From the Ashes

First off, let me appologize for my lack of writing the last couple of months. Summer was hellish, and while fall so far has been diffuclt it has not been nearly as insurmountable. I have multiple drafts that I have started that I hope to post in the next week or so.. so pardon the spam. There is much that has transpired, and I’m sure much to come.

I’m currently sitting in Wicked Grounds, enjoying my pre-BaGG ritual. Come to the city, get noms, curl up, social, get pretty and go to BaGG. In the middle of that there is usually dueling with James, some banter, and my dear friends and Daddy appearing and joining in the fun.

As is typical, James and I show up first. I no longer have the option of spending long afternoons here on Wednesday.. I have a big girl job now, and typically show up around 5:30. James, depending on his work shift, typcially beats me. Today he looks more frayed around the edges than in days passed…and I am protective.

James just got back into his home on Sunday. The fires that have been raging through Napa and Sonoma county forced him and his family to evacuate. For nearly a week he lived in a shelter, went to work, and dealt with the world asking him how he was, how he was doing, if he was alright. So. I did the opposite. I did my plug of ‘you know if you need anything, I’m here’, got growled at, and promptly challenged him to a duel.

He kicked my ass, as he always does. He also smiled.

Caring for someone like James has never been easy.. it likely never will be. It is especially difficult to be close to him when he’s having a hard time of it. James under more stress than his normal overly-full-I-sleep-twice-a-week-dear-godde-how-do-I-still-function plate results in him practically foaming at the mouth, and while everyone else he can act for he long since stopped performing with me. I get the growls and snaps he can’t let loose on anyone else. It’s not healthy..but I’ve learned how to navigate and diffuse him so that he doesn’t snap at others, to the point where when he has a cranky night during a citadel event I get shoved into the back room first to do what I can before anyone else will come hang out.

It’s..hard. Because I can tell he’s going through hell. He will drop hints of it. That things are more right than wrong, but he’s not up to telling stories and I’m not asking. I’ve been trying to make things as normal as possible… but. Oww. Just. Oww.

I can see it wearing on Ryan. When James is backed into a corner he boarders on cruelty, and Ryan is my Daddy. My protective, wonderful, loving and kind Daddy that knows how to communicate, how to express his feelings and how not to take it out on others. There are times lately where I wished James had someone else. That I wasn’t his emergency everything that he never acknowledges but knows is there when shit hits the fan. But. He doesn’t. And so I try to take care of myself while doing as James asks and not more.

I keep thinking about Napa. About walks around the green college and curling up together on a bench in the park. About the wooded drive to James’s front door, the discussions years ago about going stargazing and laying in the back of Vera, James’s old truck, and telling stories of everything and nothing. Bringing hot cocoa because James doesn’t like coffee and cookies of the chocolate variety, because they are his favorite. I think about missing his driveway every other time because it’s so secluded and hidden away. About every time I’ve dropped James off since Vera died, climbing out of the car to get the parts for his chair and gazing up at the stars filling the Napa sky. My heart breaks.

I don’t know what that sky looks like right now. I know there are stars, but are they visible to the people that have lost so much? I don’t know what of the farm is still left other than the house itself. There were animals that they couldn’t take to the shelter. There were crops. Now there’s smoke and fumes.

James has an event on Friday that I drove him to last year, when I had the ability to take days off whenever I wanted.  I work a 9-5 now, and he needs to be there Friday morning. So, I’ll be waking up at the asscrack of dawn, driving to Napa, then driving on another two hours to deliver James to his final destination before driving back and trying to make it to work at 9 a.m…and then working for eight hours. Why?

Four years ago, almost five, my aunt passed away.  She was the glue holding my family together and on the list of people in my head that were never allowed to die. Ever. And she did. Cancer. My mother and I had to watch it eat at her, and it was horrible. We couldn’t stop it. Couldn’t help. We just watched the most precious person in both our lives slip away.  

About two days later I was still home. The wake was the next day and I was in a fog. I came down the stairs from my childhood bedroom to find my mother sitting on the kitchen floor, staring at the oven. I asked her what she was doing, and she replied matter of factly that she was making a soufflé. It’s something she had never done before. She decided today was the day and was watching it rise. 

I didn’t understand it then. But. Now? Making a soufflé was what she could do in that moment.  So. She did.  

James is a beast right now. The Dragon is loose and beyond my taming abilities. He bites. He snarls. I can not make things better.  

But I can give him a ride. 

I can’t put the fires out. But I can dust off a small section of ash. 

Yours, still standing 

-Rene

 

 

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