I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes

I have accepted that things change quickly and abruptly in my life, but sometimes it’s just ridiculous.

I came home on Sunday feeling something close to quaking joy over the weekend I’d just spent. By last night, it was all turned on its head.

It was weird to me to see Tam standing on my doorstep. He’d never come to Inverness before. I should have known something was wrong. I was tensed up enough already; Alec hadn’t answered his phone in two days. So that was the first thing I asked him about, even before what he was doing here.

“He’s left, dovekie. Left the city, certainly. Outwith that, I don’t know. He had no choice.”

Which explained why Tam thought it was time for a visit in person. Most of the time I hate having my Moon planted in Virgo (and in the 3rd house as a bonus), but sometimes it’s a good thing. Aries isn’t the sign of controlled emotions, but when I truly decide I’m not going to lose my shit, I don’t lose it. Not in front of anyone else, at least. (Pluto all tangled in that mess probably doesn’t hurt that, either) When I’m alone is better. So I decided there wasn’t going to be any shit-losing, and told him we should probably call it a day instead of drawing out the death. I’ve been here before: Triangles that suddenly find themselves with two legs fall over.

“So you’re trying to rid yourself of me before you even ask why he left?”

I told him what experience has told me, the hard way: When the center goes, the parts it was propping up can’t stand on their own any more.

“You think he was the center? You’re the only one, then. From where I’m standing, it’s still here. I’m looking at it.”

I told him I’d be fine, and I can take care of myself. That’s usually what I end up doing. It’s not such a bad thing to be able to do.

“Aye, and you can love yourself, too, and that’s good. But it’s not the same thing at all. I’m not going anywhere. My life isn’t…the way his is. I want you to do something for me: Come back to Glasgow. To stay.”

Oh, nope. “So when it all blows up, I can be homeless on top of everything else?”

“You’re not angry with me. Stop playing the part.”

I swear to you I’d belt anyone else who talked to me like that. Not him. “Fine. Then what about this being my house? I own it. And I love Inverness.”

“Do you not love me more?”

Ow.

“Why are you certain it will all blow up in our faces if you come to me there?”

I explained. It took a while. When we got to astrology, I literally drew diagrams.

When I was done, he waved at the pile I’d created. “Tell me what’s the part of it all that says it has to be that way every time and forever.”

There isn’t one, not really. But there also isn’t a part that says it can change, or how to change it.

“Then make one. I’ll help. You could find your own place. That wouldn’t make me happy as I could be, but it would be so much better than this.”

“You never had problems with this arrangement before.”

“I had them. I kept my mouth fucking shut. How do I prove to you that I won’t leave you if you’re not where I can stay with you? You’ve got to know how I feel about you. I know I don’t talk about it much, but I do. Just come and be closer to me. We’ll find out what it is we are.”

“I’m who I am, and who I am doesn’t live well with others.”

He chewed it all over for a while, then grabbed me and pinned against the couch. Oh…purr. I love when he gets like that. “You’re who you are up until it starts to scare you, aye? Then you back off just as hard as you can. Right, then. You are coming home to me. And you’ll stay. It’s where you belong.”

“And when you bail, too?”

“I’ll not. You’ll see it in time.”

“And when I flip out and panic instead?” The other half of the equation of my life.

“Then I tell you again you’re staying. And remind you why you want to.”

And then he literally slung me over his shoulder (<em.strong…*sigh*), carried me to the bedroom, and reminded me. In great detail. If only that solved everything. But I’m more than old enough to know it doesn’t.

It was the next morning before we talked about why Alec left. For his sake, I’m not going to go into details. I’ll just say this: He had a good reason, and he’s not in trouble with the law. For those of you who know much of my past, I am having one hell of a flashback; it’s just that I’m not the one who left this time. I decided not to lose it again. It just seemed too horrible, crying over someone else right there in front of him.

In the end, I made a bargain with him: I’d read with him sitting right there, and put the LWB in his hands so he could more or less read along. I’d ask Maman if there was any sense at all in doing this. And if she said in so many words that I needed to get it in gear and move, game on.

The answer was an unqualified ‘get it in gear’. No other information, just YES. He didn’t even need the booklet; there was nothing to interpret.

