Excerpt From a Diary 45
Thanksgiving was very quiet this year. Helena & her family were at Geoff’s family in Pittsburgh. Jesse & Doreen stayed home – her mother had a stroke & Doreen didn’t want to leave her. Randy always hunts on Thanksgiving. Trish is in Germany with Brad, who’s stationed there. Rocco & Julie were there but only for a short while – they also had dinner at her folk’s. I went to a meeting in the morning. Later in the day, I helped my mother with the dinner – not that there was very much to do. Without a tableful of people, there wasn’t dozens of dishes prepared – no creamed onions, spinach soufflé or even succotash – I missed seeing all the different bowls & platters of food. But it was a good meal, as always.
In my room – reading, writing poetry, listening to music very softly on the stereo.
I finally heard from the manager of the building on Euclid Heights Avenue. I can move in January but since the first is a Tuesday, I can actually move in the weekend before that – he said that the tenant was moving out mid-December but it needed painting & a few repairs. But it would be ready by December 30th for sure. I am so excited! It is a really cute little place. Perfect for me. Top floor – fabulous view – lots of light – perfect for plants. No porch & a tiny kitchen but you can’t get everything. & nothing says I have to stay there forever. It’s alright for right now.
I feel so bruised today. My lungs ache when I breathe. So horny it hurts. But sleep came easily. With dreams – dreams filled with sex – sex with Doug Conover of all people – sex with others too – dinner in a Chinese restaurant – a bag of weed I was trying to hide – acrobats hanging from streetlights – & more sex. I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all.
I took a shower. The hot water coursing through the massager felt good on my back, my legs, my crotch – afterwards, I applied my body lotion, patted on my baby powder & dressed in a pair of long underwear, my pink flowered skirt & tight hot pink sweater & pink socks & went downstairs. Bob was arranging fruit on a platter, a bag of still-warm bagels on the counter. The coffee was brewing in the percolator. Bob said good morning to me but my mother pointedly ignored me. She hates it when I wear my tight pink sweater. It’s one of my favorite tops & it always cheers me up to see myself in the mirror with it on.
I poured myself a cup of coffee. I had a bagel & a banana. I put on my boots & jacket & went out for a walk. My mother can spread her bad mood over the entire house like peanut butter on bread.
Some days you just can’t cheer up on demand. Clothes don’t change your mood – nothing does. You just have to wade through the muck of depression no matter what.
Right now I’m in the perfect mood to write poetry.
In the food court of the Halle Building, enjoying a cup of coffee before I go to work. I am wearing my new grey suit, the white blouse I was married in & my riding boots. I had my hair cut on Thursday. It’s much shorter than it’s been in years – what used to be called a Dutch Bob. I’m not sure I like it but it’ll grow back.
Almost done with my lunch hour. It’s snowing out – very pretty. I wanted to go for a walk after I ate but the heels on my boots are so worn down – I don’t want to wear them down further. I need to have them fixed.
I should go to the ladies’ room & get back to work.
The tenth anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. I’m watching The Compleat Beatles.
I’ve been sick – we’ve all had it – first Bob, then Mom, now me. A mild stomach flu – cramps, diarrhea, intense fatigue. I slept over 13 hours last night – went to bed at 9 p.m. & not up until 11 a.m.
I had a bunch of crazy dreams – dreaming about Pat when he was young but I was his dream – I can’t really remember right now – it seemed like it was somehow prophetic – but I’m not sure anymore – I wish I could remember it.
I am getting my assignments done too quickly. My first assignment was supposed to take three days & I finished it in one. The filing assignment was supposed to be a three-day assignment – also done in one day. Another assignment was supposed to take two weeks & I was done in three days. Deb says all she has for me is handing out flyers in the Public Square. What a drag!
I was not in a very good mood as I went home. Bob noticed my mood & said something so I started to tell him about my problem with my work assignments & he interrupted me, saying, “What you need is a meeting.”
NO. What I need is not a meeting. AA meetings are great but they do not solve everything. They do not solve the problem of being an efficient worker & there’s not enough work to do.
I did go to a meeting & when I got home, I fell asleep almost immediately but I had nightmares all night & had to wake myself up constantly. Needless to say, I feel very tired & out of it this morning.
Later. Deb just called. She’s got a job for me – a real job. I’ve got to run. I haven’t had a shower or anything! Oh well!
Evening. My new assignment is at Hospice of the Western Reserve. Their receptionist has been sick for over three weeks & the paperwork is really piling up. June, the administrator, is handling the phones – which ring off the wall – & I’ll do the paperwork & filing until it’s caught up. Then I’ll be trained on the phones.
