A Tale of Love, Lust & Lizards
November 29 - December 7, 1996
is ... the infamous Bonaire Journal.
I've gone back
and forth in my heart for years, trying to decide
whether or not I should post this journal in the archives.
This is the journal, after all, that not only flagrantly
chronicles my first fullblown marital infidelity ...
it is also the journal that essentially ended my marriage
(when my then-husband found it in a side pocket of my suitcase, a month
or two after the
-- nearly ten years after the fact --
I've finally decided to go ahead and quietly slip it into the
archives. It is an integral piece of the lifestory puzzle,
after all. It was one of the biggest things that ever
happened to me ... flying to the Caribbean
to meet a man I'd fallen in love with online. It was one of
the best weeks in my life: an adventure beyond
And it forever
changed everything about my life, and the lives of a lot
of people I love, and about the way I looked at love and sex and
(Woke up to the sound of a songbird outside my
... my "wake-up call" for most of the week.)
I am sitting in my hotel room of The Flamingo Resort in Bonaire
.. drinking a cup of coffee (brought to me by a thoughtful
attentive lover) ... nibbling on biscotti
at the Atlanta airport yesterday during our six hour flight
I slept late -- then he had to leave for a HUD
orientation (he was an hour late) -- I'm alone for
and will spend my time showering and unpacking and setting up "our"
room for the week.
We've only been together for 36 hours physically
-- in our hearts it's been longer -- but I already
that I have indeed quite miraculously met my soulmate.
Much to tell (about Friday & Saturday) --
will get to
that later today.
Those thirty seconds walking down the ramp from the plane to the
Atlanta airport, where I knew he would waiting for me, were the thirty
longest seconds of my life ...
... but the instant I saw him standing there in his brown
leather bomber jacket, smiling at me, my heart simply leapt with
joy. I involuntarily clamped one hand over my
dropped my bags to the floor, fell into his arms, buried my face into
his shoulder, inhaled his "Eternity For Men" and said "Oh my
We just stood there and hugged, rocking back and forth, for what seemed
like forever. He said, "You are more gorgeous than I ever
imagined." (At that point, 99% of my terror and insecurity
instantly -- and
permanently.) And then
we were kissing, again for what seemed like forever, right there in
front of the ramp for all the world to see ...
It was the first of what would prove to be one of the best moments of
** "Surprise Moment" ... that
first night in
nonchalantly putting Metallica on the boombox!!
weeks of pretending he knew absolutely nothing about the kind
of music I listen to.)
** Him: "The point
of this trip is to make you fall
soooo totally in love with me, you'll never want to let me go."
(I'm already THERE ...)
** Amusing Moment: his shocked reaction
to my eyelash
curler, the first morning I put on my makeup in front of
After we touched down in Bonaire on Saturday night, we got into a van
to take us to the resort. T. and I sat at the very back of
van, and he had his hands and mouth all over me absolutely every moment
of the ride. ("I
sooooo bad," he crooned in my
the time we
got to our room at the resort, we were both in total HEAT ...
... Welcome to Bonaire, Little Secra!
On Saturday (Nov. 30) we were stuck at the Atlanta Airport for an extra
six hours, waiting for our delayed flight to Bonaire. Spent
the time walking around the airport (ENDLESSLY, it seemed to me, as I
lugged a bazillion lbs. worth of carry-ons) ...
assorted meals (my GOD can he eat!!)* ...
Robbin & Steve ("Mr & MsB417) to let them know
was great ... made love standing up in a hidden
an empty international terminal ...
Remember him burning hell out of the roof of his mouth on a hot
spoonful of soup??
I fucking hate myself sometimes.
In my never-ending quest to ruin anything good that ever EVER happens
to me, I have managed to hurt his feelings and make him question
whether or not I truly love him.
He was so excited when he came back from his dive at 4:30.
go for a walk," he said. I've spent most of this
hibernating in the dim coolness of our air-conditioned room, mainly
because I am still so wildly uncomfortable
Bonaire is beautiful, but the heat and the humidity are like a giant
hand, pressing me flat ... I can only stand to be
for a few minutes at a time, unless I'm in a rare spot where there's
some shade or a breeze. (In fact, just now I was trying to
this on the covered porch outside our room, but after two or three
minutes my hand started sticking to the pages of this notebook, and I
could feel rivulets of sweat running down the sides of my face
again.) I feel hot and sick to my stomach and
cranky -- and on top of everything else (to use a
dumb analogy, considering where I am) VERY "fish out of
water." This isn't my world ...
... and he's joyfully trying to share it with me, but it's so
hard to relax and enjoy it when it makes me feel so rotten
Anyway, he said "Let's go for a walk," and I readily
agreed. He's been gone most of the day, and I
spend some time with him. He strolled us down to the edge of
dock, right on the water -- full Caribbean
-- pulled up a couple of armchairs and expected me to sit
and "sun" with him. Gack.
I wrote him an e-mail almost three months ago, when this trip was still
in the early planning stages, telling him that I "must really love him"
if I was agreeing to go on a BEACH vacation with him. So it
should come as no huge surprise to him that oppressive heat and
blinding sun are not going to contribute much to an already precarious
mood. I could have politely reminded him of that, of course,
instead I nastily snapped, "This is my idea of hell on
said something to the effect of, "Gee, aren't you
I simply ... got up and walked away.
A.) I do NOT know my way around this place, and I couldn't
out how to get back to our room.
B.) He had the room key with him, anyway.
Another tear just splashed off the end of my nose and landed here
I wound up sulking in a shady spot near the pool until he came out to
find me later (to bring me a key to our room). He was quiet
hurt. "If you don't love me, I need you to tell me
now," he said. My heart absolutely split in two at
I love him more than anything on earth. I was pretty sure of
during the months leading up to this, when we were exchanging words on
a computer screen and over the phone. I knew it for certain
moment I got off that plane in Atlanta and saw him standing there
smiling at me.
