As you might have surmised from my previous post, Hawaii wasn’t the utopian paradise I’d hoped for, which proves that we each create our own reality. The mornings were my favorite time, when I was alone in quiet on the balcony, and I only regret not having gotten out to walk on the beach at sunrise. But on the 27th floor of a high rise in Honolulu blocks away from Waikiki Beach, I didn’t want to go out only to return and wake my now ex-boyfriend.
We broke up a few nights ago, at 2am when he came to bed and asked me if I still loved him. How do you break a 65-year-old man’s heart? He’s been single his entire life, and now I can understand why. And it’s not that he’s old, it’s just that he’s too old for me; the age difference is too much. My energy level was much higher than his; he became winded after hikes that were easy for me. No matter how many times I asked him to eat with his mouth closed, to avoid talking while his mouth was full, he did it every single time, and that alone tried my patience. As much as I want to be an all-loving, accepting, tolerant person, I cannot deal with repulsive table manners, let alone the rude way he talks to people. And the thing is, he’s the nicest man with the best intentions, and doesn’t know that it’s rude to yell, “Hey!” or “Yo!” at the ticket person at the gate. Sometimes I’ll be in some other part of the house, and he’ll yell, “Hey!” to ask me a question, and it was little things like that, the ankle biters, that really got to me. And did I mention that he does this thing where he elbows me to get my attention? Yep. In bed, when I’m drifting off to sleep, to ask if I’m awake. And I am like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when someone awakens me from my glorious, much-needed slumber.
I could list dozens of positive things about him, but the negatives are even deeper than what I’ve mentioned. The biggest being that he doesn’t listen to me. He wears hearing aids, so he couldn’t hear me unless I didn’t want him to, like when I was trying not to awaken him in our tiny studio apartment when I’d wake before sunrise—so I know it’s not like I’m a picnic to be with. Most people, being night owls, would not want to room with someone who got up that early every day.
But back to the listening issue. When we’d talk, he’d say something, I’d start to reply, but then he’d railroad right over whatever I was saying to add to his own conversation. After a while I just continued talking, not stopping during his interruption, but it didn’t matter, because he also refused to stop. And it wasn’t because he didn’t know I was talking—he can lip-read, so he could see that I was talking, in case he couldn’t hear. It was maddening.
One night we went to an AA meeting, and they asked me to lead the meeting because their speaker didn’t show up. So I had to speak about the second step: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Having had a lot of experience with surrendering to a higher power when things don’t go my way, I spoke from the heart, and people responded. I thought he might say something about it afterwards, but he didn’t say a word.
The thing is, it felt like we’d been married for years, and not in a good way.
There’s more, but it’s not worth continuing on about it. Suffice it to say it was a tense, uncomfortable vacation. He had two friends who lived there, who we visited: one of whom became wheelchair-bound two years ago, and the other whose son committed suicide four months ago. The air was heavy, the energy dark. So I prayed and meditated every morning for my own peace and for the sad souls around me.
Meanwhile back home my dad’s wife went off her rocker, and every day has been like an episode of Jerry Springer. The short version of the story is that she was diagnosed with a mental illness a year or so ago, and appears to be addicted to drugs. I already knew she had a pain pill and/or sleeping pill problem, but my dad was alcoholic, and they both were pretty quiet about their issues that were none of my business anyway. My dad quit drinking due to the fact that alcohol no longer worked for him while on his diabetes medication, much to his disappointment and frustration, and I tried to convince him to try AA or church or anything besides being alone and white-knuckling it, but that conversation went nowhere.
The latest with my dad’s wife is that she left him for another man, after she and her family led him to believe she’d disappeared (they let him file a missing persons report, without letting him know she was safe and alive), and after my dad tried to get her put in the psychiatric hospital (she’d been thrown in jail, and her psychiatrist said she’s a danger to herself). She owns four guns, that she took with her. I can only pray that this ends safely, peacefully, and soon for my dad, who doesn’t deserve this at this stage of his life. No one does, at any time, but he’s 72 years old, and not in good health.
But I will say that Hawaii wasn’t all bad. The boyfriend and I did the best we could. We both tried hard to be nice, and we succeeded for the most part. It was just an underlying tension, a knowing that this wasn’t right. The thing about Honolulu is that it’s a big city, with lots of people, traffic, buildings, and tourists everywhere. We drove out to more secluded areas and most of them were crowded with tourists. But we got to see the Missouri at Pearl Harbor which was far more interesting than I had expected, and I got to see my stepdad’s uncles’ memorial marker from where he’d died on the Oklahoma, which will mean a lot to my stepdad. Plus we found some truly secluded areas, in particular, a path in a rainforest that led to a waterfall, which we gratefully stumbled upon. The scenery outside the city was breathtakingly gorgeous, and even some parts of the city were beautiful too.
And one morning, out on the balcony, just around sunrise, I looked up during my meditation, hearing the sudden rainfall, and there was a rainbow.
And I knew it was a sign of good things to come.