I keep my bargains. I’m not enthusiastic about living in Glasgow, but maybe it can be about who, not about where. Him, of course, but the unusual family I never expected I’d have, too. Maybe they can all conspire somehow to keep me from getting the city fits for however long I’ll be there. I’m not going to let myself harbor illusions about how long, not again; it hurts too much when the bubble bursts. Each day as it comes.

I’m scared, but I want to be with Tam for as long as we have, and I want to be useful to people I care about. If trading a city I like for one I don’t is the price for those things, it doesn’t seem too high, not really.

I had my cry after he left. A good, long one, with plenty of yelling and cussing. I’m going to be such a fun apartment-building neighbor. And then I got myself together and went out to Culloden. I had a hell of a lot of explaining to do. I’m leaving, and the man who apparently held the key to reaching them no matter where I am is gone. I didn’t sense any response, positive or negative. I don’t know what to make of that, but all I can do is just keep doing what I’m doing. Second-guessing is how I cut my own throat every time.

Mostly I just hope Alec didn’t know there were problems on the way last weekend. I’d rather think we all had fun with no idea of any of that. I want that to be how we said goodbye; maybe he did, too. And I hope he’s all right.

I’m ready for some guidance in all this. I’ve made my decision, but I have a lot of new territory to steer through, and I’d like some help. I had some trouble getting it, until I realized why.

I asked Maman for some further guidance, and got a garbled message, with cards that seemed to be in the wrong places. It took a couple of hours for it to dawn on me: I went to Maman for advice, and Alec was always her biggest point of interest in this thing. There was other advice to seek, and maybe who answered most clearly would tell me things, too.

I tried Brighid, and got a similarly jumbled message using a different divination method. Then I tried Kuan Yin. Direct hit.

She said to sit tight through all this change — physical and spiritual — to meditate and stay centered; the chaos will pass. She also counseled, as she has before, to remember that home is within me, not anchored somewhere outside me; home, in other words, is what I make it. She says the time has come to share my knowledge and skills to the benefit of others, and I know there are others waiting in Glasgow. Oh, and that I need to not overthink my emotions rather than feeling them. Again. Always.

She also reminded me of something, by another route: Whatever’s happened since, the poem I wrote before I came here was for and about Tam. I was writing poems for him before I even met him. Surely there’s something in that.

I know it doesn’t make any sense in context. It’s just a song I go to when I want to wrap music around me and feel snuggled by it….

(photo: card from reading, for illustrative purposes)

Glasgow, gooshiness, giggling

Just a random gooshypost because I’m really happy tonight.

The thing I love most about having the guys in my life (okay, other than the truckloads of sex) is the cultural exchange. They took me to a concert this weekend, a band I like but never could have expected to see live in the US. Then I was introduced to my first munchy box. Dear sweet deep-fried mother of fuck.

(That’s a pizza box. Gaze in awe with me.)

We’re staying at Tam’s place. There’s an African grocery, of all things, about two blocks away. I went in this afternoon, went insane, had to call for help to haul it all back, and made doro wat for dinner. Considering the audience, I tripled the recipe and put in two cut-up chickens. (I hover protectively over my 14″ skillet at all times. Yes, I brought it from Inverness with me. I knew I was going to cook something this weekend.) It vanished. Two chickens, a full 3-quart cooker of rice (the one thing I couldn’t get my paws on was domoda), and heaven knows how much gravy. Gone. Neither of them has moved much in the past 6 hours, but they smile a lot.

While I was cooking, Tam went outside for something and I heard the upstairs neighbor say he could smell onions. I went to the door and apologized and said, “That’s me caramelizing onions. It’ll smell a lot better when the rest of the ingredients go in.”

He gave me a look like he was watching Eraserhead for the first time. On acid.

My biggest language gap thing these days is that sometimes things mean other than what I think they do. When Tam came back in, I asked him if “caramelizing onions” is Glasgow slang for some kind of sex act involving donkeys and teleportation. He laughed so hard, I thought he was going to need oxygen.

I’m still not sure what the look was for, but I did bring him up a piece of chicken and some rice and gravy while there was some left to be had. He broke it open and tried it right there at the door. I swear his eyes crossed. (Doro wat is really, really, REALLY good.)

Something happens to or around me every day that I never would have experienced if I hadn’t come here. Sometimes I can give a little of that back. It’s a pretty damn good way to live.

(photo: Wikipedia. By the time I thought of taking a photo, we’d already heavily damaged ours. Both of them. :) )

Catchers and crushes and concepts of cute, oh my!