God. I have cried ALL DAY TODAY. I just looked at
the mirror, and my eyes are as red as the felt pen I'm writing this
with. He's diving (again) and I imagine that when he gets
he's not going to be thrilled to discover that I've been holed up in
the room again, crying like the great big brain-dead baby that I
I asked him today if I'm a "disappointment" to him, and he emphatically
said that I'm not ... but I know I must be. I sent him all
autobio stuff, in the hopes of gently preparing him for the idea that
"Secra," in reality, is Terri ... a quiet,
loner ... the antithesis of my onscreen
... that a roomful of "real life" people makes me distinctly
uncomfortable ... that I more an observer &
than participant & innovator. (He's
irritated with me,
for instance, because he thinks I'm being overtly rude to this other
couple in the group. OK, I don't really like them
... but pretty darned quick he's going to discover that I'm
around everybody. Then what??)
I still think that he fell in love with "Secra" ...
(Note: He read this and said, "I did not
fall in love
I remember on a couple of occasions he said that one of the big
problems in his marriage is that his wife 'never wants to do
anything.' So I sit here in my hotel room
doing nothing. (Except crying, I
mean. If they
gave awards for crying, I'd be holding a TROPHY right now ..)
I'm so happy when we're together. I do not
want to fuck up
precious days we have together, and yet I seem helpless to stop myself.
Well, I'm back out on the porch again. I am not
kidding -- you walk out of the hotel room and it
just HITS you like a brick wall. The air is so
heavy, you can taste it.
Still crying. Huge headache. Went through his bag
medicines hoping for a Tylenol or something, but there's nothing but a
bunch of weird shit I can't identify.
There's some sort of official "thing" we're supposed to go to tonight
(note: WE BLEW IT OFF), and I hope I can pull myself together
enough not to thoroughly disgrace him .. although I
that's going to be pretty near impossible.
(Pulling in another swallow of thick hot ocean air
leaves in the trees are rustling constantly, but if there's any sort of
"breeze" it's pretty darned useless.)
When we were planning this trip, he warned me that he would have a lot
of things to do that wouldn't include me ... doctor
diving stuff ... and I blithely assured him that
"fine" ... I would have plenty of things to do to
myself occupied. At the time, I had visions of me
his laptop and catching up on all the half-written projects in my Idea
Book ... maybe outlining some short
getting into the rental car and driving around. Or, if
worse came to worst, just walking around the island.
What I hadn't counted on was the battery in his laptop dying today, the
very first time I used it ... Tris
renting us a car with manual
transmission (my dad STILL gives me shit about the light pole in
the Albertson's parking lot) ... the heat, which
idea of "walking around" as unappealing as the idea of going home at
the end of the week ...
... or most especially the fact that I did not expect to love
(in person) quite as much as I do, and that I very selfishly crave
every moment of his time & attention during the short amount of
time we have together.
(My pen is melting.)
(He just got back ... more later ..)
(6:15 p.m. ... dark out here.)
Crying again ... but this time, tears of happiness.
had a 7:30 a.m. meeting ... after he left, I got up
took a shower (the hot water lasts forever here)
as I got out, he was walking in with a cup of coffee and a piece of
banana bread for my "breakfast." Quick kiss, and then he was
again. I wandered over to the bureau and sat down with my
coffee -- still wrapped in the green hotel
-- and on a whim I turned on the radio, curious to see what
of music they play on a Bonairian radio station. One of the
gorgeous songs I have
ever heard in
was playing ... all in Spanish (something about
*gasoline*) ... I sat here and listened to it and wept,
that I would never hear this song ever again
which made the listening all that much more precious --
years later, my amazing husband David will help me track down the
'mystery song' I never thought I'd hear again ... "Cuando Se
Acaba El Amor" by Guillermo Davila.
I'm sorry I was such a baby yesterday.
enough, last night turned out to be the singularly most incredible,
intimate, erotic, loving, sexual, "connected" night of my entire
* Dinner -
alone! - at the
buffet. (Dean & Valerie mercifully decided to "give
time alone.") I
haven't had much of an appetite during this trip, but I picked at some
jerked chicken, salad and carrots, while Tris
(as usual) devoured everything in sight with
* A hand-in-hand walk into town, where we
a Caribbean band (don't know what kind of music you would call
it -- calypso, maybe?) performing live
in the park ... peered into the closed shop
... snuck to the upper level
of the Galleria
for a quick sneaky ****
a dark corner (shades of
the Atlanta airport!!) ... sat on a concrete
the street for awhile, talking and throwing little
white rocks into the ocean, lapping at our feet.
* Came back to the resort
- and went swimming!
time I have been in a swimming pool, in a BATHING SUIT, since
1978. (I can't believe some of the stuff I'm doing on this
was late, and we had the pool to ourselves. The water was deliciously
cold .. the
first time since we'd arrived in Bonaire that I actually felt
chilled. At one point he
scooped me up in his arms and floated us
little wooden bridge, which he dubbed "The Kissing Bridge," and we
proceeded to neck for a few lovely soggy minutes.
* When I was too cold to stay in the pool
moment longer, we came back upstairs to our room.
got out of
my wet bathing suit and dried off, he went around the room lighting
candles ... and then, with strong,
he proceeded to give me the most complete head-to-toe
full body massage of my life (all the while
explaining each step of the procedure in his best doctorly
voice). He used the almond oil
I'd bought just for this purpose, and there was soft Enya playing on
... it was a total sensual experience.
I've had a pleasant morning, mainly sitting here listening to the
Venezuelan radio station (which I find oddly mesmerizing) and jotting
things down in this notebook. T.
