Rebecca's Lament by fjwuxn

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									Rebecca s Lament
         By

    Rebecca Beste

        And

   Randy R. Pischel
                                           Rebecca Beste




A bunch of stuff happened, then I met Rebecca.
That pretty much describes my life. There is just before Rebecca, and after. I m sure I m not the
only one who thinks in those terms. I m sure there are more details but they are obscured by the
memory of her face and the way she laughed.
After a severe bout of depression and an attempted suicide I suggested that she write things
down as a way to let out the demons that haunted her. To make it official I gave her a server and
set up a web site so she could officially blog, and in no time at all Rebecca began to seriously
lament.
I m not going to try to tell you her story, she does it eloquently and more thoroughly than I could
have imagined and in a way that anyone can understand. Each entry grabs a part of her life
complete with emotions and wisdom and even a little logic or humor. Each entry is a piece of
the whole.
She had also decided to leave me before she started. Her lament was also her good-bye.
I wanted to write this as a heads-up, a sort of warning that not everything is easy to take in, she
speaks of hard truths and has beliefs that are not widely accepted and her life has not been easy.
And, she ll make you think.
And you ll get to know Rebecca.




                                                 2
                                          Rebecca s Lament



                                         August 23, 2006

I was dead once.

It wasn't a beautiful thing and I didn't see any light or talk to any loved ones. Just pain that
wasn't pain and a feeling of calm. It was over. I was done. In the end I wondered if anyone
would find my body.

My life didn t pass before my eyes.

I was thinking about where I had gone wrong. The previous weeks I had spent partying and
being in front of a camera with men doing things to me and, truth be told, I was having a wild
time. It can really inflate your ego and make you feel wanted.

It can really make you arrogant and obnoxious as well.

But don't be fooled. It changes everything. I've never dated or slept with a man without thinking
about a camera. I can never be intimate with a man, because that means to bare your soul to him,
to give him something no other man in the world can have and it's too late for that.

It doesn't matter, though. I am practically emotionless now.

Each day is like the next and I know that in my lifetime nothing will change. Wars will still be
wars, the poor will still starve, the rich will still be rich, and man will continue to ravage
everything, including himself.

The days of building pyramids are gone.

I look at the world and know that if I were to die no one would notice. I look at the stars and
think the same thing about the earth. Even the whole Solar system. Who would know we were
even here if the sun exploded tomorrow? We are so insignificant compared to the universe that
we can t even comprehend it. To us, if the world were to end tomorrow the universe would end
with us.

How small of us.

Perhaps it is because I am so alone that I feel this way. I stood there and watched my father s
last breath, his frail body barely recognizable. My brother died when I left the hospital room to
find a drink. I always felt like I failed him. Because of me he died alone. I'm sorry, Mark. I
have absolutely no way to atone for this mistake.

I was yelling at a cop when I got the call about my mother. She was eight hundred miles away
and I was just planning a visit.

That s the way fate is. Almost. Just about. I was going to.



                                                 3
                                            Rebecca Beste


They all had religion, which is great, but I had already died and knew the truth about religion.

There was no light.

I never met the man who found me in the dumpster, naked and dead. I woke up in a hospital,
alone, bewildered, aching, and delirious.

I was told it was a miracle. That when a heart stops for so long that's usually it. But it stopped at
the right time, in the right place, with dozens of people around who didn't care anything about
me except that they had to try, that it was worth a shot.

Then they sewed and patched and put me back together. Not perfectly, though. I'll never have
kids. My family ends here.

What a burden, what a fucking great thing to live with. All because of me.

The police were great but nothing was ever done. I moved on. I have no feelings one way or the
other about this. I betrayed, and I paid.

Plus I still had the money I had stolen from them. Enough to move around for a while and
finally settle in. Enough to hold me through any rough patches. I paid cash for everything so
that if I died I wouldn't owe anyone anything.

I never wanted to owe anyone ever again.

Again, it's kind of surreal, knowing I can die and it won't affect anyone. I'm sure I'll be buried
somewhere with a small stone and no one will ever know. There is no one left to visit my name
carved in stone.

So I've sold everything I don't care about and have put the rest in a safe place. I've purchased the
plane tickets and will slowly head back.

Back to where, I don't know.

Back to where I was born, in a small brick house on Chainhouse Road. Then just around to see
things I've always wanted to see. The great cathedrals and castles that have outlived men and
ideas.

Back to where my grandparents and my aunts and my uncles were tortured and burned alive, not
in an act of war but in an act of genocide. No, not that genocide, the other one, the one no one
talks about and is just a paragraph in most history books.

I don't know the language but I look the part and I still may find my place there.

I may even find family. Distant family, but family just the same.




                                                 4
                                            Rebecca s Lament


If I don't, I don't know what I'll do. I may keep traveling.

Somehow, I don t think I'll survive the journey, there are many dangerous places where I am
going. I haven't been in danger in a long time. I sort of miss it.

If I do die, I don t think I'll notice or care. I was dead once.

We all die, it's inevitable. I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

I think if I had a family, or children, or close friends, or even if I owed someone money, then I
would worry about dying. But it's just me. I share my life with no one.

I probably won't see thirty.

In the end it won't matter, and I know, after all,

I've been dead once already.




                                                     5
                                             Rebecca Beste


                                         August 25th, 2006

Now you know my life story. There's not much left, I know, but I don't leave until October so I
can blog a few things down. I have sold my house to my lifelong mentor and friend so I know
it's in good hands. He was there for most of the momentous events in my life which were mostly
deaths for some strange reason.

Mentor may be the wrong word. Can you sleep with your mentor? He is a good friend,
nonetheless.

It's a big house with lots of extra rooms. I like to hang out in the attic where you can see the
horizon over the trees. Or people walking by. I'm sure when I'm dead the neighbors will see or
hear my ghost playing the violin in the attic. I hope so. I've already been feeding ghost stories to
the whole neighborhood. I'm evil that way.

Work is a breeze. I'll miss it. I'll never find another job where I can surf the internet all day and
spend one day a week doing all the work it took the previous manager a week to do. My bosses
know this. They let me get away with things because, well, because I occasionally flirt with
them. It's all cool, as they say.

Well, I'm calmer than I was last night. Daylight always seems to chase away the demons but I
know they are still there. Haunting me. Hunting me.

Not sure how long this will last. I'm tired. I can't think straight.




                                                   6
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                        August 26th, 2006

When I was a kid my mom had a best friend who had a daughter the same age as me so naturally
they assumed that we would be best friends as well. We were never more than acquaintances.
She had leukemia. She had less than a year to live.

She'd come over with her mom and I'd politely ask what she would like to do and she'd say she'd
like to watch MTV. They actually played music videos back then. We'd rag on the bands and
rate the guys and tell each other who we thought were gay. Then she'd go home.

I couldn't help thinking what a waste of time that was.

I couldn't help thinking that if I were in her shoes I'd spend every waking minute of the day
experiencing life, exploring the world, or at least going outside and seeing everything I could
see. I'd want to cram 80 years of existence into that last year.

She wanted to watch music videos.

I guess she wanted to be a normal kid and not be treated like a leper. I can respect that. I can
maybe even understand that.

Too bad she wasn't rich, it may have changed things. If she were rich I'm sure her parents
would have taken her out of school and given her a world tour and let meet the kings and leaders
of the world. Would that have been any better? Would she have died with more, or less?

I remember sitting on the stairs listening as her mom came over late one night and simply lost it.
I remember the uncontrollable sobbing.

Even back then I was little removed from emotions and I remember thinking that she knew it
was coming. She should have been prepared. This shouldn't effect her so badly.

I thought she was literally going to cry herself to death.

It was about then that I decided never to get so attached to someone that I would act like that
when they were gone. Of course, I don't know how a parent feels towards their own child and
never will.

My brother had a tumor and we pretty much knew when his time was going to be. I still lost it a
little. But I lost it alone, in my car, with no one else around. I bonded with my mother a little
more after that. My father was already gone at that point. I never told her I could never have a
child of my own and I think she died a little happier not knowing that. Or at least, she didn't die
any sadder than if she did know.




                                                  7
                                           Rebecca Beste


Anyway, these are the thoughts and memories that popped into my head at 2:30 am. I think it's
a memory that helped define who I am so I'm recording here. I don't know why. Perhaps this
will be my epithet.

In any case, I've kept it up for two whole days. That's a record.




                                                8
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                         August 28, 2006

Well, the weekend was a wash. Literally. I didn't do anything on Saturday and washed and
cleaned stuff all day on Sunday.

I feel guilty when I'm not doing anything. I know time is short and every day I don't do anything
is a day wasted. It shouldn't be like that, we all need a day off sometime.

Most of my friends have drifted away and I find myself at night just watching words drift by in
chat rooms as if I were sitting in a lobby of a big hotel just eavesdropping on nearby
conversations. I go to a treasure hunters forum, one for rape survivors, a skeptic's forum for
debunking paranormal stuff, a VW forum, a bigfoot chat, a religious chat and I even visit a
stripper's chat where the girls make fun of the customers they had that day.

Many times I have two or three opened at a time. Since I don't drink and I hate smoke there
aren t many places I could go to have such conversations. I can see where this is addicting and
at times I'll find myself chatting in one chat on the laptop in my kitchen and still have another
chat opened on a laptop in the living room.

Okay, so I dig it.

It's like thinking. In a chat room you have no body. Only thoughts and ideas are exchanged. It
becomes like an inner reality that is separate from the real reality.

Sometimes the two meet. I've met many of the people in the treasure hunter's chat and that
almost ruins it. Now there are faces and personalities and people behind the screen names.

Now I wonder what they think of me. I was anonymous before.

I prefer anonymous, I think.

I picked up my mentor's kid (I think I will call him that after all) at school the other day and you
could just see the clicks. Just like on TV or in the movies. There were the Goths and the Jocks
and the Band kids and the Nerds. Everyone trying to fit in somewhere. I wondered what these
kids are like in chat, where the real person comes out.

Where they are anonymous.

I didn't mean for today to be all about chat but it is interesting. It will define this current
generation. I predict whole books will be written about it and psychologists will debate it. New
disorders will arise and people will act differently on the streets.

Is this good or bad? I don't know.




                                                  9
                                           Rebecca Beste


In a few months I will be in a place where there is only electricity for four hours a day. I'm sure
they don't have internet chats.

I will compare, but don't hold your breath waiting for me to get back with you on that.




                                                10
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                     August 28, 2006 (Later)

There have been a couple of times I've been asked if I have any tattoos. I don't. They're not my
style.

My mentor's son had an open house for his graduation. May not seem related to the previous
line, but it is.

It was a huge affair. Lots of people. More than we planned. Everyone had a good time.
Someone brought over some remote controlled cars and we had tons of food and cake.

I played hostess, at that time it was still my house exclusively. My house is great for parties with
the open ground floor and large porch. It took hours to wind down.

Afterwards I found myself sitting on the patio, just snacking on some cheese and crackers when
the graduate came out and sat down with me. I could tell something was wrong.

He told me that he was sorry.

This kind of threw me off. I asked him what for.

He told me that it was no secret. Everyone knew who I was and how I used to make a living.
This is true, I've made no secret of it. My boss knows. My coworkers know. My neighbors
know.

I really don't care.

He felt bad that half the people who showed up were just curious about what I am like. Who I
am.

I'm not anyone special.

I thanked him for his concern and told him it was a great party. No matter what the reason
people came over. I was touched not only that he was concerned but that he had enough balls to
tell me about it.

He will truly make a great man someday.

So, what does this have to do with tattoos? Well, my past is like a tattoo. It's permanent and
although I can cover it up and pretend it doesn't exist, it's there. It's lifelong.

And every once it while it will come out and be shown to anyone who cares to look. Sometimes
I will smile and tell the story behind it and sometimes I'll quickly cover it up and hope no one
will ask.




                                                11
                                            Rebecca Beste


And sometimes it will be glaringly obvious and affect everyone around me.

No, tattoos are not for me, I have enough things that will last a lifetime.




                                                 12
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                        August 30th, 2006

What a busy freakin day it was yesterday. It was one of those days where you take three phone
calls in a row and while you're working on the first one a fourth call comes in and then a fifth
which is more important than the first four so now you are writing stuff down so you don't forget
anyone.

I still cleaned up by the end of the day. It's amazing how I'm given a task and told I have three
weeks to get it done and it's done by the end of the day and I wonder why they gave me three
weeks. Then I realize how bad the previous manager was. Doing things like printing out an
Excel spreadsheet, then retyping it in with the new additions because she didn't know you can
just type the new ones at the bottom and then alphabetize the whole sheet. I mean, come on.

I still found time to sit in a chat room all day. Astrologers were bantering back and forth about
this and that. I wonder if they really believe what they talk about.

I see them as predators.

Some people are just looking for a reason. A reason to live, a reason to go to work everyday.
Even a reason to just give a damn about something, anything. Astrologers give them hope.
Hope for a fee. They tell these people that there is a future and change is coming. Nothing
specific. They never tell you how to get that promotion or the lottery numbers or anything else
that may be useful.

Just that change is coming. I think that was 90% of all their predictions. Again, nothing
specific, just change.

Well, duh.

Mediums are much worse. They tell you that they are talking to your late husband, or wife, or
son, or daughter. For some reason dead people are stupid. All they can tell you is that the letter
M or J means something and the month of November or December holds some significance.
Again, they never tell you where the will is nor can they remember their own middle name.

They tell you all this for a fee, of course. For $300.00 I can contact your dead father and he'll tell
you that he's happy and in a better place and that he's watching you. Just once I'd like to see a
medium ask a dead person which religion would get you into heaven. Are they all right? Some?
Just one? Surely they know.

I ask questions like this in that particular chat room. Then I get kicked out. They can't handle
questions.

Questions open their customer's eyes and if their customer's aren't blind then they can't make
money off of them.




                                                 13
                                          Rebecca Beste


Luckily, I can go right back in and lurk some more. I have about ten names there. I can always
get in there and cause problems.

Well, problems for the psychics, mediums, and astrologers who are trying to make a buck off of
people who just need a goal in life or who are devastated by the loss of a loved one.

I always ask one question, what did my father call me? I mean, if they are really talking to my
father, or mother, or brother, then this should be easy. Answer that one question and I will bow
down before them and proclaim to all the world that it is possible to communicate with the dead.
I will not blow it off as a lucky guess, because you will never guess it.

I promise. Really. Just that one name.

Still no takers.

Anyway, it was just a typical day.




                                               14
                                           Rebecca s Lament




                                          August 31, 2006

I didn't know this would be so hard. Emotionally, that is.

I just realized I would be leaving my dog.

Did you ever read Blondie in the comics? Notice how every frame at home has Daisy in it. She
follows Dagwood around, even sits outside the door when he's in the bathtub. That's my Bailey.
She follows me from room to room, waits outside the door for me to come out, and will tear your
arm off if you mess with me. If nothing else, she gives me a reason to come back.

Not that I plan to.

I was called a home wrecker in chat last night. Funny stuff. So I've been with married men.
Doesn't really say anything about me except that if I see something I want I go after it. Says
everything about the man.

If a man cheats on his wife, I'm not the home wrecker - he is. Plain and simple.

What's even worse is that the first time I was with a married man I was like 16. So not only is he
a home wrecker but he's a pervert as well. Yeah, I had a great time. No, it wasn't hard. He
practically jumped on me. So don't blame me, I was just doing what girls do, he is the one with
no self control. He was the one that came back for more.

Bitch.

Those are great chats.

Those are the ones where wives sign off and go beat their husbands. Or they know it's true, their
husband will cheat sooner or later. Or already has.

Marriage is so outdated anyway. Sure, some people do make it to death but I think that's the
exception any more. I can see marriage being nothing more than a 10 year contract or a social
contract at best. I don't think the government should officiate and legalize a marriage and then
involve the courts when a couple splits. Everyone should just keep track of what's theirs and
decide who is best to keep the kids and then move on. No government should intervene.
Anyway, I know it's too late for that. We are stuck with the system we have now.

And my views may be skewed. I'll never have kids and I can't imagine falling in love. I've yet
to come close. I do live with my mentor now and his three youngest. I get them in trouble. We
never fight. He sneaks in bed with me when the moon is right. I can walk away. I think this is
way better than to be legally bound to someone like a slave. Plus there's no hard feelings if
someone else comes over for a night, or a few hours.

Well, I just checked for typos, so I feel better.


                                                    15
                                          Rebecca Beste


I should start a countdown. 45 days.

I have 45 days to exist here. After that, who knows?




                                               16
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                        September 2, 2006

After a busy week I'm having a quiet weekend. It's raining and it's a holiday so I'll have an extra
day to take things easy.

I broke the bass out and some old music but this bass just isn't as good as the one I used to have.
The bow just doesn't seem to work well. Maybe it's the rosin. Maybe it's me.

I miss hanging out with the band in high school. We were all friends and once a day we all
counted on each other to make something whole. To make music.

Once or twice a year we'd have a concert and it was always fun. We'd all get dressed up, and
play our hearts out. We'd go out for burgers or someone would have a fire. Whatever happened
to all those people? I can't remember the last time I was with a group of friends, just sitting
around, talking about life.

Or swimming at midnight in pitch darkness.

Or feeling safe because everyone around cares about you.

Maybe again someday.

I do alright on my own. I even tested myself.

I went to Vegas, baby. Actually, I went with some people from work but I didn't have to attend
meetings and such. I managed to loose a ton of money while having a good time. I did manage
to get a man or two up to my room for a few hours of adult fun. There is just something so fun
in flirting. But hey, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I also watched some world class
jump ropers and saw a man get beat up right on the strip. Well, the old strip, I guess. The one
with lighted canopy that plays shows all night.

I took one day and drove out to Death Valley. I stopped in a canyon and watched some rock
climbers. I also took a day and did the Hoover dam thing. I think I like the desert. Must be in
my blood.

I'm not sure which was better, being alone and taking in nature, or being in a crowd laughing and
flirting with distinguished rich men. I can do both, I suppose.

In the end, I woke up alone.

Where are all the people I cared about? Where is there is anyone who cares about me?

Maybe a quiet weekend isn't what I need right now.




                                                17
                                             Rebecca Beste




                                         September 3, 2006

I always respected my dad. He was a Baptist preacher. A real fire and brimstone kind of guy.

It seems like I was reading the Bible before I read Dr. Seuss and I read other holy works as well.
We had a book of Apocrypha texts that I liked to read and many books containing fables and
myths from even earlier times that led up to books in the Bible. A lot of people don't understand
or even know how the Bible was put together. There were great debates. There was politics.

In the end, one collection became the Bible and the rest was discarded.

I love history and this has always fascinated me. Since then I've found many web pages
containing ancient texts and I read them late at night when I can't sleep.

Not that I believe any of it.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it's a good read and if you believe there is an all powerful god and that
he will guide your life, or at least help you when you are down, then more power to you. Just
don't cram your message down my throat.

What's funny is that I, an atheist, probably know more about the Bible and the message of god
than many people who think they are living the life god wants them lead. My dad understood
this.

You see, this is how it goes. God gives man free will. Man messes things up to the point where
God sends his only son (really god in disguise) down to atone for all of man's sins, past, present,
and future. And if you believe in this and profess this belief to god then your name is written in
the book of life. He also set down some rules and moral guidelines for his followers to, um,
follow. Then, as a reward, when you die you get to spend all of eternity in his presence and
those who didn't profess their belief in god gets to spend eternity away from his presence, which
is a kind of hell. If you read the bible you will see that hell isn't fire and lakes of lava but simply
the absence of god. Really, go look.

So far so good.

He also asked that, as good children, you go out and spread the word. And that is all. If you tell
someone the redemption story and they don't buy it, okay, move on. He didn't say cram the
redemption story down people's throats and guilt them in to professing something they don't
really believe in or take away their kids so you can force them to believe, or shun them and
ridicule them because they don't believe. He just said to tell them, and once they hear, it's up to
them to decide (free will, remember?) if they want to believe and follow and such.

I understand this, even though I am an atheist.




                                                  18
                                           Rebecca s Lament


Some people don't understand this and make it their mission to convert people at all cost. Or at
least thoroughly trash those who don't believe. God never said to do this.

This, of course, is just one of the many religions. There are many and each has their own way of
doing things. Which one is the right story? Which one is the true religion? Which god is the
real god?

