(I'm not a musician.) I was taught as a child that I must not 'blow my own trumpet' as in talking about myself – especially not to say anything good about myself. I was also taught that much of what I could say about myself was nonsense and I needn't expect anyone to believe it. If I myself believed it, I must be insane. If not, I was obviously a liar. Telling my story, therefore, became a very confronting task. I am now in my late seventies, as I begin this blog, and it is only a preparation – things I write on the way to writing the memoir. Nevertheless, everything posted here is copyright and must not be reproduced without written permission from the author (usually me).

Monday, 29 May 2017

Romance!

Predictions

Peter, the Tarot reader, wasn't the only one to foresee a new romance for me. My Reiki Master, Ann, was a seer. At one of her seminars, while we were on a lunch break, she suddenly got a flash and said, 'Oh! Nice man coming for Rosemary soon.' That was exciting, but there were no details.

The Tarot Student

Katherine and Peter broke up. Katherine, heavily pregnant with the babe who was to become my fourth god-daughter, Jasmine, kept the shop going. With even more learning and practice under my belt, I advertised Tarot classes of my own there, and conducted several, each consisting of a number of weekly sessions. 

One class attracted only one student, but I told him I was happy to run a class of one. Max was tall and rangy, a few years younger than me. He was doing outdoor work of some kind (I forget what) so he was fit-looking with nice lean muscles, not the horrible 'Mr Universe' kind. He was basically a hippy in his attitude to the natural world and living free, but he was starting to adopt a more materialistic point of view. He said he wanted a comfortable old age, and was looking to marry a rich business-woman. He meant it too, and we both knew I didn't fit the bill.

We enjoyed the lessons, and fell into an easy friendship. Knowledgable and experienced in things esoteric, he was basically a very nice bloke. We really liked each other. In the course of the lessons we opened up a lot about our personal histories, finding it easy to confide in each other.

He had an intriguing black-and-white Tarot deck I'd not seen before, the Hermetic Tarot. One day he came to class and presented me with my own copy. He said he had been driving past a little Tarot shop he knew, when suddenly was impelled to pull over and go into the shop. Like me, he was in the habit of following his intuitive guidance. He didn't know what he was looking for, so browsed the shelves until this copy of the Hermetic Tarot practically jumped out and hit him in the face. 

He thought, ‘But I’ve already got that one.’ A voice said into his mind, ‘These are for Rosemary.’

He thought, ‘Why would I buy Rosemary a Tarot deck?’ 

Perhaps he’d misunderstood? He put the cards to his forehead, his personal method of checking the accuracy of his messages, and tuned in. The voice repeated, more firmly and somewhat testily, ‘These are ROSEMARY’S cards,’ So he obeyed.

I’d been using the Thoth deck for a few years, but it was starting to feel a bit tired and stale, which can happen when you use the same deck constantly over a long period. I gave it some Reiki, told it to have a good rest, wrapped it in its silk scarf and put it away in its velveteen bag. Then I started using the Hermetic Tarot, which looked very different but interpreted the cards in a similar way. I found it great to use, and it became my professional deck for a long time.

Max and I sort of knew we were attracted to each other, but we were tentative. In particular, I was. He did start to indicate his interest, in ways that left me free to respond accordingly or not – such as finding an excuse to rip his shirt off one day and display his very desirable torso. It was just the kind of body I liked, but I was as awkward as a teenager when it came to the dating game – I’d been married 27 years – so I addressed whatever the excuse was, and he put his shirt on again. I went home to think about my options. For one thing, while I was sure this would be a very nice affair indeed, I was not what he was looking for long-term and I didn't want to risk getting my heart broken again. 

Then something else that was playing out took a turn which interrupted these developments anyway.

Master Connections

After getting settled in my new life, I found I missed the Andronicus Foundation meditation group. While Reiki was a spiritual path too, it was a different kind of practice. I had done Jenette's six-week 'Master Connections', the post-graduate course of The Master Game, and that had filled the gap for a while. It included meditation, exercises to develop our spiritual / energetic muscles, and connecting to high-level other-dimensional beings for wisdom and guidance. 

The Reiki Master training and Jenette's courses between them further enhanced my psychic abilities, such as clairvoyance. I remember one Master Connections session when Jenette channelled a magnificent extra-terrestrial. I know he was magnificent, because I saw him with my physical eyes, as if superimposed on her. I used to send Jenette a zap of Reiki across the room, invisibly, to support her when she was channelling, as she had requested from me when I signed up. This time, just as I did so, this being appeared, looked me straight in the eyes and intentionally flashed a zap straight back to me, in a way that I could recognise. It was a private exchange; what he spoke through her included no reference to it.

