Preparing to rendezvous with The Doc in Chicago  ...


Friday Morning
May 1, 1998

Well ... this is it, Journal. The morning of mornings. The day of days.

I was going to try and get a little extra sleep this morning -- maybe just lay in bed until 6 a.m. or so, resting up for the long day of traveling ahead -- but obviously that's out of the question. I am far too keyed-up. This may very well turn out to be one of the best days of my life: I want to be awake and alert and enjoy EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF IT. I've learned (all too painfully) how few and far between days like this one can be.

Dark outside the patio door. The apartment is absolutely still. No "real" coffee on hand, so I am forced to drink a cup of that god-awful instant swill of Tim's.

Tim has pinned a huge map of the U.S. to the wall above the printer. I'm sitting here looking at it, contemplating how far I've got to travel today. Until a couple of weeks ago I didn't even know where Chicago was on a map. Now I can pick it out with my eyes closed (and my heart wide open).

Going to go take a long shower and start getting ready. Tim is dropping me off at my office about half an hour earlier than usual -- he thinks I'm having a "meeting" at work -- but as soon as he's safely out of the parking lot, I'm going to dash across the street and catch the #33 bus to downtown Portland ... and then, from there, to PDX. With any luck, I'll get to the airport at least a couple of hours early, giving me plenty of time to orient myself, scribble something in this journal, maybe have some 'real' coffee, maybe find an ATM.

Off I go. Wish me luck.

8:04 a.m.

Sitting at the bus stop ... so nervous I have to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Bus ... pleeeeeeeeease get here ...


In Chicago with the doc.  I thought it was our new beginning: instead,
it was the beginning of the end.
Spring 1998


I didn't write anything in my journal during the weekend in Chicago, but this excerpt from the autobio describes what happened when I got home:

"  ...  Our reunion was 72 hours of sex, tears, apologies and promises, followed by the requisite tearful parting at the airport at the end of the weekend. I came home afterwards determined to find a way for us to be together permanently. Now that I was almost divorced, I figured, it would simply be a matter of getting him to leave his wife and commit to a life with me.

In the meantime, of course ... there was still the matter of The Oregon Boyfiend.

It was almost midnight by the time I got home. When I quietly let myself into our apartment, I was shocked to see all of my personal belongings stacked in a haphazard pile, in the middle of the living room ... and the Oregon Boyfiend sitting on the couch, in the darkness, waiting for me.

"How was Chicago?" he asked, murderously calm.

~ From "The Real Deal"




May 7, 1998

Almost a week later, and my whole world has changed ... not just because of the Chicago trip, but because of everything that happened afterwards. The "aftermath," I guess you could call it.

Long and short of it is: I am looking for a new place to live, Tim and I are over, and my heart is more confused than at any other time in my entire life.

My Options:
  • Renounce The Doc forever and beg Tim to let me stay here in our apartment, even though we both know my heart isn't really in it
  • Move in with a roommate (Oregon)
  • Move into a small place by myself (Oregon)
  • Move back to TicTac -- maybe stay with Mom or Deb for a while, get a job, find a place to live
  • Suck on the end of a gun



I decided to stay in Oregon and try living by myself for a while.  Miraculously, I managed to find a tiny apartment in Oregon City that I could almost afford.

Saturday 7:25 p.m.
May 16, 1998
My life begins a new chapter

[Cue: Sheryl Crow, "A Change Will Do You Good"]

Today I moved into my first new apartment ... all by myself. No other name on the lease: only mine. No other toothbrush in the toothbrush holder: only mine. My place. My space. My home. At age forty, I have realized one of the biggest dreams of my life finally: to live by myself. I am scared and exhilarated ... surprised and sorrowful ... hugely optimistic, and dead-certain that I'm going to fudk this up somehow. I am thrilled with this latest development in an already interesting life ... and yet acutely aware that my happiness, once again, is coming at great cost to someone I care for. [If I live to be a thousand years old, I'll never forget how defeated and heartbroken Tim looked an hour ago, as he said goodbye to me and hobbled up the stairs in front of my apartment building as he headed for home alone.] No wonder my joy tonight at finally realizing my dream -- a place of my own -- is a muted joy.

Still. I have loud music all around me -- Feef's "Mostly Joyful Noises" tape -- and a cup of tea in front of me ... and a brand-new journal. I took a couple of pain pills, left over from Tim's last surgery, and there is some beer chilling in the fridge, which I may or may not indulge in later, depending on whether or not I can sleep in these strange new surroundings. I've worked HARD today, hauling boxes from one place to another all day, and it feels wonderful to just sit and do nothing. I wish I had my computer -- I feel a little cut-off from the world right now, without one -- but with any luck I should have it sometime next week. My friend Andy in Texas is sending me his old 486: I think he shipped it a few days ago. I don't have a TV, either: that's something else that might have helped ease some of my 'jitters' tonight, but I looked at Fred Meyer and couldn't find anything I could afford. [I did get a coffeemaker and a toaster, though, and some odds and ends of groceries.] So I'm just going to have to content myself with sitting here and listening to music and writing a little and looking out the window, thinking about everything that's happened in the past month.

A month ago -- one short month ago, I can hardly believe it -- my life was so different. I was living in the Oregon City apartment with Tim. Our relationship was far from perfect -- I was dissatisfied with everything, from our sex life to the way we shopped for groceries -- but I had no plans or desire to leave. We'd signed a one year lease together, and I figured I would give us at least until the end of the year to either work things out or to go our separate ways. A lot of things about our life were pleasing and satisfying: I felt comfortable with him, I loved our apartment, I enjoyed going places and doing things together. It was especially wonderful to have someone warm and there, lying in bed next to me at night. Neither of us has any family here in Oregon -- and very few real friends or acquaintances, outside of my work -- so basically it was just Tim and me, alone together in the world. All we had was each other.

A month ago I was worrying about my job, and about starting my writing class at the college, and about getting up at 5 a.m. every morning to write my Artist's Way pages. I was trying to get a working computer up to the Tots in TicTac, and worrying about Tim's son coming to see us for a week. We were getting ready for Tim' s first knee surgery, and trying to lure hummingbirds and squirrels to feed from our back porch. Life was settling into a routine. I was unhappy about a lot of stuff, but then again I'm ALWAYS unhappy about a lot of stuff. Looking back, I think I was actually a lot happier than I realized ... or if not 'happy,' exactly, then at least more content than I realized. So of course I had to shake things up.

I don't regret any of the things I've done in the last four or five weeks ... EXCEPT for the way it has devastated Tim. He is a kind, decent man who didn't deserve to have his heart -- and his life -- annihilated. Truth, I suppose, is that I never should have gotten involved with him in the first place. I was still in mourning for The Doc, I wasn't ready for a mature relationship, I was drinking a lot ... Tim was vulnerable, and I took advantage of that ... I ran off with him with barely a thought about how it would impact him, me, my kids, Ray, anyone else. All I wanted was for all the hurt (from The Doc breaking up with me) to go away. But I did get involved with him -- I made him love me -- and then I broke his heart, something I specifically promised him I would never do. I should be writing something like "If I could go back in time and do things differently, I would." I should be sitting here wallowing in remorse, desperately trying to come up with ways to make amends, to get Tim to take me back, to try and "fix" all of this. And I should be vowing never, ever to have anything to do with The Doc, ever again ...

... but I can't, for one simple reason: The Doc is, was and always will be the one true love of my life. Plain and simple. End of story. I can't say that I regret our reunion in Chicago two weeks ago ... because I don't. It was like living a dream. If my plane had crashed on my way home to Oregon after that weekend, I would have died perfectly happy.

I love him. He is my life. He is my destiny.

He lives on the other side of the country ... yet moving into this little apartment by myself will actually bring him closer to me, in a way. I will be free to talk to him, on the computer and the phone, without always worrying that somebody is going to walk in on our conversation. I will be free to pack up and go see him, whenever we can arrange it. He's already talking about coming here to Oregon to see me this summer. It still sucks, as far as logistics go -- him being so far away, I mean [not to mention the minor annoyance of his being MARRIED] -- but dammit, Journal, it's a lot better than the way things were a year ago, or two years ago when we were first getting involved. I can live a life of quiet creative independence, here in my little hillside apartment overlooking historic Oregon City. If the time comes when he realizes that he can't live without me, and that we should be together all the time ... I'll be ready. In the meantime, I can enjoy the hell out of this new experience of living by myself.

[And yes, I realize how absurd and childish all of this sounds. Obviously I still have a lot of issues to work through here. Hopefully that's what this journal -- and this whole "living alone" stuff -- is going to be about.]

I just turned off the music for a minute, and now I'm listening to the rain falling outside my apartment windows. The sound is both comforting and sad: comforting because it's such a soothing, familiar sound, one I equate with being "home" and "safe" ... and sad because it makes me feel homesick, and at this point I'm not even sure where [or who] I'm homesick for.




Sunday morning 6:30 a.m.
May 17, 1998

My first morning in the new place, and the overriding emotion of the moment is calm. I feel incredibly calm and at peace. Quiet Emmylou Harris on the boom box ... coffee in the kitchen ... rain against the windows. I could learn to love this, I think.

More later, after I've had some coffee and read the paper and reveled in the pure luxury of my solitude for a while.

Just took my first shower in the new place. Today is a real celebration of "firsts," isn't it? Yesterday, after helping me move in and get settled, Tim went into my bathroom without asking and took a quick bath in my tub. I tried not to make a big deal out of it, even though *I* would have preferred to be the first one to use my tub. Afterwards, he griped for the rest of the afternoon about how there wasn't enough hot water. So I was a little nervous about getting into the shower this morning ... expecting the hot water to kick off after thirty seconds or so .. but it was just fine! Better than fine, actually. I just don't know how I could ever get tired of this being alone stuff. Y'know?

I paged The Doc a few minutes ago -- just my new phone number, no area code -- don't know if he'll figure out that it's me, but I decided it was worth a shot. I am hungry for the sound of his voice. Our 'connection' this past week was almost nonexistent: I was busy and stressed, trying to get myself moved into the apartment, and he had his usual crazy doctor's schedule to contend with. The three or four times that he called me at work, I wasn't able to talk freely. I could hear the concern and disappointment in his voice, every time we were forced to hang up without having really said anything. I just want him to know now that I'm in the new apartment, safe and sound, and that I'm thinking about him, and missing him hugely, and loving him foreverly ...

8:19 a.m.

Cooked myself breakfast -- a scrambled egg with salsa and two pieces of raisin nut toast. More coffee. "Collective Soul" on the boom box. Windows are still steamy from my shower. Quietly puttering around my apartment, putting things away ... taping photos and postcards to the fridge ... planning my day. [Should I ride the #32 around town and see where it goes? Go to the library and check out some new CDs? Just stay "home" and finish unpacking?]

Still unpacking.  In spite of the circumstances, I LOVED my new apartment.
May 1998


Monday morning 5:30 a.m.
May 18, 1998

I think I'll go back and do The Artist's Way program again, from the beginning, starting in a day or two. I've certainly got the time for it now, and the privacy. I may have lost some of the motivation, but I can get that back. I think it might be good for me.

