Moon in Aries
Celia made clear that she wanted us to exchange, be open to expressing, all the mixed and hidden feelings, everything that we had to be said, to be worked out or given voice. I remember, with chagrin, how easy it was for me to make such awful denigrating snotty remarks, such an angry child. Of course, well, no, not of course, she deserves real credit for her understanding. She did know when I did not that it was not really about my feelings for her. I was pretty snotty generally to those oh so dismissing while tormenting neighbors and schoolmates. But for Celia I had special venom that they would never have been able to appreciate.
Now I apologize, deeply and sincerely, but Celia is not looking for such apology. She is interested in that deep, complex person underlying the crap that I was too inexperienced back then to access or understand. She tells me, coming out in random spirals of thought and conversation, narrative bundles from her memories as they come to the surface, as if recording into my ears, my mind, lessons she is codifying into language. I learn I was right about Grandpa Tony’s swinish behavior in her quietly bitter condemnations, spitting out her long silently held venom. I realize as I hadn’t as a child the great love, admiration and gratitude she felt toward Marie for all those little and big kindnesses Celia did not feel deserving of. I learn, though to a large degree I always knew, how grateful for and dependent on Danny’s love and recognition of her she still is. It hasn’t been an easy life for her, or even a fulfilling one. There are so many people and situations she is grateful for that have passed into long-term memory, of which her gratitude and happy remembrances are all she now has. I tell her I am grateful for having her in my life, that I realize how much she has always meant to me even if I spent far too long denying those feelings, burying them in resentments that I know now really belonged elsewhere.
Somewhere in all the dredging up of memories, sharing and forgiving, confessions of feelings, excavations of embarrassments and mistakes, it occurred to me, I remembered wondering. “Why didn’t you leave, even after Marie died and the house was free and clear to sell? Why did we stay all those years in that neighborhood where we clearly did not belong. I know you could always pass well enough in that superficially friendly way, but you didn’t feel a part of that community. You knew how they ragged on me, how miserable I was. Even if I was taking out on you my frustrations from the malicious behavior of others who wouldn’t accept me, why didn’t you take us somewhere we would better fit in? By then you had been at your job long enough to be well valued, several times promoted. You had the credentials to find a good job somewhere else. Or, we could have found a better neighborhood for us somewhere within commuting distance. Was it because you had your memories, maybe fantasies, about your life with Danny there?” She said she thought that was probably part of it, but had a hard time explaining what I suddenly realized. Really it never occurred to Celia to move because she was so used to making do, to tuning out of unpleasant circumstances into her own private world of ideas, of motion, of routine and attending to the details. She never expected the going to be easy, the neighbors to be supportive, the people in her life to acknowledge her worth or meet her halfway. That was part of what she was so grateful about with Danny, who had really loved, respected, admired, believed in Celia, unlike anyone else in her life. If you only ever get that one real relationship, of course there is no substitution, replacement. If you never expected that sort of connection to happen, if it does it must seem like an irreplaceable miracle.
Amazing, after all this time I am seeing my life from these very different views. The information was always with me, but it was differently arranged, stuck in other boxes where I had thought it neatly stored for easy access, simplistic interpretations by for and all about me. The definition of me keeps expanding while I let it. Here, in this special confined yet unrestricted place and time connections are realigning in my mind as I newly connect with the one person outside myself I have known all my life. I am reforming into someone I am getting to know better. We are two someone’s getting to know ourselves and each other better, more expansively, more deeply and lovingly. I can now allow myself to know, Celia, how honored I am to have you so much a part of my life, and to feel the joy and pride of our connection as I get to share this time, these feelings, this expressing, with you.