Tag Archives: love and awakening

Part 23 – Mick Jagger and Mary Oliver

This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: Each time we draw closer, Billy pulls away. But there comes a moment when I know: I’ll be fine, whether he leaves or stays. To see all posts in chronological order, Click Here.

Ahhhhhh, but that expansive sense of freedom doesn’t stay fixed. It’s not a state you reach, hoist your flag and dwell there forever. It’s something you taste and cultivate and, over time, can inhabit more frequently. Like all experience, it’s impermanent.

Billy wants to move to a different part of the country. He’s lived in Colorado all his life, so he’s eager to try a new region. Maybe New England? As it happens, before meeting Billy, I signed up for a 7-day retreat at a meditation center in Massachusetts. We decide to fly to Boston together and spend a week exploring the coast, from Gloucester to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. Then he’ll drop me off at the retreat, do some serious property hunting, and we’ll meet at the Boston airport to fly home.

The problem is: We had a fight the night before leaving, and I became so frustrated I yelled, “Shut up!” I was startled by the intensity of my rage. How the hell had my newfound sense of freedom and detachment been knocked out? I apologized immediately, but Billy turned his back to me in bed and refused to speak.

On the flight to Boston, we exchange nothing but small talk. We don’t get around to discussing the problem till late that evening. I spend a lot of time apologizing for my part, but his body stays rigid, locked. Like he wants to keep fuming, nursing his righteousness.

In the morning we try to make love, but our hearts, literally, aren’t in it. We drive south, listening to music and not talking much, and I think, Why do I want to be with this person?

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Part 21 – Did You Ever Pet a Bee?

This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously:Billy and I both get HIV tests and pass. But back in his house, there’s a shy awkwardness. To see all posts in chronological order,Click Here.

Billy asks me to come and lie down so he can hold me. He folds my body into his arms on the kingsize bed, with its dark leather frame. “It’s okay to cry,” he says.

Tears come, and I confess that I wanted him to contact me, despite the fact that I told him not to. He says he must have known that because he refused to give up.

We start to make love, slowly, for hours. Sunlight filters through the massive pine trees outside the windows, and he’s playing his favorite kind of music, which is also my favorite: singer-songwriters, from Tom Russell to Sheryl Crow to Leonard Cohen.

The bedroom suite is so big I keep losing my way, opening the wrong doors as I look for the bathroom. There’s a closet so large it has an island in the center, a sauna, a TV nook, and two separate toilet enclosures.

The next day we go for a walk and eat lunch at an outdoor café. A bee lands on Billy’s plate. “Did you ever pet a bee?” he asks.

“God, no. I’m allergic to bee stings.”

He runs a finger, ever so softly, along the bee’s back, barely touching the fur. I brace, expecting the bee to freak, but it just sits there as if hypnotized. After a while it flies up, circles and returns to the plate for more. Watching Billy stroke its back, I want him to touch me that way. When I tell him, he laughs and starts referring to me as “the bee.”

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Part 20 – Love in the Time of Viagra

This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: After many weeks of no sex with Billy, I decide I’m ready. To see all posts in chronological order, Click Here.

What’s it like to go for AIDS tests at a public clinic when you’re over 50? We’re about to see. I know that I’m clean, and Billy believes he is, but I don’t trust that because he’s had unprotected sex with two other women since his divorce. If I’m asking him to get tested, it seems only fair that we both do it together.

As we drive to the County Health Department, Billy asks why the test will take an hour. I say they’ll probably ask questions and try to educate us about safe sex.

“What! I’m not going to answer personal questions,” he says.

Please don’t be rude, I say, nervous, knowing Billy can be a wild card.

“I’ll tell them I’m just there for the test. That’s it.”

We’re the oldest people in the waiting room—by decades. They give us forms, asking for name, address, phone and social security number. That stops me. “I thought the test was anonymous.”

The attendant, Sheree, says, “It’s confidential, but not anonymous—where you just have a number. No one does that kind of testing in this area.”

I glance at Billy. He wanted anonymity for insurance reasons. “Are you OK with this?”

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