Yesterday, after work, I was supposed to go to the city. I was supposed to co-faciliate a New Moon Circle with my women's spirituality group. I didn't make it.
I've mentioned once or twice in this blog that I practice earth-centered spirituality. My faith is a huge part of my life. Since I started to delve deeply into it about 3 years ago, it's permeated every aspect of my being, and of my life. I don't talk or write about it much, because it's largely misunderstood, but it's a big part of who I've become, and how I see the world, and my place in it. It's also true that I feel very private about my faith practices. It's the sort of thing I'm not comfortable letting just anyone see. Religion is a hot button in this country.
I have been wanting to lead Moon Circles for about a year now. There have been a few occasions where I've been away from home, and there was a holiday or lunar event that merited celebration, and no active Wiccan or Pagan group to hold a Circle Ritual or Gathering of any kind. I’ve come this close to offering to hold a circle several times, but stopped myself, because I felt insecure. I was in training, and really still am. I want some sort of assurance that I’m ready.
I've attended circles for around five years now. I have co-facilitated twice, and last night would have been my third time. I was going to share my ambitions with my leader. I feel in many ways that I'm ready to hold a circle, but I wanted her blessing.
She and I planned last night's circle a couple of weeks ago, when I was in the city for the annual Weaver retreat. It's the Virgo New Moon. They would have sung happy birthday to me and blown wishes into my hands. This Virgo moon is very earthy. All the vibes are about Self-Care, so we planned this purification ritual. I wrote a guided meditation to lead everyone through. We shopped for herbs to create a magical face-scrub - seriously! - as a symbolic ritual to remove toxins from ourselves.
The New Moon last night was very strong.
I got lost on the expressway after work - TWICE. First I wound up over the border in Connecticut - still not sure how that happened. I was on the right track, then suddenly EVERYONE ON THE HIGHWAY started changing lanes all around me. Then I noticed the sign saying "E to Connecticut" flying by over my head. I pulled off the first exit, turned around, and headed back West. But I lost a good 15 minutes.
I couldn't leave work before five. I was supposed to be at 76th and Central Park West by 6:30 to help setup. I warned my leader that this was unlikely, as the train from Tarrytown takes 50 minutes, and it's a 15-20 minute drive from my office to the train station. The circle itself wasn't supposed to start until seven, but the schedule was tight enough.
I practically flew across Westchester County. At one point my car made a horrible whining sound. My car had slipped out of gear. I have automatic transmission! I pulled onto the shoulder, put the car in neutral, and took some deep breaths. The world whizzed by my driver's side window at 80 miles per hour. The clock was ticking. Finally I screwed up my courage and my face, put the car in drive and pulled back onto the highway from a dead stop. HONK, honk, honk. Fuck you all, I thought as BMWs and Lexuses flew past me, drivers screaming. I hope you wreck and you're underinsured.
Hm. Maybe I shouldn't have thought that. That's sort of like throwing a curse on someone. Maybe that's why I got lost the second time. Maybe the Goddess was punishing me. Or maybe my negativity opened some channels for bad luck. Or maybe I had a good-old-fashioned anxiety attack.
Whatever it was, when I took the exit to Tarrytown, I got lost again. It's not like I've never driven this before! I can't figure out what happened. "Welcome to Elmsford!" a sign sneered. I pulled into a shopping mall and turned around. As I was pulling out of the mall, another driver in a Toyota or Honda or some non-descript coupe stared wide-eyed at me, as though I had sprouted an extra set of arms. I glared back at him and wondered if something was wrong with my car. Or whether he could see the aura of frustration glowing around my vehicle and I. Driving back the way I came, I passed a landmark: the Eldorado Diner. But nothing else felt right. I was heading through an underpass. Nothing else looked familiar.
I called G on my cell. "Should I be passing the diner on my right?"
"You should be passing the diner," he said.
"Yeah, but should it be on my RIGHT?"