A complete bitch of a morning. I need more sleep – last night’s Dharma class wasn’t – is never – over before 9:30 & then everyone hangs out & talks forever – by the time I get home & wound down & in bed it’s at least 10:30 & of course I couldn’t sleep. I guess I could leave earlier but honestly – waiting for a ride from Val is easier than getting the bus home & probably faster anyway. Then when I did sleep, I had a bunch of anxiety dreams – I was running away from someone – I had no idea who – I was just running.
The alarm goes off at 6 a.m. It’s just not enough sleep. Not for me in early recovery.
Afternoon. A Christmas party here at work – potluck. I had a little of everything & I am stuffed. The homemade cheesecake & Danish puff were excellent. Now that I’m not drinking anymore, I love sweet stuff.
A funeral is driving by.
Much better this morning. Although I couldn’t wear what I had originally planned on – my stocking had a run – so I am wearing black slacks & a red sweater. But I feel much better than yesterday – much better rested. I went to bed at 9 p.m. after a sitting in meditation for forty-five minutes.
I called in sick to work today. I know I shouldn’t have. But I had a migraine – & it was pouring rain & I thought fuck this & went back to bed – no, first I called off work – then I went to bed.
It was a tough weekend. Really up & down. Up – shopping – Christmas shopping at the Arcade – buying clothes for myself at various thrift shops. Down – sitting in the cold rain 45 minutes waiting for a bus, trying not to think that in Buffalo, it would be snowing instead of raining. I got home & there was a letter from Teddy – real self-pitying & bitter – so I made the mistake of calling him to try to make him feel better & of course it was a total mess of a conversation – I was depressed the rest of the weekend.
I couldn’t sleep & when I did, I had nightmares.
My headache is hanging in there but I’m going to work on Christmas cards – I haven’t sent a single one yet. I haven’t had the time – or the energy.
I’m so tired. I can barely stay awake. I just want to go home & sleep. I’m so sick of filing – I can’t help it, I think it’s a little silly to continually file stuff for people who are dead.
We got a tree last night. Bob & I went. Mom was in one of her moods again & went to a woman’s meeting on the West Side. “Let her go,” he said. “She’ll be in a better mood when she gets home.” He’s so mellow. I told him that & he laughed. “I used to be a monster,” he told me. I remember Jesse saying the same thing about him.
The tree is set up in the living room but we have to wait for Mom to get the ornaments down from the attic so we can decorate it. It needs to settle & get used to being in the warmth anyway. It smells so good – I love the smell of pine. The smell of New England.
I can hardly wait to get home but I have to go downtown to the temp office & pick up my paycheck & by the time I get home, it’ll be way past 6 p.m. Mom & Bob don’t even wait for me to have dinner – I just reheat whatever they had. But at least there’s something there. Soon I’ll be cooking for myself – having to come up with something when I get home from work – no matter how tired I am. I’ll be eating a lot of soup & sandwiches!
It never rains but it fucking pours. I got my period. Of course I don’t have any tampons – none at home, either. Life sucks. Now I have to put paper towel in my underwear & hope it doesn’t move around too much on my way to the store. I miss having a car!
A completely boring day. I’m reading charts – making sure that things are filed in their correct places. When June comes back from Mentor, she & Toni will go to a meeting & I’ll be on the phones – but it’s real quiet today anyway.
My breasts ache & I have cramps. I just want to sleep. I could easily sleep another four hours a day. I’m longing for my bed with its soft flannel sheets & my heavy quilt on top. I’m drinking a completely vile cup of coffee – it’s my third on today – & I’m still not awake. I guess that’s life.
Afternoon. At Toni’s desk, playing receptionist. I just ate – more food left over from the party tray. I just remember the two oranges in the fridge – I can’t forget them. I’m full or I’d eat them now.
I’m feeling a little better. I’m still cold. Anya – one of the nurses – says I’m running a low fever & probably have a low-grade viral infection which is why I constantly feel crummy. That & my period – which is enough right there.
I’m reading poetry as I sit here. I should be reading charts. But I get so sick of medical terminology. I like the social worker reports & what Sister Marguerite writes much better.
I’m supposed to do to the Zen Temple tonight & hear a lecture by Eido Roshi with the rest of the Dharma group. I don’t know if I’ll go. I don’t really feel like it. It’s raining buckets – of course it may stop later on – but I would really like to get home, get comfy & have dinner. Get to bed early – read a little – & sleep all night. When I get up tomorrow, I want to put on my comfy clothes again & bake cookies & decorate them.
