My name is Margaret. Over the last few years my husband has maintained this blog, taken over from the previous owner of the house we live in. After all the incidents, his therapist considered it a good idea for him to put down his experiences so that he could keep track of where he was at from day to day.
At the request of the therapist, I was requested to offer my own perspective for comparison. It is also hard some days for me to speak for very long, so this is an easier way to communicate for both of us.
The leaves are all turning gold and the color of blood. Soon, the trees that line the street will be empty, and the ground will be littered with the remnants. Michael and I spend a lot of time outside this time of year. Out of all of the seasons, fall is the most pleasing to the eye.
Around Halloween, we plan to have a party at the neighbors house behind us. I am actually rather excited for it. It has been a while since I have gone out with Michael anywhere, and it feels like he is closer to them than I am. The wife is lovely, and maintains the most wonderful array of flowers. She shares my distaste for cut flowers, and I think if we spend time together we could end up getting along.
I love my husband.
I am unsure why I feel like I need to state that. I think it is hard for the casual reader to understand our relationship. It isn't really as bad as it looks. He has his ups and downs, but that is normal for a marriage. And when I look back on our time together I see so much love there. He keeps up with his treatment and his medicine, and he doesn't drink at all lately...
Michael misses his kids. I see it in the sullen look he gets when he looks at Halloween decorations. He used to love raking the leaves and building piles for Noah and Beth to jump into. It is easier to just mow them in, but it was a special kind of extra effort that really helped him stay connected. With the kids gone, he just mows them, even though I tell him I would like to jump into the piles.
There were some bodies found near an old railway. They had been dead for weeks, and had steel bars thrust through their joints. Their skin was missing, along with some other things. They wouldn't specify it in the paper. I hate to admit that I am glad the kids aren't around. I love them and I miss them too, but this place is simply dangerous.
There are terrible things that happen here. It just isn't a good place for children.
Thursday we are going to go out and get some pumpkins. I'm am really excited. People talk about relationships in terms of grand gestures but it is really the small things you do together that matter. It is definitely nice to go to a production, but sometimes just going out and selecting a pumpkin with the person you love is all that you need to know it is right.
It has been a hard couple of years. I can admit that. I can't even tell you how hard it is to look into a mirror and not see the face I was born with. There are days where the medicine doesn't do as good of a job and it gets a little puffy. But that is all part of the process. I try to make the best of it. After all, Michael's last wife endured much worse.
I have had to pick out different make-up. Find ones that work better for my new complexion. It has been a process. Thankfully my eyes are the same color so I didn't need to change too much. But it is hard, and I want to be able to do more about it.
That's probably why I have been taking the night classes. I am trying to find ways to make myself feel more able. More put together. Or maybe I am trying to reinvent myself in some way. But I know what I need to do to make things right, at least for me. Michael seems to understand that, even if he doesn't really know everything.
It is strange. Lately I have had an old story running through my mind. When I was younger, my mom would tell me the story every Halloween. It was one of the few traditions we would follow in my house, things being as they were as a kid.
The story was about an old man. One Wellington Street it is a commonly known legend. But each person tells a different account about him, and this is the one my family used to share.
A man was walking through the woods at night. He had lost his way and instead of trying to move on in the dark he settled in and built a fire. The night was moderately warm, but the fire kept away the things in the dark, and so he kept the fire going well into the night.
Eventually his stack of wood began to dwindle, and he began to have to ration the wood. But the wood wasn't very good for burning and so, to his dismay, the fire began to darken.
As he looked out into the woods, he saw an old man in a green suit looking at him. Even in the dark he could see the teeth of the old man, outlined against his blackened gums. He remained just out of range of most of the light, but as the fire got weaker he crept closer and closer.
When at last the fire was barely anything but embers, the old man stepped forward and sat down across from the lost man.
The old man said the man was lost because he tended the fire. He didn't let himself feel the cold. That he would help him now that there was nothing left to burn. The man tried to escape, only to find that the darkness now surrounded him completely. An unimaginable cold gripped his body, first in his bones, then spreading out into the muscles. Last of all was his heart, and when the cold hit that he collapsed into sleep.
In the morning, the man woke to find himself unharmed. But for the rest of his days he found himself always sitting a little cooler than he would like. But he never got lost again, because instead of lighting a fire he would go ahead and remember what it felt like to be cold. He would sit and linger on that feeling.
And then he would find his way.
Over the years, I've often wondered what the lesson of the story could be. I tried asking my mother, but she has always insisted I try to think such things through.
Ultimately, I think the point is that sometimes the thing that keeps us warm can be the very thing that keeps us lost. And that if we ever really want to truly keep moving forward, a little pain can be the price we must pay.
Lloyd is laying on my lap. Or maybe it would be better to say he is laying across it. He is healthy, all things considered.
Sometimes when he meows it almost sounds like words.
I've never owned a cat his size, but I suppose that isn't too strange. At least for Wellington Street.