You'd think if there really was one true god this would all be sorted out by now. This is one of
the many things I don't understand.

Why would he permit so many different religions and then let people fight and kill themselves
over them? If he loves us so much why not just create us in heaven? Why do this whole Earth
thing in the first place?

I know, the religious people just say it's to test our worthiness, to separate the sheep from the
goats. He loves us all no matter what and wants what's best for all of us and then sends us to hell
for all of eternity if we so much as ask for proof of his existence.

Now, don't get me wrong. I believe you should do whatever makes you happy and some people
find an inner peace serving a lord, and if you follow the rules and suggestions in the Bible you
will probably be better off anyway. After all you probably shouldn't steal whether you are an
atheist or a Catholic or a protestant or a Muslim or a Buddhist or even a Wiccan.

I follow all the rules I can. I try to keep it under the speed limit and I don't make a habit of
murdering people. I'm not evil because I'm an atheist. I don't yell at Christians and call them
stupid. In fact, I have nothing but the utmost respect for someone who can keep up with their
religion, whatever one that may be.

Even my dad, who I watched in church more times than I will ever remember, understood this
and respected me and my beliefs. After all, he did what his god asked him to do, he didn't fail
because I didn't believe. He told me the redemption story, and that was all his god asked of him.
His own daughter. No, he died trusting that his god would take care of everything.

Rest in peace, dad. I love you and respect you like no other human being that I've ever met. I'm
sorry that I don't believe you are watching down on me from some higher place. I just don't.

And I know you understand.

If you find yourself reading this please don't think that I am trying to convince you of anything.
I may be wrong, There may be a god. It may be the goddess of witches or it may be the god of
Moses. Or whoever.

Just respect my beliefs and I'll respect yours.

Just think if everyone did this. How we could advance mankind if wars weren't setting back
every day.


                                                  19
                                           Rebecca Beste


I can go on and on about religion but I'll leave it at that. If something ever does happen and I
convert, I'll be sure and let everybody know.




                                                20
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                        September 5, 2006

I've known my mentor for a long, long time. He was a business partner of my brother and
moved to Illinois before I did. We had deep philosophical conversations late at night and he
always gave me something to think about. He was there when my dad died and again when my
brother died and again when my mom died, you get the idea. He let me cry on his shoulder.

He has always been there.

When I woke up in the hospital in Chicago he was there and I never really knew how he found
out I was there. He sat with me many hours and talked to me, even when I passed out. If he
hadn't been there I probably would have died.

Not physically, but mentally. Well, maybe physically. He kept me going.

I only bring this up because I've been asked several times that if I have such a friend then why do
I feel like I'm so alone in the world? Why do I feel the need to leave and find answers
elsewhere?

It's because he taught me well.

He taught me that even though I will never have kids, I may someday be a mother. That even
though I am the last of my family, it is not the end of my family. That even though I feel like I
will never fall in love, I may still find a kindred spirit.

He taught me that you can no more control your emotions than you can control the weather, but
we can control how we react to them. How we deal with them.

He taught me that even if our future is written in the stars that sometimes it's cloudy and we can't
look there for guidance. We have to look inwards and make our own decisions. Even if it hurts.

The thing is, he taught me that the only person I ever have to answer to is myself. In the end, we
all stand alone. Our last thoughts will either be happy memories, or regrets.

We decide.

Yes, I love him and I'll miss him but just knowing that he loves me and is proud of me will be
the thing that pushes me on, not holds me back. He knows that I am doing what is right for me.
He knows he can no longer watch over me.

It's time for the student to surpass the teacher. I have to move on. I now have the money and
time and guts to do this and if I wait this moment will pass and it may never come again. I have
to visit the land of my father, I have to see if there is anything there. I have to see if there is
anything out there worth fighting for.




                                                 21
                                           Rebecca Beste


Worth living for.

I'm sorry, Eric, but the approval of my mentor is not enough. And you know this. You are the
one who brought me to this point. You saved my life twice. Now I am going to find out if it was
worth it.

I wish I could say we will meet again. I know I can say I will never, ever forget you.

I still have a month and half. I didn't mean to say goodbye so soon.

Anyway, that's how I feel about my mentor. He'd better take care of my house and my dog or I
will haunt him.

I'm sure he knows this. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes. I also know him. I
can already hear him disapproving of changing the point of view in a narrative.

I can already see him taking a deep breath, and moving on.




                                                22
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                        September 7, 2006

Jumped my truck today which is always fun. Must have flown twenty feet. I had just purchased
a banana-strawberry smoothie and before I even got a sip it did two flips and ended up on the
passenger seat and floor. The whole freakin thing.

When you do something stupid it always seems there are consequences.

This time it wasn't too bad, a quick vacuum at a car wash and I'll break out the steam cleaner
tonight.

Other stupid things I'll be paying for forever.

They say when a man looks at a woman, even briefly, like at the store or walking down the street
or maybe someone at work, that before he even knows it he has already placed her into one of
two categories - a woman he would have sex with or a woman he would not have sex with.

Then, if he has time, like a few seconds, he will picture her in the act of having sex. All this
happens before he even remembers if he is married or not or whether or not he even has a shot at
her. Which is usually not. They can't help it. It's automatic.

If a woman is fortunate enough to fall into the first category then she has great power. She can
use sex like a tool to work him over with.

Thoughts like these are what was going through my head when I lost my virginity. I was very
young. He was very old. Well, to me he was.

I kept thinking that he would go to jail for many years if I ratted him out. He knew this, too. But
he was willing to risk it. I was worth it.

At least, that's what I was thinking at the time. I knew what I was doing. I encouraged him. We
met a couple times after that.

They say when a girl has sex too young that it can mess her up for a long time, if not for life. I
came away from that experience with a huge ego that made me think of men as something to be
manipulated. I though that men would do anything to have sex and that was a lot of power. And
I was good at it. Is that messed up? Is that where I went wrong? Is that the point where the
tangent began?

Can all the things in my life be consequences of that moment? I did movies because they waved
lots of money at me. Would I have accepted if I didn't have that big screwy ego in the way?
Would I have thought more of myself?

I can't really remember regretting anything. Only lately.




                                                  23
                                          Rebecca Beste


I may have done things differently if I knew then what I know now. Or would I?

My mentor has always told me that I can't change my past no matter how hard I try. But I am in
control of my future. That's where I have to look now.

I look harder than I did before.

I just hope I always remember that whether it's jumping my truck over a ditch or sleeping with
some guy, for every action there is a consequence.

And you can't steam clean some of them away.




                                               24
                                           Rebecca s Lament




                                         September 8, 2006

I've always fancied myself an artist.

Not the kind that paints a landscape for hanging over your couch but the kind that provokes
thought and controversy. Like the people who made the aids quilt. Or the guy who painted the
Madonna with dung.

I don't use dung.

I did some computer art of an old wooden cross and the bottom morphed into a penis, because,
you know, people get screwed by religion. Very controversial whenever I post it. Some people
see the idea behind it and others just find it offensive. It stirs up emotion, it gets people talking.
Everything I think art should do. I've had other artistic visions that never came to pass. Too
much organization needed and not enough time. I may still pursue them someday so I'll keep
you in the dark. I'd hate for someone to beat me to it.

One of my projects was Last Rolls. I thought it was great idea, one that would help people gain
closure in their lives when a loved one passes. It was a very simple web page where a person
could submit a roll of film that was taken by a person who had died before they got them
developed. A sort of memorial. A sort of allegory to how we think we will go on forever. The
last moments of someone's life captured on film. I thought it was kind of deep and thought-
provoking.

To this day there are no submissions.

Maybe I'll tweak it before I go to include digital media. Stuff still on someone's camera. It's
never been advertised, maybe I'll try some of that. Maybe no one knows it's there. Okay, here it
is: http://last_roll.home.mchsi.com. Pass it on.

While maybe not artistic I always had a few ideas about sex and how it can actually be used for
good. Let's say you're an overweight man who just can't get motivated to lose those 40 pounds
your doctor keeps going on about. What if a beautiful woman came to your house every other
day and teased you and the deal is that when you are 40 pounds lighter then you finally get to
sleep with her? Would that motivate you? I think it would work better than Richard Simmons
crying on a television screen. Doesn't have to be weight, just anything you need motivation for.
Maybe to get a promotion or to get a certain job done. I can see this being a line of work in the
future.

I also worked out all the kinks to a topless/bottomless carwash. Even started a business plan for
it. Vegas would be a good place to start one. Someday.

I don't know, maybe all that isn't for me anymore.




                                                  25
                                            Rebecca Beste


I have done some responsible things. I went to school and got a degree in business management
with emphasis on accounting. I donate to worthy causes. I've opened my home to people who
had no where else to go.

I don't dress like a tease anymore unless there's a reason. I guess I've grown up a little.

I did try painting a few weeks ago. I could only find a few colors and an old brush but an artist
works with what she has. I try to let my mind go and just paint what I feel, not what I see. It
looked like giant shapes and blobs just floating in space. Kind of a surreal abstract. Very lonely
and quiet and isolated.

Damn it, that is just how I feel.

Art is supposed to make you think, even when you don't want to.

I threw it away.




                                                 26
                                           Rebecca s Lament




                                        September 11, 2006

I tried to get motivated this weekend, really I did.

But now it's September 11th and everyone is remembering the day the U.S. was attacked by
terrorist. Eighteen men with box knives killed nearly 3000 people. It sounds almost
unbelievable.

When I was a kid we always had these history assignments to interview someone who
remembered Pearl Harbor or the JFK assassination or some other momentous event in history. I
can already see this happening.

Yeah, I remember. I had just come in from a weekend out of town and was stopping in at work.
I had already given my two week notice and was packing to move to Iowa. The lobby was full
of people. No one was talking.

I asked my manager what was going on and he told me a plane flew into the World Trade Center
and they thought it was an accident but then a second plane flew into the other one. When I
started watching they were trying to confirm what the smoke was coming from the Pentagon.

I saw grown men cry that day.

There was a lot of anger in that lobby. It was a great equalizer. There were multi-millionaires
sitting next to waitresses, cleaning staff sitting next to the executives, protestants and Catholics
and Jews and mothers and fathers and kids. All silently hating the fact that this happened on our
soil, to our people. All the differences were forgotten, we were one.

I sat there all day. Everybody did. No work got done, the accounts weren't balanced and rooms
weren't cleaned. No one cared.

I remember the gift shop passing out candy bars, on the house.

Finally, I drove home and sat on the patio and stared at the sky. I thought of how strange it was
to know nothing was flying that day. The skies over most of the world were free for a while.

In the end, although I was sad and angry and bewildered, life went on. I had my own problems
at that time. New York was a thousand miles away. I only knew one lady at work who lost a
son there. In its own small way this event did stick out a very tiny finger to touch me. I think
everybody knows somebody that was directly affected. It touched everybody.

Last summer I visited New York and I took the "Top of the Rock" tour. I spent about two hours
just looking down on the city. It was amazing.




                                                 27
                                        Rebecca Beste


About every five or ten minutes someone would walk up to the railing with a loved one or a
child, and comment on how different the skyline looked. How the towers dominated the view
and now they are just gone. I heard this again and again and again.

I hope people keep saying that.

I hope we never forget.




                                             28
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                       September 12, 2006

I once dated a guy here in Iowa that, to my surprise, also collected pennies. There are several
reasons why someone would do this. Some do it as an investment and others do it to one-up
their peers.

Penny collecting peers. Damn dangerous people if you ask me.

I did it simply as a challenge. I never shared or displayed my collection, it was a private affair.
Once I started I just had to prove I could finish. I can't even remember how I started, I think I
found an empty penny book somewhere. Not that I wanted a better collection than anyone else, I
just wanted each and every book to be without any empty holes. About three years and a couple
of thousand dollars later, I was done. I folded up the books and put them on the shelf and didn't
think much of it after that.

Until this one guy. When I found out he collected pennies I mentioned that I had three books
full, no holes. He didn't believe me. You penny collectors see where I'm going already, don't
you?

There were a couple of pennies that I cut the back out of the book so you could see both sides
and one was the penny he went for. Yes, you guessed it, a 1909 S VDB penny, right there in the
book. The pride of any collection.

Of course he started in with it may be a fake and other questions. Actually, I purchased it on
eBay for around $800.00 and it was only an AU-50 grade in a PCGS case. I dug through the
junk drawer in the attic and found the case to show him. He was floored that I would crack a
graded coin out of its case.

Again, you penny collectors may relate.

But I wasn't collecting to impress anyone or even to show anyone. If he hadn't mentioned it I
would have never thought to show him. I just wanted to fill the holes, to prove to myself that I
can finish what I start.

I did finish, and then I moved on.

We laughed about how crazy it was. It's not like it's a million-dollar coin or anything but in the
end he appreciated the motives I had.

The lesson in all this? I do things for me. I'm not looking for approval or justification or kudos.
Every decision in my life I make based on my own convictions, my own beliefs.

I have nobody to answer to but myself.




                                                29
                                              Rebecca Beste


Of course, this doesn't mean I am inconsiderate of others. If an action I take affects someone
else then I take that into account as well. I try to obey the speed limits, I don't steal, I don't
endanger lives.

I am happy this way, as far as I can tell. When my mother died I went through a period of "who
will validate me now?" Good or bad it was comforting to know that someone out there was
approving or disapproving of the things I did. Well, people do that now, but this was someone
that I really cared about, someone I trusted, someone whose feelings mattered to me. Not that
she could change my mind on some things, but at least I had a scale to which I could judge
myself by.

I have no scales now.

I won't screw this up. Just because I am on my own does not mean I will fall apart.

Just like that penny, I've been cracked out of my protective case, I am no longer graded. But
neither do I want to sit on the shelf. I was tempted for a while to spend it. Just to show how
material things don't really mean that much to me, but I thought no, I respect that penny. I want
what's best for it. I may give it to some other collector who will display it or show it off. Not
that it did any great deed, or had a place in history. It's just respected for what it is, a rare old
coin.

I respect myself as well.

I think that may be part of what I am trying to find, a place to be shown, a place to be
appreciated. Not because of anything I did or anything I've said, but just for who I am. I know I
should feel like that now, but there is just something missing. I do feel like I'm collecting dust.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think I'll just bring it with me.




                                                   30
                                           Rebecca s Lament




                                        September 13, 2006

Well, yesterday was D-day. I put in notice at work. That was the last big thing. I have my cars
all worked out, all my stuff has a place to be stored, got my tickets, and now I'm free from work.
Looks like there's no turning back now.

They're not replacing me at work, just distributing my workload around the office so everyone
loves me at this point. Plus it's year end so there is a scramble to balance everything before I
leave. They'll have another whole year before they have to worry about it again. My kind of
planning.

Nothing much to lament on today. I was hopping through Ares chat rooms and was surprised to
discover that in my shared file folder was the little video of myself that I kept. I jumped back
into the transfer window and 2 copies had already been downloaded. How funny.

The videos I made were all private, or were supposed to be. I came across one online and
downloaded it for old time s sake. It's the one that was posted on my old site and the one lots of
people have seen. It's really terrible.

I've also had various people send me links over the years when one crops up on some web site.
It's funny because they put different names on them. I'm not sure if my real name ever got
attached to one. They usually get the race wrong, too. I'm Armenian, not Indian. I can search
Ares too and one or two will crop up. I guess my 15 minutes is dragging on.

I was thinking of having a garage sale. At first I was going to sell a few things on eBay but time
is too short. Then I thought I'd let my mentor's kids sell it all for me but then thought that was
trouble, too. I have a lot of stuff in the attic and basement that I'd hate to throw out but I don't
want it burdening anyone either. Plus, I was cleaning out a box and found a huge penis in the
bottom. Don't need strangers finding stuff like that.

I gave my bug to one of the kids. He can't drive a stick but it's a fun little car. I've had many,
many adventures with it. It surprises many people when I show them my Super Beetle and tell
them I do all the work on it myself. I completely wired the whole thing, re-did all the brakes
from the pedal to the wheels, patched up a few leaky spots, and petered out about there. It just
isn't worth doing more work to. The engine purrs like a kitten and it should last a few more
summers. He said he'd sell it back to me if I ever come back. Good kid.

It was one of those things that I was proud to do all by myself. No one helped with anything.
Again, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could. I'm glad I did. It was fun. I've always had a
soft spot for Volkswagens which I'd like to expand upon one these days.

I let the kids keep a lot of fun stuff that I've collected over the years. Two full sized medical
skeletons, all the TVs, books, furniture, disco lights, and all the stuff like that. I have no need for
stuff like that.




                                                  31
                                            Rebecca Beste


Anymore.

I want to get down to just a carry-on and one room at the house. I don't even really want the
stuff in the room but there are some things I just can't take with me.

It will be like a beacon to bring me back. Otherwise I won't have a reason to come back.

I guess any anchor, no matter how small, is better than none. Plus there's mentor. I've been
thinking about him a lot lately. He's sad, I know. But he supports me. I'm leaving stuff there to
help him feel better. He knows that as long as there is a room full of my stuff that I'll return
someday. I'm already thinking that he's right.

Well, like I said, it's just another day. It's all countdown from here. Just 32 days until the plane
takes off. Then I become just an anonymous ant crawling over this small sphere.

The suspense is killing me.




                                                 32
                                            Rebecca s Lament




                                         September 14, 2006

We all gotta die sometime.

I still can't help thinking about it. Does it matter if we die tomorrow or next week or 20 years
from now?

I mean, I still won't know what life on other planets looks like. Realistically speaking. I
probably still won't see flying cars.

Sure, it would give me more time to do some of the things I've always wanted to do like climb up
to Machu Picchu or walk the Nazca lines or visit Antarctica. Or even trek through the wilds of
Africa or visit the site of the Tunguska explosion. That would all be nice. I'd love to do all those
things.

But what if I don't? I mean, if I died tonight I won't care about those things, will I? I'll be dead.
I'll have ceased to exist. I'll be a former person. If there is an afterlife, which there isn't, I'll be
too busy with that to care, won't I?

Some people want to leave a legacy behind. Movie stars and politicians. Gotta be famous to live
forever. When you're dead will you care? See above. Or does it just make your imminent death
easier to deal with?

I keep thinking of some settler from the old west. Not any particular one, any will do. Born,
farmed, hunted, maybe married and had kids, got old, died. No name listed in any history book.
No pictures. No paintings. What did he matter? How long would a painting of him had lasted,
anyway? And who would have cared?

After two or three generations he would only be a foot note in his own family tree which, too,
will pass away. Someday. Did his life matter?

Okay, some people make a name for themselves. We all have heard of Napoleon or Abraham
Lincoln. They did great deeds. They rose to the top of humanity. Will there ever be a day in
history when no one remembers their name?

Let's say I conquer half the world and invent great things or do something worthy of song. Sure,
it would be great to have praise heaped on me, but then one day I will die and, well, see above.
None of it will matter. I will have ceased to exist. Being famous will no longer be a concern to
me.

Hard to grasp, I know, no one can envision what it's like to be dead. You can't pretend it's like
sleeping because you wake up from sleeping. I think this is why religions are so important to
people, it gives them a way of waking up. I've said it many times before. Religion is man's way
of dealing with the finality of death. We just can't imagine not waking up.




                                                   33
                                           Rebecca Beste


Sometimes I just don't see the point. Why are we here? And for such a short time? Frankly, I
see no reason to go on. Right now my only plans are to see some sites and try to track down
some distant family members. And, I guess, to see if this journey will, in fact, give me a reason
to go on. No, I'm not going jump from the nearest bridge, but I wouldn't care if my plane
crashed. See above.

Some days I just want to sit in the sun eating a Mallo Cup and sipping some Pepsi and generally
enjoy myself and other days I wonder why I even bother. Some days I look forward to visiting
Chartres Cathedral and other days I simply can't see the point.

Strange thing, life.

I may never survive it.

See above.




                                                34
                                           Rebecca s Lament




                                         September 15, 2006

When I was a kid our family would take long trips like any other family. It always seemed we
traveled at night, leaving right after work or school so we could be where we wanted to be by
Saturday morning. My dad had a CB radio with a sort of meter on the front and lighted dials and
from my vantage point in the back seat the reflection in the window looked just like a face.
There were eyes, a nose, and even long hair flowing out behind it.