I did go to the Zen Temple. Although I honestly can’t remember a word Eido Roshi said. Because when I arrived at Robert’s house to join up with the rest of the Dharma Group & ride to the Temple, there was Pat.
I have to admit – I have been wondering when I would be seeing him – where I would be seeing him – at a meeting or at the Dharma House or maybe getting a coffee at Arabica.
He looks good. He looks healthy. I realize now what a waste product he was back in February & March – how strung out he really was. Jesse was right when he said that Pat was a “major coke head”.
He gave me a huge smile when he saw me & then a hug & I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have to say much because as usual, he talked a blue streak. He’s living with his brother but he’s going to be moving in with John Bembo & live at the Dharma House & meditate all day long. “When I’m not working,” he laughed. Of course he doesn’t have a job yet. He’s going to a meeting everyday & he feels so much better – so much better – than he used to. He’s so grateful.
“I still love you,” he whispered.
I am tired but I can’t sleep. I woke up an hour ago. It was a restless night with crazy dreams. In one of my dreams, my mother was wearing a sun-dress – pink & white stripes – a halter-top, the back completely open – cut daringly around the breasts – something my mother would never wear in a hundred years. She was very tan & her hair loose & curly & she looked magnificent!
I watched the light filter in through the crack in the draperies & listened to the rain. Boy, does it ever rain down here! I miss the snow of Buffalo. My stomach began to growl so I got up & dressed & came downstairs & ate. I’ve been reading poetry – another cup of tea & I’ll go back upstairs & meditate. The other night at the Zen Temple, Pat started instructing me on proper meditation, like I haven’t got my own meditation instructor already. Val was there & he just laughed. I had to laugh, too. Some things never change.
I had my hair cut yesterday – very short. It looks really nice. I just didn’t feel that the haircut I had was me, although it looked really nice. It’s quite curly – getting rid of all that extraneous hair released the natural curl. Now I look in the mirror & I see Cori – the Cori I am now.
A beautiful day. Four inches of snow fell last night. The whole world is transformed. I feel so very happy. A jazzy little version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is running through my head.
I’m at work. I have a really light workload today. Create some charts – stamp some envelopes – cover for Toni on the phones while she goes to the doctor’s. I’m leaving at noon.
No one has noticed my hair! Oh well. Sister Marguerite will be in soon & she’ll be sure to notice.
Later. At Toni’s desk. Toni noticed my hair as she was walking out. “You cut off your hair!” It’s funny how people don’t notice things until they’ve had a cup of coffee & a muffin.
I talked to Danielle last night. She says Teddy is doing just fine. Don’t listen to his tales of doom & gloom. She says his mother offered to fly him down to Florida for the holidays but he refused. & to think that last week he was singing the blues about having a lousy Christmas! Cuz he was all alone! If he wants to be lonely & alone for Christmas, then so be it! He deserves it!
Christmas Eve. At work. I can hardly wait to leave at noon. I had major insomnia last night. & then when I did get to sleep, I had nightmares. Something about a gang of rapists trying to get into my house – I didn’t recognize the place – & then when they did get in, they were smashing all my snow scenes & other Christmas knick-knacks – I was yelling for Teddy to help me – apparently, he was in the next room – but he never came. I woke up crying & screaming. I hate these nightmares.
Another dream I had was about The Canteen – I stopped in after work & I did a courtesy dance – stripping out of my office clothes – then I talked to a few admirers, telling them that I didn’t dance anymore, I worked “at Hospice”. Then I sat at the bar with John Canton – I had a beer in front of me & I watched the bubbles rise in anticipation – but when I took a sip of the beer, it was bitter & nasty. I sat at the bar with this terrible taste in my mouth! The taste of disappointment & disgust!
Night. In bed. Totally exhausted. Downstairs, Jesse & Randy are watching a movie with Bob. Doreen stayed in Buffalo with her mother – Jesse brought the kids so Bob could see his grandchildren. Tomorrow Helena & Geoff will be here with their kids & Rocco & Julie. Tish & Brad are still in Germany.
I got another letter from Teddy – another self-pitying, cry-baby letter. If I hadn’t talked to Danielle the other day, I might have fallen for it but I know better now. He isn’t interested in getting over his grief or moving on. He wants to feel bad & he wants to blame it all on me. Well, he can go ahead & do whatever he wants – it’s his life. Me – I want to move on & live as fully as possible.
One of the nicest Christmases I’ve had in years. Jesse gave me a camera! I have wanted a camera for years! I used to use Teddy’s but of course it was his. This new camera is a small Canon 35 mm & I have already taken a full load of film! I can see that I am going to go broke buying film & getting pictures developed! Jesse laughed. “Take your time, learning how to take good pictures can’t be done in a day,” but I was just so happy to finally have my very own camera.
