Gone to Mexico. Adios.

This is the first of a series of excerpts from my memoir Loveyoubye: Holding Fast, Letting Go, and Then There’s the Dog, released April 2014.

Larry’s note lay on the kitchen counter when I got home from work: “Gone to Mexico. Adios.”

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This couldn’t be happening again. I smoothed the small, hot pink notepaper meant for quickie grocery lists. My fingers shook. His neat little boy handwriting—letters so small and meticulous—so unlike his laid-back attitude—made the words seem ordinary, like he’d checked with me, like I’d agreed. Just like the other three notes he’d left on the kitchen counter over the past eight months, same cryptic message with a few changes in the wording, always Mexico, always on the same multicolored spiral notepad. Those trips had lasted anywhere from a week to ten days. I’d thought that after his last escape two months earlier, that would be it; he’d get back on track, maybe finally let me know what had been bothering him.

It suddenly struck me that our white VW was missing from its usual spot beside his 1973 green Chevy van in the vacant lot next to the house. He’d been driving the smaller car ever since he started working on the van’s engine two months earlier. I hadn’t even noticed. So would he be sleeping in the VW?

Or had he finally taken that surfer pal’s offer to stay at his Ensenada beach house? The guy had been inviting him for years; surfers down at his favorite spot in San Clemente were always inviting him on surf trips. They just wanted to hang with him. Everybody wanted to hang with him. He never went. He hated staying with other people, hated to be obligated to anyone.

After the shock of his first unexpected departure, I started thinking that maybe that’s exactly what he needed, time alone on a surfboard down Mexico way. Out in the ocean, catching waves, with that occasional brush with a dolphin he treasured so much—this was where he found his spiritual center. Maybe he’d finally grieve the loss of his mother. She died right before he retired, which was when he planned on spending more time with her. I knew that was a big deal for him. He felt guilty. Not that he said anything about it. No signs of grief, even at the funeral—well, except for convulsively squeezing my hand. The shrink told me he was probably depressed and advised lots of loving understanding. As far as our seeking counseling together, Larry told me I had the problem, not him.

I thought back to our confrontation after his last defection, two months earlier. Not that much different from the other times.

“Okay, so are you finally going to tell me what’s going on?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why do you keep doing this?”

“Doing what?”

We went back and forth like this for a bit, with me becoming more and more agitated because of his stonewalling. This, of course, just made him calmer and me crazier until I stormed off. This was how most of our confrontations went. But then he’d come through with a self-effacing sweetness and life would continue.

I glanced at the note. “Adios.” I felt my jaw tighten.

Amazon Review:

This delicious memoir has an emotional sweetness that spares no one. The story sweeps from apartheid era South Africa to picaresque Laguna Beach, and then back again as vibrant, flawed, and loving characters, including the dogs move forward. Each has a gift for life. The writer gives all the characters their say, and a bit of respect in most cases. It is the writers attention to detail that brings each of them to life, and thus each has roots in the story. She does this while maintaining a running drama of the mundane and erotic interruptions that pepper the narrative. Rossandra is such an exciting writer. She has an amazing command of the language and her emotional pitch of tragedy and triumph is sublime.

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Old Post Resurrection Hop: Letting Go One Hole at a Time

As part of Old Post Resurrection Hop, I’m re-posting this blog I wrote in January, 2012.

Yesterday, while I was at yoga, Fergie ripped yet another hole in one of the two cottonwool-filled pads in the “donut” doggy bed she and Jake share in my writing studio. I stopped by the market on my way home which gave the little precious more than enough time to do her job.  Both pads are dotted with patches, mostly iron-ons from the supermarket, except for the embroidered ones my surfer ex-husband used to collect.  Just below Fergie’s butt in the photo below you can see two identical overlapping specimens—an embroidered Santa-like surfer with a long flowing beard and exaggerated feet ala Robert Crumb planted on the surfboard with the words,  “Keep on Surfin’ Hawaii.” I finally found a use for those bits of the past I’ve been hanging on to.

Seeing the dismayed expression on my face as I walked into a cloud of cottonwool, Jake offered me his ball and a look that said, I would never do anything like that.  He wouldn’t: Jake is all about balls, Frisbees and me. At fifteen months old, The Ferg is still making her mark on the world.

I gathered and stuffed all the matted cottonwool back into the pad, but instead of whisking it into the house for immediate repair, as I usually do, I left it there with the torn side tucked under.  A first for me.  Could it be that my Type-A ways are a-changing?

Day two, and Fergie hasn’t noticed all that lovely unfettered cottonwool beneath her, despite the fact that’s she’s bored. It’s raining outside and she’s already worked Jake over a couple of times and pawed my computer off my lap. How long will it take?  Who will be first to work on the blue pad?  Fergie or me?

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