-- notice how "Tris" (his AOL screen name) is
being replaced by his real name? I still alternate
between the screen name and the real name, but more & more he's
at least here) -- has come back to the room to
"visit" me twice this morning -- once to go pick up
rental car, then just to "snug" for a few minutes. We're
to do something together at 11:30 -- I'm not sure
what -- but then he'll be out on a boat for four
afternoon. Yesterday that would have sent me into paroxysms
self-pity, but today I'm feeling better & determined not to do
anything else to hurt him or spoil his fun. I know how to get
town now, ad he gave me a couple hundred dollars' spending money
... I could walk to town and buy some postcards, maybe some
for our (empty) kitchen. The heat still bothers me
little, but I'm getting slightly more acclimated.
Just spent a very cute couple of hours with my baby
had some free time between the morning lectures and his afternoon dive,
so we drove around the island a little in the Sidekick, stopping
occasionally to take pictures of landmarks, gorgeous beaches, each
(Funny moment: Venezuelan radio station began playing the
Macarena while we were driving. We looked at each other,
in delight and CRANKED it.)
Came back to the resort and grabbed some quick lunch (my
... half a roast beef & tomato sandwich, plus two
from the bar. For some reason, the Pepsi here at the
- NOT the crappy bottled stuff we bought in town last
- tastes better than I ever remember Pepsi tasting, and it
me feeling marvelous afterwards. "It probably has cocaine in
T. remarked as I finished Glass #3 ... and he was
Came back to our room so he could get ready for his dive, but the next
thing I knew, we were fooling around on the bed ...
thing led to another ... you can probably guess the
Remark #1: "The sex has been great ... but the
companionship has been
even better." (Is it any wonder I adore this man??)
Remark #2 (between kisses): "I want to be everything to you
"Chauffer ... tour guide ... "
(some other stuff I don't recall)
OK. I'm off to town to buy stuff. Back later.
Geeeeez. So much for "Terri P., International SHOPPER."
I set off from the hotel at 2 p.m., feeling perky and confident and
ready to buy every postcard in the whole damned town
... plus some drinks and snacks for our hotel room.
Half an hour later ... can you say "heat
exhaustion??" I quite honestly thought I
was going to
drop dead right there on the sidewalk. Suddenly my
white, very EXPOSED face and arms and legs began to turn alarmingly hot
and red. Then of course I had to compound things by
getting LOST. The one and only grocery store I found was
closed ... finally I said, "That's enough
thanks." Stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall deli and bought
of those horrible salty Pepsi's (accepting my change in
.. walked back to the resort ... stripped
out of my
clothes, took my third shower within 18 hours, turned on the AC full
blast, and lay naked and wet on the bed until I felt "normal"
again ... SHEEEEESH ...
He'll be back in awhile, so I'm trying to prepare a
Took a very satisfying one hour nap. (Even in the middle of
sunniest afternoon, if I turn off all the lights and draw the curtains
it is PITCH DARK in here. I love it.)
clothes in the kitchen sink, using T.'s shampoo (?) and then spread
them out on the balcony patio chairs to dry. (It's
been half an hour or so, yet my blouse is nearly dry ALREADY.)
Sometimes I think about the kids, and wonder what's going on at
home. I miss them. Haven't been able to call home
airport on Saturday night (I made T. get on the phone & say hi
Jamie) -- there are no phones here in our room, and
costs an arm and a leg to call from the front desk, I'm told
-- so I'm just going to have to trust that all is well, and
allow worry to creep into my thoughts. Just like
beautiful Spanish song I heard this morning on the radio, my time here
in Bonaire with T. may well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I
need to savor it fully while I'm experiencing it
without intrusive, pointless emotions like worry or guilt or fear.
Some more about our first night together (in Atlanta):
* Riding the train in the Atlanta
one pole, standing up, clinging to each other more than to the pole,
necking openly & feverishly ... so delighted (and secretly
relieved, no doubt) to
discover that the physical chemistry was as pleasing as the
* He sang to me in bed that first
me in his arms ... and sang to
me. A first in
* I had a ridiculous nightmare that night
I insulted the Queen of England ... ????), and I
surprised - and filled with joy
- when I woke
up and realized that he was laying there beside
I just love everything
* The easy way he talks to
never condescendingly, always with underlying respect, humor, tolerance.
* The way his gorgeous face lights up
when he talks
about something for which he feels great passion: medicine,
children, scuba diving ... and me.
* His crooked bottom tooth.
* His insatiable appetite(s).
* The guiless expression on his face when
* His eyes. They are huge and
bottomless. I'm going to wander into them someday and never
out ... and
it will be by choice.
* His zest for life.
* His almost-fanatical
NEATNESS. I just opened
a cupboard here in the hotel room, and there are all his T-shirts,
neat little piles. It's positively adorable. (And
just noticed that he has once again left
his underwear laying on the floor ...
* The way he's constantly singing out
... with a most eclectic "repertoire." (I remember
breaking into a spontaneous
rendition of "Inna Godda Da Vida" as we were riding the escalator at
* The way he seems to know a little bit
everything ... but never flaunts his knowledge in
way. He is a natural-born
teacher. I am in awe
of his brain, frankly.
Another long drive this afternoon - just
in the open air cafe.
Right now he's calling home from the main office. Why does this make me
feel so ... sad and
Woke up earlier than usual. T.
into the other bed in the
middle of the night -- we were both tired and
sweaty -- (I
little when he "left,"
but that was exhaustion & emotion talking, and I kept it to
myself) -- I woke up at 6 a.m. craving him,
requested that I be allowed to "come aboard" -- he
quite willing to accomodate me ...
Took a shower (sort of "together" ... more like
ships, but it was still sweet) and then went down and had breakfast
(scrambled eggs, croissant, coffee; sandpipers scurrying along the rock
ledge beside our table, begging for scraps).
