Category Archives: love

TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN

The Golden KeyIn order to love truly and long, one must always put words — especially those spoken in spite — within the context of the moment, and decide whether past words spoken in love are more precious and true than those spewed in anger.
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Ultimately, ones capacity of heart is judged, not by what another forgives, but by what you forgive — and not by what you choose to remember, but by what you choose to forget.
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Truth is seldom what an outsider looking in concludes. More often, truth becomes what we need others to believe in order for us to survive during dire times we helped create. Truth can be deceptive and troubling and biased. It always has an agenda.
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Never choose the weakness of today’s truth over the power of tomorrow’s forgiveness. That’s like betting your heart, in a fixed race, on a blind horse named Regret.

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist. She is the author of the highly praised IMOGENE’S ELOISE: Inspired by a true story © 2014.

Her second book, Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?, is a collection of true stories demonstrating how women who lead heartfelt lives find purpose and feel joy. It’s scheduled for release by May 13, 2019 on Amazon.

 

THIS BEARS REPEATING

Bears RepeatingSixteen friends called it quits in March. Adultery was cited as the cause in 5 of the 8 couple splits. I’m saddened when I learn of such heartbreak. Here’s why:
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I once knew a woman who was a serial cheater, oozing charm whenever she wanted to seduce someone. Mostly, she targeted women with troubled lives. To gain their trust, she claimed to be the victim of a failed relationship. She fed them with words she knew only damaged women longed to hear. She raised them up while having her way with them. She promised them a future. She convinced them that they needed her. Eventually and inevitably, she ditched them. And, just to ensure none would chase after her, the last words she spoke to each woman she cut loose were: “No wonder nobody loves you.”
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Infidelity is such an old and popular game of deception, you’d think women would have learned to avoid cheaters by now.
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But no. Women persist in thinking they’ll be the one to tame the fox welcomed into their henhouse.
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The fact is this: Every woman on earth has been victimized to some extent during her lifetime. Every . . . single . . . one of us.
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Where love is involved, some choose to be perpetual victims, always eager for the ‘ideal’ person to choose them, accepting of similar characteristics in new partners to replace the former, growing old and stale like hard candy until all traces of sweetness have dissolved into bitterness.
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A toxic indicator of having been victimized is chronic rage, a corollary of post-traumatic stress syndrome. When physical, verbal, or emotional abuse is experienced for extended periods (especially during childhood) it never leaves you. Certain words or actions push buttons in your brain creating a fight-or-flight frenzy, unleashing the dormant fury.
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The thing is, we all tend to blame others for rages directed at us — while excusing our own rages directed at others — in order to justify the decisions we make.
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This is where the intent of the heart comes in.
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In the aftermath of tears and loneliness that are sure to follow once rage erupts, you must learn to measure the intent of your heart against the intent of the heart of the person who hurt you. You must. Only then will walking away be easier than staying; leaving be easier than being left.
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The death of love is intended to be the hardest learned lesson in the test of time.
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Because the reward of love is priceless.
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So, try to remember the journey you took with the other person — not from the end of it looking back, but from the memory of the start. Chart how it soared. Determine if you made every effort to catch it when it began to teeter, every effort to shore it up when it started to crumble, every effort to revive it before you let it die.
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Own that you aren’t innocent. Own your part in the turmoil. Own the buttons you pushed. Own the choices you made that enabled the demise of your life together. Own the carrot of false hope you dangled long after hope in you was gone. Own the lies you told to yourself and others.
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If you’re hurting, join a support group to find comfort and get help. You can’t recover alone. But don’t allow the group to become your only source for self-esteem. Have an exit plan from it.
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Then, every morning, face yourself in the mirror and ask: Have I cast myself as a victim? Do I look like one? Have I presented myself to others as such? Do I enjoy being seen as a victim? Is victimhood my aspiration?
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If not, don’t adopt that image. Don’t encourage or allow others to attach that tag to you. Don’t become a poster girl for victimhood.
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Because, in the short term, you might find the comfort you need and the support you deserve — but in the long term, there are only two types of people you’ll attract:
(1) Those who embrace their suffering, dwell on their past, and treat being victimized as their red badge of courage.
(2) Those who will target you as prey to be used and abused again.
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Victims say, “I am who I am because of …”
Survivors say, “I am who I am in spite of …”
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Be a survivor.
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On behalf of all essayists and authors — my heartfelt thanks!

