Someone was pissing and moaning, pissing and moaning. Flo noticed but couldn’t be bothered to identify who the Someone was. She had the distinct feeling that the Someone was becoming more and more irritable with the fact of having not been named. Flo cared briefly and then not at all. “Piss” and “Moan” are probably even a bit too strong to reflect the reality of what’s going on here. The resistance seems much less intense than that.
I don’t think I have anything to say, Dr. Flo thought. At least not anything that would encourage anyone, not any strength or hope. All I’ve got today is experience, she thought as she followed through on today’s commitments and put pen to paper. I guess that’ll have to do.
Tomorrow marks eight months since Kari left. What a strange time in my life. Up and down, up and down, left and right, left and right, panic, cry, rage, despair, peace. Panic, cry, rage, despair, peace. Then STILL. Followed by Stillness.
Dr. Flo heard the *now* unfamiliar sound of the rain shower. The sound of the rain had always soothed her in childhood. When she was growing up, if the rain started in the afternoon, Chop would pray that it would continue into nightfall so that she could fall asleep with it. “The rain somehow helped me feel less alone,” Chop said, reflecting out loud as she read over Dr. Flo’s shoulder. “Good notice,” Dr. Flo responded, appreciating Chop’s insight. “It definitely still has that effect on us.”
The thought of “alone” gave Flo pause. She watched her mind shuffle through multiple associations with the concept stimulated by the word “alone.” Flo realized that she had been “feeling less alone” since her life had collided with that of Marley’s, one of the cats whose picture had grabbed her attention repeatedly over the past couple of months since she began using the app Petfinder. At some point in the past month, Dr. Flo began to recognize a familiar experience long tucked away and unthought of as her behavior on the Petfinder app began to resemble her behavior on dating apps in the past. Flo laughed at the irony, glanced sideways at Chop, who was also giggling at the thought. “It’s all part of the practice, yes?” Flo checked in with Chop for reassurance, and upon noting Chop’s head vigorously nodding in agreement, returned to the words on the page.
Not even two weeks since Marley’s life had collided with Dr. Flo’s, and already Dr. Flo couldn’t imagine life before or without Marley. This is one time that I am appreciative of my capacity to bond and attach quickly, Flo thought. A committee meeting was called, and it took less than five minutes for everyone to agree that Marley fit perfectly into the household. Formal adoption proceedings began, and Marley was now official.
Dr. Flo continued to reflect on the interconnectedness of Everything, Everything as a “sliding doors” moment, the what ifs and the might have beens. Marley’s life story had now become intimately intertwined with that of Dr. Flo’s. And if Kari had never left, and I had never been parted from the other three cats, who would Marley have become connected with instead? It was questions like this that kept Flo interested in Life, interested in Universe, interested in Higher Power, interested in the MEANING OF IT ALL (or lack thereof).
Lawyer Chosen. Check. Divorce Proceedings Begun. Check. Apartment Located. Check. Moving Process Undertaken. Check. Realtor Chosen. Check. Realtor Fired. Check. Realtor #2 Chosen. Check. Divorce Papers Signed. Check. House Sold. Check. Kari’s final “NO” to Flo’s last ditch effort to resume the Trauma Bond. Check. Marley Chosen, Bonded, Adopted. Check. Check. Check.
Reflections on “Alone,” “Loneliness,” and “Solitude” continued. So did Step Work. So did Friday. So did the sound of Marley’s soft snoring from his perch under the window. So did the growth of the pile of books on the floor of Flo’s living room. Time Marched On. And it would continue to.
The Canvas of Dr. Flo’s Second Half of Life stood idly by, just waiting to be painted on. Sometimes it begged for just a drop of acrylic. Today, it was silent.
Are you there, God? It’s me, Florence.
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