A true story.
My friend Petra, who I know from when I lived in Germany (and here I’m going to count on my fingers just like MacKensie does on The Newsroom - you can be smart without knowing numbers immediately) about 22 years, called me today.
She’s so wonderful, she always calls me on my birthday. Those friends are few and far between. You know, the really good ones that you can just pick up and talk to and it’s like no time has passed.
She calls and she asks me how old I am. She goes on to explain that she can’t remember and everytime she would ask me, she says:
“you would just say, ‘oh 28’ or oh, ‘32’ or say ‘what? I’m 29’ so I never remembered how old you are”
We haven’t talked for more than 2.5 years, as the last time I talked with her I was still employed. That puts it in 2009. (without using my fingers, that date I know)
When I met Petra I had two children under 3. She’s this gorgeous, white blond, dimpled outdoorsy, fun, aerobic teacher who had a american hockey player boyfriend so she knew perfect english.
I was thrilled. She loves trashy magazines, movies, and we hit it off. Just to be able to converse with someone in english was heaven. Plus, we totally bonded over the aerobic part. I was learning to teach and teaching my classes in Germany at same studio. We even “performed” at an event. Meant a lot to me that she liked my classes as she lived on Long Island for awhile and had seen some good instructors. I think I got her the job at SC. Anyway she works there and she is still on my side. My friends that support me and dislike him and her. I digress, that’s an entirely different story. Related but different.
The point with the phone call and her asking me and me replying with the magic number of 54, is it doesn’t even cross my mind right now to joke like that. Now, my usual line now is, I’m as old as Madonna and Prince. I’m remembering more really depressed birthdays than happy ones and trying to think back on what could have happened around my birthday. PTSD grief.
I left my life in Germany with two small children (6 and 5), and 3 cats in August of 1995. I had decided where to live, Boulder, but had no house, no furniture, no car, no job. Two days after we arrived in DC (which includes Northern VA in my dictionary) I flew with my dad out to Boulder to look for a place to live. I was in Boulder on my birthday which was 2 days after leaving Germany.
All that going on - now combine it with severe panic attacks, untreated depression and no one in the immediate vicinity that supported me at all. My marriage of 8 years was over. My husband was living with this woman, whom I worked with, I had no idea what all was going on, I suspect the lawyer was paid to encourage me to sign papers. I had to be as much together as I could for my children and my parents were saying things like the below:
“You gave up too easy, you should have stayed and fought”
“It’s your fault…”
“Why didn’t you stay there?”
Yes, maybe this is a reaction to that. That was the worst thing I have ever gone through. Hell. It was absolute hell. Stress through the roof.
Keeping going, keeping going.
I also got a call from my daughter but she was tired because they didn’t get home until 3:30 a.m and had to get up again at 6 a.m. to work all day. She said my son has been drinking a lot. That doesn’t surprise me.
and of course, my BFF here called me.
Dreading going to my parents for dinner. Dreading it.