Just got up and poured my first cup of coffee. The apartment is warm and quiet and -- SURPRISE! -- neat as a pin. Tim hung around here ALL DAY yesterday -- more about that, later -- but I managed to work around him and get things more or less into place. The result isn't exactly Better Homes & Gardens ... but it ain't Hooterville, either. It's a funky mix of stuff I love and stuff I've borrowed, all stuck together with masking tape ... photos of The Tots and The Grillaz covering every inch of the fridge ... my beloved "toy" collection, arranged on the top shelf of my desk (which Tim is letting me keep, btw: I'm going to have to pay him back for the stereo, but the desk was a gift, he says) ...

My fridge was a *work of art*
(The Oregon Boyfiend HATED it)


The real issues ticking away at my heart this morning is Tim -- how do I disengage without shattering what's left of his heart and dignity -- and The Doc, who just called to inform me that ...


[Joyous-terrified screaming noises going on inside my head at the moment. ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod.]

Guess I'd better get into the shower now and start getting ready for work. I'm not 100% sure where and when to catch the #33, so I need to leave a couple of minutes early. Maybe my computer will get here today! Now there's a happy thought. I've sorta lost hope ... what if Andy decided not to send it after all, and just hasn't gotten around to telling me? So if it does show up after all, it'll be a nice surprise.

I'm supposed to get a money order from my sweet baby in the mail, too -- $350, which I will toss into the checking account and try like hell not to touch this week ... ESPECIALLY if he's going to fly out and see me next weekend. ["We're going to buy you a bed," he said on the phone a few minutes ago. "And then we're going to break it in." God I love him.]

Off I go.


Amusing comment, made by the bus driver as I got on board the #33 this morning: "You look spiffy today."



7 p.m.

I've only lived here for a couple of days, and yet already this little apartment is starting to feel like "home" to me. The rush of joy I felt when I came through the door this afternoon was unmistakable: it meant "I have come home." I straightened things up before I left for work this morning -- rinsed out my tiny collection of dishes, smoothed the comforter over the air mattress, plumped the pillows on the sofa -- so when I got home this afternoon everything was neat and orderly. It gave me such a feeling of ... I don't quite know how to describe it ... a feeling of pride, and peace, and absolute pleasure to open that door and step inside.

I think I am about as happy, this week, as I've been since I left TicTac. I don't know how long it will last ... but I am determined to enjoy it while it does. In spite of everything.

The doc sent me a couple of hilarious "care packages" today -- some old crappy household stuff left over from his college days (pots and pans, broken dishes, an ugly lamp), some new towels for my bathroom, some adorable little odds & ends (beads from our trip to New Orleans, a wind-up music box shaped like a mandolin). At this point it looks like he still might be coming out to see me this weekend, although I'm trying very hard not to get too excited about it. (Har.) Just in case it doesn't pan out.

No computer yet. Sigh.




Tuesday 5:04 a.m. (I think)
May 19, 1998

It's only a little past 5 a.m. -- still dark outside my apartment windows -- and I could probably lounge in bed for another hour and still make it to the bus on time ... but I feel drawn to get up and spend a few minutes doing the Morning Pages thing. That means at least a solid half hour of freestyle writing -- keeping the pen moving -- no editing myself -- writing whatever comes into my head, regardless of how "silly" or "incriminating" or "pointless" it may seem. I'm miserably out of practice at this, but I'll give it a try.

Last night, right before bed, I curled up on the little sofa and read my Artist's Way journal from a couple months ago. Two things about it struck me: one, how cohesive and interesting it is (even though at the time I was writing it I bemoaned what I felt was its piecemeal quality) ... and two, how many of the dreams I was dreaming, two short months ago, have come true recently, including the chance to live on my own and reuniting with The Doc. It's almost as though getting my dreams onto paper -- onto the AW pages -- helped make them a reality. And if that isn't incentive to keep writing, then I sure as hell don't know what is ...

Let's see. I need to write about the "now" of my life ... the present moment. Like I said, it's early morning, and I was awakened by a painfully stiff neck and a sour taste in my mouth. I dreamed all night long -- "snippet dreams," one right after another -- the only one I remember with any clarity was this one: I was supposed to be flying to New Orleans (presumably to be with The Doc), but at the very last minute I realized that I didn't have my ticket. I was frantically digging through drawers and closets, looking for it, but I kept coming up empty handed. Finally -- in a complete panic -- I called the airlines to see if they would let me on the plane anyway, but when I dialed the number all I got was a recording. End of dream. (Variation On A Theme: I've had this dream relentlessly over the past couple of years. The destination and the obstacles vary a bit from dream to dream, but otherwise it's the same. Guess we don't need Freud to figure it out, huh?)

Anyway, I woke up and crawled off the air mattress ... came out to the kitchen and flipped the switch on my new Mr. Coffee ... plugged in my electric rollers in the bathroom ... turned on the desk lamp, put the "Celestine Prophecy" tape in the stereo, and opened this notebook. And here I am. It's growing light outside now ... steam on the windows, probably from me running water and making coffee. My neck is still incredibly stiff -- I can't move my head around at all -- maybe that air mattress isn't as "comfy" as I think it is. (Or else maybe it got chilly in the bedroom while I was sleeping.)

I slept on  [and did battle with] this leaky air mattress for six months

I talked to both Tim and The Doc on the phone last night. My conversation with The Doc was funny, sweet, energizing, uplifting ... he was grocery-shopping while we talked, and I listened to him bantering with the store clerk in that familiar charming way that I adore ... I hung up the phone so in love with him I could burst. Then I talked to Tim before bed ... a solemn, wistful, thoroughly depressing conversation that made me thankful neither one of us have gas ovens ... Long and short of it is: the sooner I sever all connection to Tim, the better it's going to be for everyone. I just don't know HOW. We're not bound in any legal way except maybe the lease on the apartment ... but there are "connections" that are difficult for me to break. The main thing is that I'm terrified of hurting him any more than I already have. I'm afraid of his pain and his rage. I'm afraid, too, of what will happen if he discovers The Doc here next weekend. Would he go off the deep end? Would he hurt us, or hurt himself? I keep thinking about that gun he keeps in his closet ...

I could say that I wish I'd never gotten involved with Tim in the first place ... but that wouldn't be true. I came to Oregon because of him, and Oregon has turned out to be a place of deep meaning and healing for me. And we've shared some experiences together that I wouldn't trade for anything: the hike at Silver Falls, lunches at Togo's, the long drives in the country, movies we've gone to see, quiet moments we've spent together. I just wish that we could end it now and still remain friends. Or end it now and NOT remain friends, if that's easier for him. But this long, torturous, drawn-out ending isn't doing either of us any good, and I know it's time for me to be truthful with him and admit that there is no hope for reconciliation, that I just want to go my own way and make my own mistakes and quit relying on him to "rescue" me all the time ... and to part ways, once and for all.

And I need to do it this week. Gulp.

In the meantime ... I'll just keep plugging away at life. Enjoying my new apartment. Waiting (without much hope, anymore) for the blasted computer to arrive. Hoping that everything falls into place and The Doc is able to fly out and see me this weekend ... or soon. Learning the new bus route. Typing the same eleven warranty cards over and over again at work because there's nothing else for me to do. Reading library books and eating cold frozen pizza and listening to John Hiatt sing "Shredding The Documents." Living and writing and dreaming and looking out the window a lot.

6:33 p.m.

I had an absolutely horrible day today, and I am completely, thoroughly, 100% depressed as hell. And that's all I'm in the mood to write.



Mind-numbingly depressed.
The computer "fell through."
I don't want to write
I don't want to talk
I don't want to do anything
I'll be back someday ... when the cloud lifts.




Wednesday 5:06 a.m.
May 20, 1998

Days just don't get much crappier than yesterday, I'm afraid. I'm sorry about last night's cryptic "non-entry" in this journal, but honestly, by the time I'd straggled home, all I was in the mood to do was drink a beer, listen to a little music, cry for a while ... and go to bed.

I don't even want to get into all of the ridiculous particulars, except to say that my job SUCKS. I was called into the manager's office not once but TWICE, both times for stuff I have no control over ... Dan O. is all over my case about catalog money -- now he wants to "open the mail w/me," starting today, to make sure I'm not tucking dollar bills into my pocket ... Allison was eagle-eyeing me all day, no doubt trying to gauge how I was monitoring the "stress" ... Jill was in one of her infuriatingly smug, "I know everything" moods ... phones were impossible, customers were weird, and I didn't have anywhere near enough paperwork to keep me busy so the day just limped by. Arrrgh. Add to that the fact that my computer still did not arrive ... and neither did the $350 money order that The Doc supposedly mailed eight days ago (I am now officially dead broke) ... and it makes for one stinkeroo of a day.

Tim came and took me out to lunch -- a quick run through McDonald's -- and then gave me a ride home after work. I guess he sensed how dispirited and unhappy I was, and he was just trying to make things easier ... but of course this just adds to my confusion. He still loves me. He is bending over backwards to be helpful and supportive. He still hopes that I'm going to get counseling and resolve my feelings about The Doc and use this time, living alone, to get strong and healthy and figure things out ... and that the two of us will be together again, eventually. And the truth is that there are moments when I wonder if this wouldn't be the smart thing to do, Journal. I look at this sweet dedicated man, pushing his heartache to one side long enough to bring coffee filters and shelf liner to my new apartment, and I wonder what the hell is wrong with me. Why can't I be crazy in love with him, instead of with The Doc? Why can't I be content with someone who is so devoted to me? Why ... can't I love him?

5:45 a.m.

SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT!!!!!!!! I just had a horrible phone conversation with The Doc just now. He was cold and remote and said that he senses "duplicitousness" on my part (because I'm still seeing Tim occasionally) ... I am so confused. Everything is falling apart on me this week: my job, my personal relationships, my finances. How the hell am I going to get through this day? Crying. Pouring rain outside. Irritating Kate Bush CD on the stereo. Worried about everything there is to be worried about, and THEN some.

The doc swears that the money order is in the mail. "I've got the receipt," he said. He also said that he'll be sending more money "shortly," and as much as he can every month after that.

The county job application is sitting here on the desk next to me. Guess I'd better start thinking about filling it out if I ever want a better job than the one I've got now.

I wish I had a TV this morning. Some mindless media noise would help black out some of the other noises in my head.

I WISH MY COMPUTER WOULD GET HERE!!!!!!!!!! I feel so cut off from the world. This apartment is really beginning to feel like a jail cell.

Gotta go take my shower and get ready for another hellish day at work.

7:40 a.m.

Getting ready to walk to the bus stop. I've spent all morning thinking about the work situation ... and I've decided I'm going to quit my job. I have a tiny window of opportunity now, while my rent is paid (only $225 due next month) to get a better job. After that, I'm locked into Benchmade with no way out. I ran the idea past both Tim and The Doc on the phone, and they were both very skeptical and non-supportive. Fuck them. "Leap and the net will appear" is my new mantra.