I called it the Road Witch, because the nose was a bit pointed. This was a good witch. And even
now when I travel I look at the window and anything that reflects on the glass makes me feel a
little more comfortable. I know the Road Witch is looking out for me. Protecting me.

If for some reason I don't see a reflection, well, that's an uncomfortable drive.

Logically, of course, I know this is just a mental reaction to a childhood memory and is purely a
superstition. We discussed this at length in the skeptical forum I frequent. There is no reason to
believe I am really safer just because I see a reflection in a window.

I also look up to Orion before I travel. Another superstition

I don't know how it started but if I can help it I still leave on long trips at night. I look up and see
Orion and I just feel that he is watching over me. I even go so far as to take moment and say a
few words. I do this at night stops, too, and have probably gotten a few strange looks at rest
areas and truck stops.

Again, Orion is just a random pattern of stars that happens to look a little like a warrior with a
belt and sword. These stars have no bearing on whether I'll get a flat tire or avoid traffic. It's all
utter nonsense.

This is why, even on the skeptical forum, when someone makes an outlandish claim that they
believe in I never make fun of them. I know how it feels. This is also I why I will never, ever
slam anyone for believing in a god or following a religion.

I know it makes them feel better.

If asked for my opinion I'll tell them. And of course here on my own blog I'll speak my mind but
I would never say anything to someone leaving for church or trying to follow the teachings of
whatever bible they are reading. After all, it really doesn't do any harm unless you are fanatical
about it and start killing people over it. I know it happens every day but I don't know anyone
like that.

I guess this is called respect. I do respect the beliefs of others.

Now the question remains, why? Why does nodding at a group of stars or seeing a reflection
have any meaning to me whatsoever? Is it because as a kid I remember feeling safe with my dad


                                                  35
                                             Rebecca Beste


behind the wheel and that little reflection reminds me of this? I mean, he's not driving now, is
he? So why does it make me feel better? I'm not a little kid anymore.

That's kinda funny. I give a good psychological reason then try to reject it.

Yes, my dad is gone now and I only have like 4 pictures of him so my memories are precious to
me. What worries me, I guess, is that when I'm gone these memories will be gone, too. Who
will care about these pictures? Who will be left to remember my dad? Who will ever know how
perfect that face was reflected off the glass of a radio that he thought was so cool?

Everything just seems so final. So insignificant. I find comfort where I can.

I find it when I hike in the woods and feel just a little like a piece of nature. I find it when I soak
in the tub and play music that I genuinely like. I find it when I think that I may find family or at
least a link to my past, and hence the future, when I travel to the land of my father in the coming
months. I find it when I'm curled up in a warm bed on a cold night and I'm just drifting off to
sleep. I find it in those rare moments that I feel at peace with myself. I found it in my father's
arms. In my mother's arms. Even in my brother's arms. But those are gone now, aren't they?

So I find it in a reflection on the passenger window.

We need to find these little pieces of comfort. They are what distract us until we die. They
make life bearable. They cause happiness and joy and all the things that worth living for.

So I will always look for the Road Witch.

And for that moment I will find a reason to smile.




                                                  36
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                       September 18, 2006

I must have started 6 entries over the weekend but as my father would say, I did not feel so led.

I was feeling a little apprehension this weekend. I've already worked out what I'm bringing and I
think I've worked out all the details. I will be bringing a suitcase but I really don't hold out hope
that it will arrive with me. I've lost luggage before.

Today I officially signed over my cars to mentor. I am now the proud owner of nothing. Well,
nothing that's worth anything. Just stuff that I've been trying to condense into the attic. At work
I'm just making sure everything is up to date and everyone knows what they are doing.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't so efficient. Now I have nothing to do but wait.

And think.

Sometimes that's a dangerous thing. I'm already thinking about things I promised myself I
wouldn't think about. What if? What about? How's that going to work?

There was no question about it when I made the decision to go. Now those lines are blurring,
just a tad, and I hate that. At the very least I've promised myself not to be held back, to go where
I want, see what I want, and have no regrets when or if I ever come back to settle down for good.

If that ever happens.

I also promised myself not to miss anyone or anything. I'm already missing my cars. I already
miss my dog. I already miss Eric and his kids. Damn it, and 27 days to go before I even leave.

The journey has already begun. I'm already beginning to know things about myself that I didn't
know before. I didn't expect this.

Well, I didn't expect it so soon. I figured I would at least see Mt. Ararat before I started missing
anyone.

The journey is the thing, as they say. It's not about airplanes and buses and hotels. It's not about
whether or not I find family. It's about wandering the mazes that make us who we are. To find
that center where it all comes together. Mine has been smashed over and over and I never
thought I would see it again.

I think I may have caught a glimpse. But it's still a long way off. Will I ever reach it? Does
anyone?

I'm reminded of an Enya song. "I walk the maze of moments, but everywhere I turn to begins a
new beginning and never finds a finish."




                                                 37
                                         Rebecca Beste


Mazes have dead ends. Some you can see right away and some you have to travel down first.
But, then you back up and go another way.

Nothing wrong with that. It's how we learn. It's how we journey. It's how we grow.

Somewhere there is one path that keeps going.

I never thought too much time would be a problem.




                                                38
                                          Rebecca s Lament


                                       September 19, 2006

I had a little reunion this last summer. Some old girlfriends and I met in Davenport, Iowa, of all
places, to relive some of the past. These were the girls I lived with in Chicago when it all went
down.

We called ourselves the Throw Girls. Rough sex a specialty.

They were still living in an apartment, still partying hard. Still making a little money on the side.

They couldn't believe I was driving a big old Suburban. They couldn't believe I had a house and
job. They couldn't believe I hadn't been with a man in months. They were almost exactly as I
had left them.

It has been 5 years.

So, we partied. The last stand of the Throw Girls. Although we wanted it to be legendary it
turned out to be just memorable. We ended up at some club with a live band and lots of young
people in loose clothing. We did the Time Warp. I bared my belly button. I let loose. I partied
and went home with some guy that lived in a big gingerbread house that was now several
apartments. I had my first sex in months. Blowjob then girl on top, easy for the guy and I can
control my orgasm better that way. Plus it s just hot.

Then we all got together to compare notes. I was wide awake and ready to drive home. They
were hung over and couldn't remember much.

I don't drink, never have. Sometimes I fake it. It's a long story but I don't like who people
become when they drink so I've just always avoided it. Why make myself stupider?

Anyway, it hurt. I felt sorry for them. I felt like I grew up and they didn't. I kept asking them
questions. Did they ever do this? Did they ever do that? Did this ever happen?

No, no, and no. Never attended college or took classes, working the same jobs, hanging with the
same crowd. And here's the clincher, they still seemed happy. Sure, they complained that they
were hung over and had headaches and they had a long drive ahead of them, but they were
perfectly happy living as they always had. I didn't push it.

I guess I shouldn't judge them. To each their own. They are happy so who am I to interfere?
Didn't stop me from wanting to slap them, though. I mean, come on, do something. Anything.

I'm sure they drove home and went to bed. I'm sure they're telling everyone what a fuddy-duddy
I've become. I'm sure they went out the very next night.

I took back roads all the way home. I saw some very interesting things. There was a drive-in
theater still open, antique shops, little parks that overlooked the Mississippi river. I watched
people launch boats and even walked around down town Dubuque and toyed with the idea of


                                                 39
                                            Rebecca Beste


stopping at the casino. I went down roads that were long and dusty and had real people living on
them. Took me 12 hours to get home when it should have taken less than 4.

I kept thinking how I'd rather do this with my old friends than dance like I'm auditioning for
every guy there. I kept thinking how they'd rather dance than just drive around. I realized we
have grown apart like so many other people and that the odds are I will never see them again.

Or did just I grow? That seems more like it. I hate to admit it, but that's how I feel.

I guess it helps to have a control sample to compare yourself against.

I guess it helps to look forward.

I'm glad I got out of there. If I hadn't I never would have grown.

If we stop growing are we truly living?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm still a Throw Girl, or just used to be one. Somehow, I think the
answer to that will answer a lot of other questions. Do little bits of our past remain with us, or do
they pass and only the memory remains?

I hope I always have the time to take the long way home, where ever that may be.




                                                 40
                                              Rebecca s Lament




                                    September 19, 2006 Part Two

Sometimes I just loose it.

It's a perfectly normal day. I spent 8 hours sitting at my desk chatting and getting work done. I
come home and I'm browning a little meat for spaghetti sauce. I have a little TV mounted on the
wall in the kitchen and it's blabbering away like some kid who doesn't know he's being ignored.
I feel calm. I'm just thinking about eating and maybe getting some laundry done.

Then, well, I don't know. Just a snippet of a movie or a show or even a commercial. Just
someone hugging or saying good-bye or fighting or just about anything.

I go from perfectly normal to smashing glasses in the sink. I go out to the garage and pound on
the workbench. I throw. I kick. I cry.

Why the fuck am I here? Why was my family taken away from me? Where is the person that is
supposed to be there for me? Why can't I make it through a single god damned day without
feeling pain?

I end up crying on the hood of my car. There are a lot of dents in the hood of my car. I always
seem to end up there.

I curse the universe and everything in it. I curse fate for fucking me over. I curse myself for
fucking myself over. I stand alone, there is no one to blame but myself.

Then I pull myself together a little bit. I pick up some tools and straighten things out a little.
The rest can wait. I clean up the glass and sweep the floor. I start browning some meat for
spaghetti sauce.

How the hell did I end up here? I hate flat land. I need mountains and streams and trees and
here I am in Iowa. I should be driving a luxury vehicle and instead I have a 35 year old
Volkswagen and giant Suburban. I should be the life of the party and I end up crying in my
garage. I should be with people and instead I'm in chat rooms.

Now it's getting late. I've had time to calm down and breath deep. I keep telling myself that I
can't change the past, I can only look ahead and plan for the future. I do my therapy and write
this down although I have no idea why. Maybe I hope that someone will read this and relate.
Maybe I'm writing the words that will go on my tombstone. Somehow it calms me, like some
sort of zen meditation. Just words that bare my soul to the whole world.

What a messed up night. It wasn't the first time.

It's just that sometimes I just loose it.

                                            September 20, 2006


                                                    41
                                            Rebecca Beste


I know, sounds crazy. It could be worse. I could be addicted to drugs or drinking or something.

I try to stay away from shit like that. It's the one thing I'm pretty sure would have led to an early
grave.

In high school I went to a party where some hard liquor was brought in. A lot of kids there were
drinking for the first time and I couldn't even stand the smell of it. So I kinda just hung out and
the more people drank the stupider they got. I'm sure you can imagine.

Then in the wee hours of the morning the vomiting began. I'm glad it wasn't my house.

That was all it took. I simply have not had even the slightest interest in getting drunk. Since I
used to go to a lot of parties I've seen the same thing over and over again, just solidifying my
views. The same goes for drugs. I guess if you see it first and see the effects then it puts you off
right away. And with my personality I'm sure if by some chance I did try it that it would mess
me up pretty quickly.

I know this. So I won't try any.

I even try to stay away from prescription drugs. Last summer I broke down and started seeing a
psychiatrist. He wanted me to try a few things and I told him I was very reluctant to take mind-
altering drugs. He assured me it that they weren't mind-altering, they would just calm me down
and help me cope with a few things that were going on at the time.

Isn't that the definition of mind-altering? I mean, if I'm thinking and behaving and acting in one
way and a drug makes me think and behave and act in another way, then that altered my mind.
Even if just a little.

I don't even remember the stuff he prescribed but later, in the hospital, the doctor there said it
was a drug that no doctor in their right mind should have given me. It acts as a short-term
memory inhibitor which is supposed to calm you down. Too much can be lethal.

All I remember is coming home from work and going in the house. Then I woke up in the
hospital, a week and a half later. They told me I overdosed. They said it was touch and go.
Then they told me again and again and again. My memory was shot.

One of the problems is that because it stopped all writing to my short term memory I have no
idea what happened. I just remember going into the house. I don't remember being upset or
throwing things at my car or anything like that, just going into the house.

My neighbors said the garage door was up a few feet and my car was running. After a few
minutes they thought something might be up. I was in my car and they shut it off and called an
ambulance. They said I was awake but incoherent. I really don't remember a thing.

Somehow it was determined that I tried to commit suicide, first from overdosing the medication
then by starting the car in the garage. I call bullshit. That doesn't sound like me. I may wail and


                                                 42
                                          Rebecca s Lament


moan but I really can't fathom taking my own life. And if I was going to do it I wouldn't have
raised the garage door before I started my car.

I'm not that stupid.

Somehow I was checked into a month-long recovery program. I couldn't leave the ward. It was
a full two weeks before I started remembering things on a regular basis but for a while nothing
registered. Looking back I can remember two or three times making a scene at the nurse s
station, demanding to know where I was and what doctor locked me away. It was like I kept
waking up, not remembering the day before. They said I did this for like a week. I was shown
papers I signed self-committing myself. I have no memory of this at all.

My mom came in from Michigan. She stayed at the house and mentor spent a lot of time with
her. They wouldn't let anyone but family visit me. Mentor is my family, but try explaining that
to them.

I tried to explain to her that I didn't try to kill myself. It wasn't logical. Why would I even
bother seeing a psychiatrist if I wasn't trying to better myself? I just remodeled my house. I had
just purchased a brand spanking new car. No, it had to be something else but it was the nature of
the drug that I would never know.

I am so glad she believed me. I think we worked out that whatever happened I was trying to
leave, perhaps to go to the hospital when I finally passed out. If I hold down the button to the
garage door opener, it stops, so that made sense in a way.

I still went through one of the craziest months of my life. If that's what they do with someone
who attempted suicide then I feel really sorry for them. The cotton-candy group sessions were a
joke. The withholding news from the outside world was a joke. The personality tests that I had
to take daily were a joke.

After about three weeks I was almost myself again so I started messing with them. I even
accessed the internet from a waiting room on another floor. I'd wander off and get yelled at for
leaving the area. In group sessions I would argue that the universe is going to end in a couple of
billion years so what's the point in trying to go on. I was trying to get kicked out of group but
they just didn't do things that way. I'd argue about the nonexistence of god and imply that I was
having sex with the nurses. I was a real class A bitch.

I was just so angry. A whole month, gone. All my leave at work was used up. I was lucky to
have a job after. Anger was the only real emotion I remember feeling that whole time.
Especially since I would never know why in the hell I took too many pills to begin with. I was
angry that so many people thought I would kill myself.

I finally came home and spent a week with my mom. It was great. We did things together that I
had waited my whole life for.

It was the last time I saw her. She died a few months after that. I won't get started on that.


                                                 43
                                             Rebecca Beste


Things quickly got back to normal. In fact, out of all the forums I post at not a single one
noticed I was gone. I'm pretty much a regular at many of them. I thought I'd at least get a
where've you been from somebody. It just proves that you shouldn't take forums seriously. In an
anonymous environment no one really cares.

So when I have a night like last night, and I simply lose it for no reason, I think back and wonder
what the hell happened. When I have a night like that I'm thankful that I don't drink or do drugs
because it would just be that much worse.

I've seen worse. I don't want to go back to worse.

So, these days I rarely even take a Tylenol when my bones hurt. It's not logical but I avoid pills.

In the future, if you see me in a bar, laughing and having a good time, that drink in my hand is
probably just a cola. If I'm ever sitting by myself sulking, it's still probably just a cola.

Either way, rest assured, it'll be the real me.




                                                  44
                                         Rebecca s Lament




                                      September 22, 2006

What a hard freakin day. They are not letting go of me easy. We moved offices, desks,
computers, cleaned up wires and vacuumed and cleaned. I didn't get to sit still for a moment. So
I thought I'd actually go home for lunch and the kids are hauling mattresses out. For some
reason they didn't want the mattresses I had. Heh. So I spent my lunch hour squeezing king
sized mattresses through twin sized hallways.

Then, I had the water softener picked up. What a mess that was. The guy must also be recruited
to be a salesman because he'd say, see those spots? You need a softener. And I'd say, well, it's
your softener you're taking out so why would I buy another one from you? It obviously isn't
working. He just went to work after that.

Then I cleaned around the basement and kitchen. I guess a day like this can give you momentum
to do the things you keep putting off. Otherwise I'd be asleep by now.

It's kind of surreal, seeing parts of your life cleaned up. Moved out. Hauled away. All while I'm
standing there watching.

Or doing it myself.

My brother had a tumor. Really, I'm going somewhere with this.

It was killing him and couldn't be removed. We had a shop set up in our basement and he and
mentor worked on computers and designed web pages. The last few months he couldn't
concentrate enough to really do anything useful and he just surfed the net and wandered around
taking things apart. Mentor was way cool about it. He didn't say a single word or try to
discourage him. Even when his workload doubled trying to undo what my brother did when he
was down there.

My brother did things that no human should really do. He picked out his casket and designed his
own tombstone. These things are for the survivors. These things are to bring closure to grieving
families. But he really wanted to do it. He even paid for much of it.

He spent the last few days deleting web pages, closing accounts, and even cleaning up his work
area. He threw clothes away, and just when he was too sick to stay out of the hospital he even
stripped his bed and put the sheets in the laundry. I mean come on. We kept telling him to stop
it. He insisted. It made him feel better about himself.

It made us feel like shit. He was very philosophical about it. I can't imagine what it's like
knowing you are going to die in a few weeks. Who can who it isn't happening to? How do you
cope with the ticking clock?

For two weeks my mom and I barely left his side. But all humans have to eat and sleep and
shower so we started taking turns going home for short periods to pull ourselves together. It


                                               45
                                             Rebecca Beste


really, really hurts to talk about it but I had sat there for a few hours and got up to get some ice
water. There were no machines hooked up to him, just oxygen and he was just laying there
sleeping. When I came back I could tell. I sat back down and begged for his forgiveness. He
wasn't supposed to die alone.

My mom came back and was so calm. She took the oxygen hose off and gave him a hug. She
told me to get my purse and go home. She said Mark was no longer there and this was just the
shell his spirit left behind. He had gone to be with his father, both his real dad and the holy
father. Ah, religion. This is one time it does the most good.

I did tell my mom, when years had passed, that I wasn't there. She just told me that he was brain
dead for days and that I shouldn't beat myself up for it. Mark would forgive me, he probably
waited until I left or was somewhere laughing about it. But somehow, in the cosmic scheme of
things I feel like I let him down. I have never, and can't foresee, ever forgiving myself for it.

So, when I'm signing my house away or watching my mattresses get hauled away or even just
watching my office come apart and see co-workers calling dibs on my stuff I can't help but to
think about my brother, and how he prepared for his trip.

I don't think he missed anything. He couldn't afford to because he couldn't come back and fix it.

I'm sure I'm missing things. I'm sure I'll be in the plane over the Atlantic and remember some
ultra-important thing that I missed. I'm sure time will pass and I'll eventually forget about it.

Or maybe not.

After all, my trip isn't carved in stone.

His was.




                                                  46
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                       September 24, 2006

Today is another day of 10,000 blogs. So I decided to sit here and watch the Vikings game and
write down whatever comes into my head.

First of all, it's nice to have time. All day yesterday and today I thought today was the 1st of
October. I really did. Not sure how that came about but now it seems like I've been given a
whole week to work with. Seems fair. I've lost a few weeks before.

When I was in school I took a philosophy class and one of the things we discussed was the
concept of time. Or rather, whether there was time or not. When it came right down to it I found
myself understanding and agreeing with the concept of the existential moment. This is the belief
that there is no forward progression of time, there is just this one moment that we all live in.
Time is merely the synchronization of clocks so that humans can keep civilization going without
too much chaos. It's all illusion. One thing follows another so it seems like time is passing.

I'm sure there are moments in everyone's life where we wished we could travel through time.
Imagine going back to see how the pyramids were built or meet some historic figure. Imagine
going back to prevent some big mistake.

I've made a few. But if I prevent the mistakes that I've made, who would I be today? Where
would I be?

No one can answer these questions, and it's impossible to travel back in time, so is it even a good
exercise to imagine things like this? I've been told, no, don't even try it. The past is the past, we
can't go back, we just have to pick up at this moment and move on.

That's pretty much what I try to do on a daily basis.

Today I am just a girl, watching TV, munching on chips and drinking grape soda. That's pretty
much all I am now. Today I'm not dwelling on death or hookers or hospitals. I'm just in a
holding pattern.

Tied 3 all. The Bears and the Vikings are just beating the crap out of each other.

