a funny thing happened on the way to the podium

I’m going to start this by saying that I have found my tribe. These people are fucking incredible. My faculty mentor is such a chill older fella who I just know is going to help me move this thing forward. He’s already been reading the massive collection of pages that I sent him and has told me that there’s some really good stuff there. Rough, but good.

Tonight I’ll be working on putting together my reading list and writing a short synopsis for him of the major events and players in my memoir. I was going to go to the Talent Show after dinner and do a short little demo of something I frequently do at work. However, a funny thing really did happen on the way to the podium this morning.

Today was the first batch of (entirely optional) student readings. I signed up. I was going to read the piece I started yesterday about Lancelot. At this point it only exists on my computer, I haven’t printed a copy. So I’m walking my happy little ass up to the podium, carrying my laptop, nervous as all fuck.

And didn’t notice the small riser next to it for my vertically challenged friends.

In my defense I did not entirely go down. I think it would have been better if I had. Instead I managed to nick the top of my right foot, catch the laptop, mostly catch myself with my left side, and come up like an old Chevy Chase SNL skit.

I totally meant to do that, and yes I’m fine.

Shortly after lunch it hit me that I am NOT actually fine. My muscles, most of them actually, hurt like I’ve been on the receiving end of a massage administered by a grumpy Silver Back Gorilla.

I’ve taken Tylenol, twice, and I hit the lodge’s hot tub for a bit. The rest of my night will be spent wearing Lancelot’s t-shirt and working in my room while pleasant music soothes my weary soul.

I still have no idea where, if anywhere, this writing is going to end up. It’s not exactly like the things I normally write that I don’t write here. But since I shared the start I feel like I should share what I read today. Like a boss.

The sadness of having to go home on Sunday afternoons could typically be mitigated by recalling time I had spent with Lancelot on Saturday afternoon, cuddling in a blanket fort. His gray whiskers tickled with every delicate kiss. Punctuated with smiles, those beaming, glowing, face-splitting smiles that started with his lips and spread instantly to his brilliant blue eyes. Kissing Lancelot was like being allowed unlimited access to every feel-good drug known to man, and not having any side effects. His grizzly bear outer wrapping was a clever ruse. Inside he was gentle, sensitive, and kind. I have never known a kinder being trapped in a broken container. But his brokenness complimented my own and together it felt like perhaps we would figure out how to make a single cohesive image.

At 42 years old, with three divorces under my belt, I had long since given up on the idea of love let alone the practice of it. My body, barely medically female any longer and yet still feminine, covered in ink and massive scars. I had removed all of the unnecessary physical encumbrances I no longer needed, skin and tissue and organs that served no purpose. Who needs a uterus when no child will ever issue forth from it? My own body as broken as the brain meant to crown it.

Our first date was breakfast, Crème Brulee waffles on a hot August morning. I completely missed the turn to get to his apartment, my misplaced self-assurance that I knew where I was going. Do any of us know where we’re going? Hell no. But I got my waffle that morning, golden and crisp and covered in pudding, fruit, and whipped cream. I also got my first visit to the blanket fort that morning.

Lancelot is the most beautiful soul I’ve ever met. His eyes are startling blue and hide behind long, thick black lashes. His face is hidden in whiskers, long, gray and white, and soft. Lancelot is tall as a redwood and every bit as sturdy but yet delicate as a violet, hidden in tall grass, vulnerable still. When he hugs me I’m pulled in to the warm open cavern of his love and nothing beyond us holds meaning.

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