Broken Heart

A Christmas cactus in bloom sitting on a window sill.2017 began on a beautiful note. I saw my beloved granddaughter Jan 2, (whom I hardly ever get to see) who is happy and excited after completing her first quarter as a freshman in college. Seeing her is the greatest joy.

Our furnace broke down on Dec. 29, so we had to use a portable heater until the issue was resolved. After a few days, checking this, checking that, it was determined that it was more economical to replace the furnace than to repair it.

I live in a flat. (In San Francisco.) This is an old house (prob built around 1900, if not earlier) converted into two units. This house survived the 1906 earthquake. (Hell, I’ll bet it once had beautiful Victorian era windows, wood framed, not these modern, vinyl framed, banal things. Bet they’re from Lowe’s.) The guy who owns this house lives

Banal modern double pane window.

Our windows look like this. Banal, double-pane windows. Ugh. Bet this house built in late 19th, early 20th century once had more interesting Victorian era windows.

upstairs. A friend of my son’s, actually.  (I live downstairs with my son. He doesn’t live with me, I live with him. I wish he’d buy his unit. I’m sure his friend would be cool with that. But that’s not my call, darn it.)

It’s the coldest winter we’ve had in a few years. Naturally, the winter our furnace gives out. Our cold weather isn’t severe, like sleet, ice, or snow. But it’s brrr cold. On the third night with no furnace, I couldn’t sleep. I wore two sets of jammies, sweatpants, my warm bathrobe, a scarf, double socks, and was wrapped in a Snuggie under my blankets. (I, personally, would never buy a Snuggie. I think they’re silly. My son won it in a raffle. They are warm and soft, I must say.) Still, my nose felt like an ice cube, and I shivered. Next day, I added leggings and a thermal shirt to my night wear. That helped some. I kept the portable heater on overnight, in the room where Isabel sleeps, because I did not want her to shiver in her crate. Her little feet felt like ice cubes. Better I shiver than she, my precious little gremlin.

Chihuahua mix looking into the camera, looking a bit worried.

Isabel, aka Belly. Chihuahua mix. My precious little gremlin.

A new furnace was installed on January 3. I’m privileged to be warm and cozy and safe.

Unfortunately, last year ended on a scary note. I guess I’ve had my heart broken so often, by love, by life, and sometimes by my own self, that it’s physically damaged now. I said to my son, “Figures, I’d have a broken heart.”

I made an appointment to see my doctor a couple days before Christmas, not feeling well. She was not in (probably vacationing in the Bahamas), but I saw an NP (nurse practitioner). She had the nurse assistant do an EKG. It registered abnormal. The NP had me take a blood test. It was negative for enzymes that would’ve been very bad news. That was a relief. She ordered a stress test, which I took on Dec. 30. Bad news. My heart is misfiring. An echo shows, whatever that means. She referred me to a cardiologist. I haven’t been yet, but that’s coming up.

I’m too afraid to look this shit up on the net. I’m taking it a step at a time. I’ll let the cardiologist give me the bad news, explain what the fuck is going on. I’m terrified and sad.

At the end of November, I learned of a writing fellowship I’d love to apply for. I was going to scramble and apply right away before the Dec. 3 deadline, but I decided to wait until the following year (this year), to give myself a chance to feel prepared. I’m a bit agoraphobic, and I have a fear of finding my way to new places, whatever that phobia is called. I’d have to commute to the University, in a different city. I hardly know much of San Francisco, after living here ten years. I only go where I need to go, that’s it. I don’t explore. Too much anxiety and fear of unfamiliar territory. It’s sad, and embarrassing. People don’t understand. My children don’t understand. “Why are you afraid?” Hell, I don’t know. Cuz I’m phobic.

I have to find my way to CalTrains (which I’ve learned is virtually around the corner), and I have to figure out how it works (I’ve never used it), and I have to find the courage to board it and travel to the University. All these things are easy peasy for the average person. For me, it’s overwhelming. Once I do it, the fear will dissipate. This, I know. The first step is the hardest.

I’ve struggled my whole life with varies phobias. Some, I’ve gotten over. Like riding escalators. Was a time I couldn’t do it. I’d ask strangers if I could hold onto their arm, if I had no choice but to use one. That was so embarrassing. They were always chivalrous and kind. I was young and cute. I guess that helped. I was 37 when I finally conquered that fear. I used to be terrified of dogs. Now, I love them. Very much.

I hope this heart problem doesn’t prevent me from applying for the fellowship. I’m so scared. I want to live many more years. There’s still much more I want to do: be published, conquer more phobias, and I’d love to teach creative writing. If I got this fellowship, it would do so much for me. I’d achieve dreams deferred.

My life’s been a rough ride. I’m still thankful, though. I learn, I grow. I think I romanticized the suffering, starving artist. Surely, that impacted my life too. I’ve had enough of that. I hold on to hope. I’m praying. I do know, what is meant to be, will be; que será, será.


About Poet Dressed In Black

Poet. Artist. Grammy of one, a granddaughter. Mom of three, son and two daughters, all grown. Individualist. Care-taker of Isabel, an agoraphobic, fear-aggressive, very nervous, delicate flower, Chihuahua mix.
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