When I told Jenette later, she said, 'That proves it wasn't me. I wouldn't have a clue how to send Reiki across a room.' She hadn't even learned Reiki at that point, though she did seek out a teacher several years later.

So, missing the meditation group, I asked her if I could perhaps attend further Master Connections sessions. She said, 'You never had to leave! I ask people to commit to six weeks as a minimum.' 

Andrew

When I resumed attending, there were various people I already knew among both participants and assistants; and it was the night of a new intake of people from the latest Master Game, which had recently finished. We sat around the walls of a big carpeted room, on cushions. We would share around the circle what had been going on in our lives the past week, before moving on to our other activities. 

One of the new people was a little white-haired bloke called Andrew. (I feel I should give a trumpet-blast here, but neither he nor I heard any at that point.)

Andrew's recollection afterwards was that I sat in the corner and said nothing – which surprised me as I thought I was quite vocal. As for him, I was thoroughly put off one night when he shared that an ex-girlfriend had phoned and invited him to dinner. Half lying back on his cushion, with one open shirt button revealing his fat little tummy and hairy navel, he punched the air and crowed, 'I got laid!'

'Ewww!' I thought. 'How gross!'

Jenette explained to those of us who hadn't been through The Master Game with him that a little while ago he had broken up with this lady, whom he was very keen on. So I guessed I could understand his jubilation. But two weeks later he reported that she'd called it off again. 

One evening at supper he came up to me and said abruptly, 'I hear you're a poet. I'm doing a course. Could give me some - er - tips or something?' 

I went straight into ego, and thought (but didn't say), 'Don't you know I get PAID for that?' Out loud I muttered something dismissive and he turned away. Jenette caught this exchange. When she hugged me goodbye a little later, she whispered in my ear, 

'He needs a counter-balance to the dry, factual journalism he's been writing. He needs to get more into his heart.' 

Then I felt remorseful, so the following week I took some books and magazines to lend him, and invited him to phone me if anything needed clarifying. He seemed pleasantly surprised. 

One night a few people couldn't come, so the seating was re-arranged to make a smaller circle. I was across from Andrew. I had some good news to share that night and was quite animated. He told me much later that he thought, ‘Oh, she's quite pretty. I should ask her out. At least we've got writing in common.' But when Jennie told me that an Andrew Wade had called while I was out, I assumed he wanted to ask me something about poetry. I was very surprised when I phoned back, to hear, 'I was wondering if you'd like to go out to dinner tomorrow night?'

By this time I had decided that it would be ages before I'd be ready to go out on a date, even in the unlikely event that anyone should ask me. And I resolved that if another relationship ever did happen, I would not move in with the man but keep my independence. As for marriage, forget it. I'd done it twice and it hadn't worked out. Never  again! So, at Andrew's surprising request, I opened my mouth to say politely, 'Thank you for the compliment, but I'm not ready to start dating yet after my recent separation.' Instead, what fell out of my mouth was, 'Thanks, I'd love to.'  (It was the same when he asked me those other leading questions later on.)

He told me afterwards that he used to take women to nightclubs and fancy restaurants to try and impress them, but decided he wasn't going to do that with me. He would just be himself and not try to impress. He’d take me to a pub. So I found myself being ushered into the Argo pub at Toorak, which I knew by reputation as the coolest place in town. I was incredibly impressed! ‘Boy,’ I thought. ‘This bloke’s really got it.’ (He of course knew nothing of its reputation, and had no idea how impressed I was.)

We hardly stopped talking all night, discovering  we had so much in common that when the waitress asked if we wanted Tabasco sauce and I said yes please and he said no thanks, I exclaimed, ‘Thank goodness there’s something we haven’t got in common. It was getting ridiculous.’  

We found we had so many mutual friends and acquaintances, we couldn't believe our paths had never crossed before. Much later we realised they had. There was the Andronicus Foundation weekend in the country, which I’ve mentioned. And we uncovered another event, connected with one of our other interests, which Bill and I had attended and so had Andrew. Bill and I had each had some interaction with him on that occasion, but we’d all promptly forgotten it, having no particular interest in each other then.

