quickly shut that down. I don't want to know anymore. And luckily, there doesn't seem to be anything else. Yet.
November 2010. M. is here, for some of the winter, and November is a cold month. We celebrate my dad's birthday again. I cannot, for the life of me remember what we did, for this last birthday. I have wracked my brain. Nothing.
December 2010. M. returns home. Christmas again. This year just us. My mom, dad, sister, and the kids.
It is, despite the kids' energy, a slightly somber occasion. My dad still cannot eat because of his cancer. This eats at me.
To be continued.....