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist. She is the author of Imogene’s Eloise: Inspired by a true story © 2014 and Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?, due for release on Amazon in April, 2019.

IT’S A DATE!

With uncompromising bursts of bittersweet joy this candid, effervescent chronicle reveals how the nature of thinking and depth of emotions between homosexual women is instinctively incompatible with the male dominant ideologies of a patriarch society. Through lyrically warmed words engendering benevolence these forty-nine relatable narratives shed insight on the valiant dignity of an endangered female culture vanishing-by-assimilation into an age of partial equality.

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A veritable feast of gilded memories
seasoned with silver linings.

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FOR RELEASE APRIL 13,  2019

Paperback • Kindle • Bookstores • Special Order

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Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?

by Marguerite Quantaine

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Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?

With uncompromising bursts of bittersweet joy this candid, effervescent chronicle reveals
how the nature of thinking and depth of emotions between homosexual women is
instinctively incompatible with the male dominant ideologies of a patriarch society.

Through lyrically warmed words engendering benevolence
these forty-nine relatable narratives shed insight on the valiant dignity
of an endangered female culture vanishing-by-assimilation
into this age of artificial equality.

Front Cover 4 FB

A veritable feast of gilded memories
seasoned with silver linings.

~

FOR RELEASE APRIL 13,  2019

Paperback • Kindle • Bookstores • Special Order

~

Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?

by Marguerite Quantaine

~

Find Her On Amazon

Friend Her On Facebook

Follow Her On Twitter

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Sign Up Via Email Here

http://www.margueritequanatine.com

For Automatic Notice Of

Pre-Order  Date  Confirmation

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Thank you!

 

 

C H R I S T M A S T I D E

A Merry Christmas
Cleone’s favorite holiday song was Joy To The World directed by the Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She’d begin playing it as a daybreak reveille on December 12th and continued through the morning of her birthday, December 27th. We were reminded of the fifteen day musical salute while driving Elizabeth’s mother back to Arkansas in November 1990.
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“How come I don’t remember this tradition, Mom?”

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“You’re never home for the holidays more than a day or two, Elizabeth Ann. Besides, your daddy and I only began it after you left home.”

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During those long gone 30 years, Elizabeth’s father died and Cleone remarried several times. As a southern lady born and bred in Montgomery, Alabama, she was raised to believe a woman’s life wasn’t complete without a man in hand. Her current husband, Bill, was confined to a nursing home, diagnosed with violent hysterical dementia. He hadn’t recognized her (or anyone) for six months and never would again, but that didn’t stop Cleone from visiting him daily, ignoring his foul-mouthed curses and dodging food flung in her direction.

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We promised to stay with her through Thanksgiving, but those plans changed after she asked me to sort through stacks of personal papers to determine if any needed keeping.