Thursday 5:04 a.m.
May 21, 1998

So OK, I didn't quit my job. Yet. But just knowing that I can, if I need to/want to, removes some of the power Benchmade has over my outlook and my will to live. As days go, yesterday at the office was fairly uneventful. Dan O. made a big production of sorting through the mail with me at noon -- ostensibly to "verify money-handling procedure," but of course we all know the real reason was to see if I'm pocketing the catalog money -- so it was gratifying when my point was proven and there was no cash in the mail to "pocket" (there never is: most catalog requests come in with a check or else with no payment at all). I suppose I'll have to endure this humiliating procedure for another few days, until he's satisfied that I'm honest and capable, but OK ... I'll live with it, if it means keeping the peace for awhile longer. At LEAST until I can submit a new application to the county and start the job-hunting wheels turning.

Got mail from The Doc, finally -- it was supposed to be that $350 money order -- but when I opened the envelope there was nothing inside. Sigh. He was very upset when I called and told him about it, and he's supposedly going to try and "track it down" ... but in the meantime I am as broke as I've ever been in my life, wondering how in the heck I'm going to get through the long weekend looming ahead. (Unless a miracle occurs and he really does come to Oregon for the weekend ... which, right now, is looking sorta iffy.)

The only GOOD news I got yesterday was a phone call from my pal Andy in Texas: my computer will be here next week for sure! Probably on Tuesday, since Monday is a holiday. He apologized for the delay -- a series of mix-ups at his office, he says -- and said that the computer he ordered for me is even better than the one he'd planned to send originally. Lots more bells and whistles. I feel 100% better about the whole thing, now that I know it's definitely on the way and I will definitely be plugged back into the cyber world SOON. I miss my friends.

Oregon Tim and I had a terrible blow-up last night, when he was driving me home from work. We were having a pleasant, nonthreatening conversation in the car, all about what he plans to do with his rental house ... when all of a sudden there was a loud "BEEP!" from the inside of my purse. "What was that?" he asked, and then he went silent because we both knew what it was ... The Doc's watch, the one he loaned me in Chicago when I lost mine. A tangible symbol (for Tim) of my betrayal ... and his pain. This led to an ugly screaming match in the doorway of my apartment, where I told him not to call me anymore, that I'm sick and tired of having every facet of my life scrutinized by him, and that we are finished -- as friends or anything else, ever. When he wouldn't leave, I picked up the lid of a hatbox and threw it at him, hitting him squarely in the forehead. Then I pushed him out the doorway ("Get OUT of my APARTMENT!") and locked the door. It was one of the worst moments of my life, Journal. I can't even write about it in any more detail: I'm just too ashamed and bewildered by the whole thing. It was a shitty thing to do to him. It was a shitty way to end the relationship (as I stood there holding a grocery bag full of "emergency rations" he'd just given me). I know I can't continue to tiptoe around, hiding all traces of my relationship with The Doc, trying desperately to spare Tim's feelings, feeling one way but living another. It doesn't fit with my new lifestyle -- or my new commitment to The Doc -- and I simply refuse to do it anymore.

I will not be calling Tim about anything from now on. I don't care if my apartment is on fire and he's got the only working fire extinguisher in Oregon City. And if he calls me? Well ... I think it's safe to say that he WON'T be, anytime soon. But if he does, I'm just going to say "I don't want to talk to you" and hang up. After a while I think he'll get the message. I STILL hate hurting him this way ... I keep remembering the surprised look on his face when I clipped him with that hatbox lid ... but this is just another one of those things I'm gonna have to live with.

Off I go. God knows what horrors await me TODAY.

6:12 p.m.

I knew there would be a letter from Tim on my doorstep when I got home tonight ... and I was right. It's a HUGE, bazillion-page, neatly-typewritten, SCATHING indictment of me, my moral character, my relationship with The Doc, The Doc himself ... you name it. He also included two folders -- one titled "Some of Us" and the other titled "Cheatin' Hearts." The first folder contains print-outs of early e-mail and online conversations he and I exchanged, at the very beginning of our relationship. The other folder appears to be e-mails between The Doc and me, lifted from god knows where, and heavily covered in Tim's dour scribbled "editorial comments." I've read through it twice now. The first time it pissed me off ... who the fuck does he think he is, lecturing and threatening me this way? But the second time, it's just left me feeling flat and sad and exhausted. I'm sorry that he's so hurt. I am sorry that I'm responsible for all of that hurt. I truly wish I could go back and do some things differently, like breaking things off with him cleanly and honestly BEFORE I went to Chicago. But I can't. I wish there were some way I could obliterate his pain -- maybe that's why I've allowed things to drag out as long as they have, because I was too cowardly to face his pain -- but again, I can't.

I'm not going to call him. I'm not going to acknowledge his letter in any way. (At least, not tonight.) Better to allow some of the anger between us to cool first. Besides -- what the hell would I say?? I can't tell him I'm renouncing The Doc, because I'm not. I can't promise him that I'll ever change. I can't love him, the way he wants me to. What else is there to say?

As for The Doc ... the trip this weekend fell through. No surprise. It'll be Memorial Day weekend, and they're anticipating tomorrow to be the heaviest air traffic day in history: it would have cost him $1900 just to fly here for the weekend. I am wildly disappointed. So is he. I am also ... weirdly relieved. I'm not sure why, exactly. Maybe it would have been too soon: I haven't really had enough time to assimilate myself into the new place. Or maybe I was afraid Tim would show up at my door unannounced and discover The Doc here and kill us both, on the spot. Maybe I'm just too goddamned pooped to shave my legs. I dunno. All I DO know is that the thought of spending three entire days alone in my own place, doing anything I want to do -- without having to explain myself, apologize, entertain, please, apologize, converse, live up to expectations, compromise -- is enormously appealing. (Just wish I had my fricking COMPUTER! grumble grumble grumble)

Gonna go eat my shitty little TV dinner now. Bye.




Friday morning 5:24 a.m.
May 22, 1998

I wish I had my COMPUTER. What a long, blah, empty three-day weekend this is going to be ...

"Slept in" about half an hour later than usual this a.m. ... I needed it, after an unbelievably bumpy night. I took a couple of melatonin and crawled into bed at 7:30 last night -- hoping to "escape" into sleep, I guess -- but a persistent phone (my old pal David ... a weepy Tim ... a worried doc), bizarre dreams and train noises kept me waking up at odd hours. My head feels like it's filled with cold, lumpy oatmeal this morning.

Today will be a mostly nothing day. The doc is resending me the money -- this time it's coming overnight, guaranteed before noon, AND I have a tracking number -- so I'll walk to the bank at lunch and deposit that. The new Benchmade catalogs are in, FINALLY, so at least I've got something to work on all day. Beyond that ... I have zero idea. What will I do tonight? Tomorrow? The day after that? The day after that? Write pages and pages of sad, self-indulgent drivel in this journal?





Saturday morning 7:07 a.m.
May 23, 1998

Been up for a couple of hours already ... taping some library CDs, reading yesterday's newspaper, eating breakfast (two fried eggs and two slices of raisin toast, served on a styrofoam plate and washed down with coffee). Don't really feel much like writing. Don't really "feel" like doing much of ANYTHING, frankly ... except maybe getting on the bus and going to the library later this morning. I want to put all of this confusing romance stuff on a backburner for a while and just concentrate on the day-to-day details of my life. Is that so terrible?





Sunday 11:30 a.m.
May 24, 1998

It's possible that my plan may have backfired ... my plan to "put romance on the back burner," I mean. I haven't heard from The Doc in over 24 hours, and I must admit that I am growing a little tired of listening to the sound of my own head ...

I've thoroughly enjoyed all the domestic, day-to-day stuff this weekend, though -- cleaning my apartment, shopping for new pillows and a plastic dish drainer, hauling my laundry upstairs to the laundry room, making tea, listening to CDs, going to the library. It's been a lot of years since something as mindless as washing dishes or organizing a bookshelf brought me pleasure, and it's ... nice. It's as though a little part of me that was sleeping has been reawakened: the part of me that craves order and simplicity and comfort.

But I miss him. God, I miss him. I am aching for him this afternoon. I'm worried because I haven't heard from him. I've tried paging him repeatedly, without reply. I even (gulp) tried dialing his parents' number, which is supposedly where he's spending the weekend. Nothing.

Lighting candles. Taking photos of all the empty places in the apartment. Listening to lonely music. Watching raindrops falling from leaves, outside my window. Yearning.

"Taking pictures of all the empty places in the apartment  ... "
May 1998


Monday 4:47 p.m.
May 25, 1998

Still no word from The Doc, and an edgy panic is beginning to build in my heart. I was gone for most of the day today, going to thrift stores and picking up groceries, so maybe he called while I was out. I don't know. Part of me wanted to sit home next to the phone all day and wait for his call -- if and when he does contact me, he'll probably yell at me for not having done precisely that -- but I just couldn't bring myself to spend another long day sitting in this apartment, praying for the phone to ring. I did that yesterday, and the day before that, and I'm sorry but three days in a row would just be TOO pathetic. Still, the price I pay for my "independence" -- for my refusal to sit around and mope -- is this damnably sick, sad feeling in the pit of my stomach tonight. [Where is he? How is he? Where has he been all weekend? Why haven't I heard from him?] But dammit, Journal .. I did not take this huge leap of faith and move off by myself, just to relinquish my freedom to another man ... did I? I should be proud of myself here, a little. The Terri P. of years past would have spent the entire day -- hell, the entire WEEKEND -- holding that phone in her lap [and dying another little death, every time it rang and it turned out to be Ray or Tim or Debi-from-the-office, calling to see if I'd like to borrow her daughter's old TV stand for my apartment]. I should be glad that I had the self respect and the gumption to get out of the apartment and get on the bus and force myself out into the world ... even if it was "only" to browse a couple of thrift stores and pick up some groceries at Freddy's.

I did manage to add some cool new stuff to the apartment, over the weekend ... quite a lot of it either from Value Village or Goodwill, for practically nothing, including:

  • A soft, pretty afghan for the sofa ... something I can curl up and take a nap with
  • A candleholder -- square green glass -- I almost bought an identical candleholder at Target last week for five bucks, but here I got it for a dollar
  • A funky orange and yellow oven mitt designed to either look like a chicken or a frog, I'm not sure which (altho I'm sure they'd both probably TASTE the same)
  • Some COOL salt and pepper shakers, white with little green fir trees on them

I also got some kitchen towels, a dish scrubber, some nonskid applique?s for my tub and a peep-hole for my front door, which Tim came over and installed for me. [Yes, we're seeing each other again. Shut up.] Debi Stark gave me a small oak "entertainment center" -- basically it's just a couple tiers of shelves, glued together -- but now I've got a borrowed TV to put on it, and it takes up another empty corner of the living room, next to the window. This place will never be anything more than it is -- a moldy, rundown apartment desperately in need of bulldozing -- but as I gradually acquire things and fix it up as best I can, it's taking on a life and a peculiar charm all its own. It really and truly is beginning to feel like "my place."

