“You can call him anytime. He would drop what he was doing and help you out.” -Danny
“E.T. Phone Home”
Fiction. Based on a True Calling.
by Mingjie Zhai
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
“Girl, I would not know what to do you with myself if you had died,” Mandy said to you when she picked you up at the San Francisco bus station. You did not realize what your suicide would have meant to Mandy, or to mom, or to Maple, or to anybody else really. The other day, your sponsor said to you, “Everybody loves you, Angelie, but sometimes you forget how much you are truly loved.”
You have an inkling of how much people love you, but you do forget. Most of the time, you battle sadness and the feeling of being overwhelmed, in spite of being surrounded by Roxy’s affection, the growing team of Love Story Creatives, and your parents who prepare and make food and wash the dishes every evening, and encourages you to step up on your responsibility when it comes to making ends meet.
You forget that the man who wanted to date you, who chose you, who wanted to grow your retirement did not want to scam you or treat you like a booty call yet that voice…that parasite…those thoughts that seem like it’s coming from you but isn’t yours…those thoughts tell you that nobody is to be trusted, everybody is to let you down, and your efforts will be fruitless so just give up. That is the real battle and why you stay close to the program of recovery.
Last night, you invited Rain to your Drinker’s Den home group. The place where you were at death’s door five years ago when you had planned on drinking yourself to death and drowning in the Santa Monica ocean but instead of turning left on the freeway you had made a right turn and drifted, wandered into these rooms. Last night was your last night before heading to Europe. You told your home group that you’re off for half a year, perhaps more. Rain showed up and witnessed the birthday cake celebration of a man who took 13 years, who went back out and came back and did another 13 years of sobriety.
You miss Aaron. You shared with your home group how important it is to do the steps with a sponsor who will can help you get out of self-deception. You shared that it has to do with being spiritually sick that led us to drink rather than the drink that making us spiritually sick. That spiritual sickness came from unforgiveness. Had you forgiven Sonny, your sponsor pointed out, perhaps things would have worked out between you and Rylie, you and B, you and Aaron, but because you still had not taken the steps in making amends to your ex-husband, he still haunts you, and it shows up in the way you push these men away and make them wrong for showing interest in you. The first time Aaron blew up on you was when you made him out to be a bad man for leaving his ex-girlfriend and for choosing you over her.
You recalled the time when you were put in that position seven years ago. He called you a cunt out of anger and hurt. You had called the woman who stole Sonny’s heart a cunt out of anger and hurt. That was the end of that. You were stuck on step four. “We are chronic procrastinators is what we are…” you shared with the group.
Rain cried and was held by other women DD’s for her tears. After the meeting, women came to her and gave her their numbers. “Call if you feel like picking up,” one said to Rain. One woman came to you and asked where you are going. You said Germany. She smiled and said how much she hated Germany, yet she is blessed with a German husband. You smiled. You somehow knew that you made the right choice. You think of Rylie, the man who inspired you to take on the call to adventure there.
“You should go to Berlin and do Love Story there,” he said, whilst the two of you were walking together somewhere in the heart of Los Angeles. You remember holding hands, walking together through Pershing Square. You remember the way he put your hair strands behind your ears with kindness and tenderness. You remember his patience with you during the months he wanted to build the marketing campaign for you, you remember his steady humor, and his warmth.
You miss Rylie. You are going to Berlin because he suggested it, because your heart all along yearns for that home when a man so gentle, patient, and kind can put your stray hair strands behind your ears again, and gently kiss you, the way Sonny used to kiss you, talk to you, hold you, make love to you.
You left a message to Aaron despite his request for no contact, the same way Rylie requested no contact, the same way Sonny requested no contact.
“Thank you for choosing me over the organization,” you texted him. “Sorry I made it nearly impossible for you to date me. I feared you were treating me like some kind of booty call and I feared you were just wanting to scam me out of my retirement money but I know in my heart of hearts that you were falling in love with me too and that you sincerely thought you could grow the losses I had incurred the last two years and grow it three times…my fears took over my faith and I took action whilst in fear. I’m sorry.”