This is the girl you'd probably like. You wouldn't like me at work. I'm a bitch. I'm the one who
makes sure all the paper work is done and all the typos are fixed. I've seen a lot of eyes rolled at
me. I've had a lot of people tell me it's not important if the yellow form can't be read, but they
don't see the big picture. They don't work with the auditors when they are nit-picking our
procedures and record keeping. I'm in charge of the records, I'm the one bitched out and has to
fix everything, so we will do things my way.

Well, not anymore. I find myself forgetting that I'll be gone soon. I even caught myself
planning a Halloween party. Not this year.




                                                 47
                                            Rebecca Beste


You'd probably like me when I'm hiking and communing with nature, too. Not much can bother
me when I'm sitting next to a stream watching the water bugs. They are just trying to live long
enough to lay eggs. They are just existing. I can't even remember doing this with a boyfriend or
anyone. I don't think I've ever dated anyone who likes to walk in a freezing blizzard. Before the
plows and blowers ruin it all.

You'd hate me when I'm pissed or depressed. I don't hold back. I say things that sting. This is
usually when guys decide that I have too much baggage to stick around. This is usually when I
return to my truck or my bug and find some isolated spot and hug trees and lay down in the
grass.

Then it all starts over again.

3 to 6. Vikings are pulling ahead.

My dad used to tell me that his first duty was to his god. He was a Baptist preacher and kept true
to this his whole life. His second duty was to his family. His third duty was to the United States.
Even as an immigrant he was a true patriot. He refused to teach us to speak Armenian and my
mom said that even she had only heard him speak it a couple of times. He said as long as he was
a citizen of this country he and his family would speak English.

I loved my dad. He was a Lions fan and I guess that's why I'm a Lions fan. I do many things
because of my dad. He instilled in me a love of old cars. He taught me to make my own
decisions. He taught me to fight the good fight and that sometimes people would get hurt. He
tried to teach me that in the end we all stand alone before god. I modified this a little, I think we
all stand alone before ourselves. Either way, I don't play the blame game. I am who I am
because of the choices I've made.

I also learned to be loyal to my team, and then my division, then to my conference. Hence, I'm
Lions fan but they rarely air those games here so I watch the next best thing, an NFC North
game, usually the Vikings and then, when the Super Bowl rolls around and none of these 4 teams
make it, I'm all for whoever is representing the NFC. That's how it's played.

The Lions always seem to lose. But I'm loyal.

9 to 6. Bears now lead. No touchdowns. More yellow flags than I've ever seen in a game.

Oops, 9 to 13. Vikings intercepted.

Now I'm just stuffing my face with cake. I feel guilty when this happens. I can't remember the
last real food I've had. When this game is over I most certainly will go and do some hiking.
Then I'll eat berries and apples until I feel back in balance. Or maybe mow the lawn. I just
really need to get outside.




                                                 48
                                           Rebecca s Lament


Maybe I'll take the bug 4 wheeling. There's nothing like that rush when you run over a log and
wonder if this is it, if this is the time you break the suspension and have to call for help. It hasn't
happened yet.

I forgot again. It's not my bug anymore. Damn this takes getting used to. Sometimes I just
wake up and say, oh, my god, what have I done? It's not even my lawn anymore. Is this still my
state? Is this still my country?

I'll know in due time. I'll let you know. In case you are wondering I don't have a return ticket.
My trip ends in Yerevan and that's where I'll make all the decisions that will set the course for
the rest of my life. Pretty awesome of me to set it up that way. Whatever I decide there, that
will be it. I will no longer be aimless.

Ha! Or maybe not. One thing I've learned is that nothing ever turns out the way you plan.

Nothing.

Two more field goals. 12 to 16. Bears have the ball. Under two minutes to play. The best
games have exciting finishes.

How will my game end? Will I die in some desert or the back street of a foreign city or will I
rise to prominence and actually make a difference in somebody's life? Will I peter out, or will it
be an exciting finish? Will I find adventure or will I find comfort in a safe routine?

The game is over.

This was just a Sunday afternoon.




                                                  49
                                            Rebecca Beste




                                       September 25, 2006

I belong to many forums. Many of these have chat rooms and this is where I find regular
company.

One forum I belong to is for the survivors of rape. It's private and I'll respect that privacy here
but it's one place where I put on my serious face and dispense advice and try to help people out.

Not that I've ever been raped.

But I've teased and was very promiscuous and if I wasn't so easy at times I very well could have
been. Getting attention from men used to be my favorite past time. Because of this I tend to
play the devil's advocate. The regulars in the forum have come to recognize that this is an
important role to play from time to time so while I seem mean at times I've never been banned,
after all, they know that deep down inside I'm trying to help. In my own way. But in the end, I
will always take a knee and do what I can. I want to help, truly I do. We all pull together there.

I joined by invitation because someone read an account I wrote once of how I lost my virginity.
They told me that with someone so young that it had to be against my will whether I believed
that or not. I don't buy this and we've had many a long discussion about how I made my own
choice and no one coerced anyone else.

I think they originally put up with me because I stood my ground. I didn't give in to the "we are
all victims" mentality. I don't let anyone put thoughts in my head.

To me, the worst thing you can say to anyone is, "Well, you should feel this way about that." I
believe you shouldn't tell people how they should feel. It pisses me off. They know how they
feel, I know how I feel, you know how you feel. We are all different and respond emotionally to
things differently.

So, rather, I always ask how they feel, they tell me, then we can discuss a course of action from
there.

Anyway, I jump on posts that tell people how they should feel and some people get why I do and
some don't. Some of these girls had just gone through a traumatic experience and they don't
need to feel worse because they aren't feeling an emotion someone else tells them they should be
feeling.

I try to carry this philosophy into other forums as well. When I see posts about what color I
should paint my car or should I get these wheels or will this look cool I always tell them to do
what they want. It's their car. Who cares what other people think, what do you think? Don't try
to validate yourself by trying to gain acceptance from others. If they don't like what you do to
your car, so what? Hang with a different crowd.




                                                 50
                                           Rebecca s Lament


This hit close to home the other day when some friends of Mentor's sons dropped by. One had a
Bronco that he put lights all over, like the big rigs you see on the highway. The first words out
of his mouth was, "That looks stupid." I actually smacked him on the back of the head.

I told him to never tell someone their car looks stupid. He obviously put a lot of time and effort
into that and he likes it. It may not be your style but it's his, so lay off.

I don't know if I got through.

Getting back to the forums, the funny thing is we can argue and fight and carry it over to the chat
room but sometimes you find yourself alone with someone you just spent 5 pages arguing with
they simply ask how's it going? And you chat about life and how to get paint out your carpet or
something mundane. And you realize that there are no hard feelings and it's okay to disagree
because at the end of the day we're all in the same boat. You also realize there is a time and a
place for arguing, and a time and place for just shooting the breeze. And a time and a place to
drop everything and pull together to help someone out.

I've learned a lot in that forum. Men can be angels and playthings, but they can also be
monsters. I've learned that there are people and faces behind the statistics. I've learned that
some people really need help because they can't get out of situation on their own. I've learned
that you can beg someone to go to the police, that something will snap, and then suddenly they
don't sign on anymore and all you can do is hope. You can't reach out and grab someone through
the internet.

But I've also learned that sometimes it works out. Sometimes a woman can take back her own
life and move on. That people just need to know they are not alone. That life can be good.

In any case all I can do is watch, and listen, and dispense a little advice. Maybe provide an
electronic shoulder to cry on.

Or find one to cry on.

But these aren't really my problems. I've never been raped. I just think that sex should be fun,
emotional, and sometimes even a loving experience and to brutalize that is just wrong.

I guess in my own small way that is where I made a stand.

And I hope, although I'll never know for sure, that is one small place where I've helped someone.

I know this blog is all about me, me, me, and it's supposed to be like that, after all it's my blog
about who I am, but just so you know, I do try sometimes. There are places I put myself last.

I really do care, girls, so take care of the forum. You know where to reach me.

Unfortunately, it's the one forum that's really needed.




                                                  51
Rebecca Beste




     52
                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                       September 27, 2006

Mentor is always very logical.

If you see a ghost he can explain why you didn't. This is sometimes a very useful thing as I did
see a ghost once. It was right after he moved in.

I was staying in the attic. No real reason why except that I had lived alone for so long that all the
people in the house were making me nervous. The attic has a bed and all the fixings and I was
up there late one night with my laptop, just sitting in the dark and chatting online.

You have to picture it. In the darkness the screen pretty much obscured any view I had of the
whole room. The stairs come up in the middle and I was facing them from a nook where the bed
was. It's the only way in or out of the attic.

Let me also point out that my house is 90 years old and two people have died here. Both of old
age. Both confirmed.

Anyway, I'm sitting there and I hear someone come up the stairs, then, past the glare of the
laptop I thought I saw someone walk past to the back of the attic.

Clear as anything it looked just like a person.

I called out, I called out again, then I swiveled my laptop around to light up the room. I thought
it was one of the kids sleep walking or something.

Of course there was no one there.

I freaked out a little and jumped up and turned on the light. I looked around. No one hiding. No
dog. Nothing. I was alone.

Now, if you know me you know that I don't frighten easily and I just went back to chatting,
although I did leave the light on. I mentioned this the next day to Mentor, who knows more than
anyone I know.

He told me what had happened and I checked it and it was right. There was a perfectly rational
explanation.

It was my eyelash.

Really, I checked it out. The next night, with the lights off, I sat in front in my laptop and
browsed a few sights. My eyelashes were being lit up by the monitor and being very close to my
eye they were out of focus. If I drooped my eyelid, as I would if it were late and I was getting
sleepy, it does look just like someone or something is standing right behind my glaring monitor
and if I moved just right, it looked like it was moving.


                                                  53
                                             Rebecca Beste


It was exactly what I saw.

A perfectly rational explanation for seeing a ghost. Who would have even thought of that?

If it weren't for that one explanation, and me backing it up by doing it again, I could have spent
the rest of my life thinking I saw a ghost, because, for a while I really thought I did. And if I
really did then it would rock my world because I don't believe in ghosts. It would be Earth-
shattering to me. It would change my whole outlook on everything.

I used to road rage. Yes, once again, it's related to the story.

I used to road rage like a true bitch and get pissed at every car on the road. Well, not every car,
but every car that didn't use a blinker, or cut me off, or raced off the light. The ones that really
get my goat are the ones that bust a nut to pass you, then turns right away. I hate that.

Then I got my bug. You expect all these things in a Volkswagen. It's slow and old. I calmed
down a lot. I couldn't flip people off anymore because while there were a thousand Camry's in
town there is only one Beetle so people would recognize my car easier.

Then one day a guy cut me off and I got pissed so bad that I was ready to run him off the road. I
actually followed him with flames coming out my nose. And then he turned into the emergency
room parking lot, got out, and ran into the hospital.

I felt like I was two feet tall. I calmed myself down and went to where ever it was that I was
going. There was an explanation for his behavior.

Now, I realize that people are just living their lives. Sure, some are still jerks, but they aren't
being a jerk to me personally. To them, they were racing an anonymous Suburban, or passing
the slow VW. They are just thinking about work or their home life and taking it out on the road.
Maybe they're late for work or rushing to a friend s house. Or they're just not thinking at all.

Not that it makes anything okay. It's still wrong to not use your blinkers or weave through traffic
or go forty over the limit.

But I let it go now. It has nothing to do with me. There is an explanation for their behavior and
if I dug deep enough I'm sure I would find it. And realizing this helped me to see that I can let it
go, that I can not care, that I can just drive and obey the signals and get to where I'm going and if
someone turns in front of me, so what? Just because I don't know why they do it doesn't mean I
have to get mad and road rage.

Somehow, these two things are related. I was in a chat room this afternoon and a regular came in
that we all know is trouble. He just insults and insults until people leave. I think he's getting off
on it somehow and I used to argue with him and hate him. But now I just feel sorry for him. I
pity him. There is something in his life that makes him this way. There is a simple explanation.
I could put Mentor on the case but in the end I just don't care. Just knowing the explanation is
there is enough for me, I don't have to know what it is.


                                                  54
                                         Rebecca s Lament


This has helped me mellow out a lot. It's a nice little philosophy to get you through the day.
When the cashier is inattentive, when the insurance guy on the phone is rude, when psychic
bigfoot believers are being argumentative, you just have to realize it's not about you. Well, most
of the time it's not about you.

So, don't freak out. Don't lose your temper.

Sometimes the most Earth-shaking moments in your life is just an eyelash.




                                                55
                                              Rebecca Beste




                                           September 28, 2006

My first car was a VW bus. I got it when I was visiting Cedar Point in Ohio and stopped in to
see some people in Columbus. It was in a back alley and dirt cheap so I bought it and proceeded
to drive it home, a six hour drive.

The generator wasn't charging but I didn't know that until the battery went dead and I found
myself in a truckstop somewhere trying to get a mechanic to just charge my battery. I really
didn't know what to do.

It was kind of my first adventure. Not sure the mechanics behind it but as the battery died I lost
power and would find a place that looked like they could charge it. I'd bat my eyes and giggle
then be sad and then they'd help me. At one point I purchased a new battery and it finally got me
home.

My dad was furious. At first. Once he figured out the charging issue I drove it some more. It
was sort of a redneck town and everybody went stump-jumping on the forest trails and I rode
that bus harder than most guys rode their big 4x4 trucks.

It held up well until the engine seized.

My dad tackled it himself. He loved working on cars and thought it'd be easy so he pulled the
engine, tore it apart, and fixed it.

He was always my hero.

The inside had camper gear and lots of room and I found myself carting my friends around.
Almost had my first threesome in there but in reality two guys just do not want to get naked
together. They spent so much time worrying about looking gay if they accidentally touched each
other that I said forget it. It was good for a laugh, but that was all.

This time the engine went out with a clunk and my dad discovered that he didn't shim something
right or he had the wrong spacer somewhere, at the time I didn't pay attention. A week later I
was back on the road again.

He still didn't like the darn thing. He always had Corvairs and Greenbriar vans so I don't see
why he didn't like it. He knew everyone in town and found a little Arrow Jet that was sporty and
zippy and talked me into buying it. Shortly after a bolt worked loose in the bus and all the oil
drained out and the engine seized a third time. That was it, I sold it for like a hundred bucks and
it was gone.

I really liked my Arrow so I didn't miss the bus. At the time I was happy and care-free. High
school was great. I drove to Orlando and did the Disney thing and I drove to Colorado just to see
mountains. I was dating and in the band and life was good.




                                                   56
                                           Rebecca s Lament


Then one day I came home and my brother met me at the door. Mom was standing behind him.
I knew something was up.

My dad had a heart attack. They were waiting for me to go to the hospital.

Life can really blindside you sometimes. People worry about bills and money and dating but
that's nothing compared to what the universe can really throw at you. Never saw it coming, like
a rug was pulled out, like the ground opened up. Those are the phrases I dread.

At least we got to say good-bye. As a family. It wasn't pretty, though. It wasn't a quiet hospital
scene. There were doctors and nurses and they were trying to stick things in him and on him.
My brother held me but I think he did it so he wouldn't feel so useless. If he were comforting me
then he was doing something.

I remember how frail and thin my dad looked. They had stripped down to his underwear and I
could see his ribs and hip bones. In living my life I failed to see my father grow so old. I
couldn't believe this old man on this bed was the same man that had my bus all jacked up and
taken apart just the summer before. The same man that was all fire and brimstone just the
Sunday before, pounding his Bible before the congregation.

Why was I blind to this?

Life goes on.

It was really my first transition. The first time I questioned religion. The first time I saw how
generous people could be.

The first time I had to fend for myself.

It was also the first time I saw my dad as a man. A man who had a life outside of mine. He was
always helping the Amish communities around the area and so many showed up that they filled
the church and crowded around outside. Cars and horses and buggies blocked the streets. It
seemed like the whole town showed up. I could hear snippets of conversation of how he helped
this family and how he did something for that family and how brought the church together. In
the coming weeks a collection was taken up and my mom didn't have to worry about bills for a
while. Even in death, my dad's legacy was taking care of us.

I always loved my dad and he was a good father. I'm better for having known him.

I was blindsided, and survived. We all did.

I've had many cars since then, and a few were VWs. I've never been a mechanic and I really
don't like what grease and oil does to your hands so I've always had to pay to get things fixed but
for some reason, every VW I've ever own I worked on myself. Not that I've done anything
major. On my little Super Beetle I did do a complete brake overhaul and rewired everything and
even fixed some holes. I did it all myself as a sort of tribute to my dad. It's just one of those


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crazy, superstitious, illogical things that I do just because it makes me feel a little better. And to
prove to my dad that I could take care of myself now. His job was done so he can now rest in
peace.

So, my first brush with death wasn't a horrible depressing experience. We were family. We had
support. We had each other and a great community.

But I think those days are gone now.

If I'm blindsided again I stand alone.

But I'm pretty sure that whatever life throws at me I'll get through it, because my dad taught me
well.

So, as far as VWs go, I'm pretty sure if I had to I could pull an engine and rebuild it. And I'll
make sure every shim and spacer is in place. And I'll do it all by myself, all the while thinking of
Amish and churches and Corvairs and white buses.

And I'll be thinking of you, dad.

And for a while, I'll feel a little better.




                                                   58
                                           Rebecca s Lament




                                        September 29, 2006

Last day of work.

Went well. Had a good lunch and said good-bye to everyone. Deleted my own accounts and
made sure there was nothing nasty on my hard drive. As I was walking out the door I could hear
a request for a file and phones being transferred. Life goes on.

I'll miss them. They don't realize it was a momentous occasion. To them it's just another
employee moving on.

I spent an unhealthy amount of time at work in chat rooms. They would just be on while I did
my job. They kept me company and kept my brain fresh throughout the day. It was always good
for a laugh.

It's not like any work didn't get done because of it. Every day at 4:15 I'd tell the chatters it was
time to roll the sidewalks up and head home. It was an inside joke that nobody got.

So, anyway, it was just a chapter. The book of my life goes on.

This would be the To Be Continued part. I really don't know what's coming next.

Somewhere out there is a meaning. I just wasn't finding it here. I mean, come on, this is Iowa.
This is where I escaped to. This is where I took a breather after discovering that people really
are cruel to one another. This is where I was hiding out.

I only came here after reading an article in some magazine that said this was one of the safest
places to live. It sounded nice on paper.

I'm told there are places out there that can still fill a person with awe. Places where you can feel
the presence of greatness and have some of it rub off on you. Places were fairies and gnomes
still roam and the trees can still talk to one another. Places where miracles still happen. I want
to feel stones that were carved centuries ago. I want to learn the wisdom of ancients. I want to
see traditions and ceremonies.

There has to be more than just existing. Than just going to work, mowing the lawn, and paying
your taxes.

I've been doing searches on the internet. There are places where the water cures and kissing
stones brings good luck. Places that saints have touched and great men have stood. I plan on
seeking these places out.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still a skeptical atheist that doesn't believe in miracles. But perhaps I
can find guidance and purpose in these places. Perhaps by watching the believers I will find
something to believe in. Perhaps by drinking holy water I will find peace. Not because it is


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magical but because it represents a thousand years of yearning and trusting and believing.
Perhaps by kneeling in an ancient church I will find wisdom, not because of faith, but because
great men built it with their bare hands and determination. Every stone laid had a meaning.
Every stone had a purpose. Every stone was lovingly carved and put in its place. Every stone is
beautiful.

A stone carved without purpose can just end up an ugly mass. Every event in my life was a chip
or chunk taken off. If I'm a stone being carved, then I don't want to end up that way. Just an
ugly mass to be tossed back into the quarry.

I'll be visiting the pyramids in Egypt. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Orion and some
believe the pyramids represent Orion on Earth so it will be like finally meeting an old friend for
the first time. I want to make sure I touch it, the representation. Any pyramid will do, I just
want to touch Orion. Funny and superstitious and perhaps foolish but I want to all the same.

In the end I will do a search for my family. I have a record from my dad of all the names that I
should be able to match up to the family trees in Yerevan. Hopefully other lines survived.
Hopefully they'll be friendly or at least humor me. Maybe they'll understand how important it is
to me. Maybe they'll hate me and tell me to hit the road. At least I'll know they are there, if they
are there at all.

