Winter brought a freeze to the shards of my heart with each piece frozen in time. Darkness dominated the evening hours while overflowing tears created a constant stream traveling down my face throughout the nights.
Any traces of Mr. Wonderful fell to the desert winds, none of us knowing what direction. His disappearance left no clues and his welfare was still a complete unknown. I was facing many questions, with few answers, and no communication. Given the ambiguous circumstances, of his sudden absence, the only option available to me was relinquishing loyalty to Mr. Wonderful as there was no sign of him returning to Joshua Tree.
Galaxy had been my most sacred comfort and each day his beauty and joyous disposition was my salvation. At the same time, I knew in my heart how much Galaxy missed Mr. Wonderful, though Galaxy was much more able to live in the moment.
A pivotal question kept crashing through my mind while lingering in constant conflict with my heart. How do I grieve with no specific about what I have lost? At this point, his absence and lack of contact indicated an indefinite end to our relationship. I reached inside myself searching the depths of my heart and soul for answers, but all I found was wide canyons and crude fissures of regrets and terrors.
One reality was certain, in each passing moment the man I loved was far out of my reach to an extent that was incomprehensible.
What I did have full knowledge of was the fact that he was not physically present, not within my reach, and not making contact with any of us. I was aware, of the folks fully present who would prove to be my strength. To survive the gaping hole left in my chest, I would have to embrace what and whom existed in my physical proximity. The Wisdom of the Infinite Galaxy was on its way carrying gifts.
Thanksgiving was soon to arrive while my car was malfunctioning beyond my financial means thus forcing me into an isolation turning my heartache into a deep cut stinging in the biting cold. Without my vehicle, I could not see my family and asking them to come and get me would need to be saved for Christmas.
At this point I was unaware that relief was on its way, bending my path sideways with ironic roots tracing back to Mr. Treeman dysfunction and Mr. Wonderful’s sudden disappearance. Finesse acquired the driving privilege of Mr. Treeman’s car to help care for his place since she considered it her responsibility since she had set up the arrangement for Mr. Wonderful which ended up falling apart. In a mere moment, this mutually beneficial agreement fell ruptured in the middle of our holiday rituals. Genie, a member of our tribe who I did not know as well as Finesse, invited an intimate few to her house for Thanksgiving, which was a small but distinct print in the desert sand on my long road to salvation. What seemed like lost wandering circles of events and subsequent emotions was actually a secure path forward, making a full circle back to me. mess.
Finesse, her boyfriend Peter Pan, Galaxy and I had been invited to Genie’s home for a Thanksgiving gathering. Since Finesse managed to commandeer Mr. Wonderful’s transportation, while my car was malfunctioning, she offered to give me and Galaxy a ride, so we could take part in Genie’s holiday meal.
The plot twists that would occur before we arrived at the Genie’s house, would set off a turn of events, reminding me that although my heart was in shattered ruins, it was still indeed beating.
Finesse needed to stop at the grocery store before going to Genie’s place. I was riding in my familiar passenger’s seat that I had shared with Mr. Wonderful, so I was able to notice a distinct problem. The vehicle alignment was rickety. Finesse examined the area around the tires as we got out of the car. The tread of the tire was completely worn, and the balding was so bad that wire was exposed. The sounds I heard as Finesse drove and applied the brakes was indicative of rotor and CV boot problems accelerating wear on the tire. Finesse wondered if the car would make it to Genie’s place and since it was so close we decided to join the gathering and figure out a solution before the end of the evening.
Despite this setback, It was a beautiful celebration, and I began to rediscover once again the spirited quality of our Joshua Tree connections, the same of which led me to Mr. Wonderful. I missed him so much and at the same time I wanted desperately to be fully present in these precious moments gifted to me that involved loved one’s still physically with me in Joshua Tree. A huge feast awaited us, though assuming it was a potluck, we brought food. We enjoyed several helpings of well-prepared dishes and desserts.
Genie brought out her stack of Motown records and we danced for hours. As any gathering with Finesse, several photos taken allowed us to savor so many of these moments. This chilly night was a baby step on the long road to mending my broken heart though at the time I was not cognizant of this subtle change. This was the evening when new things came to me that would fill the space cleared by such a painstaking void.
This night, though Thanksgiving not Christmas, manifested in several gifts that seemed to be created for me and Galaxy. When Genie saw the tambourine that Galaxy had acquired at our horse rescue, she brought out an infant toy version of a tambourine that was far better and designed for a bunny. The tambourine was one of Genie’s daughter’s baby toys and at this time a gift for my Galaxy.