With any luck, my new computer should arrive tomorrow, and I already know that it's going to be the focal point of the apartment (and of my life, probably). I expect I'm going to be spending a lot of fun, productive (and some not-so-"productive") hours sitting right here, pecking away at the keyboard. It'll be interesting to see if my cyber habits have changed any, after nearly a year of involuntary abstinence. Will I go back to my old hard drinking, chat-rooms-and-Danger-Grrl persona ... or will I keep things more neutral and subdued, after everything I've been through?




May 26, 2003
Tuesday 4:59 a.m.

Just paged The Doc -- force of habit, first thing in the morning: my way of signalling him that I'm awake -- but I don't feel any real hope that he'll respond. Or if he does, he's going to be angry with me because I didn't keep a vigil next to the phone all weekend. Either way, I'm going to try not to care too much. It's too fudking early in the morning to cry about anything.

Today might be Computer Day ... but again, I'm trying not to care too much, just in case it doesn't show up after all. It just seems safer to keep my expectations low: that way I'm not completely devastated when things get screwed up.

Besides ... this is going to be a long, tough day at the office. I feel it in my bones. The mail is going to be unnaturally heavy, thanks to the three day weekend so Dan O. is going to be right there in my face all day long. Plus I'll have the usual first-of-the-week stuff to deal with: bazillions of messages and catalog requests. I suppose I'll be stretched very thin by the end of the day. So I'm going to use this remaining forty minutes of journal-writing time, before my shower, to try and get myself centered. No gloomy worries about The Doc, about the computer, about the job. I don't seem to be very much in control of any of that stuff, anyway. I love The Doc very much ... but our circumstances will continue to make this a difficult and complex relationship, until/unless we're willing to change things. (I move to PA and/or he leaves his wife finally.) The computer will get here when it gets here. I can't force UPS to move any faster. And my job -- at least for the moment, for today -- is too important to jeopardize. So the very best I can do right now is to just take a deep breath and relax and let things take care of themselves. Concentrate on whatever I'm doing, at any particular moment, and not worry so much about what's going to happen 'next.' Specifically -- for today -- this probably means: * Remembering that he loves me ... and just letting it go at that, for now. More that "backburner" stuff, I guess. Not forgetting about him, or de-prioritizing what we have, exactly, but not allowing it to be the only thing I think about today, either. Tucking his heart into my pocket ... and knowing my heart is tucked into his. (He just called, by the way. Everything is OK. Too much to say and not enough time to say it, as usual ... but otherwise things are fine.) * Focusing on the job ... not on the UPS truck.

Looks like another dark, soggy Oregon morning, btw. Since moving into this apartment, there has only been ONE morning when I haven't had to carry an umbrella to the bus stop. We saw some blue sky for a little while yesterday, as I was running from thrift store to thrift store, but that's all over with, apparently. I think the rain is beginning to seriously affect everybody's mood. It's been going on for weeks now, and it's like living under a wet woolen blanket. Everyone I know is feeling just a little "off" ... a little bit crabbier than usual ... and I wonder if this continued downpour has anything to do with it? I actually LIKE rain, in measured doses, but even I'm beginning to feel oppressed by the relentless darkness and gloom. Oh well. Time to take a shower and get ready for Hell Day. If the computer doesn't show up today I hereby give myself permission to come home tonight and get drunk and write pages and pages of whiny, self-pitying crap in this notebook. (And if it DOES show up ... I hereby give myself permission to come home and get drunk and CELEBRATE.)



My new computer!  (Finally!)
This is where *FootNotes* was born, during that summer of 1998



Tuesday morning 5:13 a.m.
June 2, 1998

First journal entry using the new computer. Not sure if it’ll be as successful as writing in longhand was, earlier this year ... but it’s worth a shot.

Went to bed last night extremely early - 8 p.m. - but I still feel worn-out and fragile this morning in the aftermath of Sunday night’s “bender” (and the emotional crisis that precipitated it ... Paula’s e-mail to The Doc, Oregon Tim and me). Took yesterday off from work - the official excuse was my 9:45 a.m. appointment with Dr. Norris to look at my bunion - but the real reason of course was because I was too hungover to function. I hope alcohol is not going to become a problem again, now that I’m living on my own. Seems to me there have been a couple of times - right after the balding aluminum salesguy and I broke up, and then again when I left Ray for awhile and took the kids to live at Shannon South - when I had a chance to create an independent life for myself but I allowed alcohol to fuck it up. Can’t let that happen this time. If I fail again at this “living alone” stuff, there is no safety net to catch me: my life will be over. So I’m going to have to TRY and be very careful here, and not let myself get caught up in the old drink-and-then-drink-on-top-of-the-hangover trap ... even though I have a new computer now, and I love sitting here with a light buzz going, talking to friends and surfing the ‘Net ...

So I go back to work again today, after an impromptu three day weekend. No idea what to expect today, as far as the office goes: will I be in trouble for taking that extra day? Will they just shrug it off? Will Dan O. be hovering over me all day again, watching my every move? Will Allison call me into her office for one of her dour, rehearsed little “lectures?” I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m job-hunting on the side again: faxed two resumes out yesterday afternoon, and I’m FINALLY going to finish the Clackamas County application today and get that into the mail. So my days at Benchmade are numbered, anyway. It’s not necessary for me to spend a lot of time and energy, worrying about what they think of me.

The rest of my life is a convoluted mess, as usual. Not sure I want to get into ALL of the particulars this morning: suffice it to say that my romantic life continues to rival anything on The New York Times Bestseller List.





E-mail to Edmund

Subj: Re: sheesh
Date: 6/2/98
To: Edmundkaz

In a message dated 6/2/98 6:37:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time, Edmundkaz asks the second-stoopidest-question he's ever asked Secra:

<< What can I do for you? Ya want me to make you a tape or something? >>


I have been begging you to make me another g.d. tape for MONTHS now. Right now would be so prefect, too: I have the time and the space and the privacy and the EQUIPMENT to listen to just about anything you wanna send me. (No more scurrying to turn down "Fujiyama Mama" so it doesn't OFFEND anyone else in the house.)

So .... whut the fuck are you waiting for??

Get ON it.

Get WITH it.

Get DOWN with your bad selves.







Wednesday 5:17 a.m.
June 3, 1998

Another dark, sleepy, all-too-EARLY morning. Wishing I didn’t have to go to work today ... that I could just settle in here in front of the computer with a cup of coffee and spend the entire day doing my ‘puter stuff. Sigh.

I still haven’t finished the job application for the county. I’ve been dinking around with it for a couple of months now. Isn’t it interesting? - I can take other job-related steps, such as faxing out resumes and making photocopies of my consortium test scores - but I can’t seem to bring myself to do the one thing that is certain to get me a new job ... and that’s turning in the county job application. As much as I may hate it at the knife company right now ... I’m still too frightened to take that “leap of faith” and try for something better ... something better-paying and more personally satisfying. Why?? Why can’t I just FINISH the frugging application and TURN IT IN??

I came home from work last night -- Tim gave me a ride, because he needed to pick up a notebook for his class & I had an extra -- and I had a mostly-pleasant evening, all to myself. Talked to (my friend/former online beau) David A. on the phone for a long time ... he wants to come over and see my new place, but I’m sort of hesitating until I’m sure it’s on a “just friends” basis ... my life is complicated enough as it is, thankyouverymuch. Ate some leftovers outta my fridge. Had a couple of funny online conversations, one with George (“So I ask you again: what were you doing in Chicago?”) and one with Edmund (“I bought a fucking CAR”). Listened to CD’s, watched a little TV.  Drank three? four? beers -- enough to lighten the mental load a little but not get completely screwed up. 

Wrote to The Doc, too, altho I’m hearing from him less & less often lately ... I think Paula’s letter this weekend threw the fear of God (or fear of The Poopster: same thing) into him.

Tim came by after class. I think he was expecting the two of us to leap into bed together, but by that point I was utterly exhausted (again) and he wound up tucking me in, locking up the apartment for me & leaving. (There was a note on my computer when I woke up this morning: “Good morning, I love you, wake up call at 7 a.m.”)

And such was my evening. Not looking forward to going to work, as usual.

Phone is ringing.

Moments later:

SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT. SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!  Sometimes I really and truly hate The Doc. I hate his fucking self-absorption. Everything is ALL ABOUT HIM, ALL THE TIME.  Then he just mumbles “I gotta get back to work” and hangs up w/o so much as an “I love you” or “Have a good day” or “I’ll be thinking of you.”




Long letter from “Oregon Tim."  I didn't want to cut things off completely with him, mainly because he was basically the only "friend" I had in Oregon.

Subj: Not trying to be depressing just a lot on the mind
Date: 6/3/98 4:21:48 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Oregon Tim
To: SecraTerri

Hi honey bunny, I'm glad we had lunch today. That was fun, although we probably could have found a way to make it more fun, if you know what I mean. :)

My Dad called and is antsy about my bank balance in WA . The new tenant won't be able to pay the rent until Monday. Shit ! So my mortgage payment is going to be a little late, which shouldn't be a major deal. But, I'm still one month behind. He askes about my $1900 a month I'm getting in disability and why I can't budget it better. Didn't tell him you moved out and that I'm on my own. He'd want to know more than I want to say at the moment. And of course he'd be a Dad and tell me what I did wrong. Couldn't blame him for that. He's going to put a couple of hundred in the account for me and get it back after the new tenant pays the rent and deposit. Guess I'm seeing some of this as fallout from what you did. If you didn't go to Chicago, you'd still be here, we'd still be together (enjoying the kitties), I'd have a few hundred to send to WA, maybe afford Dwayne's airline ticket these problems would be managable, Yada Yada Yada. I know.

Now, I can't see anyway to fix the financial end of things at the moment. Guess I'm praying for a little miracle, like the LP siding check or a decent paying job. This is a source of a lot of stress for me. I mean besides all the crap that you and I are going through. Maybe, I should consider moving into a cheaper place, but then, it would cost that first months "free" rent here to get out of the lease. Get a roomate, but I don't want a roomate. Just not sure what to do, about you and I, about my house in WA, about a lot of things. Really feel like I'm falling into the abyss and can't see the bottom or the top sometimes.

Today at lunch I found something very curiously funny (not funny hah hah). When I told you about Debbie's husband beating her, you said "There's never any excuse for that !!!" Sounds like you were stating a moral absolute. But, to him I'm sure there were shades of gray, maybe he "hated" her, he felt justified, so shouldn't it be OK? Oh BTW, I do happen to feel that, that is just plain intolerable. An absolute if you will. But, I'm sure he needed to feel what he did was justified and created his own shades of gray to excuse it. It's human nature to create those gray areas when it comes to moral absolutes, so we don't have to face the truth of some of our actions being wrong. When I talk about moral absolutes I'm talking 10 commandment sort of stuff.

Sorry, I got off on a tangent. :) I'll shut up now.

Jamie is on my lap right now. She says Hi. "meow"

Now for more happy stuff: I am looking forward to Friday, you know. I think you'll like the movie, "Grand Canyon," it's really cool, well done movie. Dinner, still want ribs? Want to spend the night? Maybe this weekend, Saturday maybe, we can have our "weekly" udate on how each of us is viewing "us" and what's going on inside you, (it's ok to be completely honest)and what't goning on inside me. I will be honest, (I won't tell Ellen, Ok) it WILL be between you and me. All I ask is that you be honest, K?