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The first item of interest I came across was Bill’s membership in a local white supremacist group. He kept propaganda, recruitment paraphernalia and a loaded .38 in his desk drawer next to a box of hollow point bullets. I immediately disposed of everything burnable and buried the gun in his asparagus garden. Other discoveries were as serious.
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“Mom,” I tiptoed, “it says here Bill used your Certificates of Deposit and savings as collateral to purchase this house.”
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“He promised they’d be safe until the house is paid off.”
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“You’re 83 and he’s older. The mortgage is for 30 years.”
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“I guess.”
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“Who pays the mortgage?”
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“It’s automatically deducted from my social security check each month.”
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“You have your own direct deposit checking account?”
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“Yes. Mine pays the car loan, utilities, and property taxes, too.”
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Why isn’t it all deducted from his account?”
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“He pays the insurance, charge cards, grocery account, and incidentals.” I hesitated just long enough for her to ask, “Why?”
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“Well, what’s important is, I can tell you how to fix what I’ve found, so there’s nothing for you to get upset about. Since you have his health proxy and financial power of attorney — over his very sizable bank accounts, I must say — it’s merely a matter of shuffling funds.”
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“Meaning?”
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“You have the authority to write checks.”
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By then both Cleone and Elizabeth were eager for details and had pulled chairs up to the table where I was working.
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“Mom, your name isn’t on the mortgage, deed to the house, or car title. If Bill should suddenly die, the house and car go directly to his son. His Will leaves his savings and all his belongings to his son. The executor to his estate is his son. His life insurance policy names only his son.”
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“What about me?” Cleone asked, matter-of-factly.
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“He made no provisions for you, Mom.”
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“Do you think his son knows any of this?”
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“According to these letters, he does.”
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I let that sink in between mother and daughter while I ran some figures and finalized a plan.
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After breakfast, the three of us dressed for success in matching hot pink sweatsuits and strings of vintage pearls before descending on the bank where Cleone paid off the mortgage and car loan from Bill’s savings account. Once her CD’s were released and there was no longer a lien on her savings, she transferred all automatic deductions from her checking account to his. Finally, she removed his name as survivor from her checking and savings accounts and left the bank, unencumbered.
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“How do you feel, Mom?” Elizabeth asked.
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“Free,” she answered.
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We stayed on until the 9th of December, gadding about town, buying and wrapping Christmas presents, lighting her ceramic tree, delivering frosted cookies, addressing cards, and confirming plans for Cleone’s move to Florida to forever share our home after the first of the year.
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“Are you sure you don’t want to drive back with us now,” Elizabeth hoped.
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“No, dear. I want to spend the holidays here with my Bridge club and church group. It gives me time to say a more leisurely goodbye.”
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“Are you okay?”
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“Better than okay, Elizabeth. I’m having fun.”
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It took us three days to drive home. We arrived on Cleone’s birthday to a cheerful message from her, left on our answering machine. I immediately dialed her up, putting the phone on speaker.
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Cleone’s next door neighbor answered.
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“Your mom called for an ambulance. The driver swore he got here within a minute. He knew her from church and around town. Everyone loved your mom.”
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Knew.
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Loved.
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We sped back to Arkansas, arranged for her funeral, and hosted a large reception before having Cleone’s casket returned to Montgomery where a second funeral was attended by 135 of her friends and remaining relatives. Internment was next to Elizabeth’s father in a small, historic burial ground where all their ancestors also rested. A second reception followed.
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The next morning, Elizabeth and I returned to the cemetery a final time.
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It was a quiet, cool, sunny December day with no breeze blowing nor snow on the ground. We marveled at the height and width of a mountain of fresh flowers left on Cleone’s grave, in stark contrast to the other 300 tombstones, void of any signs of recent visitors, decorated with weatherworn plastic plants, faded flags, or no remembrance at all.
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Instinctively, we began to take fresh flowers from her mother’s final resting place to adorn surrounding graves, one-by-one, until every site in the cemetery had a bouquet.
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Then we rolled down all the windows in the car, popped in a cassette, pumped up the volume to maximum, and slowly drove up and down each pathway playing — and replaying —

Joy To The World.
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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist.
Friend her of Facebook. Find her on Amazon. Follow her here.
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Thank you for reading CHRISTMASTIDE
by Marguerite Quantaine © 2018.
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If  you enjoyed this essay, I’d be grateful if you’d please leave a
REPLY and share it on all your social media sites. My heartfelt thanks!

WITH GRACE AND GRATITUDE

Won't You Be My Honey

The first time I spotted the alligator in the murky waters of a man-made lake framing luxurious condos on one side and a city park on the other, I worried aloud for the safety of the mallards, Muscovy, and white, waddling ducks, the snapping turtles, giant goldfish, flock of pristine egrets, and wading blue heron, making their homes in the marshes there.

“And, the kids who play in this park,” my sweetheart added.

