The Club on a Wednesday

for Stacey


I woke up praying for my soul this morning. Bob must have slipped through my window while I was sleeping.

My dreams lay unremembered on the floor and I had a jet lag headache, like I hadn’t been in my body all night.

As I read Jesus’ words, in the book of Luke, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone,’” I started to feel better.

Bob owns a club. I haven’t spoken to him willingly in more than two years, but he has found ways to walk into my dreams. He doesn’t know where I live. I’ve moved twice since I last invited him into my home.

I didn’t even call him last night, not even by accident, I don’t think. Not by name. What I think is that he had been watching me before I fell asleep.

He must have put a hood over my head and dragged me to his club. See, the thing about his club is that I didn’t know he was an owner when we met, though I found out he had started putting my name up on the marquee. That was one of the reasons I left.

It took him a long time to show me that part of himself. And he didn’t show me until after I had discovered it myself through what many would call a complete fluke.

For a while, he had his friends bring me to the club, pretending it wasn’t his, on nights he was out of town scouting other clubs.

And always, they would open each bottle, brew each cup of tea. It was a regular place. I liked it because I got unlimited jubejubes and root beer floats. Except there seemed to be a side door that led somewhere I’d never been.

Whenever I asked about it, Bob’s friends told me to focus on my cards. They were teaching me to play poker.

My mother never told me that when you leave a man like Bob, it’s a long, drawn out process, kind of like the stories he told that went on and on forever.

I hesitated for a split second writing that down. If Bob ever happened upon this story he’d be pissed and say that was a low blow.

And then I remember. Last night, before I was falling asleep, I was working through the slegs of my past, mining it for patterns that need to be weeded out.

I’ve become quite the gardener.

There’s a new process I’m trying – rather than writing, I’m recording long sessions of myself talking after I pray for God to guide my words.

With nobody else around to catch the lightning quick yet invisible shift in flow, it makes it possible to do this part of my work alone.

I was bouncing around between several core relationships last night, Bob being one of them.

He’s always been keen. You don’t have to say his name three times, and there’s no lag with him, unless he wants you to think there is, in which case he hangs back, but he’s always around.

As I talked through past knots, triangles and circles, I said something he would have been furious with.

Like, the kind of fury that sneaks up on you like a gas leak. The kind of fury that would actually clear the loud anger vibes radiating from him and bring him to a silent neutral state.

Since I haven’t willingly spoken with him in over two years, he can only watch, right?

That’s what I thought. My guess is that his overbearing ego got the best of him last night. But I don’t dare say for sure lest he throw a hood over my head again tonight while I’m sleeping.

I know he took me to the club because of the way certain men looked at me this morning when I walked into the office.

Knowing why those looks are there makes me sick to my stomach, but I try to smile. I think they’re just responding to some vibe that radiates from me whenever I’ve been to the club, whether I was playing poker or drinking root beer floats. They don’t even know what they’re looking at. But a part of them wants to be seen by a woman who has the scent of being coveted by competitors.

It’s frustrating that any part of me would let him get close enough to put a hood over my head. But my younger self loves the jokes men like him make and the way they make me feel like I’m not a little kid.

Yet I have to believe this is all in God’s will. I asked Him to take this cup of suffering from me, as long as it’s what He wills. And Bob is still slipping into my life, running some shows.

If you see me there, fuzz from a hood laced through my hair, look into my eyes.

I can’t speak to you unless you know my name. I’m sorry, it’s nothing personal.

And if you do know my name, look at my hands after you look into my eyes. Do you see the tremor?

Ask me why I’m there. Ask me how I got there.

i am love

but i can’t do this anymore

Here is me in my body. Neck so stiff I cannot see, shoulders so full I cannot cry.

I filled my cells with salt last night and as I fell asleep, I wrapped tightly around my torso an all-maroon sweater.

When I do this, I believe my boots are filled with led no matter who tugs the line, whether they are strong because they are many or because they live in my heart.

But I woke from a deep, dreamless slumber this morning nonetheless, heavy as a rock, struggling to lift a density from my head, trying to work the knots from my shoulders with affirmations.

My life is one of abundance. I trust the process of life. I stand up for myself and life supports me in loving ways. I choose to allow all of my experiences to be loving and joyful.

The tension begins to work out of my body, upward, toward my head, but instead of releasing this energy, for me, these affirmations seem to move the pain into a bigger more dense mass, which collects at the highest point and clings there like it has fingers and it’s terrified of what lies beyond the door I have opened to gently sweep it out of me.

Jesus, this can’t be right. Something is wrong.

Last night, before I filled with salt preparing for eight hours of rejuvenating rest, I was writing in my diary. It’s been an emotional week. But even that has been more graceful, the letting of my grief and false hopes kneeling at the couch, leaning over the sink. Somehow I’ve managed to unlock the part of my heart that still believes wings can hold me.

As I was writing last night, I got a message that asked me to put no extra pressure on my relationship.

I don’t even know what that means.

And this morning, I have to wonder if that originated through law of attraction or God.

Because on my way to the office, I asked for signs from my divine guardian angels and what they showed me was long stretches of curbside grass littered with empty containers.

Containers that had once held everything from energy drinks to fast food cups to strawberry milk. I saw an empty beer can, red straws, glass bottles, paper coffee cups and plastic soda bottles.

All emptied. All discarded by the side of the road. And, oddly enough, all in tact.

Except for two containers. One large chocolate milk box had been absolutely flattened. One Red Bull can looked like it had been run over by a transport.

And, struggling as I was with the dense energy moving as it was between my shoulders, my neck and my head, I was lost about what to do about it.

Should I pray, that’s not even a question, but how should I pray, what should I pray for?

And what do the signs mean? What is the trash spelling out? How can I make sense of any of it alone? What do you see when you see me?

In this state, lifting the burden from my shoulders and pushing weight into the air, struggling to kneel with my muscles strained to set it down, l feel alone whether I believe in guardian angels or not.

Because on this plane in this body, especially when I need peace the most, filled with heaviness that won’t listen to my prayers, I cannot feel the light.

The truth is, I’m stuck in frustration that after everything I’ve done, with everything I do each day, I still need to call a tow truck some days.

My CAA membership ran out and I don’t have money to renew it. Plus, what’s the point when the only tier I could ever afford got me three tows a year and I always needed more, so I was paying out of pocket long before the end of each year anyway.

I forgive you for introducing me to your friends, and I ask that you forgive me for introducing you to mine.

We all have a right to our feelings, no doubt. But I learned decades ago that when I’m tied to someone, the biggest feelings mostly leave me being dragged behind those I love, scraping my skin as the uneven cement rips through my jacket.

I never knew how to let go in these moments, being equally as terrified of what would happen if I wasn’t around to digest the most toxic emotions as I was of getting lost somewhere along the way and needing to find my way out of somewhere I didn’t lead myself, unsure of what was just off to the left.

In these moments, especially when the day starts off like that, my new favourite prayer is, Lord, I do believe but help me with my unbelief.

And show me what to do.

Because just yesterday I was laughing and doing some kind of dorky robot dance moves in the shower.

Help me find peace again, Lord. Help me trust that I deserve a lasting peace, at least one that’s not so shockingly jarred with moments of intense pain.

Part of me wants to trust again. Part of me wants to exit the ride before it’s over, because these slow hills before the devil hairpins at 80 mph have become too much. I think it always was, though I was afraid to admit it.

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