I'm sitting here on our balcony, getting ready to put on a little
makeup and do my hair while he's at his morning lectures, which should
be over by 11:30.
Yesterday was an intense day for the two of us, in ways that are
difficult to pinpoint.
I think at the heart of it lies the fact that we both hear the clock
ticking ... and that before we know it we'll be
part, for how long, neither of us knows.
("Do we have a future?" I asked him, point-blank.
"Would I be planning our next trip already if we didn't?" he replied
there was an edge of despair in his voice.)
I think that he still has doubts about the depth and sincerity of my
love for him, also. We had several serious conversations
throughout the course of the afternoon/evening. I don't know
anything has been resolved, but I do know that, speaking purely for
myself, I cannot imagine a future without him in
For months now, I've believed that coming to Bonaire would be the most
courageous act of my life; I know now that it will actually be going
home from Bonaire.
Yesterday afternoon, when he was through with his dive, we went on
another "road trip" -- this time we went to
Park, on the north side of the island. Saw
1,000 yr. old Indian inscriptions on a cliff wall, to a goat skeleton
laying in the bushes (geez, you shoulda seen his reaction to THAT), to
an unexpected bunch of pink flamingos. Actually
lot more I would like to write about the things we saw
deserves a more thoughtful and descriptive account than I can give it
here -- but I think we're going to go back and take
pictures, and I'll write about it after that.
* Laying in bed, taking the Cosmo "Is He
Man For You?" quiz
* Walking to town for ice cream
* Coming back to our room, where he
backache and brushed my hair before ..
Listening to "Lightning Crashes," from the tape MrBo sent me the day
before I left for Bonaire.
How can I be feeling "nostalgic" already for things that happened less
than a WEEK ago?
(I would give almost anything
to go back in time and re-live our first
Slipping into profound Melancholy Mode again, dammit.
new mother cries
placenta falls to the floor.
angel opens her eyes
confusion sets in before the doctor can
close the door.
old mother dies.
intentions fall to the floor.
angel closes her eyes
confusion that was hers belongs now
the baby down the hall
Listening to Spanish Christmas carols on the Venezuelan radio station
this morning (whilst sitting on a balcony overlooking a swimming pool
Realizing that I have absolutely ZERO idea what is going on in the
U.S. - or the rest of the world, for that
- at the moment.
Crap crap crap crap crap crap.
I should never
to "Lightning Crashes" this morning.
It has always affected me profoundly, simply because it's such a
powerful song ... but now I will forever associate
sitting at my computer on Thanksgiving night, the night before I left
for Bonaire, and feeling so scared and excited
not knowing what was in store for me. It will
me cry from now on.
came back to the room between lectures and found me a weepy mess,
yet again. How to explain the illogical knot of emotions I
feeling at that moment?? I wrote it off to
(Which isn't completely far from the truth, some of the
time.) He left, clearly not pleased with me, so of
IMMEDIATELY strapped on the headphones, cranked the damn song and
attempted to patch my running eye makeup while listening to it three
times in a row and sobbing uncontrollably. (Which is about as
logical as washing down a can of SlimFast with a nice big FRIED CHICKEN
DINNER ... but there you go. I'm in
love. Logic has nothing to do with it anymore.)
No offense, Journal ... but basically I am sick to
death of the sight of you at the moment.
(Not to mention this goddamned red felt pen.)
Another very bumpy, emotional day, exacerbated by heat, hormones,
something T. would
diagnose as "honeymoon cystitis" (and for
which he had the forethought to bring antibiotics), boredom,
-- more than anything else -- my wild,
wonderful-yet-painful love for this man to whom I will soon have to say
By 1:30 p.m. I was a wreck, emotionally. We'd gone out to buy
groceries and postcards during one of his breaks --
planned to cheer myself by spending the afternoon writing to the
Guerrillas & to the kids -- but I lost the
postcards. Came back to the room and they were
be found: guess we accidentally left them behind at the grocery
store. This just felt like the LAST STRAW.
Wound up taking one of the Xanax he'd prescribed for me before the
trip, just to calm down, putting a cold wet washcloth on
my forehead and sleeping the afternoon away while he was scuba diving.
HUGE argument when he got back to the room
basically him telling me to get off my butt and quit feeling sorry for
myself. He's right, of course.
So last night we decided to try something different for dinner (once
we'd talked our problems out) ... went to Chibi
the water -- got a little bit "dressed up,"
(God!! he looked great!!) -- it was like
His dreams: (Yeah, I had to put them in the Journal, Honey)
Dream #1: That our trip to Bonaire was as wonderful
both hoped it would be.
Dream #2: That we were married and had two children.
Dream #3: That he left Pittsburgh and I
and we wound up "somewhere south."
(He read this after I wrote it and said, "No, it was all the same
He was stung by an anenome (sp?) when he went night-diving with Dennis,
and by midnight or so his arm was really sore -- he
out of our bed again and into the spare bed, without a
word. (This morning he told me he doesn't even
doing that.) I decided not to make
... I knew he was in pain and needed his
So I grabbed an extra pillow and hugged it all night, pretending it was
(Something tells me I'll be doing this a LOT in the future.)
At 5 a.m. I was awakened by gentle hands pulling the pillow from my
arms, and a loving voice saying, "Here ... let me
that pillow with ME."
"What day is this? Wednesday?"
Terri (arranging the contents of the fridge for a photo):
"Why did I just get this feeling of foreboding?"
Terri (quietly): "Yeah, I know."
He came back from his lecture today at 11:30. I
familiar knock at the door, flew to open it, said "Hi" ...
... wordlessly he stepped into the kitchen, drew me into his
and began kissing me passionately ... then picked
me up in
his arms and carried me off to bed for a "nooner."