More significant, perhaps, was the fact that he had attended a session of The Master Game at Three Bridges one Sunday. He’d gone by the time I got home from assisting Ann that day, but it was the same day I walked into my house and thought, ‘I can’t be here any more’ and promptly moved out. I thought afterwards that it was as if, once Andrew’s energy had come into that space, I couldn’t maintain even a semblance of the marriage to Bill. But these things we worked out later. 

After our very successful dinner, he delivered me to my doorstep. I said something stilted that I’m embarrassed to remember, about how I was newly separated and not ready for goodnight kisses yet. He took it in good part and Jennie’s teenage baby-sitter opened the door just then, so no pash session was going to happen anyway. 

‘Do you like movies?’ he asked.’Would you like to see a movie next Saturday afternoon?’ I said I loved movies, and we arranged to see the new hit, ‘The Power of One’.

As soon as he’d gone, Jennie’s baby-sitter said to me, ‘He’s VERY pretty!’ (This didn’t imply effeminate; it was just the lingo at the time.) I was surprised. I hadn’t thought of him like that. He wasn’t my physical type. I didn't really see things going anywhere deep and meaningful for us.

He held my hand in the movie, which we enjoyed companionably. As we strolled around town afterwards to find a cafĂ©, he took my hand again. It felt easy and comfortable to be walking hand-in-hand with him – except that I was obsessed with the thought, ‘What if we bump into one of my sons?’ Luckily this embarrassing prospect didn’t come to pass.

Over coffee we wondered what we were going to say at Master Connections. Group discussions were strictly confidential, but within the group participants were expected to disclose anything relevant that was going on with them. Andrew usually arrived later than me, so he asked me not to say anything until he got there.

When he did, he started by telling the story of how he’d had a ‘win’ at work and felt like celebrating, so he’d phoned a ‘young lady’ he knew and invited her to dinner, they’d had a really nice time, then they’d been to a movie on Saturday and that went well too…. He paused, then said, ‘And it was Rosemary!’ 

Everyone burst into cries of delight. Jenette’s husband, who was of course an old friend of mine, said, ‘That’s why she’s looking so radiant.’

I didn't know why I looked and felt radiant. It was nice to be going out on dates – lovely and carefree – but I wasn't sure how I felt about Andrew beyond enjoying his company. 

I told him I couldn’t go out with him the following weekend as Jennie and I were having a garage sale. He asked what time it would be. I explained that it was starting in the morning but could go on most of the day. I was pleased that he seemed quite accepting.

I expected he'd phone me some time later for another date, but he turned up on the morning of the garage sale, wearing a Blues Brothers T-shirt which announced that he was on a mission from God, and quietly pitched in to help with the setting up and the selling.

So we continued going out, and he became a visitor to our house sometimes. He was presentable, he knew how to behave in company, he was good with Jennie’s kids, and of course he was a very pleasant companion. But I was in no way committed to a relationship with him. I was amazed one day, after a tiff, when he told me: 

'I want you to know I'm absolutely committed to this relationship!' 

'What relationship?' I thought. 'We hardly know each other.' But I mumbled something which I hoped sounded appreciative.

I started feeling a bit crowded by him. He seemed to want to be involved in everything I was doing. I had a bit of a whinge to Jennie about this. She rounded on me and said, 

‘Rosemary Nissen, you are disgusting! He’s trying to SUPPORT you!’

That was a revelation to me. I digested it a while and realised: yes, it was like that; and he was simply offering, he wasn't trying take over my life.

Then a friend who was visiting asked me, ‘What’s this Andrew like?’ Before I could answer, Jennie said emphatically, 

‘He’s a VERY nice man!’ I did a double-take and thought, ‘Oh yes, so he is.’

(I still thank both Jenette and Jennie for providing some of the impetus for my happiest marriage.)

How did we take it to the next level? He thought it would be nice to go for a lovely, romantic weekend away. I told him I didn't want to rush things, so he suggested I choose the timing. By then I’d received my Master initiation from Anne but was still very busy assisting on her Reiki seminars most weekends. When I looked at my schedule, I realised I was booked up for months ahead.

‘The only weekend I’ve got is next weekend,’ I told him.

‘I thought you didn't want to rush things?’ he said.

A recent poem explains what happened next:

Prelude to a Romantic Weekend

Arriving on my doorstep suddenly
he thrust at me a bunch of roses, red
for passion, offered awkwardly,
suggesting now would be the time for bed.
My house-mate and her children, luckily,
were going out. I whispered what he’d said,
that he’d decided we should ‘break the ice’.
She winked and said she’d stay out longer. Nice!