My forever baseball crush is Mike Redmond, probably not anyone’s idea of a pretty boy.

(But a great smile, no?)

He was the backup catcher for the Twins for four years, and had a reputation for two things — being tough as a slab of granite, and being at least partially insane. Evidence, your honor:

1. Nude batting practice. He did it rite. (In socks and spikes.)

2. The game that did me in. Joe Mauer (then the Twins’ catcher, now at 1st) got hurt, and Redmond put on the gear and came in for him. He got injured as well; his hand was hurt so badly that when he came up to bat the next time, he dropped the bat after each swing, unable to hold it through the motion. He just picked it up and stepped back in the box each time, and refused to leave the game, as the Twins weren’t carrying a third catcher. He went on to finish the game.

That gooshy thing over there on the floor? My heart.

I like the backup catchers of the world. They don’t get the glam or the glory, but they’re usually damn good players, and that whole tough-as-hell thing is kind of a given.

Today, Chris Gimenez, backup catcher for the Twins and occasional relief pitcher when they need him to be, is playing. In left field, because they need him there. (They needed him to hit that home run in the ninth while I jumped around and yelled, too. :D )

(Great smile, no?)

That sound you hear is a crush crushing.

Alec says that explains a lot. The man who cheerfully describes himself as looking like a serial killer. Heavily tattooed, scarred, not what most people would call pretty, either. Absolutely at least partially insane. Strong, physically and in the ways that matter even more.

His assessment of beauty standards, when I was having a bad day over them: “What? I’m sexy as hell, and I look like I was hit by a train.”

That scraping, drippy sound you hear? Someone picking up that heart that was on the floor and pushing out the dents.

(photos: team photo library)

Spirits open to the thrust of grace

Alec and the plants are getting along cheerfully, if non-dramatically. He’s not holding conversations with plant spirits or anything like that, but he’s drawn to the lau mafiafia in the sunroom. There are obvious enough reasons for that — it’s a beautiful plant, the flowers smell wonderful, and the sunroom is a pleasant place at this time of year — but when I pointed out that he makes an effort to sit by that particular plant when he’s out there, he looked a little surprised and embarrassed, shrugged, and said he just likes it. Relationships with spirits have started from less, and I can see an energy flow has already begun between them.

I regret all the more that the government says I’m too incompetent to use ‘ava safely, and they’ll deport me for having it. The reasons are so incredibly stupid, and based on crap science. I think ‘Ava-spirit would absolutely love Alec. But the warrior dead say he knows and will provide the path — and he certainly responded as if that’s true — so as much as I’d like him to get to know the plant spirits in the ways I know and understand best, this one is out of my hands.

And yeah, I did have that conversation with him. Sort of. But he still understood.

me: “This is the first time in my life I regret not having more time ahead of me.”

Alec: “Well, I love you, too.”

You know, because something Virgo in me isn’t capable of this, no matter how much I feel it:

I haven’t forgotten that I was told to enjoy all this, too. It’s easy to do. Tam and Alec are determined to deconstruct my orderly life a little when I’m in Glasgow — a lot of food eaten out of takeaway containers in bed, a multi-chapter ongoing failed attempt to explain the rules of cricket to me (leading directly to Tam’s existential cry — “Fucksake, you understand baseball!”), a tendency to send me home wearing one or the other of their shirts. I’m happy around them, simple as that.

Alec gave me a serious case of fuzzies by asking if the spirits’ rejection of pain work as a gate to them meant they were also going to be angry if we go on doing it for our own pleasure and exploration. I’ve had no sense of that, and I wouldn’t expect them to interfere in our relationship that way to start with. Not wanting to be contacted that way is one thing; telling us how to live would be another entirely. More people really should take hold of that concept.

And with the subject of people who try to force others to live by their rules firmly in mind, I decided it was time to go and see Louis and/or go see if the London-spirit wanted my help.

In spite of the situations that triggered the journey, I went into the Middleworld rather than the Lowerworld for it because the spirit of an existing city is alive, current, and very connected to the flesh world. That meant walking along the river when I reached the bottom of the levee, rather than crossing. I didn’t see Louis, but it’s very likely given his nature and what he does that I won’t see him anywhere other than the Lowerworld unless he also journeys and meets me elsewhere.