Had lunch and went for a drive after -- took a
picture of him standing on a rocky shore with ocean spray jetting up
(Remember Kenny Rogers singing Xmas songs on the car radio as we ran
He just left for his lecture, which should be over by 9:30
-- then we're going to go on a "road trip."
Skipped breakfast in favor of fooling
morning ... now my
empty stomach is giving me holy hell for it, but some things are just
more IMPORTANT than food.
As he held me in his arms this morning, he said, once again, that he
was feeling that sense of "foreboding."
"Talk to me about it," I murmured in his ear, and he pulled me closer
and said, "I'm scared of saying goodbye to you ...
that you're going to forget about me." This appears to be a
theme with him ... one of his biggest fears. How do
convince him that I would walk away from EVERYTHING I've ever
known, right this very moment, if he simply said the
word?? That my love for him is so huge, so electric,
so powerful that a small town (Rincon, for instance) could
harness it and keep their appliances running for a good hundred years
or so ... ???
Last night he had a class until 6:30 ... had dinner
rib), then hopped into the car and went for a long night drive, to the
Parked alongside the sea on a deserted stretch of road and stood,
topless and entwined beneath a canopy of tropical
... one of the more romantic nights of my life.
Came back to the resort and threw away some money at the Casino (more
fun than I thought it would be), then back to our room (his Elmer Fudd
impression had us both HOWLING as we walked through the
We sat in bed for a long time. I finished my book
("Gerald's Game") while he caught up on HUD paperwork and made some
entries in his scuba journal. After awhile I started getting
sleepy, and I thought we
going to have to skip making love, which,
considering how little time we have left together, seemed like a
shameful waste of opportunity ...
(A couple of nights ago)
ribald, "bump & grind" version of "Chains," using a green
beach towel and appropriate gestures.
So many sweet/funny/poignant moments during our "road trip" this
morning .... most of them related to
music, since I
brought along some tapes with me:
* Sudden amazing infusion of good
feeling, driving in
Caribbean sunshine as Alanis kicked into "All I Really Want"
pulling off to the side of the road, taking me
into his arms and singing Marc Cohn's "True Companion" directly to my
soul. "You don't know how long I've wanted to sing
you," he said
afterward. I was too teary and too emotional to tell him how
long I have wanted
him to sing it to me.
* Signed the Guest Register at Washington
Pittsburgh, PA USA and TP, Seattle, WA, USA - Secra
* Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" causing
weep, and he explaining that it had more to do with the emotions he was
about our parting than anything else. I said, "This is only
Doc," but I don't know if that was of any comfort to
We are clearly both very
shaken by the impending separation but trying our best not to let it
Came back to our room before lunch. "I really need to make
right now," he said quietly. So we did
slowly, tenderly, achingly. I felt his love flowing into
molecule of my being.
said "What are you going to do with me?"
He looked at me with those soulful brown eyes and a look of quiet
despair and said, "What am I going to do
Journal, I am fighting so hard not to sink into complete emotional
quicksand here ... we have tonight, and some of
and tomorrow night together (altho we'll have to turn in early tomorrow
night - we must be ready to leave by 5:30 a.m.
morning), and I don't want to spoil it by looking at him with big wet
puddles for eyes all the time. But dammit
that's how I feel.
And I know it's how he feels, too.
Today he said (only partially in jest, I have a feeling), "It would
have been so much easier if it had turned out that we didn't get
along." I know what he means. I know
EXACTLY what he
means, in fact. That moment in Atlanta went I walked off the
and our eyes locked for the first time -- in
instantaneous, overwhelming joy, relief, love and desire I felt, was
this teeny-tiny voice in the back of my head that whispered, "Uh oh."
As in, "We're in BIG trouble now, Momma ..."
(Listening to that first snarky track on MrB's "Live" tape
... He said "You know what scares me the
(I thought to myself - "His kids.")
He said, "My kids."
He went on to say that although the older kids are old enough to handle
it OK ("it" being his decision to leave his wife for me, should he ever
eventually arrive at that "decision") ... "but I'm
about the three little ones." Then he looked off into the
distance, and with a heavy sigh he said, "I'm damned."
"How so?" I asked. Suddenly
very vulnerable and frightened.
Afraid that what I was witnessing was the victory of "conscience" and
"duty" over destiny and promise. At this point, if he were to
decide to walk away, I'm not sure I would want to go on,
I certainly would never love again. I would fold up
heart, permanently, and put it in the attic forever, along with all the
other dusty, abandoned dreams of my youth. This is The Big
One - the one I have spent a lifetime waiting
- the one that counts - everything before
merely the orchestra warming up. And if I do
screw it up (which isn't as likely as it might have been
-- I seem to be evolving here, ever-so-slightly),
- the more likely and terrifying scenario
decides that familial obligations must take precedence and he walks
away - I'm afraid I will be shattered beyond repair.
So when I asked him why he thinks he's "damned," my heart was firmly
lodged in my throat ... not knowing what kind of
He sighed again, and looked at me. "Because I've found the
love of my life," he said.
OK. This was and wasn't an answer .. at
least, not an
answer I can decipher .. but it'll have to do for
I'm going to miss our little hotel room.
(Lord knows I've spent enough time in it!)
It's been out little "love nest" this week, and I've grown very fond of
Yesterday I reached up into a very far top corner of the closet and
scribbled our initials. No one will ever see them, probably,
until they tear this building down in forty years (and even then, "T.C.
& T.P. 1996" isn't going to mean a whole heck of a lot to the
Bonairian wrecking crew who sees it) ... but *I*
the inscription is there. When I am sitting half a world from
Bonaire next week, I'm going to know that on a small island in the
Caribbean I have left a quiet, secret testament of my love for T., for
sort of like leaving a tiny piece of myself here, in a place where I
have been very, very happy.