I don't want to be last. If I'm the last it means that my family just petered out and faded away.
The last is supposed to be a hero and bring honor and song to the family name. The last is
supposed to make sure the family is never forgotten.

The last isn't supposed to be found in a dumpster.

This all sounds very majestic and I guess it's because I've had my last day at work and now I turn
around and face the road. It's a daunting road. I've only peeked at it before. Peeked around my
job and my house and the little things that tie me here. But they're all taken care of now. Now
the road is right there. It's the only thing in front of me from now on.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, well heck, here it is...

The road goes ever on and on, down from the door from which it began. Now far ahead the road
has gone, and I must follow it if I can. Pursuing it with eager feet until it joins some larger way,
where other paths and errands meet and whither then? I cannot say.

I can't think of anything that says it better than that.

That poem has been with me since the first time I read it as a kid.

This job was my last tie. As I walked out the door my journey began.

I rolled the sidewalks up for the very last time.




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                                          October 1, 2006

I can't wrap this up without a few more stories. It's only fair.

Iowa is flat and most roads are straight so you can see for miles. One day I was delivering
documents for my boss to the next town over and way ahead I saw a squad car with its lights on.

You have to picture this. Long flat road, cornfields on both sides, I'm the only car on the road,
and I'm going about 60 in my Suburban. This is a tank. I feel safe in my Suburban.

So I see the squad car and no other vehicle. As I get closer I realize I can't even see anyone in
the vehicle. I start to look around and I see a pickup in the cornfield. There's an access road a
little ways away and I don't see any skid marks or dug up dirt in the ditch so my curiosity is
peaked. Accident?

Still no signs of people. I'm slowing down, going about 50 now and then I see a guy in the ditch,
dressed in coveralls and such like a farmer and he's got a shotgun. Still no sign of an officer.
Then he raises the shotgun and points it right at me. I mean, really, I'm looking right down the
barrel head-on. Still no officer. Now it's becoming clear. This guy just shot the officer and now
he's going to shoot at the only car on the road that could be a witness. I start to swerve onto
shoulder. I figure if I tried to slow down enough to turn around I'll be too close so I figure I'll try
to get past him.

I gun it, no pun intended. Now I'm pretty close and I see a deer in the ditch trying to stand, but
its hind legs aren't working. Then I see the cop in the cornfield walking towards the road. Right
as I pass the gun is fired and the deer goes down.

So a new picture emerges. An injured deer is found in a ditch and the local farmer called the
police to make sure it's okay to put it out of its misery.

There's always a logical explanation.

I had another hour to think about this before I got back to the office and by then I was pissed. I
called the station and told them what had happened. I told them there is no way in hell that guy
should have been allowed to fire at a deer from that angle. He should have stood by the road and
fired away from the road, not towards it. This could have ended badly.

The officer on the phone clearly was blowing me off so I asked who was in charge of the station
and was given the name of a captain and was told he wasn't in. I spent the most of the day trying
to track him down. I was going to get satisfaction.

Later in the afternoon I got a call from someone identifying himself as an officer and I asked if
he knew where this captain was. He said no such captain worked there and this really got my
goat. I thought I was lied to. Then it hit me.




                                                  62
                                         Rebecca s Lament


The town he said he was calling from was where my mom lived.

She had passed away. They were trying to notify next of kin. That was me.

Again with the blindside. Again with the slap in the face when you're least expecting it.

I happened to be shit talking with some people in a VW forum at the time and I'm pretty sure I
lashed out at whoever I was talking to pretty badly. I yelled at my boss. I threw some papers
and walked out.

Mentor wouldn't allow me to drive this way. We made the 10 hour trip together. I just stared
out the window the whole way. The road witch was watching over me. Orion was out. The
universe was trying to ease my pain.

This time had some unexpected twists. This time I had to step up to the plate and be the
responsible one. I had to sign papers and make arrangements. The funeral home was great.
Dad's grave was like a hundred miles away so we arranged to have a service here then transport
her down there. I had to pick out a casket. I told the guy I was picky and if I saw one flaw, one
mark or stitch out of place while my mother was being viewed I would make his life hell. He
told me he wouldn't expect anything less.

I was trying to be a hard ass and he was tying to be nice to me. He won.

Thanks to everything the funeral home did, I did not have to see my mom in a morgue or in a
freezer or anywhere else except at the viewing. I am glad I didn't have to do any of that. I'm not
ready for that.

There was a church involved here as well. I know I said before that people are cruel but there
are truly good people, too. They did everything they could for me. Over the next few weeks
they helped me sort the house out, pack stuff up, and all sorts of things I couldn't have done on
my own.

The plot where my dad was buried was only for two internments and since my brother was
cremated he was allowed to be there, too, like some kid sleeping with his parents on a stormy
night.

Yeah, I see the irony. There is no room for me in the family plot.

It was a few days later, sitting in my mom's living room that I finally broke down. I didn't have
time before. I had work to do.

This is where I realized I had no one to turn to anymore. My family was gone. I was the very
last one.

Life began to suck.




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We moved around a lot as a kid and I never even lived at that house so it wasn't hard to pick out
what I wanted, donated the rest to the church, and sell the house. I kept the furniture that meant
something to me, the pictures, the important documents, and a few knick knacks and the rest was
just stuff. I have no need for stuff. The church would know what to do with it. My mom was
the last person who was able to tell me everything would be alright. She was the last person who
I believed when I heard that.

I dropped the whole shotgun incident. It no longer seemed important. In fact, nothing did.

I couldn't find meaning in anything for a long time. Even now.

Especially now.

That was the final turning point. I've now come full circle. That's how I've come to this.

This brings me right up to the point where I decided to sell my house, quit my job, and go in
search of, well, of anything.

Less than 15 days to go. I'm going to take a drive before then and see a few things. Time is
short.

I only have a few more blogs left in me.

Once I hit that plane, I won't be thinking about any of this.

After all, we can only look ahead.




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                                           Rebecca s Lament




                                          October 2, 2006

"There are monsters, there are angels. There's a peacefulness and a rage inside us all."

I'm just a girl. I like Voice of the Beehive, T'Pau, and Alanis Morrisette and read Douglas
Adams. I watch the History Channel and Last of the Summer Wine. I like long walks in the rain
and dancing in clubs. I can fix a leaky fuel line, configure a firewall, and divide fractions.

This little narrative pretty much summed up my entire life. It bared my soul for all of humanity
to see, to judge for themselves. I don't believe there is anything after this life so there will be no
god to judge me. Humanity will have to do. Not that I care, because in the end I will stand
alone. You either die with regrets or memories, not both.

I died once, and I had memories. I couldn't really think of anything that I would change.

I'm not so sure now. I know we are all just ants in a colony. Step on one and ten more takes it's
place. One ant does not make much of a difference in this world. People don't mourn for one
ant.

So, I leave the comfort of mere existence to see the world beyond. And the world within. For
the journey isn't about hopping around from site to site, it's about learning and growing and
discovering who you are. It's about finding things within yourself that you didn't know was
there. It's about finding a reason.

Maybe I'll grow enough to see beyond this wall I've been building around myself. Maybe I'll
find a door or reveal a crack. Maybe I'll realize that an imaginary wall is a stupid thing to have
in the first place.

I may find that I am a monster or an angel.

Or just a girl.

This has been my lament.




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                                               Last

I don't know if this will be my last entry. I'm not traveling with a laptop, I want to travel light
and unencumbered. I'll try to keep in contact with the one person left in my life, my Mentor,
Eric, and if he can, he'll pass things along. I want to thank all the forums and chat rooms that
have kept me company over the years when real people faded from my life. I think I would have
gone insane otherwise. I wish you all the best the world has to offer. I especially want to thank
Eric for storing my stuff and giving my special Bailey a place to live. Remember, she gets a
cookie twice a day and you have to leave the shades up so she can bark at the squirrels and
rabbits. Eric gave me a shoulder to cry on, an ear to bend, and at times a reason to live. I'll
never forget what you have told me. I'll see you at the airport on the 15th, bring the kids and
some Cinabons. And take care of Matilda, remember that she's Super!

I have my tickets, my mp3 player, some grape soda, and I know where my towel is.

It begins.




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                                         Rebecca s Lament


Rebecca left me at this point.
Something told me that I d never see her again but deeper inside I hung on to the hope that I
would.
I was a stranger living in a strange place. Nothing around me seemed mine. It took some
getting used to.
Then, one night, when I least expected it, I got a phone call from a tired, frightened girl who was
lost in the world.
I turned on the lighthouse, and begged her to come home.




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January 7, 2007

Nothing ever turns out the way you imagine it will.

Some things turn out better and everyone is happy. Some things turn out worse and
disappointment follows.

And some things turn out in totally unexpected ways.

I've started this entry about a hundred times now and nothing can convey what I'm thinking or
feeling at the moment. I had some exciting times and crossed off many things that were on my
list of things to do before I die but there were disappointing moments, too. But as the saying
goes, the journey is the thing, and even though I'm back where I started, in more ways than one,
my journey isn't over.

Will it ever be?

I really didn't intend to end up back here. I didn't think I'd even make it back to the states but
circumstance and providence stepped in and here I am. My time had not yet come.

Did I find what I was looking for? Well, yes and no. For anyone with a detailed family tree it
shouldn't hard to track down distant relatives but when you are dealing with different countries
and different ideals and customs you'd better be prepared for what you find.

Sadly, I wasn't.

I also didn't find a new life.

Or a place to die.

I've been trying to tell myself that at least I had a few adventures. I was arrested and fined in
Paris and had sex in the last place you'd ever imagine. I was robbed and gave up something in
Rome and even visited the Vatican at an unexpected time. I was offered a job and at times just
stayed in hotel room curled up in a little ball.

All just little brush strokes in the big picture.

Well, this was just a little teaser to let you know I'm back. I will try and get a few entries now
that I've slept for a few days, caught up on things, and cleared my head a little.

At the moment I feel like I've been here before. Homeless, jobless, aimless, and depending the
friendship and hospitality of, well, a long time friend and the very last constant I have in my life.
Am I sorry? Do I regret this?

The jury is still out.




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                                         Rebecca s Lament


Right now I'm scared. It's time to face facts. Time to plan.

It's time to get out of bed.

A few more days, I think. Yeah, a few more days.




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                                          January 9, 2007

When I was a kid my parents thought it would be a good idea to take a couple of weeks and visit
England where we lived for many years. I was born there and we moved to the states when I
was five. I don't remember much, really, just bits and pieces but to my parents the trip was a
stroll down memory lane. They'd point to a park and ask me if I remember playing there when I
was little or if I remember this house or that house.

My brother remembered a little more than I did but for me it just seemed like a boring trip.

Ten years later and I wish I had paid more attention.

I think there is a small part of us that wants to return to where we were born. It would just help if
were knew where that was.

If nothing else, I got the town right. I walked around and admired the scenery and took comfort
in the fact that at one time I was pushed down these streets in a pram. I ate something that was
like creamy sugar wrapped in harder sugar in a sugar shell.

To be brutally honest I recognized nothing. I took the train back into London and spent the next
day curled up in my hotel room. In one of the oldest and most historic cities in the world I
wasted a whole day fighting a panic attack.

That night I formulated a plan to visit Holmfirth. I won't tell you why, it's just something I had
to do. I think it was the most pleasant part of my trip.

Not happiest or greatest or the most fun, just the most pleasant. I lived a secret little fantasy
there.

On my last full day I visited St. Paul's. I was in awe. How can you walk into a place like this
and just not be floored by it? What compares to it today? From the surprising checkered floor to
the gold and silver and stone and statues and all of it from centuries ago, it just went on and on.
There were cases with clothing and goblets and all kinds of things with little explanations
describing how this important person made this or drank from that. Tombs of important people.

Scaffolding.

Then there are doors and stairways and those are what you really want to see. What secrets lay
beyond where the public can't go? I sat on a little white bench in the lower level and tried to
wrap my head around it.

Men, with the riches of kings, were told to build this beautiful place. Build it to impress people,
build it to please the royal family, build it to please the church, build it to please god. Probably
in that order.




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                                         Rebecca s Lament


I remembered my first visit. We visited a cathedral and palace but I didn't think it was this one.
I remembered a giant dollhouse that had tiny, tiny artwork in it and replica furniture and being
told that these tiny pieces were worth as much as their full-sized counterparts. And a big sword
room with levels and stairways. Just as impressive as this but I racked my brain and still couldn't
remember where that was.

I didn't want to leave and when I finally did return to the freezing London air I found I was only
in there about 2 and half hours. Still enough time to see the Tower.

How taxis in London are not all beat to hell and dented beyond recognition is beyond me.
Traffic was just nuts and when they change lanes they just do it, only very slowly. The cars in
the other lane either give or get hit. But I didn't see any hits. There must have been some
etiquette there I wasn't picking up on.

I've probably bored you enough. This was the simple stage. I knew the language, had no
itinerary, and just wanted to pay tribute to my parents in a way by appreciating a few of the
niceties around the isle. I didn't see even a quarter of what I wanted but what I did see was worth
it. And the pizza had corn on it. I may try to make this a fad in the states.

In the states it's hard to find anything over, say, three hundred years old and everything is wood
and paint. Here there were places so old that no one knew how old they were. Everything was
brick and stone. And watching the landscape go by out the window of the train I would suddenly
see a bomb shelter or pillbox, a reminder that this country has seen things we never have - bombs
dropping from the sky.

Anyway, this was my buffer zone. Traveling alone is the pits and everywhere I went and
everything I looked at I found myself thinking how Mark would have loved this or Dad would
have loved that. It was larger than life and I desperately wanted to share it with someone. I
called Eric and there was no answer. Somewhere in the world life was going on. That made me
feel a little guilty but I shouldn't have, I know.

No lessons learned in England . No epiphanies. No life changing moments. Just a vacation and
saw some great sights.

Didn't see Harry Potter.

Wish you were here.




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                                        January 10, 2007

Shit happens.

Mostly when you don't need it. My flight was delayed umpteen times and I spent 14 hours at
Heathrow airport. I could practically see my destination and of course at some point I realized I
missed out on a great opportunity to take a train through the Chunnel. It was the obvious logical
thing to do and I completely didn't do it.

Airports are great places to watch people. People are real in airports. The shyest, nicest guy will
totally lose his temper on the poor gate person when told the flight would be bumped for the
third time. Business men will play sodoku on their laptops or pretend to be doing work. People
in hemp pullovers and backpacks will sit on the floor and be happy for no reason whatsoever.

There is always someone with skis. Always someone sleeping somewhere. And everyone
leaves an empty chair between them and the nearest stranger unless there is absolutely no where
else to sit.

People getting off the plane either look like zombies or they are wide-eyed, looking for someone
or something. The well-traveled and the never-traveled. The people just starting their vacations
and the people just getting home.

So I sat there wondering if I would ever see my suitcase again and watching people of every race
you can think of twaddling around and wishing I had taken the Chunnel.

I was actually nervous about going to Paris. I don't speak French and I wondered if anyone there
spoke English. How would I check into my hotel room? How would I even find the hotel?
How would I complete my mission?

Yes, I had a mission. Something I've wanted to do since I was very little. Something I was
determined to do. Something I'm not going to write about tonight.

A very strange calm came over me the last few hours. I ate a couple of these sandwiches that
had thin bread that was buttered on both sides with a very slim slice of ham and a very slim slice
of cheese for only five pounds and started to wonder crazy things. What if I was just created and
everything up to this point was just a programmed memory? What if a plane crashed into the
terminal? What would I do if I had to spend the rest of my life here, in this terminal? I noticed
my hands were huge.

Maybe the bread wasn't supposed to be that color.

It was my turn to ball out the woman at the gate and just as I was getting up they announce that
we would could board our flight a few gates down.




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                                          Rebecca s Lament


It's funny how you can quit your job, sell your house, fly across the ocean, walk around a huge
city alone, and then, after all that, get scared to take another step.

It's funny how the very next moment you feel like you can conquer the world.

Holding my greasy head high I climbed aboard the smallest jet liner I had ever seen and strapped
in.

For the first time I felt like I was past the point where I could officially turn back. Come hell or
high water, forward was the only way to go.

The sky was pitch black outside and they dimmed the cabin after we took off so I could see
various little lights reflected in my window.

Even here the Road Witch was watching over me.

Order was restored. I felt sure of myself once again.




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                                         January 12, 2007

Somewhere there were gods smiling upon me.

Waiting for me at the Charles De Gaulle airport was my little brown suitcase that was a
graduation gift from my parents. Maybe they were trying to tell me something.

My room reservation was ready as well. The hotel was practically in the airport which is why I
chose it. While booking this whole trip the thought of a language barrier always bothered me
and I figured this would be safe as the brochure specifically said they speak English here.

Two wonderful things happening on the same day. I was on a roll.

I chose Paris for two really good reasons. First, I wanted to see Chartres as I knew some people
that went there way back in high school and they could talk about it for days. Not to mention all
the other great places only a city of this size and age can provide. Second, I wanted to see
catacombs. Real ones.

I told this to my porter. He said he'd get me a brochure and I told him that's not what I meant. I
wanted to see the catacombs that aren't on the tour.

Oh, no, he said, very dangerous, plus I'll get fined. Then he said something like biddle fwap and
took his leave.

By the time I woke up from a much needed sleep half the day was shot. I decided I would not
hide in my hotel room and took the shuttle into Paris.

I was not disappointed. I, of course, did the Eiffel Tower thing which was absolutely amazing
but took a lot longer than I thought. I toyed with the shops and was glad to discover my Euro
Visa card was at least working the way it was supposed to. I even tried to transfer to the Hilton
that was downtown but they said my rates would more than double so I let that sleeping dog lay.

I also discovered a strange phenomenon that inflicted me everywhere I went. I found myself
saying si for yes, and nein for no. In these touristy spots it wasn't hard to use English but this
happened over and over and would plague me the entire rest of my trip. I don't know what part
of my brain was confusing Spanish, German, French, and English but this kept cropping up. I
even found myself asking for uno drink or dos candy bars. Am I spelling that right?

Anyway, it got dark early and I strolled around like a little lost kitten. I ended up taking a taxi
back to the hotel and was brave enough to ask the driver if he knew where I could find a guide
for the catacombs.

He said to just take the tour.

I explained I wanted to see the catacombs that weren't on the tour.


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                                            Rebecca s Lament


He told me no, very dangerous, plus I'll get fined.

Back at the hotel one of the desk clerks didn't look busy so on a hunch I asked him about the
catacombs. He told me he could arrange for a tour. My heart leapt.

It was only something like 5 USD and the shuttle could take me there in the morning. No, I said,
I was hoping to see the real catacombs that aren't on the tour.

He told me no, very dangerous, plus I'd get fined.

All I could think about was You'll shoot your eye out, kid. Ho. Ho. Ho.

So, I took the tour. Only it wasn't so much a tour as a long line where you can walk around and
get told not to touch anything.

Still, it was pretty damn awesome. Just thinking about how men got paid to dig up graves,
transport the bones here, and stack them up, hundreds of years ago, and they're still here, just
boggles the mind. Really. And that's not all. There are carvings and old graffiti, and hundreds
of stairs, and little chapels, and carved ceilings and all the time little old ladies and other tourists
of every shape and size falling silent at times and laughing and snapping pictures at other times.

I should say something philosophical about bones at this point. I don't think most people got it.
In the stacks are skulls and if you stare long enough you can almost image a face. Someone who
actually lived in this area long ago. Someone who was born, lived, and died and now we don't
even know who it was and his body is now scattered over miles and miles of tunnels and the
bone that once shaped his face is now a joke for tourists as they stand and get their picture taken
next to the little heart shape or cross shape that the stackers made from the skulls.

What would that person think, if they had known? How could a 17th century shop keeper ever
imagine that this would happen?

A lot more to come on that thought later.

It's a one-way tour. The spiral stairs at the entrance and the first part of the tunnel is too narrow
to allow two way traffic so you come out across the neighborhood and get to walk down some
quaint streets to where ever you are going.

From the bottom of the world to the top. The day was young so I went to Notre Dame.

The shuttle drove me past this the day before but good god almighty Mary and Joseph is this a
neat place.

Did I say neat? I swear I almost cried. Men built this place. It wasn't like St. Paul's. It was
grander, more awe-inspiring, and I think men truly built this place out of faith. Out of love for
their god.




