Oh, no. Not again.
Not another early morning wakeup!
Unfortunately, Dear Reader, as I start to write this at 8:37 in the morning of Monday, May 22, 2023, it’s been five hours since I woke up to use the facilities – and then failed to go back to sleep.
I tried. I really tried to relax and get at least a couple of hours’ worth of rest. I was even willing to settle for one more hour of, if not sleep, at least a bit of drowsiness. A catnap would have sufficed.
But no. Like yesterday, worries and fears rose, like great white sharks pouncing on an unsuspecting swimmer, from my subconscious mind.
- Am I going to be okay when, not If, I move out of here and start living on my own?
- Could I have averted the estrangement between my older half-sister and me?
- Will I ever fall in love with anyone again? And if so, will it be with a woman who’s more compatible than some of my previous ex-girlfriends were?
- Am I a good person? Cos…you know, sometimes I wonder.
- Will “The New Story” turn out to be a good story?
- Why am I so nervous and sad this weekend? What is wrong with me?
With one exception – the one in which I wonder if I could have prevented the schism between Vicky and me on my own – the only response I can offer to all these nagging questions is “I don’t know.”
I don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to discuss the situation with my half-sister in excruciating detail. Suffice it to say that she and I have been at odds with each other for most of my adult life, and perhaps since we moved back to the States in 1972 after living in Bogota, Colombia, for an extended period (1966-1972 for Mom and me; mid-1969 to 1972 for Vicky). That bit of business wasn’t even a planned move – it was, if you’ve read any of my Tempus Fugit pieces regarding 1972, an unexpected turn of events prompted by a cerebral hemorrhage that nearly killed me not long after my ninth birthday. It was my attending pediatrician who suggested to my mother that I’d be better off here in the States than in Colombia, yet Vicky – according to people who’ve told me what she’s said to them – blames me for her having to move to Miami at a time when she wanted to stay in Bogota, preferably alone and in her own place.
Based on my observations of my half-sister’s behavior, and even taking into account my own sometimes intemperate reactions to things that she either said or did to me between 1987 – the year that “open warfare” began between us over a computer that my paternal uncle, Sixto Diaz-Granados, gave me in April of that year – and 2015, the year our mother died, I honestly believe that even if I had not stood up for myself or defended our Mom from some of my half-sister’s slanderous claims, there’s no way I could have had an amicable relationship with Vicky. Even Mom understood this before her final illness and one of the most important – if perhaps saddest – pieces of advice that she gave me on the eve of her 2010 operation to repair her spine was:
“When I’m gone, make sure you’re never alone with Vicky, and never, ever, get into a car alone with her. Is that clear?”
That’s a telling comment by a parent to her adult child about her only other adult offspring.
As for the rest of those white sharks that swim, apparently, in the dark, cold depths of my subconscious, we’ll just have to see, as the old James Garner-Mariette Hartley Polaroid commercials used to say, what develops.
As of today, the only one of those concerns that I am cautiously optimistic about is “The New Story,” although I have no idea what today’s writing session is going to be like. The reason why I even have a positive outlook is simple: My first draft now consists of eight chapters – a prologue and seven “regular” chapters – plus part of a ninth. Usually, when I start and abandon a project, it’s usually early in the process; for a book – regardless of its “type” – if I can’t get past a prologue or a first chapter, that’s it. I quit. Bye-bye book.
Anyway, I’m sleepy, tired, cranky, and sad today.
I was sad last evening as well. I tried not to be, but I felt lost and low throughout much of yesterday. I tried to relax by listening to music (Unforgettable, by John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra) and watching Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.
Usually, watching a film by Spielberg will at least take my mind off my worries, but not yesterday. I got as far as the “One Hand, One Heart” number – which is, I think, early in the movie’s second half – but then I got weepy-eyed and couldn’t even finish that scene (which is when Tony and Maria pledge their love for each other in a “wedding ceremony” before he goes off to try to prevent the rumble between the “American” Jets gang and the Puerto Rican Sharks.)
Maybe I should have picked The Empire Strikes Back, which incidentally turned 43 years old yesterday; it premiered on Wednesday, May 21, 1980, a few weeks before ninth grade ended for me at Riviera Junior High.
Then again, maybe watching Empire would also have made me sad since that movie was the first Star Wars episode that Mom and I watched together in a theater – we went a couple of weeks after opening day, and I still have the Boris Vallejo poster she got for me at the Dadeland Twin Theaters on that occasion.
I need to rest for a bit so I can begin work on The New Story, so I’m going to close this post here. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.
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