Later that evening the Joshua’s Tree arrived. Joshua’s Tree, and I had connected with him on Facebook, as a long-time friend of Finesse and her family. In my darkest hours of desperately missing Mr. Wonderful another lucky star was not far from me and Galaxy. I asked Finesse about him once I had accepted his friend request and she assured me that he was “one of us” and part of the tribe. Joshua’s Tree arrived with his guitar and Finesse’s mother eagerly anticipated him playing for all of us. Genie turned off the Motown tunes as Joshua’s Tree tuned his guitar.
Joshua’s Tree reminded me of a human sized genome, living inside an old tree, with soulful eyes and a welcoming smile. His clothing was tattered, yet his talent was at such a high-caliber that he played in so many venues. The signature harmonic strums of Joshua’s Tree’s guitar mesmerized Galaxy touching his delicate ears like tiny angels.
Galaxy was on the couch between myself and Moreen and as Galaxy slammed his brand new tambourine in syncopation, as Joshua’s Tree played the song which to this day Galaxy favors. Joshua’s Tree guitar playing puts Galaxy in a trance and he still accompanies Joshua’s Tree on his tambourine to the same song and in the same style.
Before Joshua’s Tree left Genie’s house, a less convenient surprise of nature created a potentially embarrassing situation. I had not had a period for nine months and resigned myself to this stage of life being over permanently. In a moment, I was bleeding and made a beeline for the bathroom before leaving a stain on Genie’s couch. My light-colored pants had a visible stain I had to wash out in the bathroom sink as much as possible. I could feel a cold sting as the water ran pierced the joints of my fingers and the bones of my knuckles. This sensation boosted an unhealthy adrenaline speeding up my heart rate and accentuating the pain I was so desperate to forget. A sharp pain surged through my hands as I grasped my pants and the blood washed down the sink. A bitter, frustrated tear fell from my eye as I tried to breathe through the sharp pains in my chest. Even if the stain did not show, my pants were soaking wet. My house was close, but I was without the mobility to run home and change.
I put the wet pants back on hoping no one would notice and that the dry air of the fire would take care of the problem. As uplifting as this festive night was for all of us, our sudden lack of transportation was still unresolved.
Throughout the evening, I heard talk of a new friend of Peter Pan Finesse referred to as a “guy crush.” It was clear that Peter-Pan was better equipped to replace Mr. Wonderful with another bar buddy, then I was to replace the man who I loved. Peter-Pan ended up on the phone with his new friend, The Joey. After this conversation of which I was paying little attention, Peter Pan announced that the Joey was on his way over, and would give Finesse and Peter Pan a ride home. When I asked about me, Finesse said with full confidence that he would take me home too. Since they lived all the way out in Joshua Tree Park and I was in the opposite direction, it did not seem plausible. Could Peter Pan be friends with someone so kind and charitable?
The Thanksgiving Joey arrived soon after Joshua’s Tree departed. Moreen, Finesse’s mother had also left. I was introduced to the Joey as he walked through Genie’s door and I made a half-hearted gesture from the couch of acknowledgement. “Hi, nice to meet you. This is Galaxy.” The Joey’s eyes widened creating a flicker of hazel and green tones, as he noticed a real live rabbit on my lap seated atop the bunny blanket I was using to conceal my still soaking wet pants. “
Oh, hi Galaxy, nice to meet you too.” I could only respond with a poignant distance, given how embarrassing quality of my wet
pants, I was so desperate to keep concealed. I was also too deeply engaged in a multitude of thoughts. I was processing my emotions concerning my admission to Finesse about how much I missed Mr. Wonderful; I had not been sure she would empathize. Her father had passed away and she could not conceive of anything worse; my father had died more than ten years prior and the multitude of circumstances of Mr. Wonderful leaving me was so much more painful.
Shortly after his arrival, the Joey sat on the tile right by the warmth of the fire. He actually had a much longer history with Genie, so he had been invited to the gathering and as it seemed he must have been on the guest list expecting to arrive late. He had a subtlety macabre upbeat demeanor, with a sharp wit that snapped stronger than the crackle coming from the fireplace. He demonstrated his problem-solving skills as he offered ideas and suggestions about the tire on the car while committing himself to helping them once again in the following AM.
To my eye, The Joey looked like a snowboarder warming up by the evening fire in a log cabin wearing thick warm felted wool. I stared at his olive skin tinting from the fire dancing on his face. As an artist I naturally scan people and objects with my eyes until the whole picture is complete and clear in front of me. My investigation revealed his woolen winter clothes with Teva style sandals and no socks. I laughed to myself as I remembered all the times I bundled up for the cool and did not have the energy left to put on socks or wasn’t able to locate a pair of clean ones. I did not resist the urge to comment……