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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Please to Forgive

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Stephanie

She loved the sea.

Wednesday, November 29 2017
Michael David Crawford

Copyright © Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

I'm seeing a new therapist; her first name is Elena. I don't remember her last name but she prefers to go by her first. She's with Seamar in East Vancouver.

During yesterday's session Elena told me how pleased she was at all the progress I had made during our brief time together - I've seen her only eight times so far.

I spoke of a lover I once had. Her name was Stephanie. We became friends in a psych ward in Burlingame, but there in the ward I was getting romantic with a completely different woman who was married but wanted to divorce her husband.

A few weeks after my discharge I called the married woman, who gave me the bad news that she had reconciled with her husband. I still have her card; I plan to call her up someday to share the news I relate at the end of this essay. I've had that card for six years but I have yet to call. That discussion would be hard for me.

Stephanie and I fell in love during a day-long date when I took her to the Exploratorium in San Francisco: the best science museum that walks the Earth. There is a walk-in kaleidoscope. It is composed of three large mirrors facing inward in a triangle. You enter by ducking under the bottom edge of one of the mirrors then standing up inside.

That kaleidoscope was the only reason I took Stephanie to the Exploratorium. When we were both inside and we both saw reflections of ourselves going off into infinity, I kissed her.

She kissed back! A boy like me doesn't get that kind of attention very often.

Get this:

I've done that twice: sneaking a kiss inside that walk-in kaleidoscope. :-)

Stephanie and I became lovers at the end of that day but later I learned the hard way that she wanted a lover and not a boyfriend. Twice during phone calls she shouted "I AM NOT YOUR FUCKING GIRLFRIEND!" then hung up on me.

There was a long heartbreaking time during which I did not understand the distinction between girlfriends and lovers. I no longer want a lover: it is just too painful. I would rather wander the desert wearing a hair shirt than be some woman's lover ever again.

Elena is very Russian. I want you to imagine someone saying the following with a thick Russian accent:

"I am glad that you are copulating."

Well I'm not. Not these days although I hope to be sometime soon. I must not have made clear to Elena that I was with Stephanie in 2010.

She was five years older than me. I tried to visit Stephanie in 2013 but to my even greater dismay her neighbor told me that she died of a heart attack just a few months before. He said she was cremated by the Neptune Society - they provide free cremation to low-income people - then her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

She loved the sea.

They did the right thing to scatter her ashes in it but that left me with nowhere to go to pay my respects, and to remember.

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