Christmas without Beth

I’ve been staring at the above title line, off and on, for the last four hours. All the while, I’ve finally been putting up (on December 28th) the artificial Christmas tree that Beth and I would trim each year for the last fifteen or so years. Oh, well, what the Hell. Time to begin.

Actually, the Christmas season itself was good. St. Andrew’s in El Segundo, CA, where I serve the Divine Liturgy as a singer, had a full set of Vespers for each Saturday during the Nativity Fast (15 November through 24 December). Alas, I don’t think I made any of those. By Saturday afternoon each time, I got elaborately drunk, and thought it best not to try driving over from my home in San Pedro. But on Sundays, choir and congregation would weekly sing a stanza of the Akathist to St. Nicholas, and so I managed to make some progress. Not much, though.

I finally figured out what was causing the problem on Saturdays. I would go over to Ride to Fly to volunteer there, in order to help the group for whom Beth had become a riding instructor. And there, I would have the strange vertigo which comes from feeling her presence, and yet having her physically absent. The result was so painful that I had to self medicate. As I generally don’t like or see doctors, and I don’t like pills or pot, beer and wine were and remain my drugs of choice. I have at least learned (generally) to avoid hard liquor: the consequences are even more painful than the reason for self-medication. Read the rest of this entry »