Sorry to send you a bummer of a letter. Please don't take it as jumping on you, that's not the way it is meant. But, I guess I needed to sort of "talk out" some stuff on my mind. OK.

I do love you, I do care an awful lot about you. Guess I'm still looking for answers to questions I haven't even thought of yet. And answers to some already existing questions. I'll call you on my breaks, I'd better get back to studying for tonight. Oh yeah, my first break tonight will be at about 6:40, then at about 7:40 and so on till I can come home and go sleepy.

Talk to you later. :*




Thursday 5:31 a.m.
June 4, 1998

I finished the application last night. Ta-da. It’s not filled out to my complete satisfaction, naturally ... is anything? ever? ... but if I wait until it’s “perfect,” it’s never gonna get submitted. So I’ve slapped it into an envelope, along with copies of my test scores and a new résumé, and today at lunch Tim is going to take me over to the county employment office in downtown Oregon City so I can drop it off. With any luck, this should finally set the wheels in motion, and maybe by this time next month I’ll be making two or three bucks more an hour than I’m making now at Benchmade. Plus I might be one heckuva lot happier. Who knows?

Still pissed off with The Doc. I wrote him an e-mail yesterday morning before work:


Subj: Not Exactly The Phone Conversation Of My Dreams
Date: 6/3/98 5:58:02 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: IzzatYoo
To: StarGydr

What an unhappy little phone conversation THAT was. It's 5:47 a.m., doc: please don't expect me to be either cheerful or coherent at this hour ... especially coming after Consecutive Sleepless Night #3. All I MEANT when I said "Maybe I should just shut it down" was ... maybe I should just quit talking to people altogether, about anything. Maybe some mindless weather chat, occasionally ... but forget talking about anything personal or important. It was a dour, depressed little comment that flew out of my brain & out of my mouth before I had a chance to process it. It was me not feeling much in the mood to be chastised about my "security system" at 5:30 in the morning. It was me feeling sorry for myself because I'm pretty damn alone in the world right now. It was me, pre-caffeine.

Forget I even said it.

(As for you hanging up the phone w/o so much as an "I love you" or "Have a nice day" or "Drop dead immediately please" ... well ... I am going to ATTEMPT to keep that from ruining the rest of the morning. But it's going to be hard. It's little things like that that tend to snowball on me.)

I love you. Have a nice day.



And here is the constipated, “me-me-me” little reply that awaited me when I got home last night:

Subj: Re: Not Exactly The Phone Conversation Of My Dreams
Date: 6/3/98 9:26:31 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: StarGydr
To: IzzatYoo

granted....but if you said...."fuck you, i never want to see you again" could have had the same result! precaffeine or sleep or not! it really uneettled me i do love know that. i'm sure you can also construe why i..well....frankly felt the way i did. i was.....quite say the least. put a damper on my day as well..... take care, baby.

i do love you. eternally.



He doesn’t have time to sit down and have a real conversation with me anymore, either on the phone or online ... and lately, any time we DO try to talk, it ends up like this.

He’s NEVER going to leave Patti. He loves me - “eternally” - but he’s never going to leave his wife and kids. I know it and he knows it and the rest of the fucking PLANET knows it. The smart thing to do, obviously, would be to just walk away ... now ... and never look back again. But I’m not ready to do that yet. When we’re together, he is the man I love: the tender, funny, romantic, sexy, smart, competent, wonderful man I fell in love with & could spend the rest of my life with. The problem is that when we’re apart - when our “connection” is reduced to sneaky phone calls and ambiguous e-mail - then he is not the man I love at all. He seems like a complete stranger: in fact, there are times when I outright LOATHE this person.





Another e-mail to Edmund ...

Subj: All I Can Say Is ...
Date: 6/4/98
To: EdmundKaz

 ... that must be one helluva interesting new fucking CAR , Edmund. I can't think of any other POSSIBLE reason for your wanton & abject abandonment of **MOI** the past couple of days. [Unless of coarse you and your fucking car are halfway between Shell Pile and Oregano City right about now ... in which case would you mind stopping at Tobacco Town on your way? I need another bottle of white vinegar and a newspaper.)





...  and one to The Grillaz

Subj: Re: Returned mail: User unknown: Sorry! I'm An Idoit!
Date: 6/4/98
To: Feef
CC: Bottle, Edmund

Everything here is FINE. Thank you ALL for asking. The solitary life suits me prefectly: I'm happier than Carolyn Dopps at the 1976 Glacier High School "Dancin' In The Moonlight" Senior Prom ... before the Frisbee melted on her dress, I mean.

BTW. SOS. Send oven mitts: I'm all outta socks.

Thank you.





My divorce is final

Subj: Misc. Updates & Stuff
Date: 6/7/98
To: Bottle, Edmund, Feef

Hiya, 'Grillaheads.

Guess whut? My divorce is finally-final.

Actually ... it's been "finally-final" since May 29th, apparently, but the A.H. didn't get around to notifying me about it until last night. ("Uhhh ... I thought maybe the kids mighta told you.")

So ... there you go. Seventeen years of marriage ... over. Just like that. It feels ... wayyyyyyyyy weird. You guys know how I felt about that marriage. I haven't exactly made a secret out of it, over the past few years. But it STILL feels really really really ... weird , sitting here knowing that I'm not married anymore. To anybody. I don't know whether I want to celebrate ... or mourn. Sing or scream. Toss my cheap-ass $79 Jafco "wedding ring" out the window ... or toss MYSELVES out the window. So maybe I'll just look at the photo album and think about some of the stuff that was good about those seventeen years, for a little while ... and then I'll have a beer.

Or eleven.

Just hadta share.




Me laying it all on the line.

Subj: No Subject
Date: 6/8/98
To: StarGydr

I'm glad you i.m.'d me this morning ... as painful as I know it must have been for you. In spite of what I said in the heat of the moment Friday, I welcome any contact from you. And in spite of what you may believe ... this weekend was just as awful for me as it was for you.

I can't apologize for wanting more from you than you can offer. I love you. I want to be with you. If I could rearrange the world ... you and I would be together. And if you just said the word ... I would be there, in a heartbeat. You know that. Sometimes you give me signals that you're almost ready for that to happen. Last month, for instance, when you were talking about "going to see a lawyer" and "setting the wheels in motion," I was so ... stupidly hopeful. Or even a few days ago, when I tentatively suggested moving myself closer to you geographically, and you said that sounded "feasible." Every time you do that - every time you give me one of these signals - it causes me to hope again. ("Maybe ... maybe ... we're going to be together, after all.") But then I get another phone call like the one I got on Friday ... where you remind me for the umpteenth time how young your children are, and how your wife "isn't that bad a person" ... and I know, deep in my heart, that you're never going to leave them. And I realize then that there is no hope. And that I'm the world's biggest idiot for even believing there ever could be.

So I make the decision, once again, to try and move on with my life. I have no clue how I'm going to manage to do this ... but I'm going to have to try, aren't I? I don't blame you for anything. I most especially don't blame you for making me love you.

I wish I could write more, but it's time to start getting ready for work.

I do love you, baby, and I always will. More than anything.





The doc's response.  He was upset because I'd spent the night with Oregon Tim.

Subj: Re: No Subject
Date: 6/8/98 10:07:14 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: StarGydr

terri... the pain does linger. your weekend couldn't have compared...believe you only savings grace was that i was on call....and had on of the busiest weekends ever. it keep me focused...and directed.

i will not be calling you...certainly not at would be way to painful for me. if i catch you on line..that would be fine. as a matter of MY sanity.....its necessary for ME to pull back. i'm just licking wounds now.....terri. and feeling incredibly alone. i've been true, terri more than you can imagine.

take care..

i DO love you





This just about summed the whole thing up for me.

Subj: Bottom Line
Date: 6/9/98
To: StarGydr

<< i've been true, terri more than you can imagine >>

Maybe you have. But the fact is that you are a married man who won't/can't commit to me ... and I am a forty year old divorced woman, in love with a married man, who doesn't want to spend the rest of her life as somebody's Vacation Girlfriend. That's the bottom line, doc. And I absolutely refuse to sit here and let you make me feel as though I'm a bad person because I spent the night at Tim's on Friday night. Sometimes sleeping with your bar of Eternity Soap just isn't enough. I need more than that. I deserve more than that, dammit.

And you know it.

I'll talk to you later. I love you, as always.





Online conversation with The Doc. (I'm using one of my dumb "stealth names.")  Things are seriously unravelling again.

StarGydr: good morning
IzzatYoo: morning
StarGydr: your well?
IzzatYoo: tired
StarGydr: me too
IzzatYoo: Not sleeping?
StarGydr: a little lifeless lately
StarGydr: no...not at all
me neither
StarGydr: how's your job search?
Proceeding slowly
StarGydr: terri......listen...i understand you need to get on with your life
IzzatYoo: Do you?
StarGydr: yes.
IzzatYoo: I appreciate that.
StarGydr: i'm jealous...very...but i understand
StarGydr: i'm shaking right now
StarGydr: you need alot of contact, don't you?
IzzatYoo: I don't know what I need
do you know that your my "great love"?
IzzatYoo: Yes.
StarGydr: do you know your my one and only?
IzzatYoo: I always hoped that was true.
StarGydr: do you know that...really know that??
IzzatYoo: I try to believe it.
StarGydr: i already lost you, didn't i?
IzzatYoo: That would be up to you
StarGydr: no, terri
IzzatYoo: I'm not going anywhere. I still love you. I'm still waiting. So no, you haven't "lost" me.  I don't know what else you want of me.
StarGydr: i'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop
StarGydr: the one that will strip everything else
StarGydr:  the Paula3000 shoe
IzzatYoo: I see. (He was referring to an online acquaintance who was threatening to write to his wife and expose our affair)
IzzatYoo: Then it's pretty much as I figured.
StarGydr: sure...thats when i lose my children
StarGydr: thats when i lose my life
IzzatYoo: Right.
StarGydr: i'll have lost you..and my kids
IzzatYoo: So what exactly IS it I'm supposed to do?
StarGydr: nothing
IzzatYoo: Great. That's helpful.
how can i be your friend after i've loved you so much??
StarGydr: terri...
IzzatYoo: What?
StarGydr: i just do
StarGydr: love you
StarGydr: so much that it hurts
StarGydr: you think i don't care for you more than anything?
StarGydr: that i wouldn't wait?
IzzatYoo: I have doubts.
StarGydr: your entitled to them
StarGydr: go then....
StarGydr: seek comfort


He drops offline at this point without another word.  I sit and wait for half an hour, seething.  Eventually he signs back on, as I knew he would. 