You remember the feeling of his holding you, his wanting you to stay by his side, his holding his hands out to God singing next to you, at your home church that you’ve been attending for three years in Los Angeles now. He finally came, your Christian man, with golden curls, a singing voice, and financially savvy a lover, friend, a tall man who told you that you fit in perfectly with him when you snuggled in his arms. The one with the long golden brown curls who told you to stay, who looks at you intently and listens to you intensely and forgives.
You remember the first time you fell in love with him. He was singing, riffing on his guitar, one Sunday morning, the sun rays glowed on his back, his golden curls moving with the tension of his sculpted back. He looked like a Greek god and his crooning reminded you of how your dad used to sing when he was younger–it came from a place of deep, restrained pain, mixed with hope. He sang for you that morning because he felt really bad that you were hurting. He did not know how to express the self-loathing he had when he knew how much he had hurt you in his simple request that the two of you were going too fast, so you took the plan B. He was surprised at how much it had hurt him that it had hurt you. So he sang, “I’m sorry, every single day, I think about how we came all this way…I’m sorry I’m bad, I’m sorry your blue, I’m sorry for all the things I said to you…”
Perhaps, you think in retrospect, he was singing that song to the woman he misses and perhaps the song could be for the man you miss. And in that acknowledgement of mutual longing, regret, and shared pain, recovery, and space, you started falling for him. There, you have compassion for the woman who stole Sonny’s heart. Perhaps Sonny had stolen the other woman’s heart first.
“Your ex-husband had chosen a woman,” your sponsor told you. Surprisingly, it did not sting. Instead, it rung with the truth now that you are becoming one too. “It is not your right to tell him who to choose,” your sponsor told you at the coffee shop where you had written your letters of amends to Sonny. The first time you met her there, you were in tears and depressed. You had taken another Plan B that you said you would never take again…not at 35. Aaron said you would ruin his life and you acknowledged this to be true–perhaps there is hope between he and his on and off again girl. What would you have wanted if you could rewind the clock eight years back? You would have wanted the other woman to stay out of the way whilst you and Sonny were on and off again, working things through, despite your constantly telling him that you wanted a divorce, despite you shaming him, emotionally abusing him, telling him that you felt trapped by him, and hating him. You felt suffocated. He still stayed and this made you respect him less. He could see that his sense of self was beginning to peel away as you continued projecting all your unresolved childhood wounds onto him. It was blame, shame, and guilting –those were the tools of control and the tools you knew worked to diminish, belittle, and disarm the other as it had worked on you for so long growing up.
The shadows that show up.
You call your soul sister in moments of deep panic. Mandy listens. She tells you the same thing because it’s the same pattern. “You need to calm down. Redirect all that energy, that mania, into something else. I know it’s impulsive, but you can redirect it.”
You remember your roommate who once read your heartfelt angry and emotional letters to Green Eyes. He had suggested something similar, “You should really write a book or start a blog so people can read it. Write a novel or something.”
“Journal about it but don’t send it to him,” Mandy advised.
You realize that all the stories of men abusing you, neglecting you, using you were part of some ptsd that stemmed from something that happened early on in childhood. Perhaps, the memories are beginning to become slowly unblocked so you can see from a different perspective and forgive. You know that it’s all on God’s time.
What you know is that you have people in your life who show up.
Aaron showed up but you requested space and distance.
Sonny showed up but you requested a divorce and a green card to travel the world without him holding you back.
Rylie showed up but you requested him to move on since you must move out of Los Angeles after nearly 30 years of being here just while he was beginning to settle down here.
“This is your home. Stay,” Aaron said to you a month back.
“So when are you moving in?” Aaron once said.
“I love you too,” Aaron once said.
You told Aaron that you had to first slay the dragon. You had to face the inner wounded child and see what’s ailing her. You’ve been procrastinating on showing up with compassion for the wounded girl inside. You know that you could no longer afford to half ass your recovery program. Time is up. It is life and death for the unborn child you know you are destined to give birth to.
This child of yours is saying, “Mommy, when can I see you?”
When Mommy first heals her inner girl, then perhaps she can show up.
When Mommy heals her inner girl, then she will accept, respect, and honor the men who fall for her.
When Mommy heals her inner girl, then she can trust again.
She can lean more on faith than on her fears and take actions whilst in faith.
Mommy will see you when she grows to love herself again.
Soon, baby child, soon.
It’s a funny mystery isn’t it?
It’s time to answer the call.