Today, for no clear reason I can think of, I kept thinking about a trip Chef and I had taken on the motorcycle right before he lost his damn mind. I wrote about it here – I Almost Died Today In The Stupidest Way Ever. Back then, I wasn’t writing specifically about Chef’s addiction, foolishly believing that he’d pull out of it soon enough that he wouldn’t have to be embarrassed by his behavior So, you’ll note some differences in what I share with you now versus what I was willing to talk about back then.. The weather had been gloomy, cold, and generally gross. Chef and I had left early, but eventually had to pull over that same day to ride out the bad weather from a hotel room. We left the party in a hurry mainly because Chef was high as the proverbial kite and he wouldn’t be talked into staying one more day. Freaked, I was pretty convinced we were going to die in a fiery bike wreck. Hence, when I say we weren’t feeling well…well, now you know why. I got the hotel room against his wishes, but technically, I used his credit card. You’ll see where I tried to downplay what was really going on.
Usually, I’m a laid-back, easy-going passenger on a motorcycle, but the impending doom of dying in a really painful, bloody way was making me tense, jumpy, and generally the worst kind of passenger a biker can have that cold day in Texas. When the tension was just too much to bear, though, I snaked the keys and his wallet from Chef at a gas station, walked a block up to a hotel, and checked in. I informed Chef where I was, and after the initial rage that ensued whenever I crossed him had piped down a bit, Chef pushed his bike to the hotel parking lot and joined me in the warmth. Exhausted, I fell asleep, and thankfully, Chef did as well.
The next morning, it was still rainy and cold, but Chef wasn’t high. Somewhere down the road, the sun finally came out, casting some heat back on the land, I finally was able to really relax, my faith in Chef’s ability to navigate us home safely somewhat restored.
Somewhere between Dallas and Oklahoma City, though, something evil and dark was happening inside of Chef’s helmet. His bandanna had inched it’s way slowly, but consistently, down his forehead, and then bam!! It suddenly slipped right over his eyes. Chef was driving a motorcycle with me as a passenger down a highway with trucks and cars everywhere, without any sight!! The motorcycle swerved in front of semi’s, cars, trucks…everywhere, before he came to a complete stop in the grass.
Today, I was reflecting on that trip a little differently. The first part of the trip home was wet, gloomy, and dangerous, and I was tense, upset, scared, and generally freaked out. And yet, nothing happened. We were safe, despite Chef’s drug abuse and my flinching on the back of the bike. Yet, the next day, when Chef was blinded and the bike was obviously in distress and the likelihood of my impending, horrible, painful death was very evident, my reaction was to not react at all. I didn’t tense up, freak out, cry, scream, or anything. I just waited to die, I guess.
I’ve been reading my posts from the time that Chef and Tanya’s affair was discovered all the way through that difficult journey that led me to this point in my life. I laugh at how many times I was just so sure that I could finally let Chef go, sure to heal up nicely soon. Boy, those moments sure were short-lived!! I shake my head at the flailing about to find something meaningful that would make all this pain worthwhile and valuable. The fear still makes me remember being afraid to be alone. I can read those words and instantly, I remember the pain. Post after post after post, I can relive the angst of betrayal, fear, desperation, and plain sheer rage.
What I don’t seem to remember anymore though, is the love. I know that I loved Chef. I just don’t remember how much. I read the words that cry out for someone who may be gone forever, and yet nothing in my heart stirs at all. Love letter after love letter, I posted on this site, and yet, the fires of pain can still burn me a bit through each and every memory but this deep, abiding love I just thought for sure would never be shaken for Chef seems to be dead.
Like that trip, my reactions seem off just a little bit. Maybe we definitely would have crashed had I been tense and twitchy. I just don’t know. All I do know is that I’ve entered into the final stage of grief, acceptance. I’ve accepted that something I once treasured is now gone. I’ve accepted that life keeps marching on, and like a leaf in a busy brook, I’m swept along with it.
Life looks so different for me now, and I find myself hoping in a more abstract way than I did before. But unlike that first part of that motorcycle trip, I’m trying to remain relaxed, not jumpy or tense. I may not be able to say I’m completely happy yet, but I can say that I find more peace in my life these days than I have had in more than twenty years.
I’m thankful this chapter is over. I’m thankful for the acceptance. I’m thankful for the peace. I’m thankful that there are other chapters in my life that I don’t even know about yet and will probably love as much as I did the last ones. Mostly, I’m thankful that though flawed, I’ve been blessed with the ability to be a keen observer of life, and to learn about God’s successes through my own failings. What is a life worth if we learn nothing from it?
Happy Thanksgiving all of you!!
“A wife is to thank God her husband hath faults…a husband without faults is a dangerous observer…” George Savile, Marquess de Halifax, 1633-1695