i'm sorry
IzzatYoo: About what? Your dramatic exit?
StarGydr: in part...i had a patient in..needed to run
"Goodbye" is always nice. Or "talk to you later."
and...yes...i wanted to *wound* you a little
StarGydr: like i feel you wound me
Well. You succeeded.
StarGydr: i don't want to fight terri
IzzatYoo: Neither do I.
StarGydr: what are we to do then?
IzzatYoo: I asked you the same question.
StarGydr: and provide a i don't know answer
StarGydr: asswer me me this:
StarGydr: are you better wit or without me?
IzzatYoo: Define "better."
StarGydr: just as it is
IzzatYoo: Without you I am nothing. Is that what you want to hear?
StarGydr: and here i sit...wanting to be attached to you somehow
StarGydr: anyhow
StarGydr: we'll not be able to meet agin
IzzatYoo: And why is that?
StarGydr: tim will be so vigilant
IzzatYoo: You're breaking things off again.
IzzatYoo: I'm sick of this. Back and forth.
IzzatYoo: You are making me insane.
StarGydr: me???shit keep fucking me over
IzzatYoo: All my fault as usual.
StarGydr: i would do ANYTHING for youa
StarGydr: nything!
IzzatYoo: Right.
IzzatYoo: You just announce that we can never "meet" again ... and then you announce that you would do ANYTHING for me.
IzzatYoo: Your inconsistency is making me crazy.
StarGydr: TIM is the variable here......not me
IzzatYoo: No. He's just your latest excuse.
StarGydr: WRONG.
IzzatYoo: No. I'm right. You just ... need a reason to walk away.
StarGydr: i don't consider you having sex with him excuse?
IzzatYoo: I'm a bad bad person.
IzzatYoo: It's all my fault. I'm a bad person. Same shit, different day.
StarGydr: i'm a jealous jealous person
IzzatYoo: It always comes down to this. You = The Moral Superior Me = The One Who Fucks Things Up
StarGydr: don't do this, terri
IzzatYoo: You get to walk away and keep your life intact. I sit here in ruins.
IzzatYoo: Been here done that. TWICE already.
StarGydr: my life intact??? your sorely deluded
IzzatYoo: You get to keep your kids and your job. That's more than I had last time you dumped me.
StarGydr: how come i feel so dumped ?
IzzatYoo: Because that's how you want to feel. It lets you off the hook.
StarGydr: damn, terri...i have patients waiting again
IzzatYoo: And I have to get ready for work.
StarGydr: I LOVE YOU
IzzatYoo: Great. That'll keep us both warm tonight. Talk to you later.
StarGydr: thanks..i poor my heart out
StarGydr: thats just great
StarGydr: stomp a little more, thank you
StarGydr: good bye




The doc and I had a mutual online friend, "Rachel," who eventually became a conduit of information between the two of us.

Subj: Re: Disclosure
Date: 6/12/98
To: Rachel  

Hi Rachel.

No, of course I don't mind that you and the doc talked on the phone. I pray that it gave him some release: to my knowledge, you are the only other person on the planet he has been able to confide in about all of this. I've begged him for months to talk to somebody ... anybody ... about all the stuff we're going through and (more importantly) his feelings about all of it. He won't. At least, not until now. So I'm glad you were there for him, and I hope you will be there for him in the future.

The truth is, R. ... I don't know how much longer I can allow things to go on this way. As I wrote him earlier this week -- in the e-mail that undoubtedly sent him over the edge -- I love him more than anything on earth, but the bottom line here is that he's a married man who can't/won't commit to me, and I'm a 40 yr. old divorced woman who doesn't want to spend the rest of her life as someone's Vacation Girlfriend. I'm not one to hand out ultimatums, but if he won't follow through on promises he made me I have no choice but to move on. I spent a year in hell, getting over him once: I already know that I can survive it. I only hope he can.

Thanks for being a pal.




It’s over. Again.

StarGydr: hi there
SecraTerri: Well hello.
StarGydr: busy week?
SecraTerri: Very. In a good way. You?
StarGydr: not really...
SecraTerri: I got a raise!
StarGydr: good for you!
SecraTerri: As much good as that's gonna do me.
StarGydr: wonderful! long over due
SecraTerri: Thanks. It's the recognition I appreciate more than anything.
StarGydr: you've been distant
SecraTerri: Not purposely.
StarGydr: i understand
SecraTerri: Working my butt off, doc.
StarGydr: good  ......... keeping busy .......... going on with our lives
SecraTerri: That happens whether you want it to or not.
StarGydr: i know
StarGydr: so how's the weather
SecraTerri: Fucking HOT in this apartment. I have all the windows open.


Long interval of silence  ...

StarGydr: your busy
StarGydr: distracted
StarGydr: distant
SecraTerri: In general or right now?
StarGydr: right now
StarGydr: and in general
SecraTerri: let me switch screen names OK? Too many other people are i.m.'ng me. 
StarGydr: no...i really have to get the little ones in bed
SecraTerri: See? I KNEW you would do this.
StarGydr: i don't have the luxury, terri
SecraTerri: Not a problem.
StarGydr: your distance
SecraTerri: You know what I want.
StarGydr: you know what i want
SecraTerri: You want me to wait.
SecraTerri: Alone.
SecraTerri: By the computer.
SecraTerri: You get pissed off at me if I'm not here.
You get pissed at me if I AM here.
StarGydr: i won't ask you to do that
StarGydr: i couldn't
StarGydr: and you wouldn't even if i did ask you 
SecraTerri: You won't even provide me the courtesy of a time frame.
StarGydr: pardon?
SecraTerri: How long precisely am I supposed to wait?
StarGydr: you're not terri..
SecraTerri: I see.
StarGydr: you made it abundantly clear that you have to "go on with your life"
StarGydr: as you told me
StarGydr: as you told Rachel
SecraTerri: Yes.
SecraTerri: It's like you said on the phone. We know how we feel about each other.
SecraTerri: It isn't enough for me.
SecraTerri: I want ALL of you.  But I can't have that.  So .......... I am narrowing my focus to my little life.
StarGydr: not so little
SecraTerri: My job. My classes. My friends.
StarGydr: and..where do i fit in...?
SecraTerri: Anywhere you want to fit in. Point is ... you DON'T want to.
SecraTerri: So I go on.
My HEART goes on.
StarGydr: terri...
StarGydr: my love for you has never diminished
StarGydr: not one bit
SecraTerri: Those are just words, doc.
StarGydr: it was words that made us
SecraTerri:  That's all I've got. Words and a bar of soap under my pillow.
StarGydr: how quick you put your defenses up
StarGydr: how quick you move to discredit
StarGydr: and discount my feelings
StarGydr: how quick yoiu... "sought comfort" in a another mans bed  
SecraTerri: "Sought comfort" in another mans bed. You are .... such a hypocrite.  Fucked your wife lately?
StarGydr: am i now?
StarGydr: your so sure
StarGydr: are you now?
StarGydr: go head...delete...cheapen everything i have for you
SecraTerri: This conversation is over.





I wrote him a snotty e-mail, demanding that he mail back the "Mad Magazine" baby photo I loaned him.  (The same photo that appears on the front page of *FootNotes,* as a matter of fact.)

Subj: Re: My Baby Picture, Please
Date: 6/21/98 4:13:41 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: StarGydr
To: IzzatYoo

you will get your picture.

terri, my heart goes on too...





My response to his response. 

Subj: No Subject
Date: 6/21/98

<< you will get your picture. terri, my heart goes on too.. >>

Gosh, I'm so THRILLED and RELIEVED to hear that your heart goes on. Perhaps someone should write a SONG about it.

I asked ONE SIMPLE THING of you last night: a time-frame. A vague idea of when you thought all of this heartache and waiting and torment might finally pay off. It wasn't the first time I'd asked, either. It didn't even have to be a specific date ... months? years? centuries? ... just a tiny, comforting little bit of encouragement. Something I could take to the air mattress with me and dream about. But you couldn't do even that much for me. Instead you gave me your "my family is fluid" shpiel ... and then you launched into your standard line of attack ("you sought comfort in another man's bed"), making me feel like a whore.  I ... just don't think I deserve to be treated this way. Especially by someone who "loves" me. I feel horrible when we don't talk ... and even worse when we do. I think I'm going to have to ask you, once again, to just leave me alone ... at least until you can figure out what it is you really want. I'm tired of piecing my life back together every time you're finished ripping it to pieces.





Subj: No Subject
Date: 6/21/98 3:15:38 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: StarGydr
To: IzzatYoo

oh, yes, terri....i'll honor your request to leave you QUITE alone. especially after your PARTING comments to me.......i didn't think that even YOU were capable of the degree of vile twisted profanity in the light that you shed. He didn't like the "fucked your wife lately?" comment, I guess.  your comments were classic....double edged and quite barbed. meant to hurt..and very effective. how do i reply to you? every word dissected..every thought turned and taken out of context. i feel like i'm constantly under a microscope......slowly being disassembled. i quit trying. 

i've removed all your (known) names from my buddy list so i won't know when your'e on line.....i will not reply to any email unless you specifically ask me to. i will keep this name. if you ever need to communicate..its not like i could hide from you. but your'e setting the rules this time...and i'll honor them.





Subj: Going Insane
Date: 6/21/98
To: Mizzle

I am wild with rage and pain and grief right now. If I weren't so goddamn hungover, I'd get drunk again. How DARE he turn it all around and make it MY FUCKING FAULT AGAIN????!?!?!?? What the HELL is the MATTER with him???????? What the HELL is the MATTER with ME for even GIVING A SHIT????????????




Subj: response
Date: 6/21/98 3:53:35 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: Mizzle
To: SecraTerri

Dear Terri,

Just because he blames you, doesn't mean that you have to accept it. You can't control how he feels, or acts... So don't try to. You can only control how YOU feel and act to all of this. If he wants to blame you, there is nothing you can do about that. But, like I said, you know (and I know) that is just a form of denial. You are dealing with somebody whose method of problem-solving is escapism. YOU had been his escape from his marital situation. Right? Now, YOU are the reason that the "bliss" has been pushed away. Not him. In his mind. He was "hurt" because you were with another man. So therefore YOUR behavior is at fault. Just another way of HIS avoiding accountability. He puts the world on HIS terms. Just realize that is the way he is. Even when things were wonderful, that is the way they were.

I love you, Terri. I know I am telling you something you already know. Try to move on. Mourn this, and move on. Allow yourself your rage and grief. But you have more hope and potential for the future than HE can ever possibly have.





Subj: Tired
Date: 6/21/98
To: Rachel

I've had a little time to calm down. It's really hot and stuffy in my little apartment this afternoon -- I'm finding it hard to breathe, let alone think rationally -- but I took a cool bath and a couple of Tylenol and I feel a skosh better. I'm really sorry about vomiting all of this on you, R. You're in the unique position of knowing more about "both sides" here than anyone else on the planet ... so unfortunately that means we're both probably going to drive you crazy until you tell us to stop.

I'm very angry with him right now. Truth is ... I'm not sure if this is temporary or permanent. He once again neatly manages to evade the issue of a "time frame, " which has become symbolic of our whole relationship ... me asking for some indication that he loves me enough to commit, him ignoring my request (and getting mad at me for asking). I'm not sure I have the *juice* -- physically, emotionally -- to continue this any longer.