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Napoleon stood here. Kings and queens and knights knelt here. The whole purpose of this trip
was to find something for me to live for and, well, this wasn't it but it made me believe that I
would find it. Mankind was capable of great things. I sat there and let the whole thing just wash
over me. I looked and every nook and cranny. This place was held up just by the sheer weight
of the whole thing, like a fragile house of cards. I paid the extra fee to climb up and see the
towers but I thought I would die from the climb. That alone killed several hours as there are
lines of people and they only take a group at a time. It was way worth it. I wanted more, I
wanted to see the places that the public can't go. There must be nooks here that only the most
seasoned monk knows about. I felt as if I were in a building full of secrets. If only walls could
talk.

And like flowers in the midst of massive rocks the windows shown in all their glory. Every one
showed a story even if I couldn't figure out what that story was.

Throughout the day there were services but I wondered if they were serious or put on for the
tourists. Since I'm not Catholic, or French, or believe in god, to me they seemed really out of
place and even though I'm not Catholic, or French, or believe in god I think I gave them way
more respect than half the people there.

I didn't want to leave but sooner or later reality starts to set back in. A little bit of hunger and
tired legs brought me back down to earth. I walked around the river and marveled at the outside,
which is just as impressive as the inside. And to top off the end of one of the best days in my life
they rang the bells.

This brought me courage and I decided to pick a random restaurant and eat a really good meal.
Nothing too fancy and there were still tourist everywhere so I'm sure it was overpriced but
whatever it was I ordered turned out to be quite good and the waitress was really friendly and
spoke a little English.

I was feeling very, very mellow and was probably friendlier than I normally am plus I had god
all over me from my fabulous day which is why I think she didn't give me the standard response
to my standard question.

Rich American? Unauthorized tour of the catacombs? Something could be arranged.

Life suddenly got interesting.




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                                            Rebecca s Lament




                                         January 14, 2007

I was in a bad place. I can see that now.

When you hit rock bottom you start to look for a way out. Sometimes it's hard to find the will to
go on.

It's not that I was suicidal or anything like that, but it was easy for me to put myself in harm's
way. Whatever happened to me, I didn't care. The self-preservation instinct in me was turned
off for a long time.

Just bring it on.

As I stood in my hotel room, a million miles from home, all by myself, with total strangers
discussing how much money I had, I was beginning to feel my preservation instinct kick in just a
little bit.

But I also felt that these were good people who wanted to show off their skills more than they
wanted to get paid as guides.

I invited them down to the bar and I must admit I felt a little like a spy discussing an important
mission with my comrades. But mainly we talked about proper English, how Iowa is not like
New York or California , and things I should do before I leave. I even started to flirt a little and
wished I had worn something a little more attractive.

It seems getting to know guys in a bar is the same no matter where you are. At least here the
language barrier wasn't so much a barrier as something we could tease each other about and half
the time I was lost and I'm almost certain they were making fun of me right to my face and
having a good laugh over it.

I'm cool with that.

It was getting late and we made plans to meet the day after next. Sarah and I went shopping the
next day which was nice because I got to see some normal parts of Paris and say si and nein a
lot which was starting to make me giggle every time I caught myself doing it.

I was actually enjoying myself. This was truly a vacation.

The next morning I was riding in a beat-up BMW with 3 very quiet individuals. The part of
town we were in didn't seem too savory and my guide barely spoke and that was only to inform
us that he was missing classes today to do this but it would be so worth it. Something was up
with Sarah and her boyfriend but I couldn't catch what it was. I sensed tension between them but
nothing I could really put my finger on.




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We pulled up to what looked like an abandoned office building then parked. I was handed a set
of rubber boots that were so big I could still wear my shoes inside of them and came up just past
my knees. They were soft and rubbery but still made me walk like a Frankenstein's monster. I
had purchased one of those LED flashlights and had a 24 pack of batteries in my fanny pack but
Henry just smiled and said I would probably use them up before the day was done. He had a
miner's helmet and a small back pack and also a covered clip board and a gas lantern.

It was around this time that I realized that we were the only two getting ready. Sarah would not
go and so neither would her boyfriend, which seemed to make him mad. This only worried me
slightly, I got the feeling I could trust my guide. The last thing he gave me was a stocking cap. I
don't like to wear hats but I wanted to cooperate.

I can't imagine what I looked like all done up like that. I'm sure it wasn't pretty.

We went down an alley to a door that looked like it was a single sheet of plywood with a big
lock on it but Henry simply swung it out from the other side. We went through some dark
hallways and down into the basement where we had to move some pallets and lift a heavy piece
of steel that was covering what looked like a sewer.

This was the very last place I would have expected the entrance to be.

We said good-bye to Sarah and Henry said he'd call when we got out. He then climbed down the
ladder that was embedded in the concrete. With a good luck I followed, flashlight in hand, and
was suddenly engulfed in complete darkness as the steel was dropped back into place.

I called out to Henry and he said to just keep climbing down. I could see no light were he was,
darkness was a companion down here and I'm sure he was used to it.

It took forever to get down. I had to search for each rung with my feet and then had to hope I
wouldn't slip and fall. The further I climbed the more I worried about how far the fall would be.

Suddenly I could see light. Henry was at the bottom waiting for me and with that boost of
confidence I finished off.

He asked me if I was alright and started to give me instructions. Step where he steps, duck when
he ducks, don't lose sight of him, and on and on. He said we'd be there in an hour.

An hour? We weren't there already?

The first part was more like a basement than a tunnel as there were pipes and wires coming out
of holes and lining the tunnel. We went down roughly cut stairs and I tried to make conversation
as we walked down long, very long, tunnels in ankle deep water. He explained that the building
we came in through was supposed to be torn down but this was just the easiest way in for an
armature such as myself.




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                                          Rebecca s Lament


As we walked and talked I realized that it was strangely silent, if you called out there was no
echo.

Then things picked up. The tunnel started to take twists and turns and went up and down.
Ceilings changed heights and there were more and more passages which Henry would have
never explained had I not asked. Just boring tunnels and dead ends. I guess this started out as a
mine after all so there was no real rhyme or reason.

There were plaques on the wall. Street signs, with dates, which made no sense to me but the
dates were centuries old, and I got the very first feeling of awe as I realized that I was walking
down tunnels carved centuries ago and looking at plaques that were just as old.

We went into a room like area that had levels carved into it. Our first rest stop. I didn't have a
watch on but I think we had been walking for about three hours. He said not to be alarmed and
turned off the lamp. He said when you rest, you rest your light as well so I turned off my
flashlight.

I just can't describe the darkness. Pitch black, utter darkness. We chatted quietly and he
commented about how quiet it was that day. He told me about other cataphiles and other people
you may run into down here. Don't make eye contact, don't speak first, ask no questions. It was
a matter of pride, who had the biggest map, who knew where the best features were but mostly it
was a feeling of zen to sit in the darkness and contemplate life.

We fell into silence for a while and the silence became like the darkness. I couldn't even hear
myself breath. I could almost imagine that Henry had snuck out and left me here alone, and how
anyone could find their way around without a light. It was strange to think of the plaques and
dates existing down here in complete darkness until someone happened by. So many thoughts.

Plus, being in complete darkness with a healthy man turned me on to no end.

My reverie was interrupted by Henry lighting his lantern. We looked at each other for a bit, as if
we both knew we shared an experience no one else would have.

Our differences showed when he ate some healthy bread bar and I ate a candy bar. I had big
sandwich in my pack but thought that this wasn't the time.

For the first time he pulled out his maps. I wondered if he played Dungeons and Dragons
because that's what the maps looked like. He asked me what I liked, carvings or architecture and
I thought some carvings would be nice and then we headed out again.

He showed me some rooms that had statues carved out of the wall and little arches and borders
and nooks and this and that. I started to feel like Indiana Jones and found myself looking too
long at the designs and could always feel Henry patiently waiting for me. In some rooms and
nooks there were bottles and trash from some party and graffiti not only from past weeks but
from past centuries. We did pass a party of four but Henry must have forgotten his rules because
he stopped and chatted for a bit and they laughed and pointed at me.


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Yeah, I'm the stupid American.

And now the part you've all been waiting for. I know you have, and I've been wondering how I
was going to tell it.

We entered a small room that had a bench along one wall and had some carvings around the
edges and borders. Another rest stop. One wall did not go all the way to the ceiling and it was
too dark to see anything.

I asked him how alone we were and he said we were about as lonely as we could get. We turned
out the lights.

He didn't stand a chance.

I've got to tell you, it was different than any sex I've had before. In the pitch black darkness it
was like we didn't even have bodies. We were just two life forces intermingling. It was so
erotic, and there was no sense of time or space.

Then we just lay there for a while in the dark and cold and then he nudged me and said we
needed to get ready. He didn't turn the light on until we had our pants back on which took a
while because they were hard to find. Then, he was all business again. We ate and chatted and
smiled at each other a lot.

Then I asked him something I was a little embarrassed to ask him before, only because I didn't
want to appear ignorant.

Where were all the bones?

He told me to look over the ledge. I did.

Damn.

There's something very eerie about coming face to face with a pile of bones. Human bones.
What's worse, I just realized I had had sex in somebody's tomb.

Double damn.

Stay tuned, there's a triple damn.

This time there was no one to tell me not to touch anything but I felt compelled not to anyway.
These weren't stacked neatly, they were just in a pile. Henry said that a body would be laid to
rest on the shelf, then thrown over the wall to make way for the next body. Then I asked him
where all the skulls were. He said some were smashed by druggies and crazy people, others
would have been taken for souvenirs. Look, he said, they were smashed right here.




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                                           Rebecca s Lament


What I though was simply rubble, stones, or pebbles were actually broken pieces of skull. I had
just had sex on broken pieces of skull.

Triple damn.

Okay, I said, we must never speak of this. He said not to worry, no one would believe him
anyway, and it wasn't as uncommon as I thought.

He would later show me other piles of bones, scattered and piled in heaps without the respect
that was shown on the tourist's tour. He said people would roll around in the piles, stoned out
their minds, either on dares or just because they believed bizarre things would happen.

We spent hours exploring, now much more at ease. I wasn't a paid customer he was showing
around anymore. I saw more and more things that would surprise me. Here a pile of batteries,
there a bucket full of shit, around the corner swastikas from World War II when Nazis were
exploring and using these tunnels, statues, towers, pipes and wires, warnings, collapsed tunnels,
plaques, and more twists and turns than you can imagine. We ran into ten or fifteen people,
some simply passing by and others that would stop and chat. Always in French, though, so I was
always left out of those conversations.

We emerged in a different place than where we went in and in the half hour it took for our ride to
arrive I realized I was bruised and battered, my boots had gotten water in them and my feet were
like white prunes and I was dirty and muddy and simply exhausted. I had a rash around my
knees where the boots rubbed, even through my jeans.

I was already thinking about going back.

It was my first real adventure that had a happy ending. The second time I wouldn't be so lucky.

Lately there had been a lot of vandalism in certain parts of the tunnels and of course there was
the threat that terrorists would use the tunnels somehow so patrols had been stepped up, or at
least certain offenses were actually being enforced. In any case, we were going through a fence
to another entrance when we were nabbed. We were both charged with trespassing and some
other minor stuff and I agreed to pay my fine on the spot which I think annoyed them greatly. At
least it wasn't a jailable offense and I think that since we didn't have drugs on us and we weren't
with a party they let us off easy. As a gesture of good will I paid Henry's fine as well.

So I got to spend the day at a police station in France, which was much cleaner and modern than
you'd guess and we did actually go to a disco instead of visiting the underworld that day.

I felt like a girl again.

And I now had new strangest place where I've had sex. And I had made some friends in an
unexpected place and even made my longest blog entry ever.




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And I got to live my life long dream to explore the catacombs. What a feeling that was, really. I
will never, ever forget it.

But my trip to Paris wasn't over.

And I still had half a world to go after this. This was just a diversion, like smoking a cigarette
before the firing squad. And that's exactly what I was feeling.

I may as well enjoy myself while I could.




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                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                        January 15, 2007

It's funny how you can read up on something, look at pictures, hear the tales, but totally lose
track of one important fact.

This happened to me over and over on my trip. For instance, Chartres Cathedral isn't in Paris, it's
in Chartres .

Well, duh. I guess I never looked it up on a map. And Lourdes? Six hours away by train. I had
plenty of time. I chose both.

Making arrangements was easy with the help of the staff at the Hilton and I should have a room
waiting for me when I got off the train. This was going to be a two day trip.

I asked Henry if he would go with me and he politely declined. He couldn't miss any more
classes and he certainly couldn't miss work. This was okay, I thought, this was something I had
to do by myself.

He asked me what I wanted to heal. I told him if I had a spirit, then it was that.

My father was very religious. I can remember him ranting from the pulpit about the state of the
world and this was way, way before 9/11. He'd rant about what women wore on the television
and about praying in the public school and god's role in the government.

He used to say prayer was something you did on the floor of your closet. Alone with god. This
was kind of a catch-phrase of his, he'd use it once a sermon. If you had a problem you solved it
with god, on the floor of your closet.

But when the fire and brimstone cooled and we were home again he'd be back to normal. He
was a very tolerant man and when I would ask the really deep questions, the ones that end faith,
he always had an answer for me. So when I asked him about Catholics he told me that they were
religion carried to the extreme. It was too hierarchal, too rigid, with too many rules, but in the
end it was a path to god so they were kindred spirits and were to be treated with respect.

He also told me that saints were all part of the show. It was like a trophy for being the perfect
Catholic. He didn't believe any man should be worshiped and so he looked down on that
practice but overall he had nothing bad to say about Catholics or any other path to spiritual
enlightenment.

I can even remember summers where we visited other churches. Every church in town
sometimes. I'm not sure what this did for him but I got see many different Sunday rituals done in
many different ways.

In Paris, and before, I felt lost. Completely without guidance. I had an urgent need to reach into
the past to see if there was a future. It sounds corny, but there it is. Just as I would end up


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looking for roots in lands of my fathers I was looking for deeper roots, and meanings, in these
ancient places.

And let me tell you, there are some ancient places in Europe. I watched them fly by out the train
window.

I'm trying not to type 5 pages again so I'll skip ahead.

I promised myself that I would drink from ancient fountains and healing waters just to see if it
would affect me in any way. Maybe I could find meaning, or maybe I would find faith.

Once again, I found the totally unexpected.

In this ancient town people of faith show up in droves to bath in the fountain. It's supposed to
produce miracles. You can actually see a saint here.

I mean literally, see a saint. She's hermetically sealed in a glass coffin.

Plus the pilgrims must have other concerns because I was told this was the off season, and the
hours for the bath were shortened.

And it was cold, so the lines weren't as long.

This was all explained to me in full-colored glossy brochures. And for a few extra Euros you
could even rent a little recorder that took you on an electronic walking tour so you'd be sure not
to miss anything. They even have web cams.

I spent a cold night walking along the river and gazing at the mountains. By the church people
knelt in prayer and looking up at the stars and mountains and the beautiful buildings you could
almost believe there was a god somewhere making all this happen.

Almost.

I just couldn't let go of that last thread. I just can't bring myself to that level.

The next day I stood in line with little old ladies and was thankful I didn't have to see them
naked. The full-colored glossy brochure walked you through all the procedures. Keep quiet.
Respect those around you. The water is cold. Don't expect a miracle.

Seriously, it said the miracles here are spiritual, not physical. On paper, anyway. Word of
mouth said that this place will cure what ails ya. Wash away your cancer and your broken hips.
But I'm sure there were lawyers somewhere that told them that they couldn't officially say that.

I was the only one there without a rosary. Good thing you could get them at the gift shop. I was
led to a bare dressing room and stripped naked and put on the robe provided for me. Two




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                                            Rebecca s Lament


helpers walked me to the bath which was very shallow and I was asked to disrobe and was then
covered with a sheet that was still wet from whomever went before me.

It was ice cold. As was the water, which wasn't as clear as I had hoped. It was only knee deep.
Per the instructions I was supposed to kneel, which I did, and lay back, which I did with a helper
at each elbow.

The shock of the cold water will quickly push out any religious thoughts you may have been
having and the gasping for air could conceivably be mistaken for some sort of miracle or healing
taking place.

But wash over me the water did.

So, that was it. That was the water that Saint Bernadette bathed in from a fountain that sprang up
at the moment a vision of Mary told her it would. And her un-decaying body was proof that it
worked. And other miracles and stuff.

I re-robed and went back to my clothes. They don't offer you a towel and I'm sure my solemn
face and matted hair was proof to the other believers that I had taken my bath.

I sat on a bench and contemplated this whole experience. I still had all my scars. I still felt lost
and confused and I still didn't care if I lived or died. I still missed my parents, and my brother. I
was still guilty of bad things.

I still couldn't find it within myself to believe in a god.

Surrounded by faith, in the presence of a saint, on holy ground, I still felt like this was just a
place, and I was just a girl. If I failed to find enlightenment then I at least learned a little
something about myself.

Water is water. It will take more than water to heal my spirit, if I have spirit.

I tossed the full-colored glossy brochure in the trash and went back to retrieve my bag.

I had a train to catch.




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                                         January 16, 2007

I used to have this dream all the time. I was in a house, my house, and I find a room that I knew
was there all along but never thought about before. It would be full of junk and I would think
what a great den this would be, or exercise room, or something. In the back I'd find a door and
another room. More possibilities. Then I'd find a stairway, and more rooms, sometimes kitchens
and bathrooms and rooms done up with fancy trim and others that need finishing. And then
hallways, and stairs, and tiny tunnels. Then more rooms, and more. I'd explore until I woke up.

I had similar dreams where I find a tunnel in my basement and explore in a similar situation,
only this time I knew the rooms and hallways weren't in my house, they were under the city.

Always exploring without end.

If you believe the dream interpreters, they say that it's a metaphor for exploring my life. Self-
discovery. Always wanting to find out more.

I think it was just like the catacombs. I didn't make a connection until my second trip down.

Or like the cathedrals. The tiniest door with the tiniest spiral staircase would lead to a massive
room. With more doors that led who knows where.

Or like exploring a foreign country. Or a world.

I was starting to drink up everything. Everything was the same and yet everything was
completely different. Cars still had four wheels, but nothing would remind me of American cars.
Houses still had doors but they didn't look like home.

And sooner or later you start to get full. Time was winding down and I had two tickets left.
Even when I was having fun I could feel a tug on my mind reminding me that there was a
destination somewhere and this wasn't it. It was just a stop along the way.

It was just a room with another door.

Henry, who's real name was something like Sphemoisvoushesh la moo moo biddle quack, was a
great guide but nothing to write home about. And I could tell he held no real interest in me
except that I was easy and could pay his fines so in the end we only exchange e-mail addresses.

He did ask me nonchalantly one evening what birth control I was using. I guess sex is more
casual in that part of the world, like it's just something you do like go to a movie or taking a
walk. I thought about saying a couple of angry men used a mop handle to punch holes in my
uterus then stabbed me and beat me unconscious and left me for dead but that was a whole can of
worms I didn't want to open. I just told him I was barren, and clean, and made a mental note to
have a checkup when I got home.




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                                           Rebecca s Lament


I spent my last few days there alone, just getting a massage or three and eating at the same
restaurant over and over because I felt safe there.

Packing my suitcase I was reminded that I didn't even buy anything there. I'm not the type who
needs souvenirs or mementos and besides, who would I share them with where I was going?
And, at the time, I thought life was going to be rather short.

I did check three big things off my list of things I wanted to do before I died. I spent the day at
Chartres, I bathed in holy water, and I explored the catacombs. Making love to a Frenchman was
only a bonus.

I had three more things to check off.

And little did I know it but I would return here, but that's later in my trip.

I'll keep doing a few entries until I catch up to where I'm at now, but in case you can't wait, I still
have that dream.

I'm still exploring rooms.

While settling my bill the clerk asked me if I enjoyed my stay in Paris.

Yes, I did. I did very much.




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                                         January 18, 2007

I've always believed that there were three basic forces that drive and/or control humans. The
first is sleep.

Everybody sleeps sooner or later and after a day or two you are either hallucinating or passing
out so it's not like something you can choose not to do. So, number one, all men need to sleep.

The second is food and water. Oh, someone is sure to point out that some WWII veteran has
gone fifty years without sleep but I'm sure that man needed to eat and drink. And breath air, silly
I know, but I'll lump that in with sustenance. Here we find the rules of two. Two minutes
without air, two days without water, or two weeks without food and you will find yourself unable
to stay alive. So, number two, all men need sustenance.