We’d planned a beautiful weekend away
to change our new romance to an affair:
a seaside venue meant for holiday
where we could play, let down our hair …
but that was some time hence, he said – and hey,
we’d want to be relaxed then, free of care
about performance, revelation, trust,
and all those issues that might hinder lust.

And so we had our first time then and there
inside my double bed, too long unshared.
Now, understand, we were not young; we were
the later end of middle age. We bared
imperfect bodies to each other’s stare
and moved like adolescents newly paired –
like clumsy virgins! But we worked it out
quite soon. And yes, his bright idea was right.

                                ******

In twenty years of happy marriage, till
he left me when the angels called him home,
we loved each other thoroughly and well.
Reality was sweeter than a dream.
And memories can sweeten my heart still,
as if he never left – so it can seem.
He loved to give me roses. In my head
I still hear: ‘Get yourself some roses – red!’

© Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2017

After that, I was a little more formal in my manner towards Max, so as not to encourage any vain hopes. Being the open person he was, he asked me straight out if there was something wrong. I was less frank. Nothing had ever been said between us. I felt I couldn't officially rebuff an advance that had not actually been made. So I handled it by saying, with some truth, that I was a bit preoccupied because my gentleman friend had a touch of flu and I was concerned about him.

‘Oh,’ he said, ‘Yes I suppose that would explain it.’ Lovely man, he wasn't being snide, just thinking aloud and seeing my point of view. If he was surprised to learn about the ‘gentleman friend’, he didn't say so, but he didn't flirt with me any more either. With my position clear, I relaxed and we still enjoyed the classes and conversations for their own sake.

I did have some regrets. 

‘Why did I have to order the happy, lasting one to be next?’ I chided myself. A fling with Max would have been lovely, and if Andrew was just around the corner anyway…. But after all, neither Andrew nor I was getting any younger. I decided it was still better not to have deferred getting together with him for the sake of a brief fling, however delightful.

Just for the record, Ann’s message about ‘a lovely man coming for Rosemary’ happened when Max was already my student but I hadn't yet met Andrew at Master Connections – so it must have been Andrew she was seeing, as the one still to come.

I started spending most of my nights at Andrew’s place. He would pick me up on his way home from work and drop me back in Elsternwick on his way to work next morning. I was still based there in terms of my own working life; besides, I had a commitment to share with Jennie for a year.

I thought I’d better tell Bill before someone else told him, so I invited myself to dinner. 

‘There’s something I need to tell you,’ I said.  He said,

‘No, don't tell me; I’ll tell you. There’s a new man your life. He’s a business-man. I “saw” him taking you out to dinner. He was wearing a suit.’

Andrew did in fact have his own business at that time, creating newsletters for all kinds of other businesses.

Bill, as I mentioned earlier, had developed clairvoyance quite suddenly, shortly before we moved to Three Bridges, as a result of some dramatic experiences which unexpectedly opened him up.  His gift was genuine – as this incident confirms.

He was sincerely happy for me. 

Then I felt free to let my children and my friends know. Andrew and I started meeting each other’s friends.

After dinner at his flat one night, he asked me if I’d be willing to move in with him eventually. I opened my mouth to say that I wanted to keep my own residence and maintain my independence, and heard myself agreeing instead. We had a talk about it, and decided to wait until early in the new year, when Jennie and I would both have to find new accommodation anyway.

Then, when he was driving home, as we were waiting at a red traffic light, he suddenly said, 

‘Would you marry me?’

Again I opened my mouth to say the mentally well-rehearsed line about choosing not to marry again, having done it twice already. And again I opened my mouth and ‘yes’ fell out.

Then I realised he had not said ‘Will you’ but ‘Would you’.

‘Er, was that a hypothetical question?’ I asked. He smiled. 

‘No, it wasn't a hypothetical question.’

4 comments:

  1. This was a fun, but very personal read, Rosemary. You captured both the humor and the caring, but also the personal inner dialogue that so often occurs in our experiences. Really enjoyed sharing this part of your life, and thanks so much for letting me eaves-drop, as it were. You made it real, vivid enough to see, and easy to relate to. Fine piece of writing,

    Elizabeth

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  2. Sigh. How absolutely lovely. I live vicariously, if indeed I live at all, in matters of romance, so I enjoyed this almost as much as if it had happened to me. LOL. Andrew was such a lovely man! I LOVE the poem and his always telling you to get yourself "some roses - red!"

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    Replies
    1. Andrew was indeed a lovely man! I'm glad I've managed to convey that in my writing.

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