I'm still working on my webpage but I just don't feel much like talking online.  Maybe tomorrow, OK?

Thanks for listening.





I don't know WHY I felt I was the one who needed to apologize  ...  but I did.  That's how screwed-up this whole thing had become, in my heart and in my head.

Subj: Re: No Subject
Date: 6/22/98
To: StarGydr

<< i didn't think that even YOU were capable of the degree of vile twisted profanity in the light that you shed. your comments were classic....double edged and quite barbed. meant to hurt..and very effective. >>

Do you think I'm proud of the things I said that night? I'm not. I've been simply awash with shame ever since. You didn't deserve it, for one thing. For another ... that is NOT the person I like to think I am now. All of a sudden it was as though an entire year of hard work and healing went right out the window ... and I was the same sad, sick, tired, depressed, out-of-control person I was when you left me the last time.

I know you love me. You know I love you. I don't know what to do. I'm sorry.





Subj: Sorry
Date: 6/22/98
To: EdmundKaz

I know I was a little ... "off" this weekend. All of this doc stuff is making me a fucking basket case. I'm trying desperately to head off another emotional catastrophe ... back on the antidepressant meds (as of today) ... gonna throw myself into job-hunting (hard to do when I'm ALREADY EMPLOYED, but I can't afford to stay where I am now), going to school (new classes start tomorrow night) and WORKING ON MY PAGE ( .. the guestbook doesn't work yet).  I was busy giving birth to *FootNotes.*

In other words: I'm just gonna do normal stuff for awhile ... and avoid the doc like crazy. Bear with me. Isn't the first time I've asked, and prolly won't be the last time. Talk to me a lot online. Send me some music. Be my pal.

Gotta head for the bus stop.







Responding to an "Are You Still Alive?" e-mail from the lovely and generous online friend who bought me my computer.

Subj: Re: you alive?
Date: 6/22/98
To: Actous

<< you alive? a/t >>

First of all ... yeah, I cling to life still. ::delicately sighing and brow mopping::   I am discovering that this "Living Alone Stuff" requires massive amounts of office o.t., long boring bus rides and Walks Uphill With Incredibly Unwieldy & Heavy Bags of Groceries, in order to maintain what I gigglingly refer to as my "quality of life."

It also means I have to kill my own spiders. Shit.

Tomorrow night I start classes again, so my life gets a notch busier. I view this as a good thing: lately I've been wanting to stick a toe back into the pond of Pointless Depression, and I think that staying busy (and going back on the meds) are whut are gonna save me. That, and writing. Which I can do now. Since I have a COMPUTER.






Subj: Re: no sorries needed
Date: 6/22/98
To: Rachel

1. You requested my phone number? And I refused to give it to you? I'm sorry ... I musta been not- awake for that one!  Or drunk.  Home phone: (503) 555-3086.  Work: 800-800-5555. (ask the annoying person who answers the switchboard to patch you directly into THE GODDESS)

2. I want it stated for the record that I still love Dr. Asshole with my whole heart ... and I always will. And I will defend my stoopid irrational love for this completely undeserving waste of molecules until the day I throw myself out my window. Which might be tomorrow if he doesn't apologize for SOMETHING soon.

3. Hug your kid some more for me.




Tuesday 5:05 a.m.
June 23, 1998

Going to attempt The Morning Pages one more time ... three pages immediately upon rising, no editing, no back-tracking, no re-reading until the book is full ... I would like to recapture some of that creative momentum I had going a couple of months ago, before the doc came back into my life and spoiled everything. Now that he and I have called it quits -- again -- this time FOR GOOD, I mean it -- my mornings are my own again. No more signing onto the computer under some or another ridiculously romantic screen name ("OnceBidden") and holding futive feverish online conversations at 5 a.m., in between his patients. Can't say I'm going to miss that very much, anyway: lately our online conversations had become increasingly unpleasant, invariably ending with me in tears. But that's another story for another journal entry. The other reason I think it would be a good idea to start up the MPs again is because I'm living alone now ... no tiptoeing around, praying that Tim isn't going to sneak up behind me and read over my shoulder. I have privacy and quiet and space now. (The only thing I DON'T really have as much of as I'd like is time. I HATE the fact that I'm forced to spend the most creative, energetic portion of my day -- the early morning hours -- getting ready to go to a job I don't like very much.)

Didn't want to crawl out of bed a while ago ... or more accurately, didn't want to crawl off the air mattress, since I still don't have an actual bed yet. I didn't stay up terribly late last night, but I had a few beers while I chatted online with my friends (Mike, Edmund, Robbin) and I feel a little raggedy this morning as a result. In the mornings it hits me in the stomach and the bowels -- the hangover, I mean -- although I usually manage to beat it back with loperamide and coffee and tons of cold water. But by afternoon I start to feel it most in my eyes. It's a heavy, burning, "oh shit I did it again" sorta feeling. Don't know if I'll reach that point today, but right now I just feel ... tired. Maybe coffee will help. No interesting dreams to report, although I had one the other night that I've been carrying around in my head, ever since:

I am cleaning my new apartment, throwing garbage into a big cardboard box. We're talking about really disgusting garbage -- rotten food, empty beer bottles, soiled feminine hygiene products, etc. Suddenly I look inside the box and realize (to my horror) that I am throwing all of this gross junky stuff on top of my brand-new phone, my new answering machine, the pots and pans Feef sent me ... all the other nice new things I've purchased or acquired recently for my new life here in the apartment.

End of dream.

Interesting, huh? I suppose I could interpret that to mean that I'm already starting to 'pollute' my own life again. I've been here in the apartment for a month now -- finally realizing one of my fondest dreams, to live by myself for a while -- and already I'm drinking too much again, I'm not taking very good care of myself physically, I'm allowing stupid romantic entanglements to wear me down, I'm worrying about money night and day ... in other words I'm throwing garbage (figuratively) on top of stuff that's still shiny and new, like creative energy, personal ambition, solitude, opportunity, hope, peace, quiet. This should be one of the best times of my life. It still can be, if I let it.

The last time I did The Morning Pages, I had what seemed (then) like impossible goals. A desk of my own. A computer. Time to myself. I think I even dared mention my secret desire to try living alone. And look what happened -- within the space of a few short weeks, I had everything I'd wished for. It may not all have happened precisely the way I hoped it would ... there was a lot of pain involved, for everybody ... but it happened. So what will I wish for this time?

  • A better job with more $ ... so I can actually afford to maintain my dream
  • Ending ALL of my current 'romantic entanglements' ... cleanly, permanently, with as little hurt as possible
  • Getting my webpage/cyber journal up and running





Mutual online friends were carrying stories back to The Doc's wife

Subj: Re: No Subject
Date: 6/23/98 5:10:40 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: StarGydr
To: IzzatYoo comments to (people in the chat room) and others have already made it back to patti. classic.

i haven't found your picture yet...i thik theres another place i've to look yet. you WILL get it back






Subj: I Give Up
Date: 6/23/98
To: Rachel

It's 5 a.m. I just woke up and discovered another snotty, mean-hearted e-mail from The Doc, waiting for me in my cyber mailbox.  (See above.)   Every time I start to feel sorta-OK again ... he finds a new way to make me want to die some more. Please ask him to quit harassing me.

Heading for the shower in tears for the bazillionth morning in a row ...






Subj: Re: no subject
Date: 6/23/98
To: Rachel

<< I read your letters and thought that by the last one, you sounded stronger >>

<< ... but of all the things I read - your statement that you got back in touch before either of you was ready was the most profound...I am not sure why that sticks out to me.... >>

He won't see it as profound, of course ... he'll mewl and bitch to you about how "rude" and "vulgar" and "selfish" I am. (He never really reads my e-mail, anyway. He thinks he does ... but he doesn't.)

I came home early from my first night of classes ... wasn't much going on anyway, and I am feeling perilously run-down and frail tonight. Think I'll crash early.


Wednesday 5:03 a.m.
June 24, 1998

Just after I finished writing yesterday's Morning Pages, I signed online and checked my e-mail. I suppose I (stupidly) was hoping for something contrite and conciliatory from the doc, but instead (of course) there was another mean-tempered, whiny, insulting note. Something about how his wife has gotten wind of our recent ... how to describe it? ... attempt at reconciliation ... and that of course it's all my fault. ("Classic," was his terse comment.) I was so pissed off by his ridiculousness -- by his continued attempts to blame ME for everything that ever goes wrong between us -- that I fired off a "goodbye forever" reply. And then I blocked him from every one of my screen names, so he can't squeeze in a last word.

And then I promptly fell to pieces.

I know I've said a bazillion times that we're finished -- that I'm tired of all the sneaking around and the lies and the hurt our affair has caused so many people, over the years -- but this time really feels like the end, Journal. The doc I love is The Doc I spent the weekend in Chicago with last month: the vibrant, passionate, romantic guy who moved heaven and earth to get a message to me ON BOARD THE PLANE, just to make sure I was OK. That's the man I fell in love with, and will always love. This awful cyber person I communicate with on the computer -- this cold, remote "Starstryker" creature -- is someone else entirely. And if I can't have the Chicago Doc ... then I don't want anyone at all. He won't commit to me. He won't even give me any indication that we have a future together. One day he says he's "talking to the lawyers" ... the next day he blithely announces a camping trip with his wife. So I give up. I'm sad, it hurts, I wonder how I'll get over him (AGAIN) ... but I'm not shattered, the way I was last time. This time I just feel sad.

Then of course there's my ongoing connection to Oregon Tim. Just last weekend I was thinking about breaking things off with him, too. The things that irritated me about him when we were living together are still irritating ... his narrow political views, his fussy obsessive neatness, his lack of enthusiasm (and, occasionally, his clear disdain) for things that interest me ... all of that stuff is still right there. A lot of the time when we're together I'm secretly wishing I could be somewhere, ANYWHERE else. What does THAT say about our relationship? But I keep hanging on to him, mainly because he's become my safety net ... the one and only real 'friend' I have here in Oregon ... ad if I didn't have him to depend on, I wouldn't have anybody. (Tiny voice inside my head: "Would that be so bad?") Not sure where this relationship will go, but I have a feeling that we're heading for a showdown, sooner rather than later.

SIGH. All of this time and energy and effort, wasted on doomed relationships. When will I learn? If only I could harness some of that emotional energy and channel it into something worthwhile ... like writing, or like finding a new job. How much healthier and happier would I be, do you suppose?


In the meantime, The Oregon Boyfiend and I were still maintaining our bizarre on-again/off-again non-relationship.

Subj: Well ...
Date: 6/24/98
To: Oregon Tim

I must say that it was somewhat ... humiliating, having to coax an "I love you" outta you on the phone last night. Guess that tells me everything I need to know ... doesn't it? I'm going to leave you alone for a few days. I feel like crap this morning, but I'm going to drag it into the office anyway. I'll let you know if your knife shows up.

Take care.