"Well, you should see the Hess oil station after it."
"I DON'T SEE THE HESS OIL STATION."
We went back and forth, and eventually I got off the phone. I took the first exit I could see for the Tappan Zee Bridge. My face was hot, my foot was lead, and there were traffic advisories. I cried the whole way home.
I pulled the car into the parking lot in front of my apartment building, and saw G's car there, in its spot. I got out of my car, locked it up, and strode purposefully down the street to my favorite local place. I had two vodka tonics and two enormous glasses of water. I wrote out the sympathy card I had bought earlier that day, and addressed it to my cousin whose dad just passed away. I thought about how glad I was to have my dad around. I sat there drinking and wondered if G might come looking for me. He knows I'm on my way home, I had snarled such before hanging up on the highway. I sat there, playing a little game with myself, will he call and ask what happened to me or not?
I lost the game. He didn't call.
By the time I walked back to my apartment, it was 7:20, and G was gone. He's probably at the weight room, I thought to myself. Out of habit I booted up the computer. Out of a desire for distraction I turned on the TV. Dirty Dancing was just beginning on VH1's Movies that Rock. I switched over to that, and shut the computer right back down again. I kicked off my office pumps and flopped onto the couch. I stayed there like that, in my office clothes sans shoes, and watched a movie I have seen so many times, I can recite almost the entire thing from beginning to end. By the time G got home, I had transformed my slightly tipsy state into an impressive endorphin high. I was on my feet, dancing along with Cynthia and Patrick to the Mambo, laughing and spinning and singing in Spanish. Dancing under the New Moon.
Two hours later, G was already in bed. I crawled in next to him and couldn't sleep. He tried to cuddle me, but I was grumpy. I mentioned that for the last two days I had been wanting to ask him to drive me to work Thursday morning, so I could take the free office shuttle to the train station, and eliminate any possible problems, but I had been too embarrassed to ask.
"Well, I have to say that the only way you're going to learn these roads and how to get places is to do it," he said.
"The price I paid for that education was too high this time," I said through clenched teeth. "I won't get to do another Moon Circle this year. Who knows where we'll be living next year? I worked hard preparing for this. It meant a lot to me."
"I know," G said. He didn't reach out to comfort me. He didn't say that I shouldn't have felt ashamed to ask for a ride. He didn't say that he was sorry I missed my circle. He didn't say he was sorry I had such a rough time on the road. He didn't say anything about having my car looked at. He didn't ask if I was ok.
At some point, I fell asleep.
Before I woke up this morning, I dreamed that I was shopping with a girlfriend for a new futon cover. We were someplace unremarkable, Sears or K-Mart or JC Penney’s. My friend was nobody I’ve seen before. She was shorter than me, with long, curly red hair. She wore a green army jacket and dark jeans with black Rockport-looking shoes. Her face was very suntanned and weather beaten but her dark blue eyes flashed. She had almost no fingernails but they had really dark polish on them, almost black.
I had just moved into a new apartment. We were talking about how my futon is too thin, and not really comfortable. She suggested I buy a whole new futon. I said I'd rather spring for a sofabed.
At that point, a store employee asked us if we needed any help. My friend said that we needed to see futons and futon covers, and we wanted something in Army Green. As the store employee and my friend trotted off, I followed envisioning rich purple or bright red sofabeds, muttering to myself, I am NOT getting an Army Green anything!
The store employee was about 5'9" with a shaved head. White guy, a little soft around the middle, baggy dark cargo pants, a white T-shirt with some design on it that I can't recall. He looked like a burnout, but was very well-mannered. I imaged his look was an attempt at style, and underneath he was probably a bookworm.