** ASSORTED STUFF **
* The maid just walked by, and it
reminded me of a
merry little incident from a couple of nights ago. T.
were in the
throes of passion ... (yeah, I know what
thinking: "So when AREN'T you two 'in
the throes of passion??') ... when outside our door I could hear the
trundling up and down the walkway, performing their evening
turning-down-of-the-beds ritual. I knew it would only be a
of minutes before they either
knocked on the door, or (assuming we weren't here) barged right
... disturbing us either way ..
so I whispered
to T., "Honey, you should hang up the 'Do
Not Disturb' sign." He quickly did so, and we
with much glee and thrashing about.
Moments later we heard the sound of a key in the
door .. a male voice with a heavy Bonairian accent
... a couple of sharp raps on the door ... and in walks THE
FUCKING CLEANING CREW. T. leapt out of bed, stood there
in the candlelight (buck naked) and said in a voice that was strain
of course), "NO THANK YOU." The astonished cleaning
immediately, and it was at that point that we realized he had hung the
sign up the wrong
way -- with "Please Make Up Our Room" showing,
* I have not had a single drop of alcohol
trip. I've had maybe four cups of coffee, altogether. I've had
computer (or AOL) whatsoever.And the 18,432 showers I've taken have
"Strictly Business." [ahem] In other words
... I have
my favorite vices for SEX this week. (When I get home, might
cut back and/or eliminate one or two of
them altogether ...)
* Remember the goddamned BARKING DOGS
hotel room every night??? ("Sparky" & Co.)
* Something I am going to miss HORRIBLY
when I get
home (besides sex): T. singing
to me constantly, ceaselessly, mindlessly,
* Something else I am going to miss
HORRIBLY when I
get home (besides sex): walking around HOLDING HANDS. God,
so nice ... having him just reach out for
whenever we're walking
Listening to "Lightning Crashes" again.
One week ago right now, I was making Thanksgiving dinner ...
think about it/don't think about it)
Bought a Dean Koontz paperback ("Intensity") in the resort gift
shop .. for TWELVE BUCKS.
A Gerry Rafferty song is going through my head this morning; the one
about lovers vacationing on a tropical island ...
This is our last day
gonna make sweet love before
sail away ...
Just finished breakfast (ham & cheese omelet, English muffin,
half a cup of bitter island coffee). T. has a
full morning of
lectures and testing, and then of course he dives again all
afternoon -- tonight is the official going-away
then we'll probably have to go to bed fairly early in order to catch
our 6:45 a.m. ride to the airport -- so basically I
very little time with him left. A ten minute break
... a 90 minute lunch there ...
I don't care. I'll TAKE
it. I'll take ANY
of together-time we can manage.
Sitting on the balcony ... dappled morning sunlight
pages of this book ...
I have never in my life loved someone so wholly and so honestly and so
This morning he woke me up around 5:30 a.m.
suddenly I was being pulled into his arms ("Where you belong," he
murmured). My "honeymoon cystitis," for which he has had me
taking antibiotics for the past three or four days, has morphed now
into one doozy of a yeast infection
- the first
I can remember ever having
- and although it doesn't
exactly hurt, it is itchy and tender as hell. (Last night in
he actually gave me a sort of "mini pelvic-exam"
is the amazing level of intimacy the two of us have achieved.
"You are very swollen," he said with doctorly concern, and then he
proceeded to advise me on how to treat it.) Anyway,
gingerly made love to me this morning, in the darkness of pre-dawn, as
songbirds and morning doves serenaded us from outside our
... when we were through, I slipped into the shower and he
up for another fifteen minutes of sleep. (He says
during those fifteen minutes he had a dream about me
that I gave him a palm tree as a birthday present.)
Last night (Thursday) was yet another lovely, intimate, silly,
pleasurable "honeymoon" evening. I can't even remember
made love before dinner or not (did we, Honey?)
His response, written in the journal:
Yes ... how soon they
frankly, it's all begun to blur together, like a movie shot with a
soft-focus lens ... the two of us, joined at the
mouth and heart, tangled in blankets
I do know that we wound up at The Chibi Chibi for dinner at
6:30. We didn't have reservations, but T. managed
shmooze us in with his usual finesse. ("See that line right
there?" he said, pointing to a blank spot in the
reservations book as the hapless maitre'd looked on in bewildered
amusement. "That's us."). We sat upstairs in the open-air
over the water, and had a fabulous dinner. I wasn't
about my Mexican Shrimp ... "sautéed in
butter and flamed in tequila" ... but T.
managed to polish them off for me (THANK YOU, T.) but the
Dijonnaise was the second-best thing I've eaten all week.
[She smiles sweetly.]
OH WAIT! I remember now ...
actually, after he
changed into his shorts, he joyously (and needlessly, frankly)
announced that he was going to have a "nice big bowel
movement." Which, apparently, he did
singing the entire time.
saved it for
but you didn't want to see it ...
We then drove to another remote, darkened part of the island (southern
tip) for more star-gazing. For some reason he seemed bound
determined that I see a shooting star on this trip: hence, the second
night of sky-watching. (At least, that's the EXCUSE he gave
me. Personally, I think he just wanted to get me
the open night air again.) We parked beside the
a romantic tape in the Sidekick's tape deck, and then stood outside for
the longest time ... mostly with him
against the car and me standing directly in front of him, leaning
against him with my head resting on his chest, his arms wrapped around
my waist ... both of us looking skyward ...
YO!! T!!!!! This
one's for YOU,
yeah yeah yeah ...
