Day 31: A letter to your readers
Letter paper by spidergypsy
Day 29: A vivid memory
December 31 dawned bright and sunny, looking just like the Jamaican resort’s brochure photos—a perfect day for a wedding. After a quick breakfast, I headed out of our suite to the salon for my hair and make-up appointment.
The fiancé was dressed in his wedding attire of linen shirt and slacks by the time I returned, and we reviewed the morning’s timeline, provided by the wedding coordinator, for the hundredth time. Then he was off to the minister’s office to complete the official paperwork while I boldly stuffed silicone chicken cutlets into the bodice of my simple A-line dress and slipped my pedicured feet into matching flip-flops.
According to the plan, as soon as the fiancé finished signing on the dotted line, the minister would escort him to the beachfront pavilion; in the meantime, the wedding coordinator was to collect my flowers from the florist then fetch me from the suite. We’d all meet up at the pavilion.
I was ready well ahead of the wedding coordinator’s scheduled arrival time, so there was ample opportunity for nervousness to set in. Butterflies really started flapping when I was still sitting in the suite trying not to rumple myself fifteen minutes after the appointed pick-up time. After thirty minutes, my mind had scripted every possible scenario in which the fiancé changes his mind, so I finally called the wedding office to enquire if the whole thing had been called off.
I was assured the wedding coordinator was on her way, but another agonizing quarter hour crawled by before she finally knocked on the door, bouquet in hand. Not understanding my pallor or quavering voice on this, the happiest day of my life, she tucked some daisies into my hair then hustled me out of the suite toward the pavilion. I had no time to regain my composure or register any relief that my fiancé was not on a jet plane hightailing it out of Jamaica. To make matters worse, as I started down the path in the now blazing noon-day sun, I could feel those silicone bust enhancers, well and truly lubricated by perspiration, slithering south like they were on the interstate.
As a result, the professional photographer captured a glistening bride-to-be, moving toward her future with a Frankenstein-like gait, looking much like a constipated root canal patient who’d recently finished chopping a bushel of onions and was now being marched to her execution.
Thankfully, once the vows were repeated and the rings were exchanged and the fiancé was legally the hubby, I was finally able to relax (a little champagne didn’t hurt, either)…so much so that after traipsing all over the resort posing for the photographer under the Jamaican sun, I didn’t even bat an eye when a cutlet finished its southerly migration and plopped onto the sidewalk between my flip-flops.
Letting go means clearing the way to move forward. I know, because I’m doing it right now. For the second time in two years. It’s not one of those things that gets easier with practice.
I’m letting go of a place I truly loved, which at the same time means letting go of people and jobs and pastimes and an entire way of life.
Two years ago, I had to let go of Japan. When our plane left Narita that final time, my heart broke. I was leaving friends, a job I loved, and a culture that had enchanted me. I was homesick and grieving before we ever touched down at Dulles, and the funk continued during the transition period as we prepared for the upcoming assignment to England. Even after arriving in the UK three months later, I was still longing for Japan. Several stern internal dialogues were required before I finally convinced myself that hanging onto the past was interfering with my ability to fully accept and embrace the adventures awaiting in this new country. It was time to let go of Japan and live for the present.
Now, here I am again. Mourning this time for my life in England. Missing friends, missing the countryside, missing my jobs, missing the sheep, missing the accents and the wellies and the tea. But there’s stuff to get on with back here in the States. I’ve got a job to find. We’ve got a house to refresh after five years of renters. We’ve got friends and family to reconnect with on this side of the pond. There’s no time to live in the past. It’s time to let go of England and live for the present.
(Note: It’s been a topsy-turvy kind of week, so I’ve rearranged the schedule of the final few posts of this challenge. This was originally scheduled to be Day 29’s post…)
Day 27: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories. Use Grooveshark or YouTube to include them in the post.
“Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor
Ever since our first family reunion in the Outer Banks in 1989, North Carolina has been my escape. When I am lost, I can always find myself in OBX.
“If You’re Going Through Hell” by Rodney Atkins
In 2006, I was absolutely going through hell–and seemed to be descending to a deeper ring with each passing day. I bawled my eyes out every time this song came on, but it became my anthem…
“If you’re goin’ through hell keep on going
Don’t slow down, if you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”
“My Wish” by Rascal Flatts
I imagine if my dad were still here, he would say these words to me…this song is like one of his bear hugs when I’m having a bad day.
“Love Letter to Japan” by The Bird and the Bee
I don’t know what else to say–the lyrics cover my feelings about this country.
“Brave” by Sarah Bareilles
If you’re feeling down on yourself, listen twice and call me in the morning.
Day 26: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you’d like.
I read this article about all-natural landscaping services in USA Today last week. I’m happy to see that the US is starting to embrace some of the environmentally friendly practices that are in use elsewhere in the world. The hubby and I came across four-legged lawn maintenance in England, where the National Trust are using sheep, ponies, and cattle to manage the grounds at their various historical properties across the UK. For my lawn, I think I’d like to acquire a herd of Herdwick sheep, like the ones I captured grinning and grazing on the hillsides around Corfe Castle. Fertilizer included at no additional charge. 🙂
Day 25: Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget (good or bad)
The attack was completely unexpected.
Katie and I were friends. I sat directly in front of her in a special early morning 8th grade advanced algebra class at the high school, and we’d chat about typical 13-year old topics as we unpacked our homework and waited for the rest of the middle school math nerds to filter in. We also acted as each other’s fashion police. If my 80s-era stand-up collar was falling down on one side, she’d tell me. If her oversized sweater was inside out, I’d tell her. It wasn’t as if we were fanatically searching for flaws like monkeys grooming each other for fleas. We just generally kept an eye on each other’s appearance so we didn’t look foolish in front of the older high school kids when it came time to board the bus after class for the ride back to the middle school.
One morning I turned around for our normal chat and mentioned that she had a big white string on the shoulder of her navy blue sweater. I thought I was acting within our normal fashion parameters, but I apparently crossed some line I didn’t know existed. She totally went off, accusing me of nit-picking and being overly critical and I don’t know what else because my mind went numb with shock. I’d never been dressed down like that in public, and never, ever by a friend.
From that day forward, I preplanned and carefully weighed every single word that I said to Katie, so that nothing could possibly be construed as critical. I played back countless conversations I’d had with Katie and others, to see if there was any kernel of truth to her accusations. I became more hesitant about offering any opinions or advice in any situation, even when asked directly.
To this day, there is a terrible internal struggle about whether or not I should intervene if a family member has ketchup on his chin or a stranger has toilet paper stuck to her shoe. Will they take my well-intentioned attempt to save them from embarrassment as meddling and/or criticism?
Katie’s words way back in 8th grade have made me second-guess my own words and actions for nearly 30 years. I wonder if she knew back then what kind of power those few short sentences held?