Nick took me to see Crazy Heart last week. It was a weekday matinee, the only time I'll go to a movie. I like the empty theater at a midweek midday matinee. Nick and I usually talk politics, but for some reason neither of us had much to say. Politics is making me sad these days. I feel very sorry for our President. The country is weary. War weary, sad and losing heart along with the good job and the new house. No one can afford to get sick. Even if you have insurance, you can't afford to use it. I'm almost afraid to talk politics for fear I'll just breakdown in tears. I was in the mood for a good movie, a distraction from one reality to take me into another reality.
But Crazy Heart took me into the one of the saddest failures of my life; it took me back to the days of living with and loving Tom. When I first met him, when we were teenage kids, he was just learning to play the bass. He was into Jazz then. But when we got together in midlife, after our divorces, he was playing Country/Western music which I didn't entirely appreciate since I was still into Jazz. When I first knew him he played an acoustic bass. When we were in midlife, he was playing electric bass and guitar. I'm not a big fan of amplified, electrified instruments. But I fell hard again for Tom and since I had run from him the first go round when we were kids, I maintained in midlife that I didn't want to be a couple, I just wanted us to have fun. But when you've always been in love with the man and he gives you the key to his house, it's hard not to become a couple.
When the band he was playing in rehearsed, they did it mostly at Tom's house and I was there. I don't know why so many musicians are hard drinkers, which seems to lead them into all sorts of other bad behavior, but in the bands Tom played with, that seemed to be pretty universal.
Tom's two youngest children were age four and six. They were lovely kids and I did enjoy their visits when it was his turn to have them. And because Tom always had gigs during the holidays and on New Years Eve it was I who took care of making Christmas away from their mother and their real home as much like a real Christmas as possible, with a tree and shopping trips and presents under the tree and hot chocolate and popcorn at night watching a rented movie. I was home with them when he was gone every night playing in some honkytonk or toilet in BFE. And I quickly grew to love his kids. And I grew to see him as a neglectful and insensitive father. He became a man who drank too much almost all the time. I know he had his reasons. I know they all did.
And in truth, I was much too crazy to really work out the other problems in our life together. I knew the root cause of my craziness, but Tom didn't want to hear about it, wanted me to get over it and move on without having to talk about it and the way the present reminded me of the past.
Crazy Heart reminded me of the past and the only man I really ever tried to love. Crazy Heart was a little too close to home, a little too real. And near the end of the movie I wanted to get up and run. I wanted to flee my past again, like I did when things got too bad with Tom. I used to decide in an instant that I couldn't take it anymore and throw all my things in garbage bags and leave without a word. The only real sound I made was when my tires were squealing out of the driveway and I was headed down the canyon road away from Tom and his insensitivity to my needs.
So when the movie ended I was ready to cut and run; before the credits even rolled I was trying to exit the darkened theater as fast as I could and I fell in the dark, hard. I didn't really hurt myself, but it all hurt, and I couldn't hold back the tears. And even now, even all this time later, I still can't think of Tom without getting a lump in my throat and fighting back tears.
And Now A Word From Uncle Tom’s Log Cabin Club
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