& I got high. I know I shouldn’t have – but Jesse & Randy were going out & I knew – like the druggie that I am – that they were going to catch a buzz – & I said, “Can I come with you guys?” I used the excuse that it was too noisy with all the kids but they knew, of course – that I wanted to smoke some weed.
It was weed that Randy grew this summer up where he’s living now in Appleton – my grandparents’ hometown! – & it was killer shit. I haven’t gotten high since March & I only needed a few tokes to feel totally stoned. But it was such a nice feeling! I couldn’t believe how nice it was! Totally different than drinking – or snorting coke – really the best feeling.
I asked Jesse about Doreen. “Is her mother really that sick that she couldn’t come along?”
Randy snorted. “Doreen’s mother is in a nursing home & she doesn’t need Doreen to look after her! Doreen’s turned Jehovah Witness & she doesn’t celebrate Christmas anymore!”
I couldn’t believe it. “Really, Jesse? She’s one of those people who knock on your door & give you those stupid newsprint magazines about how the end of the world is gonna come?”
He laughed. “Doreen’s lost her mind. But hell – she doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas or birthdays or anything else, she doesn’t have to. That saves me money – I don’t have to buy her anything. But I’ll be damned if she takes that away from the kids. Which is why I brought them down here. Santa Claus might be a myth but it’s one that little kids need.”
“Big kids need it too,” I laughed.
Sleepy morning. I could have easily stayed in bed all morning & slept happily with my Santa bear – another present. But no – I had to work this morning & I was on the bus & going to Hospice to work at 7:30 this morning. But oh yes. I am so sleepy! Even after a cup of Sumatran coffee & two cups of tea. I almost fell asleep on the bus.
It occurred to me that by smoking those few tokes with Jesse & Randy that technically I’ve “relapsed” & I should tell my AA home group & my sponsor JoAnne but I don’t feel like I relapsed. I didn’t get drunk – I didn’t take a drink – I didn’t even get stoned, really – just a nice little buzz. I don’t see what’s wrong with marijuana. & I slept well last night – the first night in weeks & weeks that I didn’t have any nightmares. If marijuana can cure my insomnia & keep me from having terrible nightmares, then it’s well worth it. & it’s medical in that case – not just getting high for the fun of it. Which is altogether different.
Afternoon. At Toni’s desk. It has been snowing all morning. About 4 or 5 inches have fallen. It’s slowed down now – falling very slowly & lazily & the sun has come out. It’s so beautiful – the snow on the tree branches – the frozen crystals sparkling in the sun. I am the only one who thinks so. Of course, I don’t drive in it but even when I did drive, I never complained because I enjoyed driving in the snow. It was a challenge. I understand that it’s a drag for other people but why not try to get as much enjoyment as you can? But I think people enjoy complaining about driving more than they enjoy driving. I also think they enjoy psyching themselves out – getting themselves all nervous & afraid. They feed on those emotions until they’re so crippled they can’t see the beauty of the day.
An hour later. It’s gotten dark again & it’s snowing. Another inch has fallen since I last wrote.
I realize that I really enjoy being a receptionist. I’m going to start looking for a receptionist position. I’ll mention it to Deb but I’ll look on my own as well.
I had to run for the bus this morning. I got up at 6 as usual but I was so tired that I ended up having to rush – take a shower, dress, make-up, make breakfast, my lunch, get on all my winter gear over my office gear – & it was 7:20 before I was out the door – so naturally I had to run for it. It felt good – it’s a little warmer than yesterday – up to 15 – still brisk but nice. I feel good. I am wearing the cutest outfit today – black tights & a black turtleneck under the yellow gingham & black & red flowered calico dress Mom made me years ago – & my little black flats. Red shoes would be adorable with this outfit. Or little red or black booties. I look like a little doll. I don’t look anywhere near 30 years old – I look more like 25 – maybe younger! I’m telling you – I love this haircut. To think that Teddy told me that short hair would make me look old – I look younger than ever! I bet I’d get proofed in a bar. Not that I would walk into a bar – I can’t imagine taking a drink at this point now. A few tokes off a joint is one thing – a drink is entirely different.
On my way to Buffalo with Bob. We’re going to the house I shared with Teddy to pick up my stuff. I have no idea what’s going to happen here. I don’t know if Teddy has packed up the stuff I asked him to – I sent him a list in the Christmas card I sent him – or if I’m going to have to pack it all when I get there. I really hope he isn’t going to be a drag. Jesse is supposed to show up later on to help transport things to my new apartment in Cleveland. I asked him on Christmas if he would help with my books – I think they’ll all fit in his van. I don’t really have anything else. All the furniture belonged to Teddy. All I have are books & tapes & pots & pans & dishes. & the plants – I want at least half of the plants.