The third thing all humans need are orgasms. No, not the need to procreate, but the need for
orgasms. It's the quest for orgasms that causes procreation, but not always. It's nature's little
trick. Somehow we evolved to the point where as long as number one and number two is
satisfied then we need to have all the orgasms we can get.

You may say that money or wealth is a need but drop Bill Gates or Donald Trump naked into the
middle of a jungle and what's the first thing they do? They look for food and water and a place
to sleep. Then, they'll figure that they are going to die and give themselves a final orgasm.

I'm sure by this time you are probably admitting that this is true, or you are denying number
three with the argument that civilized people just don't do those sorts of things.

I don't care if you're the Pope or Mary Poppins, you are craving an orgasm. Okay, you may not
act on that desire, but it's there whether you admit it or not.

In this day and age the first two needs are almost always met and the whole world economy
rotates around the third.

See that ad for a bar of soap? It's so you can be clean, attract a mate, and have an orgasm.

See those attractive people in your favorite television show? They were picked because people
who want orgasms like to watch them, and if you are watching them then you will see ads and
people will get paid.

Those people want to get paid so they will be successful to attract a mate to have orgasms.

Everyone knows that the pretty woman on the cover of a magazine is there because the more
beautiful the person the more likely someone is to buy their magazine. Attractive person equals
fantasies for orgasms.




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                                          Rebecca s Lament


And don't get me started on porn. It's a multi-billion dollar industry centered around arousing
people so they can have orgasms. Why else would men pay to see a woman swallow a teaspoon
of bodily fluid?

It's hard not to trace a single thing back to obtaining an orgasm. Big oil? Oil heats our homes
where we sleep and have orgasms, fuels our cars that we use to attract mates, and fuels lesser
cars that people drive to work to earn money to attract a mate and buy food, or at least earn
money to buy the magazine so people can fantasize about mates they will never have, etc., etc.,
etc..

The desire for orgasms can also make people do stupid things. Very, very stupid things. It
seems the papers jump on stories about people arrested for using their animals, dead people, or
other things to have an orgasm. Children are abducted and women are raped all in the name of
orgasm. Even presidential orgasms make the news. Powerful men are caught in affairs, teachers
are caught with students, and men are caught on 20/20. Orgasms can be a very powerful drive
that is difficult to stop. It can drive you to insanity.

Personally, I love them. Sometimes I have several a day. It calms me down, relieves stress, and
of course it just feels so good.

So, why did I spend a whole blog entry on the subject of orgasms? I think partly because I
haven't stirred up controversy in a long, long time and partly because I'm feeling a bit evil
tonight and I'm sure someone will take offense at this, even though I think it's all true. Maybe
because my past reared its head today and I just think it's about time to admit we all want
orgasms and there's no shame in that and I have no regrets about that part of my life. I'm sure
that any prude who calls me names has stayed locked in the bathroom a little bit longer and came
out with their spine tingling. The only difference is that I will admit it, and they won't.

This doesn't mean that I will sleep with you. Don't get me wrong. It just means that if I feel like
having one, I probably will.

And I just said orgasm 21 times.

Deal with it.

Don't worry, I was just venting a little. I'll be myself again in about ten minutes.




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                                            Rebecca Beste




                                         January 21, 2007

When your plane is being held up and finally the gate attendant announces that the search turned
up nothing so we can board the plane you may become a little more nervous about the flight.
 Searched turned up nothing is not the best confidence-building phrase.

Nonetheless, it was pretty much an event-free flight. Crowded and miserable, but event-free.

I felt really paranoid in Cairo. I swear I was being watched and followed. Everyone stared at
me. I'm not sure why I felt this way. Again, for the first-time traveler, it helped that my
universal translator was working. Well, at least the desk clerk spoke English.

I only had one thing to do here and so I only scheduled 5 days and 4 nights.

An uneasy feeling was coming over me. I only had one ticket left. No return ticket, no long
term plan, nothing. It's like I've been on a rail, and suddenly I'm in a wide open plain and could
go in any direction.

I just had one loose end to tie up.

The pyramids are probably one of the largest tourist attractions in the world so it wasn't hard to
find the bus in the morning that led to the plains.

They weren't hard to miss.

There is a theory that the pyramids were built to emulate the constellation Orion. Of course it's
equally disputed so it just depends on who you listen to. It's possible, anything is after all, but
perhaps not probable. For whatever reason, I've always associated the pyramids with Orion, and
I'm on tour, so why not visit?

For once it was really warm, and I had a long walk in front of me. And I mean long.

The pyramids are big. Really, really big. I swear I could feel gravity from them.

All the pictures in the world just can't prepare you for how big they are.

Those little blocks they are made out of? Almost as tall as I am.

Now I understand why there's so much discussion about how these were made. It boggles the
mind.

You can go inside one. It's no catacomb but it's just as impressive. Again, like in the great
cathedrals, I just had to think, men built this. Somewhere, in humanity, is the ability to do truly
great things.




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                                            Rebecca s Lament


Of course, this also means humanity has the ability to truly bad things. These are the things we
usually hear about.

But for now I was soaking up the sheer enormity of the whole place. I had something frozen,
some greasy salady food, and enjoyed just sitting and watching other tourists and locals playing
with each other. I toured the sphinx and generally hung out until dusk, which is when the laser
show started. I sat through all the shows even though only one was in English.

What a perfect marriage of old and new. As Babar would say, what a perfect end to a perfect
day.

I had touched Orion.

I took a cool shower because I was feeling a bit burned and woke up the next morning not
feeling good at all. I spent the rest of my time there barely going outside and fighting nausea.

And staring at that last ticket.

For the umpteenth time this trip, I felt small and unimportant on this great big planet.

I thought about all the things I left behind, all the things I gave up, and I started to feel a little
regret.

Then I would think about why I was here and the regret would soon pass.

I wasn't doing this all for myself. It was for my father, and brother, and mother. And me, I
guess, after all.

The last day I felt more like myself and just went to the airport to wait for my plane. I would
have liked to go back and do it again, but I just was too under the weather.

Finally, after hours of people watching, I boarded my plane and watched my last boarding pass
get torn in half. I took a deep breath.

What have I done?




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                                             Rebecca Beste




                                          January 22, 2007

        He did not wear his scarlet coat, for blood and wine are red,
        And blood and wine were on his hands when they found him with the dead,
        The poor dead woman whom he loved, and murdered in her bed.

When I was about 10 we moved into a house and while exploring I found under the insulation in
the attic a bunch of old books. Books that were written and printed in the late 1800 s to early
1900 s. One of these books was The Ballad of Reading Gaol, by Oscar Wilde.

This, and a few others, became part of my prized possessions. Not because the book was worth
anything, but because of what s in it. It s the ballad of a man in prison looking upon another
man sentenced to hang.

It s about death, and despair, and the prisons that men build, both inside and outside. How once
you sin, there is no hope. It s how men with no hope, finally, in desperation turn to religion.

I ve never gotten through it with out shedding a tear.

Fate reared its ugly head again today. I m just getting back on my feet and getting into the sun
again and a little blurb from out of nowhere opened the floodgates of memories. I had to fend
off another panic attack. I m getting better about it, really I am. It s at times like this I pull out
my little book.

I once stole a lot of money. A lot. I don t know if I m ready for that story here yet, but I pissed
off someone who had more balls than I thought. I was just his throw girl. If he wanted sex, I
was there. If his friends wanted sex, I was loaned out like I was just property. I did videos.

Don t get me wrong, I felt like a movie star. Satisfy your friend? Oh, I ll do things that ll make
you proud. It was a challenge. I wanted to prove I was the girl you could count on. For every
deed I did I was paid and I was paid pretty dang well. I was a commodity.

         Oho! they cried, The world is wide, but fettered limbs go lame!
        And once, or twice, to throw the dice is a gentlemanly game,
        But he does not win who plays with Sin in the secret House of shame.

Couldn t have said it better myself. This life would have ended badly sooner or later, and the
more you push the game, the more you will lose.

I was living one life, while wishing of another. I had to hide all of this from my family. My dad
had already passed at this point but I still wanted to make him proud of me somehow and if he
was watching from above somewhere, I m sure he would have been horrified. I kept telling
myself it was time to move on, but then I d be offered another lump of money for something and
hey, I have needs, too. Clothes and apartments and stuff in general aren t free. I knew I was
pushing the moral fabric of society to its limits and it was time for it to tear.


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                                           Rebecca s Lament


It was impulse. I didn t even think about it. He shouldn t have left me alone with his money. I
went down to one of those car dealers that have a lot full of three hundred dollar cars and got an
old green Chevy that only had three doors that opened. I threw the money in the trunk and drove
to my apartment. Some of that stuff I had earned and I wanted to take it with me.

I didn t think he would find out so fast. I didn t think this smiling man, who only wanted to have
sex with me would fly into such a rage. He didn t want to just kill me, he wanted to fuck me
over first. He wasn t alone.

I never felt so weak and helpless in my life.

This is hard. Somehow spilling my guts here in this stupid little blog will help me sleep tonight.

I wanted them to kill me. I was worthless. Really, that s what I remember feeling, the movie
star was suddenly gone. It was the feeling that at one moment I m at the top of my game,
number one, and the next I was expendable, I was nothing to these people. I had sunk so low
that I felt I disgraced my family, my father, and myself to the point where I couldn t go back. I
couldn t atone for this final sin. It wasn t me I wanted to die for, but for all those I had let down.
I let myself go, this was the end, I had no worries anymore.

       Dear Christ! The very prison walls seemed suddenly to reel,
       And the sky above my head became like a casque of scorching steel;
       And though I was a soul in pain, my pain I could not feel.

When I woke up in the hospital I begged them to let me die. The pain, both emotional and
physical, was too much to bear. Time had no meaning, I couldn t tell if it was day or night. I
kept hearing his voice screaming at me.

Sometimes I still do.

I had flat-lined. I ve talked about this before. There was no light, no one beckoning me from
beyond. No memory of it. If they hadn t told me I would never have known.

How on Earth would I pick myself up from here? I tried to will myself to die.

       We were as men who through a fen of filthy darkness grope:
       We did not dare to breathe a prayer, or to give our anguish scope;
       Something was dead in each of us, and what was dead was hope.

Eric showed up about this time. I m not sure how or why and I never asked him. He helped me
endure the pain, explained to me things that I wouldn t listen to the doctor about, and talked me
into cooperating with the police. I refused to talk with them at first but they made it perfectly
clear that I would sooner or later. He didn t pull any punches, he told me that I would have to
live with this little episode and face its consequences. He also told me that I can t change the
past, only the future.




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                                           Rebecca Beste


It took a long time but he nursed me back to health. But mentally I m still healing.

Before we left Chicago, we stopped by a three door Chevy and took what was in the trunk.
Some will say that I paid for it, others tell me it s blood money. I just felt that whatever
happened, I didn t want it to go back to its former owner.

I ve been told by people reading this blog and others that know me that this must have really
fucked up my outlook on life. I ve been told I m a whiny bitch, a whore who deserved what I
got, and a self-absorbed crybaby. Others tell me that I ve been given a second chance, and I d
better not screw myself up this time. Is this a second chance? Or am I just a ghost from my first
chance?

       And all the woe that moved in him so that he gave that bitter cry,
       And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats, none knew so well as I:
       For he who lives more lives than one, more deaths than one must die.

And what of this man who fucked me up? He s gone. I can sleep at night and not feel the
dragons chasing me. Even the police weren t sure if he ever knew I survived. But I don t hate
him like many people think I should. After all, in my own perverted view of this world I got
what I deserved.

So today, after enjoying some sunshine and snow, in the last place I expected I was given a slap
in the face so I wouldn t forget. I know, it s been years but some things can bubble up and seem
like yesterday. No matter what life gives me from here on out I will always bear the scars I got
for that betrayal. I should have died that day. I should have never left home. I should have
never made the decisions I did.

       I know not whether Laws be right, or whether Laws be wrong;
       All that we know who lie in gaol is that the wall is strong;
       And that each day is like a year, a year whose days are long.

The wall is indeed strong and the days are indeed long.

I can only go forward. Getting this down in words helps. It removes it from my inner mind and
gives me room to work. It lifts the burden just a little bit. It s an episode I don t share, and
sharing it here made it a little lighter to bear.

This isn t what I intended to write today but sometimes the choice is made for me. Hopefully
tomorrow the sun will shine again and if I get slapped with another memory I will be able to
stand up and face it.

As for now, I can put the Ballad back on the shelf. I have happier books, after all.




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                                          Rebecca s Lament




                                         January 25, 2007

So, this was supposed to be it. The climax of my journey. The lands of my fathers.

No one should tell you how to feel, or how you are supposed to feel. I've always been told that
you have no control over your emotions and all you can do is choose how to react to them.

I felt foolish. Why would any of these people care if we're distant cousins? Why was this so
important?

I hopped in the nearest cab and gave him the name of my hotel.

He asked me, Sheeoooaiingsoooyeeeruwan?

I politely told him I could only speak English. I felt stupid at that moment, in the land of my
fathers. He laughed a pleasant laugh and said it again.

 Aaaahamschpeeenlish, sheeoooaiingsoooyeeeruwan?

That time I got it. What brings me to Yerevan? I just told him I was a tourist.

We didn't say much more to each other because we were at the hotel already.

I was tired and nervous and spent the night staring out the window.

This is another ancient city, but not like Paris. I could tell I was in another part of the world
altogether. Not a great historic population center, but an impressive city nonetheless. I needed
to get my bearings.

The next day I wandered around but it was foggy and miserable. This is a city with sprawling
city squares, monuments, and ancient churches intermingled with shiny new buildings and an
infrastructure that looked like it just dropped on the old buildings. It's hard to describe. For the
very first time I started taking pictures.

Here, at my destination, I couldn't even pick up a snippet of the language. At least in France I
could get a few words and figure out what was going on but not here. Even those who spoke
English were hard to understand sometimes. I gravitated back to the hotel where at least I was
sure I could order lunch.

It sounds stupid, but I had already at this point abandoned all hope of staying here. I couldn't
function if I couldn't communicate. I didn't know it yet but it would turn out to be the most
beautiful part of my travels and the people would turn out to be great but I felt something
pushing me, like I had met the wrong end of a magnet.




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                                            Rebecca Beste


I wanted to browse through a directory to see if anyone matched my last name but I couldn't
even do that. What hope did I have?

I felt a little better the next day and started asking questions. I would need an interpreter, nothing
official, who could maybe double as a guide. The phrase, I'm willing to pay seemed to open
doors. The front desk clerk herself said she'd be glad to show me around. Karma was indeed
smiling upon me.

That night we went out to dinner and talked about life here and there. My guide had actually
traveled to California and had even taken some classes there. She had family all over. I told her
a little of my lament and how I didn't really know what I would find here, but I had to visit
before I died. She told me it seemed like all the tourists that pass through her hotel were
Armenians just like me visiting their country before they went back to where ever they were
from.

It's a country scattered.

We talked into the night and a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders. Making alliances is the
first step to conquering a nation. She even invited me back to visit her apartment but I declined.
I didn't want to intrude.

I was a desk clerk once. I can remember spending an hour checking in a person who couldn't
speak English. I can remember the manager praising me for my patience and how I never lost
my cool and was polite the whole time. On some funny level we related. Plus I had hundreds of
thousands of Drams and she had bills to pay. I was a millionaire in Armenia. Of course, so was
everyone else.

I was in a much better mood the next two days and toured in wider and wider circles. I was still
saying si and nein and it was still cracking me up. My legs and back were getting used to all
the walking but it was still exhausting at times. I hadn't driven a car since I left the states.

So, this was it. The land of my fathers, as I keep calling it. Far in the distance, when the air was
clear, Mount Ararat was slumbering through the winter. It's the symbol of this country but
ironically lies just out of reach beyond a closed border. Somewhere up there, if you believe the
tales, lies Noah's ark, which I put in the same pile as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster. Two
of the twelve apostles also lived here. It's one of the first countries to adopt Christianity because
of this. A real charter member. If you believe there were apostles, that is.

So, on a mild Thursday morning I sat in the lobby and looked at the pictures in the tabloids and
met my guide.

She asked me where I wanted to go, and with embarrassment I told her I thought she knew. We
had a good laugh and like sisters walked out into the bright morning.

I had already visited the large museums on my own and I asked her where the smaller ones were
but the smaller ones were just the homes of poets and sculptors, a sort of this is where they


                                                 96
                                          Rebecca s Lament


lived type of museum. She showed me how the other half lives squeezing her little truck down
narrow back streets that sprawled everywhere.

Okay, it was nice, but it just wasn't getting me anywhere.

We talked seriously over lunch. The border with Turkey is closed and on the other side there is
much saber rattling with Azerbaijan over, well a dispute that is too much to go into here. This is
truly a country between a rock and a hard place. Georgia and Iran isn't much better and the
average Armenian stays within the country unless they fly out. There were no road trips here,
you can get just about anywhere and back in a day.

The whole country would fit inside half of Iowa. I used to think it funny that Chicago has a
population almost equal to the whole state of Iowa, it is also equal to the whole country of
Armenia .

I was starting to feel claustrophobic. I can remember car trips lasting 20 hours or more, I can't
imagine being locked in like this.

We drove out of the city and it was truly beautiful. Misty covered mountains are a nice change
from the flatlands of Iowa. You could almost picture a few apostles climbing through the rocks
on their way spread the word.

We talked and formulated a plan but the funny part was that the plan had already been carried
out - on the other side of the world.

After spending tens of thousands of dollars to get here and after wandering aimlessly around half
the globe and after all my whining and moaning, I found myself in an office in the hotel, on the
internet, searching the same web site I had searched from my own bedroom in Iowa. This time
we connected the dots and did a minimal amount of searching and found the most likely person
who would share blood with my family. I had narrowed it down to this family before but with
different spellings and married names I wasn't so sure. Arika seemed sure so I trusted her
instincts.

He was the pastor of a church.

She would take me to see him the very next day.




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                                            Rebecca Beste


                                         January 26, 2007

When my dad passed away I can remember my mom holding my brother and me and telling us
that we were family, that we would hold each other up and support each other.

When my brother passed away I can remember my mother telling me that us girls have to stick
together.

When my mom passed away, I felt weak at the knees and could barely stand. I felt like the last
drip on an icicle. Nothing but space below.

Logic tells me that if you go back far enough you can always find another line with distant
cousins and aunts and uncles who are technically still family and I always imagined that if you
searched and hunted and found these people that you d embrace and be glad you found each
other.

Nothing ever turns out the way you imagine it. Maybe it s because I grew up without
grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that I really didn t know how an extended family
acts. All I had to go by were soap operas and sitcoms and they were always happy to see each
other. Every once in a while I d have a friend whose cousin was in town for the weekend and
they always spent time together. What else was I to think?

Of course, my dad always referred to the church as family and we hardly spent a holiday or even
a Sunday afternoon without having some deacon or member over. Many times it was those who
had nothing that came over especially at Christmas or Thanksgiving. He was their pastor, a sort
of father to them all and he took care of them.

I learned from that. I have compassion for those who are truly at the end of their ropes.

Somehow my path in life led me to a place where I craved that connection again. I wasn t
looking for a boyfriend or husband, but someone that knew me, that shared a common past with
me. The only word for it is family, and even though the logical part of my brain told me that a
family isn t just blood relatives the emotional part wanted to know that I wasn t the last.

This gnawed at me until I took action. Foolish action maybe, but a person with nothing to live
for has nothing to lose. It s kind of freeing to feel that way but it can take away rational thought
as well.

It can also lead you to imagine the best possible scenario and forget that there are other ways a
situation can turn out.

The churches I visited so far were large stone mosques with Arabic influences. Not like the
cathedrals of Europe, but with a style all their own. They were beautiful. The building we
pulled up to looked like three houses all connected to each other. It looked more like a
community center in downtown Chicago than anything else. My first misconception was taken
care of.


                                                 98
                                          Rebecca s Lament


Through the window of the locked door we could see a wide open space and neat rows of chairs
and a pulpit at the front. There was no stage, no carpet, no stonework, and everything looked as
if it could be folded up and be put out of the way.