(... and yes, I finally saw a shooting star, and yes, I wound
topless again ... for several long moments I stood
the middle of the deserted Bonaire highway, letting the strong
Caribbean breeze blow through my hair and my clothes, arms
outstretched, head tipped back, while from the car behind me blasted "I
Need Your Love" ... it was another of the
personal moments of my life ... I was thinking, "This is
what 'happy' feels like" ...)
The Milky Way. We saw the Milky Way.
His response: Oh
yeah! We saw
THE MILKY WAY & stuff.
After our long night drive, we stopped in town so he could get one of
his beloved lemon sherbets or sorbets or whatever the heck they were
from the ice cream stand in "the mall" (right next to the KFC
stand). We sat on a bench overlooking the water and talked
few minutes ... I don't recall what
... our conversations, like everything else about this week,
have blurred together
into one long lovely continuous exchange.
***** NEWSFLASH *****
Just interrupted by a surprise half-hour visit with the world's
sexiest, cutest, most incredible man!!!!
(And then when Alfred The Gardener Guy left, T.
by the room for
awhile ...) hahahaha
We sat on the balcony together, where he read the last few pages I'd
written in this journal, adding a few comments of his own
... then I climbed onto his lap and we necked and giggled
couple of love-struck teenagers for a long time.
this man is the greatest, btw. He is sooooo very
I LOVE to run just the tip of my tongue back and forth across his upper
lip ... [shiver]
Anyway anyway anyway.
After we went for T.'s ice cream, we came back to the resort and (as
he put it) "contributed to the island's financial infrastructure" by
throwing away some money in the Casino's slot machines
... then went to the front office and called
home. I talked to Jamie ... it
was around 5:30
or 6:00 p.m., Seattle time ... she didn't
recognize my voice at first ("This is your MOTHER!"), and I don't know
why but it seemed to me that she sounded tense &
... like she was deliberately concealing bad news.
? I said, "You sound funny," and she said, "Well,
because you're halfway around the WORLD from me." I
walked away and tried not to listen to T.'s conversation
wife, but I couldn't help but overhear parts of it (he said "Love you
too") and it left me feeling momentarily ablaze with pure, irrational
Managed to counter it internally by reminding myself that I am the
keeper of his heart, possessor of his love, guardian of his
soul. The other stuff will be mine, in time.
You know, it's funny.
In spite of the fact that
1.) We're both married -- to OTHER PEOPLE
2.) He hasn't actually asked ...
... I still consider us more or less engaged.
Or maybe "promised" is the word ... or
It all means the same thing, anyway: someday we will belong
each other in ALL ways.
When we got back to our room for the evening, I slipped into the little
green nightgown I'd bought specifically for our first night
... and then the good Doctor C. proceeded to romantically CUT
TAGS OFF MY NECK for me. (How's THAT for foreplay??)
Actually, this was something we had discussed before the
mentioned that I had a few of them on my neck, and that I had quite
stupidly tried to "burn" them off a few weeks ago with Compound
W. He said, "I can remove them for you, if you'd like," and
although it sounded like one hell of a bizarre way to spend a Caribbean
vacation, I said OK. I don't know how many he took off
altogether - how many was it, Honey?
- but it
was more painful than I had expected, and after awhile I started crying
and begged him to please stop, which he did, finally.
This morning I have little sores all over my neck, which he says will
be gone in about a week ... but the biggest,
ugliest of the
"tags" are gone, and I'm glad I let him do it.
(Thank you, Baby.)
It was at this point in the evening's festivities that he gave me my
"mini pelvic exam," to see how swollen and sore I am. It
was .. an interesting sensation, having my lover
in this way. Not erotic, particularly, but very,
loving and natural, not at all
embarrassing. Amazing how in one week I have gone from
sheath a body I have long viewed as grotesque in as many layers of
clothing and insecurity as possible -- to
would stand topless beside the Caribbean and reach her arms to the
sky ... make love with all the lights on
eyes wide open ... or allow the man she loves to
examine the MOST private parts of herself ...
(After 39 years, she blossoms into the sexual being she always aspired
to be/occasionally pretended to be/secretly felt she could be
Of course, we concluded our evening in the usual
(Can't remember any of the "details" though, she says manipulatively)
Terri: "I LIKE you. You know
what I mean? I love you, but I also just
* T. (talking
about where we are & where we're
going in our relationship) "It's going to be a long,
Terri (pausing for a heartbeat or two): "Not
too long, please."
(gazing out to sea): "No. Not too
like talking about sex with you."
At 11:10 p.m. tonight, we will have been in each others' arms for one
Packing, a little. Not sure how I'm going to get everything
home - especially if I ever get around to buying
which at this late date is looking less & less
- but I'll manage somehow. And
yes, it's kinda
sad, getting ready for the trip home. I remember how nervous
excited I was, packing to come here. (As it turns out, I
WAY too many clothes ... I wound up wearing the
or four basic "outfits," usually shorts & a big blouse, over
over again, washing them in the kitchen sink with my $4.00 bottle of
Woolite in the afternoons ..)
My last long afternoon here in the hotel room. T. and I
around for an hour or so - putting gas into the
trying (unsuccessfully) to get it washed & to find me some
for my yeast infection - had some lunch, here at
resort - came upstairs, where he
infection with an ages-old "remedy."
yeah Oh baby
We talked a little bit about tomorrow, when we part at the airport in
Atlanta. "We'll both be crying," I ventured, but he said,
"NO. Maybe when we get to our separate terminals, but not
we're together." And then he said something that is going to
sustain me through the next
few hours/days/weeks/months/years ... he said,
be 'goodbye.' It'll be, 'See you later.' "
(ALREADY fantasizing about flying into his arms at another airport in
February or March.)