Subj: CouplaThings
Date: 6/24/98
To: Rachel

Thing #1: It was great talking to you (on the phone) today!! We're gonna do that some more. (Except next time I'd rather be barefoot and drinking a glass of something interesting when I talk to you ... )

Thing #2: I think you misunderstood what I was saying about having my pictures scanned ... and the "whys" of same. The pics of my apartment (complete w/a scintillating shot of the interior of my fridge ... I think I had half an orange and a bottle of beer in it at the time) are the ONLY pics that will be for public consumption. Those are destined for the webpage. I'm having the photos of the doc and I scanned because .. well .. because they're beautiful & precious, mainly. Not only do *I* look "happy & cute" in Chicago ... but there is one very special picture of the two of us together, at the Navy Pier, that conveys everything we felt (still feel? forever feel?) about each other. (And yes, we have our clothes on in that one.) Mostly I just want to sit here and look at them, I guess. Wouldn't EVER use them to deliberately hurt him any more than he's already been hurt ... even if only in his own head ...

Capice? Kapeesh? Quapiche?





Subj: Re: How are you doing Terri?
Date: 6/30/98
To: Rachel

In a message dated 6/30/98 6:49:11 AM Pacific Daylight Time, you write:

<< Just a short note to check in. Things are about the same here. Take care and write when you feel like it. >>

Oh, Rachel  ... I always "feel" like writing. Time and opportunity - and energy - are my enemies. I think about you every day, believe it or not ... wondering how you and your family are doing, and hoping that you're OK. I have a lot going on in my head and heart (and life) this week. Most of it is Drudge Stuff ... worrying about money, worrying about looking for a new (better-paying job), worrying about getting my kids down here for a visit this summer. (GOD, I miss them.) I'm back on the meds ... working/studying/writing my ASS off. I sleep the Sleep of the Dead at night. No dreams. And that's just about all there is to tell you about *my* life these days. Sound at all ... familiar?

How are YOU?





I probably had a beer (or twelve) in me when I initiated contact, against my better judgement.  It was one of our last online conversations ever.

IzzatYoo: Talk to me.
StarGydr: is it wise?
IzzatYoo: No.
IzzatYoo: But Ican'tstandit.
StarGydr: you gonna yell at me?
IzzatYoo: No.
StarGydr: k then
IzzatYoo: are you alright?
StarGydr: not hardly
StarGydr: you?
IzzatYoo: I've been going crazy.
StarGydr: i can't find your baby picture terri
StarGydr: i've looked everywhen
StarGydr: i hid it somewhere safe
StarGydr: and can't find it
IzzatYoo: It's OK.
IzzatYoo: I know you've got it somewhere. I trust you w/it.
StarGydr: hey..i held it this long

IzzatYoo: I miss you.
StarGydr: i know
StarGydr: me too
IzzatYoo: I am so sorry.
IzzatYoo: For everything.
StarGydr: me too, comrade
IzzatYoo: I am such an idiot.
StarGydr: as am i
StarGydr: ii'm just get along
IzzatYoo: Me too.
StarGydr: no other options i supppose
IzzatYoo: No not really.
IzzatYoo: But you being angry at me is sort of more than I can bear.
StarGydr: we both know how we feel
StarGydr: i'm not angry terri
StarGydr: i can't stay angry at you
IzzatYoo: Yeah. I know. But parting in anger is something we said we would never do again. And yet ... we did.
IzzatYoo: Neither am I.
StarGydr: many many emotions
StarGydr: very mixed
StarGydr: very convulated
StarGydr: more twists than a pretzel
IzzatYoo: Nothing you can say I don't already know.
StarGydr: i don't know what will ever become of us
StarGydr: i know you know
StarGydr: but friends?
StarGydr: like foreverz?
If necessary.
StarGydr: i hate the hard feelings
StarGydr: i was a miss..adrift too
Chicago changed everything for me. I would never just let things be ... ugly.
StarGydr: how so?
StarGydr: what did chicago do?
IzzatYoo: We talked about so many things. That internal shift in my heart I told you about, as I was landing. It just .. changed me.
StarGydr: here too...more like a slow sustainable glow of the embers now
IzzatYoo: I miss you, baby.
StarGydr: i miss the one on one
I miss your voice.
IzzatYoo: I miss all of it.
StarGydr: memories are quite warm
quite alive
StarGydr: quite vibrabt
StarGydr: and vibrant too
IzzatYoo: lol
IzzatYoo: Same here.
StarGydr: good
StarGydr: you ok?
StarGydr: adjusting better?
IzzatYoo: Mostly.
StarGydr: happy with your new apartment?
IzzatYoo: Adore it.
StarGydr: i knew it would take awhile
your space
StarGydr: the final frontier
IzzatYoo: I ... don't know what else to say right now.
StarGydr: it ok
StarGydr: i feel better
StarGydr: knowing theres a peace
StarGydr: i'm sorry, terri
StarGydr: i truly am
IzzatYoo: For ...?
StarGydr: the hurt
StarGydr: the anger
StarGydr: thats so unlike both of us
StarGydr: i'll be away for the next two weeks
IzzatYoo: Oh.
StarGydr: (patti and i) are taking my parents rv
IzzatYoo: Oh.
StarGydr: you don't like that
IzzatYoo: The details are probably too painful for me right now, ok?
StarGydr: you ok?
StarGydr: i seem to major league bum you out every time we talk   You mean because you've just announced you're going on a vacation with your wife and kids, while I sit here alone in a crappy little apartment, divorced, flat-broke, hundreds of miles away from my children?
StarGydr: i'm sorry
IzzatYoo: I asked for it.
StarGydr: oh, terri, if this is too painful..
StarGydr: well....
StarGydr: i don't know
IzzatYoo: Quit worrying about ME. I'm fine. I was worried ... about you.
IzzatYoo: Been to MY new website lately?
StarGydr: no
IzzatYoo: Hmmm.
StarGydr: too painful

Oh.  And by the way:

IzzatYoo: My online journal started last night.
IzzatYoo: It's innocuous. I won't incriminate anyone.
StarGydr: you do what you feel is necessary
IzzatYoo: Gotta go. Nice talking to you.  *
StarGydr: don't worry




Tuesday lunch
July 7, 1998

It's a couple of weeks later ... so much for giving The Morning Pages another "go," huh? Sitting here in the lunchroom at work, nursing my latest killer hangover with a can of Diet Sprite ... too broke to buy anything out of the vending machine ... just passing time until lunch is over.

I got drunk one night about a week ago and i.m.'d The Doc. We chatted briefly online -- he said, "Let's be friendz" -- I signed off immediately after that and haven't spoken to him since. ("Friendz" my royal ASS.) Word has it that he and the family are on vacation for a couple of weeks. Isn't that cute? Isn't that just too precious for words? I'm trying desperately not to think about it, frankly, or I'll go crazy ...

I'm getting closer and closer to breaking things off permanently with Oregon Tim, too. His sour/dour outlook on EVERYTHING isn't helping at all. Mostly I think I just want to be alone for a while ... not connected romantically with anybody.




July 8, 1998

Fabulous Compliment #1, from cute customer picking up his knife: "You have very beautiful eyes."

Fabulous Compliment #2, from young Asian-American woman applying for job: "You ... you ... " (gasping, gesturing wildly) ... "you have face like a little DOLL."




I'm still a couple months away from deciding to get sober, once and for all.

July 9, 1998

Drinking is beginning to seriously interfere with my writing aspirations. In the evening it either mellows me out too much -- all I feel like doing is mindlessly chatting, usually with Edmund -- or else it fucks me up too much to do anything at all. And in the morning I'm too fucking tired or hungover (or both) to get up early and do my MPs. What am I going to do about this?

Stopped at the ATM on my way to work. I have $1.27 in my checking account. Thank god tomorrow is payday.


My Ideal Man
  • NOT MARRIED ... or even "separated." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Smart!!
  • Funny!!
  • Taller than me.
  • HAIR. Absolutely critical. No negotiating here, I'm afraid.
  • A little overweight is OK -- even desirable -- but not fat.
  • Dark hair preferred.
  • Interesting eyes.
  • Nice smile.
  • Literate able to compose an interesting sentence (or e-mail).
  • Musically eclectic, adventurous and knowledgeable. (Playing an instrument and/or singing: a BIG PLUS.)
  • Financially responsible.
  • Socially adept.
  • Great VOICE ... one I love listening to. Especially in bed.
  • Sexual chemistry. I want "sparks."




Undated/Sometime in the Summer of 1998

Sitting at the bus stop directly across the street from my office.
Cloudy/hot wind blowing/middle of summer.
Cars passing. The hem of my skirt lifts in the breeze. Smell of diesel fumes.
Hungry. All I ate today was
The last time I sat at this bus stop writing in a notebook, I was waiting for the bus to take me to the airport so I could fly to Chicago and be with The Doc.
Sigh. *Pang.* Shit.





Wednesday 5:11 a.m.
July 15, 1998

A week or so later. Writing in darkness, waiting for coffee. My air mattress finally expired the other night -- I woke up at 2 a.m. to find myself laying flat on the cold hard floor -- so I've spent the past couple of restless nights on my sofa. (A sidewalk discard, picked up for free one weekend.) I never sleep well to begin with -- I wake up a million times every night -- but sleeping on the sofa makes it even more difficult. Maybe because it reminds me of the final years/months of my marriage, when every night was an "ouch night." Or maybe simply because it's a crappy, uncomfortable sofa.

I was going to write more, but I've just remembered that I forgot to finish an assignment for work ... a review of "The Truman Show" for the company newsletter, of all the stupid "assignments."




Late August 1998

My life is still completely fucked up ... but at least I'm having a Good Hair Day. (Sigh.)

Oregon Tim and I have severed all lines of communication, yet again. This time it feels like it may be permanent, though. The fatal argument was over (of all stupid things) whether or not it's proper to jump up and down on the Lincoln Bed. I don't even want to write about it because it's sooooooo ridiculous.

So now I really and truly am on my own, here in Oregon. The weekend looms ahead ... long, lonely and dangerous.

I hate my job. I hate Jill, and her smug "I do everything" attitude. I want to quit ... but I can't afford to.

Life sucks, basically.

12:40 Lunch

Calmer. A bit more accepting of the shitty circumstances of my life.

I just realized that I am absolutely, 100% "free" -- romantically/emotionally/relationship-wise -- for the first time in eighteen years. Now that The Doc and Tim are gone ... now that I'm divorced ... I am completely unencumbered.





Wednesday lunch
Sept. 2, 1998

I am going to "journal," dammit. Even if it KILLS me.

I am living through one of the most terrible and wonderful periods of my life right now. I need to be writing about it ... and not just on the website, where I am obviously catering to an audience. I need to have a more personal journal connection going on if I'm going to live through all of this.

I have no money, and my heart has recently been shattered again. I'm drinking too much. I'm extremely lonely sometimes. That's the bad news.

The good news is that I'm on my own for the first time in my whole life ... and it is a deliciously heady feeling. I have no idea where I'll be six months or a year from now ... and that's OK. All of my tomorrows belong to *me* now. I have eight cents in my purse and minus $9 in my checking account and no idea how I'm going to get home from work tonight ... but that's OK. I'll get there.

One way or another.



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