How full is your glass? jk cosmos
One wonders about that question, more often than first surmised. How can anyone not think about the haves and have-nots? How can we work, play and pair off and not think about our sister, brother, friend, lover, cousin?
Being grateful for others and for ‘What I love best ‘things.’ usually spins one’s mind to someone else’s newer, cooler car or home or furnishings or pool, doesn’t it?
How full is your glass? Very much full, thank you. It’s full as long as one breathes and has the opportunities to transform one’s life from “this” to “that”.
The full glass - empty glass conundrum holds quite a few mixed up responses; those that we inherit and those we learn and respond to. How should this concept be handled?
Glass full - glass empty, how do we view our lives? I think that I’m a half-full kinda person and that is due to experience of life throwing so much shit at me that the decision had to be made, kinda quickly and kinda off-the-cuff.
What is that shit, you ask. It’s about marriage. It’s a story and it’s not happily-ever-after. It’s a reality that kicks a person in the shins and then, smiling, kicks a person squarely on the jaw.
Marriage, wedding plans and romance, kisses and passion, sex in the rawest and most carnal way - all of it. Yes, please.
I’ll give away my power and my control over myself. I’ll give away my true self to accommodate your needs. I’ll give away my goals and desires to please you. All of that, surviving that compels me to answer - Yes, I am a full glass kinda person. Yes, I am.
Thirty-five, not too old, but not a time in a life to play the blushing bride. No, that has passed and the good fortune is finding a guy to marry and plan a life with. What a cock-eyed optimist! The reality is that handing over control of one’s own, wonderful life may, just may, end in a not so lovely ending. And that is exactly how it played out. Not a lovely ending.
What is that ending? What is the beginning? Let me tell you, the story begins with a wedding. The bride glowing and happily smiling at her guests and her groom. The bride, oh so happy, in her white, satin gown. White satin pumps, white satin covered buttons along the back of her fitted, bridal dress. The bride, wearing a crown of entwined flowers, polished with a high gloss of white; tulle attached to form a lengthy flow of veil to the floor. The bride, perfection in her traditional, bridal clothing.
The groom tolerating the festivities and looking for his guys, to smoke and to snort a bit of coke to take the edge off. Her handsome groom, the black tuxedo offset by his locks of golden, quite long curly hair. How handsome? What a lucky girl she was!
The Bride and Groom walked from the Ritz over to the area near the Swans; near the summery flower beds of the Boston Gardens. The bridesmaids and groomsmen followed along as she tried to talk with the groom. He was looking down at the path and did not respond to her chatter. She slowed her steps and took to walking the rest of the way with her bridal party; they were chatting and glad to be in the sunshine, in their formal attire on this glorious day.
Photos taken, maneuvering posing and smiling, she was not herself. The Bride was trying to be in the moment, and yet, she felt this was stepping into something that was not quite right. Her apprehension was not the first time that she ‘paused’ to question her saying ‘Yes, I’ll marry you.” to the beautiful man nearby. Not next to her, not holding her hand - just nearby.
Walking back to the Ritz, he took her hand, sensing her aloneness? She didn’t know.
The end of the reception and they entered an upstairs suite at the Boston Ritz, above the grand ballroom and alone, at last, behind closed doors. She primped, taking only a brief time and waited for her new husband to join her in the master bedroom suite. Overlooking the Boston Gardens, the formalized blooms and ground cover, a historic setting, at the corner of Newbury Street. The elegance of the area and the high-brow reception, more than she had ever hoped for.
He followed her to the bedroom, still in his tux, and grabbed her neck; twisting her skin until the tautness of his hold on that thin and vulnerable skin bore down on her. She didn’t speak, she didn’t scream; he held her. A prelude to passion? If only. It was not a prelude to passion, but to a nightmare and terror, while wide awake. Her groom had plans for her that were unimaginable, and very cruel.
In her head, she screamed at the unfairness; this trick of the Fates. Her negligee was thin, transparent and so sheer that her skin and the throbbing of her blood through her veins, all visible. He knew her vulnerability and was empowered.
“Let me teach you how to defend yourself. You need to be able to defend yourself, when I’m not around.” Vicious words, serpent tongue.
‘AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH’…..in her head, in her mind.
He reached, with his free hand to his case, took a pistol out and put it in her trembling hand; the pistol fit her hand and he put his hand over hers. She felt the cold, hard grip of the handgun. His eyes, blue and cold and did she hear that verse in her head. Yes, she was hearing the words - something about the devil on the other side of the door, that handsome devil in tight jeans - just at the other side of the door. In her case, he was standing beside her. She shivered.
“ Let’s see now how this works. Let’s see how you are going to defend yourself.
The safety is off. The gun is easy to handle, yes?” “Yes.”
“Notice, my darling, that there is no number on the gun. I got it from a cop friend of mine, and the numbers were pretty expertly rubbed off. Hmmmm.”
She did not answer. She could barely remain conscious. She wished this was a dream.
“What do you think would happen, if there was an accident and you shot yourself?
She didn’t respond. “Any thoughts, darling.”
As quickly as he had produced the pistol, it was gone.
He laughed, picked her up and threw her down on the bed; their first night as husband and wife. His intentions to take full control. His intentions to demand respect as the Master of the house.
He took her in that master suite and he showed her what it is to be degraded, to be used, and to be spent. Horrified, fear dulling her mind, she complied. And, she started planning her escape.
The ‘how of it’ and the plan to run not formulated; her desire to not be connected to this devil. This man, whom she had married before he had revealed his true self. She wondered if she murdered him; could she escape and maintain freedom or end up being prosecuted and convicted, without time to truly run. Beyond killing, what were her options?
Why would she have to run from her life; beyond escaping him? Why should she?
