Men, Gypsies and a Funeral

As I said, Joebe passed away last week.   He always called me a Gypsy.  And it wasn’t always positive.    He used to tease me that I could and did move all my belongings in a cargo van.   I had nothing and was free.  Since I married this time, I can no longer move in a cargo van.  I am weighted with both possessions and responsibilities.

Joebe said I was a gypsy and committed to nothing.    He was of an age where he also meant it in the non PC sense of it.  I was amoral, free, uncommitted.  I remember the gypsies of my youth.  I spent the first few years of my life in Coney Island.  The Gypsies would come every spring.  We were always warned that they stole little children and we had better stay close.

Sometimes I didn’t mind when he called me Gypsy because it meant that I was still holding onto that part of me that was uniquely me.  Lord knows he tried to change me.   Like I have said, I have been trying so hard to remember the happy times.  I really can’t.  Every memory just twists.

I met him dancing.  And he was a great dancer.  That’s what won me over. But we didn’t dance because of his jealousy.

Also, after I left my first husband, I wanted to go out with a man who took me to dinner with tablecloths.  My first husband’s idea of dinner out was Fuddrucker’s.  Joebe took me to nice dinners but they were unpleasant as he always accused me of flirting with the busboy or the waiter.   It became easier not to go.

I have always worked with men and gotten along very well with them.  It’s part of the all boy college deal.  During that time, I worked with men and I used to go out with them for what we called burgers and a belt.  I used to stay at my parents and tell Joebe I was eating with them.  With anyone else I could have and would have told the truth.

At his daughter’s rehearsal dinner,  I sat next to her, not her mother.  By this time, I had left him.  But he was always telling me “Pretend to be a family.”  He had had issues with his daughter and had not wanted to go to the wedding. I insisted but I was the one who walked out of the dinner.(I did go to the wedding)  She is 10 years younger than me almost to the day.    So, I would say we really didn’t get on.

Sunday,  I walked into the funeral home.  I think it’s the first time I saw her since her wedding.  She had been the one to initially call me and tell me that her father was in intensive care and she wasn’t sure she had the right person. I got her brother when I returned the call.  She broke away from the people she was with and grabbed me and began to sob.  “Susan, when we went into the house, there was a huge picture of you in his bedroom.  My dad always loved you.  He never stopped loving you.”  This was so hard to hear.  First of all, within weeks of our getting together he practically demanded that I tell him I loved him.  Different generations – what’s love got to do with it.  I was the gypsy rolling with the tide, looking for my good time.  I never told my first husband I loved him.  It’s not something I do.  I hold love close to my heart, my hard gypsy heart.

It has made me reflect what impact do we really have on others?  When I left my first husband, he was more upset I thought about losing the curtains (I took them off the windows) than me.  Joebe told me we were supposed to get married and he was going to be short the money I gave him towards rent.  We did things together afterwards. i.e. daughter’s wedding but I wouldn’t say we were friends.  I do love my friends.    I can’t ask him what was going on because he is dead.  It’s sort of like an open window but one that you really can’t see through.

Of course,  there was the rest of the family to see.  I did love his granddaughter and losing her when I left him broke my heart.  I kept distance from my now husband’s children and his nieces because I didn’t want that hurt again.  I am loosening up a bit and admitting that we can love each other.  Seeing Gabby almost made me cry.  She’s just about grown up and of course, doesn’t remember me.

Now, men.  My husband and I have had many problems and we have come out alright.  Our marriage is strong.  He stood next to me and listened to hearing that another man had always loved me.  He walked into a room of strangers to him that had been family to me.  He literally held me up.  No cane and no one said anything about my walking.  He totally supported me in all ways.

Someone who has this condition said something along the lines of how do you forget you have this?  Well, Sunday once my husband helped me in that door, my condition was the last thing on my mind.  I am larger than this.

So, I am beginning to have memories, not bad ones, just memories.   I hear his voice in my head.  And I am beginning to realize that I’ll never see or hear him again.  That’s the way this works. He’s not the first relationship that I have lost but he was the only one I lived with.  You always think you will see them again and you can be like Bellbottom blues or just surviving.  I was always tickled that I survived Joebe.  Now, there’s this unknown area.

And here’s what’s weird. Joebe gave me amber earrings.  I wear them at least once a week.  I went to put them in on Monday and one fell on the floor and shattered.  Gypsies and dreams.

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