It occurred to me today that I am as a delicate flower being nurtured and cared for by Carol.
I flounder around trying to make sense of my life, trying to re-direct my life down the road less traveled, which is dimly visible far off in some almost unattainable distance.
I get angry, I get depressed, happiness occasionally seeps in only to be immediately replaced by anxiety.
I rant, I rave, I ponder, I despair.
Above all I waste time. Waste life.
And then there's Carol.
Always attentive. Taking care of the big things, taking care of the little things. Making me feel loved and a little safer in this cruel, soul-crushing world.
Waiting for me to unmask my own reality so she can finally exhale.
Imagine what her world would be like if I achieved true Joe-ness.
She knows the real man inside the confused one. She knows that I could be happy if I made the right moves.
I am not saying she is dependent on me in any way. She is a strong, intelligent and focused individual who creates her own happiness.
But...................imagine how much smoother her life would be if she didn't have to wonder which Joe would come home at night.
Whiskey Joe or Determined Joe.
Imagine how her happiness could, maybe, multiply exponentially if it were met head on by my own.
At present, that is only a hypothesis.
My mother called me a late bloomer. I cannot even guess how many times I have mentioned that in these pages.
That is because those words sometimes piss me off. I sometimes despise thinking about those words. They insult me.
Sometimes they fire me up.
Maybe there is truth in those words. Maybe she knew me better than I know myself.
Now Carol waits. Maybe. I hope she hasn't given up on me.
Last Saturday, at lunch with my aunt Dina and my brother Eddie, the discussion got around to life or happiness or something.
Carol said: "My life has not turned out the way I thought it would, but I am still happy."
Those words were a sledgehammer to my face. Not because she intended it that way; because of the way I interpreted them.
I have to be, at least in part, on the disappointment side of her happiness ledger.
Not entirely. We enjoy a lot of happiness together.
But I certainly did not turn out to be the raging success she might have imagined me to be at the tender age of 24.
It is a heavy duty realization to think you might have reduced the happiness in the life of someone you love through your own weaknesses.
Happiness is precious. It is right up there with love.
Still, Carol takes care of me. She shows me her love in big ways, she shows me her love in small ways, she is always here and always attentive.
Still, she waits.