I started walking north along the river (in orientation to the flesh-world version of the place), but before I got far, north became south. That’s always been a Middleworld thing for me; the rules of this world often apply in odd or modified forms, and are just as often broken as the journey requires. I’d go north in the flesh-world place; but I need to go south from Inverness to get to London, so south I went, and never mind that the river I was walking along is in Colorado to start with.

I started out looking for the city’s skyline, but I quickly realized that was the wrong approach; I was looking for the spirit of the city, not for spirits that had left it. Almost the moment I realized that, I saw him sitting on a bench next to the river (which, I assume, was now the Thames as it appears in the Middleworld).

He looked younger than I expected, and was wearing a shirt that reminded me of a patchwork quilt. I’ve seen dress of that nature a few times on city-spirits, always on those of larger cities with clearly defined neighborhoods or districts; as a symbolic representation of a whole made of diverse parts, it’s lovely and effective. He looked like someone in the midst of hard grieving, which was hardly a surprise. He did notice me, though.

You aren’t one of mine.

No, but I come as a friend, to help if you’d like. May I do what I can?

Yes.

I really wasn’t sure what to do beyond expressing sympathy. Can you do a soul retrieval for a spirit? That was a thought to think more about at another time, though. I was here, now, and this wasn’t the time for experimentation. I sat with him and did what I know works: I held my hands over his heart (or where it would be) and opened up to energy flow.

Not surprisingly, it works about a million times more easily and effectively on the other side of the veil. I was surprised when he took my hands and put them down on his chest. (I was holding them slightly away, as I do with anyone I don’t know well.) Had this been a human being I was working with, I’d have picked my hands up again; with him, I didn’t. Different rules of conduct, and safe space to make different assumptions (such as that he was doing what would make the work more effective, not setting me up for a lawsuit). We stayed there for a while — it’s also the nature of the Middleworld, where you can travel through time very freely, that time is wonky, so I don’t know how long — and then he picked up one of my hands and gently kissed it. I took that as a signal to move the other hand, too.

Thank you.

You’re welcome. If you know other things that would help, we can talk about them. Just tell me.

You’ll come back?

Whenever I sense I’m needed. You can call me over, too. It might not always work, but it usually does. I’m good at bird messages.

He actually smiled, which did my heart good. It was a little wavery, but it was there. I’m very good at pigeons.

That would be good. I don’t see many around my house. I have lots of other doves around, but feral city pigeons, rarely if at all.

My impulse was to hug him, but I thought even with the willingness to be touched, this was still London. A hug would probably be just a bit too American on first meeting. When he rose to help me up, he kept my hand a few moments longer than necessary, and gave it a gentle squeeze before he let it go and I went on my way.

I can send energy from this side, as well, through meditation and healing grids, and I’ll do that. I’ll also be looking out for unusual encounters with pigeons. For some reason, I smile like a goof every time I think of I’m very good at pigeons. I need to stitch that as the caption on a cross-stitch of the London skyline…which, actually, I have one of in my to-do stash.

When I first got involved with the guys, I was told through divination that one of the things they would give me (other than lots of happy orgasms) was a community to be part of and to serve, something I haven’t had for any real time my adult life. I thought that meant the two of them, but they quickly showed me there was a lot more to it. They’re part of a somewhat shifting group of a dozen or so friends who are a lot more like a family, or a tribe. Most of them (that I’ve met, at least) are artists. There’s a lot of shared living space, fluid and open poly relationships, pooled resources, and some very Uranian attitudes toward all of the above and about art’s place in society. In other words, I love being around them. That I’ve met so far, there’s two painters, a metal sculptor, a photographer, a potter, and Tam’s cousin who makes jewelry. (Tam’s a tattoo and body-mod artist; to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what Alec does. I suggested drug dealer because nothing ever seems to interfere with or have to be rescheduled because of work; Tam fell over laughing and said no.)

When I first started meeting them all, they made me feel really welcome, as a poet and as a healer. There was a lot of interest in what I do as a healer, and even some in learning it. I’ve started finding my way back in among them — the easiest way, through Tam’s bearhugging Viking metalsmith cousin, who said the interest is still there. And then he squished me and gave me a beautiful, teeny dragonfly earring I haven’t taken out since other than to sleep. It’s a lovely way to call on my oldest energy-focused ally, and a lovely welcome back.

(photo: everywhere there’s internet, apparently)