Instead of the furniture area, he took us into sportswear, and showed us these strapless tops, sort of tube tops with a moulded support. They were made of the softest flannel, like a baby blanket. They had Disney characters on them, and were piped in pastels. The Cinderella top was piped in pale blue, and the Jasmine and Aladdin top was piped in pink. The salesman held out the Jasmine top and started an impressive sales pitch, which culminated in him singing the last few bars of "A Whole New World." I joined in and sang harmony on the last line. The delighted salesman gave me a hug, and I thought I heard my friend clapping, but the lights seemed to dim very quickly, and I couldn't see a thing, everything was black. I was waking up.
I woke up feeling very sad, and with a slight headache from the vodka I'd chugged last night. In the shower this morning, I sang "A Whole New World" to myself, wishing I had someone to sing it with.
I replayed the dream in my mind, and wondered why I felt so sad. This was a fantastic dream! In this dream, I had not only a cool girlfriend, but one who was willing to shop with me at someplace boring like Sears. I had a new apartment. I had to take a minute to absorb that. A new apartment, no roommate. A dream come true indeed. And I had no qualms about buying a sofabed which would likely cost well over a grand. In my dream, I was doing ok financially, I had a new home to furnish, and I had a friend. I should have woke up feeling ecstatic.
I told G about the dream as I stepped out of the shower. "I HAD A REALLY COOL DREAM LAST NIGHT," I hollered through the apartment. "WHAT?" G hollered back. "I HAD A REALLY COOL DREAM LAST NIGHT!!" I hollered again.
"I dreamed I was buying furniture for a new apartment!" I continued, as I traipsed from the bathroom to the bedroom naked.
"A new apartment?" he said, munching his breakfast. "That's.. interesting."
I suddenly realized that in my little happy dream world, there had been no G. There had been no man at all, except a tube-top pushing singing salesman. Briefly I wondered if G wasn't taken aback that I was dreaming of living elsewhere, and so independently.
I imagine after seven months of living with me, and almost two years of dating, G is used to my dreams. Every time I have a dream I share it with him first thing in the morning. Whether or not he might be interested in hearing about it never crosses my mind. I just wake up and spontaneously start telling him where I just was. Often they are not good dreams. Sometimes, like earlier this week, they are nightmares that have me shaking and crying myself awake. Once I woke myself up screaming. But this morning, I had a good dream. A great dream. But, oddly, this great dream involved no one in my life but myself, and fictional characters.
I have had this dream before - about an apartment, one or two friends, and no man in my life. It is always a wonderful dream. It has also always been, sadly, an economically impossible dream, if I want to live in New York. And I don't want NO man in my life, I want a partner. Yet in my dream of the perfect living space, there never is one.
Maybe I can't have both at the same time?
Or maybe that girl was my partner and I'm really a lesbian?
Or maybe I shouldn't drink Vodka tonics and watch "Dirty Dancing" before I go to sleep.
This morning, on our way out to the cars, G reminded me that today was Friday and we had a free weekend to look forward to.
"Ah, and I won't have to get in this car again until Monday," I said pointedly. "Riiiiight?"
"If you check with your temp agency, you might not have to work Monday, and then you won't have to get in that car until Tuesday," he pointed out.
Driving to work, I realized that I hope I do have to work Monday, and I hope I get time and a half for it. The roads will be virtually empty.
I thought about a few things that I will need to get out of my storage cubicle before next week. I had been planning to ask G to drive me there. With a pang I realized that I never wanted to ask him to drive me anywhere ever again.
It's very hard to see with no moonlight. In the black night of fear, you stumble around, hoping you can feel your way through the woods. You have to trust your other senses. Sometimes the path doesn't lead where you thought it would. Sometimes you find it but it’s not where you thought it would be.
But most of the time, you just don't see anything at all.
I drove to work, thinking about my finances, and how far I still am from being able to support myself. I called my temp agent and left her a voicemail asking about holiday pay for Monday.
I still want my dream.
Update: As soon as I post to this blog, I immediately read my posts. It was upon initial reading that I discovered who my "friend" in the dream might be.
I'll have to post about that tomorrow.