Time is passing so slowly this afternoon ... the
feel thick and swollen. This is blessing AND
curse: on the
one hand I want everything to come to a standstill
stay here in Bonaire with T. forever - on the other
it is excruciatingly painful, waiting for him to come "home" from this
last afternoon of diving. I want him in my arms right
I keep trying to write a poem, but my brain is as "thick and swollen"
as time is, this afternoon. All I can come up with is the
last stone shifts:
destination of the river, changed.
throw a rock?
(Which means that now that I've actually been with him
touched him - held him - kissed
- tasted him - made love with
"learned" him - there is no longer ANY going back
Went and took back the keys to the rental car.
had fun in that car. We must have driven over every square
of this island.)
Bought T-shirts for the kids at the Dive Shop
Mostly identical in size and color, so they can haggle over who gets
Sent postcards to the kids, Ray, Mom, Deb & T., George, Edmund
God damn it. Listening to "Lightning Crashes" again
.. Terri the Masochist ..
looked at my watch
and realized that exactly one week ago this very minute, I was just
getting on that first plane ...
(She certainly ENJOYS her PAIN, does she not?)
27,000 feet in the air, and halfway to Atlanta.
T. is sitting in the seat next to me, doing doctor stuff on his
laptop ... I am wedged against the
occasionally outside at an endless expanse of blue
clouds below, clouds above, clouds sailing alongside our
Very tired, and I still have so very far to go.
Atlanta, I take a very long flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth, and from there
finally to Sea Tac - and home. Mixed
that, which I'll go into later.
We went and walked around Kralendijk one final time, late yesterday
afternoon. Bought some Caribbean Christmas ornaments in a
little gift shop; I'm going to stash them away and save them
the first Christmas tree T. and I share. Then we
to the resort and sat on the dock behind the dive shack, watching the
sunset and "smooching" (that's how he described it just now, when I
asked him what we did after going to town).
There was a HUB farewell dinner in the evening: T. and I generally
tried to be as quietly disruptive and engrossed in each other as
possible. Sat at the dinner table and amused ourselves by
sticking little foil fish to our water glasses. (He had
lobster - I had a couple of bites, and OK, it did
completely suck - while I did battle with a plate
chicken primavera - noodles at LEAST eight feet
Came back to our room after dinner and finished packing. Had
minor argument, believe it or not: I was impatient for him to
come to bed, but he was moving in a very methodical fashion, taking his
time folding his clothes, looking through papers, scraping melted
candle wax from the hotel cutting board
... finally I
just snapped something about how I was "going to sleep," and he said
something about how he would "appreciate a little
... looking back, I think it was due more to the raw emotion
were both feeling than anything else, because it was over in a
He went around and lit a bunch of votive candles and joined me in bed
finally, with the bottle of almond oil. My favorite
moment of the evening - indeed, of the whole
- was when, during a moment of pause, he looked down at me
said, "Terri. I want you to be my
Oh god. Yes. Please. Someday
Woke up this morning around 4 a.m. and made love quietly
I watched his face above me and
his expression was one of concentration and ecstasy
to sleep briefly, then I had to get up and set our luggage outside for
pick-up - back into bed for one last
"round" - then into the shower.
Dressed and did my
hair and makeup as hurridly as possible. A button popped off
blouse at the very last minute: my luggage was gone already,
T. wound up loaning me an extra shirt he had in his
carry-on. ("That's my favorite polo shirt," he said
mournfully. "I'll bring it back to you in February," I
him. Of course, this will be AFTER I wash it with a
red towels ...)
Cried a little as we locked up the hotel room and walked, hand in hand,
through the resort one last time. T. kept saying goodbye to
songbird ... goodbye, swimming
pool ... goodbye, stinky smell"),
which had me
alternately laughing and crying.
Our flight left Bonaire @ 7:30 a.m. (We watched out
airplane window and marvelled at how much of this beautiful island we
saw this week.)
We'll be in Atlanta in ninety minutes, and then we'll have to wrangle
with Customs and baggage and crap like that, so I think I'll take
advantage of these next quiet moments and lean my head on the shoulder
of the man I love, while I still have the chance.
my way to
My flight out of Atlanta was almost an hour late, so I have no idea
what's going to happen when I get to Texas ... I
undoubtedly missed my Seattle connection ... a
like this is precisely what I do not need,
right now ...
Oh my god, Journal. Parting from him was a million times more
painful than I had thought it would be. After we went through
Customs and re-checked our baggage, we rode the same airport train we'd
ridden in a week previously: I stood there and held onto him for dear
life, never EVER wanting to let go. We went and got
pizza at the airport Domino's, but I was crying too hard to manage more
than a few bites. (I so wanted to be strong for him, but
just looking at his sad beautiful face, I came undone
said, "Terri, you're breaking my heart" ... )
When we got to my terminal, he took one look at the unsual number of
people waiting for the flight and urged me to check in
immediately. "I think your flight might be overbooked," he
said ominously. He went to his terminal to check in, and then
came back. We stood and kissed for a moment, then he
off, pulled off his backpack and laptop and put them on the floor, and
took me into his arms, long and hard and passionately. It was
exquisitely beautiful and poignant a moment as I have ever
... particularly when he whispered, "My flight is boarding
now. I've gotta go. I love you" ...
... and then
he walked away.
I watched him disappear into the crowds, and then I sat down, buried my
face in my hands, and cried my heart out.
It's over ... and yet, a piece of me knows that
actually just beginning.
It's been very interesting transcribing this journal for you
... amazing to me how "long ago" it seems to me now, when in
it's only been a couple of weeks.
We went through so much together on this trip. Such
complex "stew" of emotions and experiences and exchanges, all
compressed into one short week. It's no wonder that
taken me all this time just to get back to normal ...
... and yet I know that a part of me will never be "normal"
again - or at least, not the way I was before you
You have changed me forever.
comments/questions/spelling corrections HERE
~ nil bastardum carborundum ~