In the morning, he went about his morning routine and barely glanced at his frightened bride. She managed to dress and pack; they were leaving Logan for Paris at noon. The secrets between men and women; the reveal and the conceal. Her heart beat faster than ever and she was compelled to plan an escape that would be final. Something to free her and leave no options for him to return. Murder, frame up for his conviction of her murder? How do people plan and actually do anything to be free from capture? She didn’t know and her mind spun. She must calm her mind and be still. Could she be still? She was not so certain, but knew continuing with a man able to hold a gun to her temple and indicate that he alone was Master, was a dangerous place to be.
And then, she had figured out that only her fingerprints were on that pistol and so, another piece to deal with and change in her favor.
Paris, city of light - of love. They checked into a small hotel, close to L’Opera and quaint, lovely. She did the unpacking, as he returned to the pub area in the lower level to play pool and drink brandy, expensive brandy. She began to lose control and cry, then sob a bit too loudly. Stop. Crying will turn him on and only encourage his cruelty. She thought about that pistol and wondered if he had brought it through customs to Paris. Possibly not. She hadn’t found it in the luggage, but her fears took over her usual commonsensibilties. Fear immobilizing her to do only what he demanded.
She left the hotel and found a cafe just to the right of the Opera and felt some relief to be out and about without him and in public. Safety in numbers and visible. How her longing to be seen magnified and held her. She decided to walk to the Jardin du Tuileries; similar to her beloved Boston Gardens. Sitting in a light green, metal chair near the pond with a view of the flower gardens and symmetry of the setting, she smiled. Paris, a parallel city to Boston, in her estimation. Ah, to breathe.
Thinking about leaving him had to be her focus, not the aesthetics of the gardens. How to leave? How to disconnect forever? Formulation of a realistic plan in a foreign country would not be as simple or straight-forward as she hoped. And yet, language barriers and mistaken communication may work in her favor. She jumped off the chair and fast walked back to the hotel, not noticing a young, slim man with ripped jeans and a blue scarf wrapped ‘round him was following her, keeping the clip and a certain space between them. She was waiting to cross La Rue de St. Germaine and in the crowd, oblivious to her surroundings. The Frenchman bumped her side, apologized and smiled. His slim face and aquiline nose, his piercing blue eyes and relaxed slouch engaged her for a New York minute. Light changed, people crossing and she moved with the crowd. He moved with her. Again, a bump and an apology.
“Was he trying to pick her up?”
He was in step and asked her if she was from the States.
“I would love to visit the States.” “Where would you suggest I see first?”
“What?” She had to focus and get back to her husband and figure out a way to leave.
“Nescafe?” “Come and tell me about your home?” Smile.
She thought about being in the room with her husband or extending this reprieve a bit more in public, in Paris, with an attractive man.
“Fine. Nescafe.” She answered and he lead as she fell in step and they found a cafe.
Sitting outside, he ordered and turned to her, still smiling. They sat on either side of a cafe table and there were so many people around that she felt safe. Safe enough.
“What do you want to know?”
“ I want to know about you. I want to know more about what makes you smile. What makes you glad to be alive. Who you truly are..is what I want to know.”
Tearing and feeling her lips quiver, unsure how to answer. An unknown, a man without a name in a foreign country, how convenient that she stopped. Time stopped.
“I am not glad to be alive. My husband is threatening me and I’m sure that he’s going to kill me. Not this day, perhaps, but soon enough. He’ll make it look like an accident. He forced me to hold a pistol and my fingerprints are on it. He’s threatened me. I am so afraid, I’m scared that he’ll kill me. I am so afraid. I’m frozen and unable to do anything. I am unable to think. I am not able to smile. I am not able to do anything at all.”
“You should stand up and leave.”
I am so not in my right mind. “Please stand up and leave.”
He sipped his nescafe cautiously and pensive, not moving and thoughtful. He placed the cup on its saucer deliberately and slowly. She caught her breath and began to normalize herself and her breathing and being in the moment. She didn’t blink.
“Drink your cafe. Finish and come. You cannot live like this.”
They finished and stood. She was very unsure of what would be next and of course, had no idea who this man was. She was ready to follow to him. She was compelled.
They briskly walked down a narrow street, abutting the cafe. She kept up with him and they turned a few times, to an area that was more French than tourist-based. He ducked into a tiny shop. She saw glassware and miniature souvenirs, racks of postcards and on the side spices and supplies for baking; speciality pans and decorative equipment.
“My parents’ shoppe. Let’s go in the back.”
She nodded in agreement. They sat on small, wooden chairs in the back, leaning on the side wall with a tiny table nearby, covered with papers, pencils and calculator, post-its...a well-used back area.
“Shall I introduce myself?”
“Yes. Sorry, I should have asked. Sorry, I am so sorry to have told you what I did.”
“I’m Andre. Don’t worry. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Let’s talk about your husband and what has happened just before you left Boston to come here.”
She told him, with as much detail as she thought he’d be able to take; leaving out the sexual maneuvering and sadistic exploits she had endured.
She did escape. This narrative ends well in that regard. And life, life is always a twist, a possibility - a life force.
The great news, yes, the superlative is intentional, is that the lesson learned is to be half-full and appreciative of life, of love, of family and friends, of lovers and colleagues. They love and appreciate you, without conditions and without requiring the chipping away of one’s true self.
The half-full and “love & light” persona is not only one that is developed, it’s groomed and nurtured and a gift. The gift to oneself - the affirmation of love to oneself is everything.
Half full is a quite wonderful place to be and the energy reverberating is proof, simple and direct. Be grateful, be authentic and see life as half-full.
Lifting a glass of wine and feeling the liquid on her tongue, expressing the physicality of the sip, the twirl and the taste. Life most certainly is half full.