Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Redux

Imagine George and Martha on Medicare.  George has been to rehab, and Martha takes Xanax.  They have finally decided to call it quits, both feeling quite pummeled and worn out.

Naturally they cannot agree on how to divvy things up, so each hires someone to represent them.   Lest they verbally shred each other over the first edition of William Blake's Illustrations of the Book of Job and George's pension from the college.

Since we were introduced to them for such a brief time previously, we didn't realize they actually had a family, who had gone forth and multiplied, as progeny do.  So of course, this means others are involved in this severing of their strange alliance.

At least they both agree the "others" as they often called them should not be dragged into the milieu.  So, when one of them called, George or Martha would simply say they were enjoying retirement so much they didn't have time for visits.

Actually they did try to spend their "golden years" doing some traveling.  But they couldn't agree on where to go.  Martha dragged George to some small Oceanside town where the wind blew constantly and the rain came down sideways.  They were deluged with water.  George hated it.

George then convinced Martha to try one of the Retirement places in the desert where everyone had fun all the time.  The sun was warm and the swimming pools pleasant, except during Spring Break when every one's grand kids came to visit.

Having developed a taste for out door hiking, George got up early and covered miles of trails edged by flowers that hid the rattle snakes and tarantulas.  Martha, of course, didn't like to hike, so she read books by the pool with the q-tips (as she called the ancient, skinny grey-haired women).  The cabana boy was a distraction, but he was so shallow.

George agreed there were too many old people there, so they moved to Sedona, a small artsy town surrounded by stunning red rocky cliffs.  It was the location of several vortexes, which appealed to Marth's new-agy interests of late.
They rented a place on Oak Creek in the canyon about 3 miles from town.  The house was perched on the edge of a creek, so the sound of the fast moving water over the rocks permeated the whole place.  It was glorious.  George joined a hiking group and Martha sat on the rocks in the creek and contemplated her life.

Then the tourists came:  4 million of them!  Kids and babies in diapers and dogs splashing in Martha's creek.  The privacy and serenity of the place was shattered.  Besides the sun shone in the gorge fewer hours than in town.  Then came the monsoons and the javelinas.

George was fit and happy hiking with his new friends, which included a young woman who ran a taco stand in town  His eyes sparkled again.  Nonetheless, it was always Martha who finagled what the next move would be.

The last straw for her was when the neighbor warned of the cougar who was seen on the trail not far from their place.  Martha couldn't remember if wearing bells kept cougars away ... or was it bears?

They moved back "home" and bought a different house, realizing that traveling didn't work out so well.  George, now fit and feeling the best he had in years, was going to try his hand at growing roses.  In no time, he was in the local chapter of the Rose Society, and even completed the grueling Master Gardener class.

Martha got in touch with her softer side by getting a rabbit.  Such adorable little things they were.  Cuddly and quiet.  Her choice was a Jersey Wooly, who was a registered show bunny, of course.  He even had the tattoo in his soft, tender little ear.  His name was Rochester.  She promptly changed it to Benson and adored him.

But alas ... an unusually cold and wet spell left George's roses covered with black spot.  And soon afterwards, Benson died, leaving Martha bereft.  At last she knew what it meant to have a soul mate, and he had been ripped from her bosom.  The pain was too much to bear.

So ... nearly half a century of life together was ending in the same manner it started.

Finally the trauma of it ceased and they agreed how to divide the spoils of their life together.  George headed back to where it was warm where he could hike with interesting people.  Oddly enough, he never did find Martha interesting, but was too caught up in his busy life to realize that until now.

Martha retreated to a special little town she found on the stunning Oregon Coast, and found peace and serenity at last with the constant pounding of the waves.  The sunsets, the calmness of the evenings, the freshness of the beach in the morning when she and the sand pipers were the first ones to leave their footprints on the sand.

The one redeeming thing George and Martha did was to act with civility in the company of the "others."  At the Annual Family Thanksgiving Gathering, they would each take their places at the table in the special vacation spot they rented for the occasion.  Good food, animated conversations, and much laughing would fill the room.

George and Martha stood outside and waved good-bye to the "others" as they took off, in a cloud of dust, and returned to their busy, active lives.

Then George and Martha climbed into their separate cars and drove away . . . returning  to what was left of theirs.

1 comment:

  1. the picture of sedona is my copyrighted work and used without permission.