I didn’t respond. Not that I would ever want a person of any age to be harmed by an alligator, but there was no imminent danger in that. Only the nature-preying-nature lurked.

The lake is more for show and tell by realtors looking to justify pricey units with a view. There’s no swimming allowed, and since it’s illegal to feed wildlife in Florida outside of a reserve, observing nature in this park is mostly done from a deck built 15 feet above, and stretching 20 feet out over the water, where picnic tables are placed for brown baggers wondering what so many thieving sea gulls are doing there, some sixty miles inland.

At first, all I saw were the mammoth marble shaped alligator eyes, trolling the lake’s surface, leaving innocent ripples of water in his wake.

“Or,” she said when I pointed out the marauding eyeballs, “it’s a submarine.”

“No, hon, I’m pretty certain it’s an alligator.”

“But, I’m thinking…”

“It’s a gator, okay?”

“I’m just saying what it could be,” she persists, as the tire-like tracks on it’s back emerges. “Or, maybe one in camouflage to look like an alligator, so no one would suspect.”

Really, who am I to say otherwise? I thought.

We only visit this particular park once a year, in September or October, depending on what date the High Holy Days fall.

I won’t expound on the significance of these 10 days for those of you who aren’t Jewish, but I will share the custom of casting bread upon the water (tashlikh) as a symbol of one’s transgressions being disposed of. Unlike other religions, Jews don’t believe in original sin. Instead, we’re born pure, acquiring our indiscretions with age, intent, or ignorance along the way.

But, if we’re sincere in saying “I’m sorry” to those we’ve wronged, and have done good without expectation in return, and made an earnest effort to mend fences, the sin slate gets wiped clean on Yom Kippur, giving each of us another chance to get life right, and do it better.

The disclaimer appears in the setting of the sun, symbolizing the closing of the Book of Life, when even skeptics (secretly) want their names, and those of their loved ones inscribed therein — although no one learns who makes the cut until the High Holy Days roll around again the following year. (Because only those remaining in the here and now know if they were inscribed back in the then and there.)

For the record, I’m very disorganized about organized religion, to the point of anti-it.

But I do like everything about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the culmination of 10 days of introspection, taking stock of one’s life, offering amends, being grateful for whatever cards have been dealt, making promises and looking forward while witnessing the sun sink behind the trees, or beneath the ocean, or into the hills.

Of course, I’m pulling for more than family and friends. I want my pets to be included in that Book of Life, too, and mercy shown for all the animals on earth. I want children to be protected, and hurts healed. I want every woman to fall in love with the person who has fallen in love with her. My list is long. I ask a lot. It takes me the full 10 days to catalog all the hope in my heart.

“Watch out,” we were warned by a couple dawdling nearby. “The flora and fauna police are on duty.”

I glance over at the retiree in khaki shirt and shorts, feeling powerful on his unpaid patrol.

“I’m prepared,” I assured them. “I filled my pocket with stale bread, pre-pulverized in my Cuisinart to melt any evidence upon impact. Would you like a some?”

They showed me their cut up crusts of kosher rye. “No thanks. We’re good.”

As the sun began its steady decline, I confidently hurled a handful of crumbs to flutter like tiny confetti into the water below — forgetting that the brass ring  containing the keys to the car, our home, my sister’s home, the metal license tags of our dogs, and a silver kitty charm carried for good luck was also in that pocket.

It went with.

“I’ll be,” she said, looking down at the unintended snack. “It is an alligator!”

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To paraphrase a verse in a song from the original, Broadway cast album of The Unsinkable Molly Brown: Your prayer was answered, the answer was ‘no’ — She heard you all right.

Most of you who follow me here, or are a friend to me on Facebook know that I lost my kid sister in May of 2015, 77 days after she was first diagnosed with everywhere-cancer.

What I haven’t shared as much is, in that brief period (and since) I’ve also lost both of my dogs, Buzzbee and Sparky, and a Russian Blue, tamed-to-my-touch, feral cat, Sneaky, twin brother to Pete.