Very sleepy. I’m all moved into my new place but it’s been really tough. I don’t know what I would have done without Bob & Jesse & Randy. Yesterday Teddy didn’t have anything done – he didn’t have any boxes for me or anything. I sent Bob to the nearest liquor store to pick up some empty boxes – you can always get boxes at a liquor store – & then I started going through the cupboards. I wanted my dishes, my pots & pans, my Tupperware. Teddy went ballistic. He said he wasn’t going to have anything to “eat off of” & he had paid for the Tupperware “too”. I gave in on the Tupperware because I wasn’t going to fight all day. But I wanted my dishes – they had been my mother’s. & I wanted my pots & pans – I have to be able to cook too. I left him a few – I’m not an asshole. Plus I hate that Teflon shit – he can have it. I wanted the Revere Ware & my cast-iron frying pans. & all my baking pans. He’s not going to be baking cookies & cakes & pies. I mean – get real already!
I wasn’t taking any furniture – he could have all that. It was mostly his anyway. Only the bookshelves were mine. But he just made it really hard – being in such a pissy mood. Even Jesse had to say something. “You could have packed up her books at least,” he said. “Anyone can pack books.” & he wouldn’t let me have any plants. He argued that it was “too cold” to transport them that far. We didn’t have any room for them anyway. Jesse said he would bring them down when it gets warm. I really hope so – I have perfect windows for lots of plants. But it’s all over now – I’m in my new place – with furniture that Bob & Mom gave me out of their house – not a whole lot but enough for me. All I need to do is unpack & decorate – the fun part of moving.
I can’t find my watch.
I am very tired. I have been unpacking & putting things here or there & then deciding that I want them over there instead of here & moving things constantly. Putting up a few pictures & setting up my desk. Unpacking books.
I made a marvelous chicken soup – with carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, celery & onions. Very filling.
It has been raining non-stop. It rained all last week – then turned to snow – snow a lot this week & now rain all weekend. There is extensive flooding – the worst in 30 years.
I have to find my watch.
The rain turned to freezing rain & then to snow. Very cold.
I have to say that I feel very good this morning. I slept pretty well last night – after taking two Benadryl – they really knock me out. I know this is dangerous behavior for a drug addict but that’s life. I have to sleep. Without sleep, I’m done. & I hate hate hate not sleeping. Especially when I have to get up to go to work in the morning. If I didn’t have to get up in the morning, it wouldn’t bother me as much.
Later. Nothing to do. I’ll have copies to make when the Mentor office calls back with the patient I.D. numbers for our new cases but meanwhile, I’ll sit here & sip my Coca-cola & eat some candy!
I have a nice evening planned. I’m going to a meeting & then back home to my new place for my first New Year’s Eve alone & the first sober one in a long, long time. Fifteen or so years. I must admit – part of me is longing for a line in the worst way. But I keep telling myself – if I were in Buffalo, we’d probably be smoking the shit, not snorting it – & what a way to spend your evening – waiting for your next hit off the pipe & depressed when it runs out. Even with lines – you always want more – & you’re depressed when it runs out. I’ll be glad when the holidays are over.
Noon. At Toni’s desk. Yuck – my coke’s getting warm.
It occurred to me – it’s been occurring to me all day long – what a year of change this year has been. From the start – since New Year’s Day – the first New Year’s in years I had woken up without a hangover. Also – the first time in years I had quit drinking – even if it was only to try to lose a few pounds. & of course – there were my awakening feelings for Pat – he was around so much – selling us weed – but also just to hang out – later, he told me that he was unable to stay away. I remember watching “The Sandpipers” with him & the sexual tension was simply unbearable. That was long before we ever even kissed.
Evening. Home. Dressed in red sweats, red V-neck sweater – festive red!
I’m about to bake an apple pie. I bought some vanilla ice cream to go with it. I’m taking it to the meeting later on.
Dancing & singing in the kitchen.
1990 – the year I finally did something about my unhappiness & my drug addiction – I never knew I would end up here – in a small apartment in Cleveland Heights – happy to be sober – getting ready to go to an AA meeting on New Year’s Eve.
What will 1991 bring? When I read my diaries – especially 1989 & early 1990 – I know where & when I how I hit bottom & I hope – I sincerely hope – & I will – I will with all my might, my intelligence, my emotion & my physical body – that I will never ever go there again. Resolution for 1991 & the rest of my life. So mote it be!