When the last loss happened, I recalled the words attributed to Virginia Woolf upon being asked by her niece why the bird she’d found had to die. Woolf answered, “To make us appreciate life more.”

I’m not sure I concur. I don’t think I could appreciate life any more than I do.  My gratitude is fierce and deep and never falters — even when the answer is, indeed, ‘no’.

Because I see, and hear, and recognize the loss most others endure, daily, is so much greater than my own; the worldwide despair and hunger of millions in the dark of every night, the destruction of homes by flood and fire, the assault on nature by ignorance and greed, the ongoing slaughter of innocent and innocence, the intentional harm inflicted on the undeserving.

It doesn’t lessen the depth of loss I feel, but it does lessen the length of time I spend, struggling.

The High Holy Days come earlier this year and I’m on tenterhooks about it, to the point of being mindful of the fact that the ritual of tashlikh is to happen on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, not on Yom Kippur as I’ve always chosen to observe it.

We’ll be returning to the man-made lake, regardless — this time with an entire loaf of challah for the alligator.

We hope the reptile was written into the Book of Life.

We hope we all were.

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This essay was first published entitled See Ya Later Alligator in 2015 and continues to be revisited each year at this time in memory of those who have passed, and with hopes we all continue to be written into The Book of Life. ~ 

Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist and author.  Copyright, © 2015-2018

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AND THE REST IS MYSTERY

Souvenir of True Friendship

I’d nicknamed her AK-57 for the year she was born, a moniker that wasn’t lost on Amanda Kyle Williams who fostered an irreverent, self-deprecating sense of humor about herself, the world at large and, oh yeah, serial killers.

We were wired (as I believe everyone is) through happenstance.

In 2012, I was asked by a mutual friend to add my name to a list of those vying for a chance to win a free copy of her recently released hit novel, The Stranger You Seek, even though I’m an irremediable romantic who avoids most media pertaining to violence. In fact, I’d never read a mystery — not even In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, whose other written works are all favorites of mine.

So, I was a tad taken aback when Amanda friended me on Facebook to say I’d won a copy of her novel and asked me to provide shipping information to Bantam Books.

I immediately confessed to my disinterest in reading mysteries — but ended up agreeing to making her the one exception to my rule after learning we had more than wordsmithing in common. Big things, like our love for animals, rescuing dogs, and the feeding of feral cats. Little things, like the linoleum of her entryway being the identical pattern to that on the kitchen floor of the first apartment I’d ever leased. And other things, like how she’d signed with the same literary agency that rejected my query, we both had a Pekingese named Bella, we’d both been private detectives, and we each had a cat that threatened us within an inch of our toes and nose on a daily basis.

She’d requested my brutally honest opinion of her book, so I gave it: No, her account of Atlanta didn’t make me want to visit . Yes, her description of the Carolina coast tempted me to move there. I’d warned her that I prided myself in using my chess expertise to predict plots ahead of endings. She humbled me by proving I hadn’t a clue as to who the killer in Stranger was until being astounded during the final pages.

But our lives were seldom similar otherwise. She had difficulty reading because of dyslexia; I am a voracious reader without afflictions. She lost a parent at a young age following her mother’s slow decline. My mom passed instantly as I turned sixty. The love of her life succumbed to a malignancy after their twenty years together. My love affair still flourishes at nearly fifty.

Yet we both understood how it felt to lose a cherished sibling after providing steadfast care during their inevitable demise, just as we both knew my combat against heart failure is pure child’s play compared to her valiant fight against cancer  — truly, life’s most insidious serial killer.

Amanda Kyle Williams lost her battle on Friday morning, August 31st, two weeks after turning 61.

And, although we never actually met face-to-face, eye-to-eye, shoulder-to-shoulder, or toe-to-toe, we existed as tongue-in-cheek and heart-to-heart kindred spirits for six remarkable years.

Losing her saddens me.

Deeply.
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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist.
And The Rest Is Mystery © 9.2.18
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Crying Girl and her Doll

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