The building was kind of U-shaped and miss-matched and we went to the other side which
looked like there were offices and found the door open. We were met by a woman and through
Arika we exchanged niceties and asked if we could speak to the pastor. She told us he was
around here somewhere and went to fetch him. Had they spoken English this would have been
identical to any of the churches my father led. Bulletins were pinned to the wall and there was a
table with tracts and donation boxes made out of cardboard and pictures of smiling families from
who knows where.

The man that walked into the office was dark skinned and grey haired and smiled and shook our
hands. We were polite and asked if we could speak privately. His office looked just like any
other church office I had ever seen.

He spoke a little English but it was still easier to have a translator. Through Arika I introduced
myself and asked him if he knew his grandmother, or if he knew who her sister was. He
confirmed this and I explained who I was and that I was here just to, well, just to say Hi I
guess. Not in those words, but it s kind of blurry now and there were lots of words being used
that I didn t understand.

He said that was great, it s always nice to meet some American cousins. Was I having fun in
Armenia and would I like to come this Sunday and see a service?

I didn t know what to say. I was at a total loss for words. I told him about my father and how he
also became a man of god and he told me it was nice that two different branches of the family, so
far apart, followed the same path. He smiled and nodded a lot. He told us about the youth group
and how they would be singing this Sunday and I really shouldn t miss it.

I wasn t sure which way I wanted to go with this. I told him that I had no family in the states and
I just wanted to visit, to maybe connect to my roots. We did get a little serious for a while. He
told me family, on his side at least, were spread from Iran to California and that if my side was
indeed narrowed down to me that it shouldn t matter. What matters is the time I have and what I
do with it.

He said I honored my father and my mother by coming here, they can rest now. It s time for me
to move on.

He was right.

It was probably the most profound thing I had heard on my entire trip.

I was tearing up. How could I move on? I felt more alone than ever. I think he finally saw
where I was coming from and told to come by on Sunday, I would not be disappointed and we




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                                           Rebecca Beste


would have dinner together and get to know each other. He said he hoped I hadn t pinned all my
hopes on him because he was simple man with a simple life and probably not worth the effort.

We talked about god and how that should be my path and I didn t have the heart to tell him my
views on the whole god thing. It was my turn to smile and nod.

We hugged, probably longer than was comfortable for him, and I took my leave.

Later, in the car, when I had pulled myself back together a bit Arika told me that she s seen
many, many Armenians return here to find their roots and many didn t find as much as I did.

I wasn t really disappointed, just a bit disillusioned. I had hyped this too much in mind and the
reality could never live up to that. I just felt he was nonchalant and maybe didn t see things from
my point of view. Maybe he gets American cousins on weekly basis. Maybe distant relatives
weren t that big of deal after all.

I mean, what was I expecting? Him to jump up and down shouting we found you, we found you
at last? The little girl inside me was maybe hoping for a little bit of that. I was foolish for
thinking that. I should have known better.

Arika s apartment was bare and small but rather smart overall and I thought it was comforting to
know that she cooks dinner out of box just like I do. She has a husband and someday was
hoping to have kids. Her husband was pressuring her to quit her job but she was too stubborn to
listen to him. Sounded familiar.

I did go back on Sunday and it was like a family reunion. After all, his church was his family
just like my father s church was and he introduced me and made me stand up and say hello as he
named off everyone in the room like I had any hope at all to catch two words of the whole thing.
He gave a pleasant sermon, I guess, because it wasn t in English. He didn t stomp around and be
all fire and brimstone like my father. Arika smiled and nudged me a lot while her husband
looked like he would rather be miles away. The youth group did sing some lively little numbers
that was totally unexpected, almost rock and roll, but then I learned not to expect things here.
Then the chairs were re-arranged and tables were unfolded and we had a sort of pot-luck that
Pastor threw together overnight. His wife and kids helped.

I smiled and nodded a lot that day.

I wished I understood even half of it.

After the prayer he made a little speech about how it wasn t everyday that their American
cousins came to visit. The he looked at me and made a toast, in English.

 To family.

A small cheer went up and all present began to seriously start to eat.




                                                100
                                          Rebecca s Lament


Well, had I done what I set out to do? Technically I did. We did exchange addresses and I
promised to drop in if I was ever in the neighborhood again. He was very pleasant and I am
proud to have such people in my family tree, even if it s the other side of the tree.

At least I know the family is in good hands, even if we didn t share a last name or grew up
together or you know, even know each other.

It was a good diversion, and I learned many, many things. There s so much more than I can blog
here but I did tour the country and get to know a few people.

And it is comforting to know that there is a place where I will at least be welcomed if I ever go
back.

But that place is not home. I know this now, and perhaps I knew it before. My heritage may be
Armenian, but I think I will always be American. With this sorted out and accepted, I closed a
chapter on my life. And maybe, like he said, I honored my father and my mother in doing so.

I checked my bank balance and purchased some tickets.

I had survived. I felt older and wiser.

For the first time in years I slept through the night and woke up happy.

But it s not over until fat lady sings.




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                                            Rebecca Beste




                                    January 28, 2007, Part II

My dad used to tell me to gargle with warm salt water to ease my sore throat. That sounded
gross so I would instead take pills and spray my throat with medicine and suck on cough drops
and stuff. A few years ago, here in Iowa, I woke up with the mother of all sore throats. The real
red-hot razor blade pain to your eyeballs type of sore throat and nothing would touch it.

In desperation I mixed up some warm water and salt and gargled it. Then I gargled it again. My
sore throat was almost gone. All those years of suffering could have been avoided. Now, when I
have a sore throat I not only gargle with salt water but I eat a few salty potato chips and let it
scour my pain away.

I ve learned that you should listen sometimes. Like saving a document while you are working
on it.

I usually type a blog entry in Word, then transfer it to a copy of my web page using
Dreamweaver then upload the copy to the site. When I m done I have two copies of my web
page so I just close Word without saving it. Well, the power cord to laptop went bad then I got
some kind a vicious virus that put a copy of itself in every single folder on my laptop. First scan
turned up over 4000 copies of this darned thing. It s still there and I gave up chasing it so I m
using an old computer that Eric had lying around that does not have Dreamweaver.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I just typed up a lengthy description of my stay in Rome and
uploaded it to the web site. I closed Word without saving anything and checked the web site and
the update wasn t there. I checked the local copy and nothing. I checked everywhere but I had
lost it.

A couple hours of work is gone. I m sure it was my best writing ever and I would have won a
Pulitzer but now I ll never know.

Now I m fighting a sore throat once again and really can t find it in me to try to recreate that
entry. So, here it is in a nutshell.

I went to spend Christmas at the Vatican. I know, I m not Catholic, but I was hoping the synergy
of the crowd would teach me something. We were packed in like hot dogs, like when the
package is full and they get octagon shaped. Octagon shaped people packed in to listen to one
man speak. I was there all night, nearly peed my pants, and the dirty, crumby hotel room I had
was broken into and for the first time in my life I had been burgled. I loved the old buildings and
everything was beautiful but I learned I am not Catholic and people worship the Pope way too
much.

No, I didn t go inside. I didn t have enough time and the crowds were, well, crazy.




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                                           Rebecca s Lament


Of course I filled in all the details but I guess it s not important now. It was the worse three days
of the whole trip and I spent longer in airports than I did walking around and I feel it was the
biggest waste of time and money I had ever achieved.

I told myself not to go, but I didn t listen. At least I still have the needlepoint pastor s wife gave
to me as a parting gift of Mt. Ararat and the Armenian alphabet. I had it framed and it s hanging
above me right now.

For like the fifth time I found myself in Paris. Of course, all the plane changes don t really
count. You don t really fly from Egypt to Armenia, you fly to Paris first and change planes. But
this time I was staying and was going to be hanging with Sarah and Henry and the gang. They
didn t want to go outside but I talked them into it. They reminded me of New Yorkers that
didn t want to go to Times Square on New Year s. Only here the place to be was the Eiffel
Tower and there were fireworks and glittering lights. I kissed Henry at midnight because it
seemed like the thing to do. I really don t celebrate holidays anymore and I m a bit out of
practice.

I was in the airport before the day was over feeling a bit dazed and confused. I missed my dog
and my warm house and my little car even though technically none of these things were mine
anymore.

I felt like Dorothy. I had traveled over the rainbow and had a few adventures and now it was
time to go home. I thought about what the pastor had told me, how I honored my parents by
taking this trip. I thought about what Arika had told me, that many people make the journey and
few find what they are looking for. I thought about all the voices in all the chat rooms telling me
that a family is who is around you that care. It all sounds so cliché. I was angry that my journey,
my life, boiled down to a line in the Wizard of Oz.

How many movies end with the heroine finding out she had happiness all along? That there s no
place like home? I refused to believe it.

Damn it to hell.

My life is not a cliché.

I called Eric bawling. I told him if he fed me a line from a fortune cookie that I would kick his
ass. He just said to think about what I was going through before, and compare that with what I
was thinking now. They were two different things and would show me what I have gained, or
lost, or learned. He told me that if I had new and different questions now then it was all worth it.
New questions means that change has taken place.

He said he missed me and would I please come home.

Now, today I am laying in bed nursing a sore throat, jumping in and out sleep and in and out of
chat rooms I wonder what the hell I was thinking. Just as I finally listened to my father and in a




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fit of desperation found out he was right about the salt water, I think I am finally hearing things I
refused to listen to before.

I still have a long way to go. There are still things I need to see and do before I die. I still feel
lost and alone but I m not letting it get to me anymore.

Well, not so much anyway. I did learn that it was okay to miss my family and shed some tears
every now and then, but I can now move on, I think. A distant cousin showed me that. Family
showed me that.

But now what? Where do I go from here? Maybe it s the Nyquil talking or maybe it s the salt
water, or maybe it s just that Bailey is curled up at my feet but I feel like the huge issues are
gone. I just have normal issues now. Maybe it s okay to go on living. There s nothing special
about me, I m just a girl.

I have a lot of thinking to do, but there is one thing I have to wrap up. Change comes in many
forms and this is one of them. I bared my soul here and I wailed and bitched and there was
gnashing of teeth. I shared all my grief and many of my memories. I want to keep on sharing.
It s been good for me. It makes me feel like part of something.

But this is no longer my lament.




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                                          Rebecca s Lament


                                         February 1, 2007

How fucked up I must be.

I was just reading my own blog and cringing at the typos. Cringing at some of the things I wrote.
I think I have changed in these last few months.

Blogging helps.

I ve been sick the last few days. Too sick to do anything, even type. Being sick is the worst and
it doesn t help when it s below zero outside and there s frost on the inside of the windows. It s
worse when you give up and take medicine. I hate to take medicine, I ve had bad experiences
with medicine.

I m totally addicted to chat again already. I hate that. I should be cooking and cleaning and
pulling my weight around here and instead I m bullshitting with car guys. I tried to go back into
other chats but I can t remember my passwords. Microsoft remembered them for me but my
laptop is dying and I just can t remember what I used. I created new accounts. That s bad
because I ll just waste more time.

When health returns I always feel like I m kinda high on life. I feel good, the sun is shining and
the frozen birds are singing. Life is all rainbows and butterflies.

But then real life sets in. I m living off a checking account in the attic of my former house.
Without income my account will dry up sooner or later. I can always get a job, I just need to get
off my butt and suck it up. It s still sometimes overwhelming.

The other night I found myself curled up in Eric s arms and could feel someone caring about me
for the first time in ages. I know, I know, he s been here all along, but like I ve said many times
before in this very blog, I m just emotionless most of the time. I let go a little bit and let him
care about me. He wiped away my tears and told me to shower.

I really need to stop sitting around the house.

He s all I got left. It s so damned scary. If I get attached I ll lose him like I ve lost everyone
else in my life. I need him too badly to lose him. I ll lose him if I need him. It s a viscous circle
and I try to avoid that whole situation by turning myself off and just becoming emotionless
again. How do I escape this hole? How do I overcome myself?

I m trying to start by leaving the house once a day. It sounds stupid, I know, but I m afraid of
becoming a recluse, a cat lady. My dog would hate that. So I go shopping, talk to people, and
look at the sun. I sit at the library which sounds totally nerdy but I m checking into the job
situation and reading books on starting your own business.




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I m also toying with another trip. Just around the Pacific Northwest. Bigfoot country. Just to
see if there s maybe another place to lay down roots. Iowa is nice, but I just want to check out
life by the ocean, or in the woods, or in the mountains.

Maybe in the spring. Maybe Eric will go with me. His divorced has left him all gloomy, too,
and maybe I m a little responsible for that. He needs a little vacation. His skills are in demand
everywhere, so he can move if he wants to.

Of course, it s not for me to run his life. He s a big boy.

So that s what life has been the last few days. Europe seems like a distant dream now. I need a
way to get paid to travel, how do people do that? How do you get a job on the Discovery
channel?

I signed into Yahoo chat for the first time in months and months. They really let it go. I ll bet
99% of all the names in Yahoo chat is just bots advertising sex sites. Really. Go look for
yourself. I spent maybe two hours just trying to raise a real person. I did finally get one person
but when they found I didn t have a cam they disappeared. Is that all? Two lonely souls who
pass in the cyber-night?

I also tried other chats, but Hey, a/s/l/c/p gets old after the thousandth time. Hard to believe
these are fully grown people. I considered making a myspace page, but oh lordy, I just can t
bring myself to that level.

Why am I trying? I need to forget chat and focus on real life.

At least I m thinking clearly today. For the first time in a long time. My fever is gone and my
nose is leaking clear liquid now so I must be getting better. I felt the need to blog, just so I know
I can still function and to keep the page going. It makes me feel just a little bit alive to blog, I m
starting to get some e-mails from people who can relate. They say kind words and I blush a little
and reply. That s not why I blog, though, for me it s therapy. It keeps me from having panic
attacks and helps me get my thoughts in order. It focuses me for an hour or two. I m getting
used to it and I miss it when a day goes by and I don t jot something down.

Plus it gives me something to look back on, to see if I ve changed or grown or even if there are
still issues I haven t dealt with yet. Or what issues I have dealt with, to show I am capable of
dealing with crap.

But blogging puts me on the computer and sooner or later I ll open a chat. It s okay I guess, as
long as I can afford it. I ll laugh at something and Eric or the kids will look at me funny.

It s good to laugh again.

It s good to let go a little.

It s good not to be sick anymore. Right now I feel like I can do anything.


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                   Rebecca s Lament


I hope it lasts.




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                                            Rebecca Beste


                                         February 2, 2007

So, I spent the day chatting with the girl s support group. It s been a long time and while I ve
posted some posts and got all the welcome backs out of the way I hadn t really gone into the chat
room much.

Same problems, different people.

I m serious in there. This isn t the chat to have fun, it s the one where girls go looking for help
or advice on serious matters. It s the one that reminds me that I had loving parents but it s also
the one that reminds me that they re gone.

It s a stark contrast to the rooms where insults fly and people are just trying to be funny, me
included, and you re just shooting the breeze. But sometimes even those rooms turn sour and
you get your fill and move on.

When I little my dad took me to a football game. I can remember we had chili for dinner and it
was cold and I really wasn t interested in football but it was fun to hang around the stadium. I
got a 3Musketeer bar and a soda. Really nothing much.

Then I got sick. Really sick. I was just a kid at the time but looking back I realize that it
couldn t have been the candy bar or the soda but my dad blamed them nonetheless. It came on
suddenly and when we got home I couldn t even make it into the house. It s really the first time
I can remember vomiting so violently. What an awful night.

People tend to attach meanings to events that happen one after the other so in my mind it was the
candy bar. I know better now, but I was very little. I couldn t face a 3Musketeer bar for years
after that. The very sight of them made me nauseous. Funny how I still ate chili and drank sodas
but that candy bar took the blame and bore the burden of guilt. Years later, when I was grown up
and on my own I did manage to eat one and from that point on I couldn t really remember what
all the fuss was about. It was just guilty by association and I had cooled on them for a few years.

The same thing happened with K-Mart. When I was ten or so I was with some friends in K-Mart
just having a good ol time when a very mean manager threw us out and told us we weren t
welcomed back.

What a downer.

Again, it was years before I ever went back into a K-Mart. I soured on the whole deal.

Back when I first moved to Iowa and settled in I had a big city attitude and was a little arrogant
and defensive. I was going to conquer this town. This was actually pre-chat days and I spent a
lot of time in newsgroups, the forums of the day. It was around this time that I thought I d really
like to get another Beetle but you can t find them around here and through the newsgroup
somebody hooked me up and I bought one sight unseen. It wasn t what I expected.




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                                         Rebecca s Lament


But like a parent stuck with an ugly child I felt devoted and put it back together and made it
roadworthy. I rather innocently joined a forum for Volkswagens. I proudly posted some pics
and went on with my daily life.

Then one day I got an e-mail that said they were tearing my car apart and roasting me so I went
in and defended myself a little. But rather than get in a pissing match I took much advice and
learned a lot. I fixed many things on my engine that I didn t even know was wrong and spent a
little more time cleaning the old girl up. I visited daily and began shooting the breeze and it
became a daily fixture in my life.

These were actually turbulent times for me. Eric and I just had a bout with the FBI about a little
forum I created for myself and hosted on Eric s server. I wanted to write a book about and for
girls who were considering losing their virginity. Sounds strange but hear me out. It s a big step
and for some it s nothing and for others it changes their whole world. I thought that if people
shared their experiences then girls who are at that age could read through them and make up their
own minds. My goal was 500 stories. It seemed logical. I wanted to help, really I did.

But nothing ever turns out the way you plan.

I had about 50 stories and started a forum to make it easier to submit stories. It became a
discussion forum much like the girls support group I belong to now only because if it s original
nature attracted more dirty old men than anything else. The stories became faker and faker and
more graphic and since I m a big free speech advocate I let many stand unedited. This was a
mistake.

Eric got a visit from some agents tracking pedophiles and it seemed they posted on my little
forum. He immediately shut the place down and helped them get IP addresses and I got a long,
long speech on how just because something is technically legal that I must be morally twisted to
allow things to progress to the point they did. The site morphed a few times and disappeared. It
even had an FBI logo for about a week. It also had a few pages about me, my history, and a few
pics. And a stupid video. Yeah, I still thought sex was everything and didn t care who knew it.

This had a profound effect on the guys from the other forum. Everybody wanted me to take pics
and the more they asked the more I didn t want to. It became just one of the little games we
played and sometimes I took it seriously and sometimes I didn t.

One time I came home and the phone rang and some giggly man on the other end said they just
wanted to see if I was real.

I had an unlisted phone number and it must have taken some effort to track this down so it made
me very angry and it was months before I ever went back into that forum again. It was like
puking up a 3Musketeer bar all over again.

It was a good break though. I found a few other forums that were just as fun and some serious
ones. I gave up on Yahoo and AOL chats and found many forums had their own chat and got to
know a whole different group of people. I eventually got talked back into going back and would


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                                             Rebecca Beste


spend all day at work with that chat just lurking, just watching all the different turns a
conversation can take when people enter and leave.

It s still sometimes brought up and sometimes I can joke about it and other times people are just
vicious and mean but I ve learned to sign out when those people come in. I just go down the
hallway and enter a different chat.

Sometimes it sours and I don t want to go back. I ll never earn their respect now and I don t
think I should care either. But it s my social life. Whatever mood I m in there s a chat for that.

Like I said earlier in this very blog, chat rooms will change the social structure of things for
many people. Psychiatrists will invent new disorders and studies will be done. Hell, I m on the
forefront of this and maybe I ll write a book of my very own. I grew up with chat rooms and I
don t mind that I watch a game with a chat open or have one open in the kitchen when I m being
the housewife. I m used to it now.

But like the candy bar and the K-Mart it s turned sour again. I m seeking new places to chat and
this time I don t have a dirty website for people to latch on to and never let go of.

I ve soured on many things. I can t bring myself to listen to a John Denver song. It s been a
long time since I ve been in a bar and I still only use K-Mart as a last resort. I avoid Chicago.
All have something associated with them that just makes me want to avoid them. Oh, and
cameras and videos are not allowed. It s funny because I live with a photographer now. The
pictures the kids take of me are mostly of my hand.

In any case, avoidance is in all of us, I think. Whether it s logical or emotional or irrational it is
just one of the things that defines who we are. Sometimes I don t care, after all what difference
does it make what candy bar I prefer, but other times I wonder what I m missing.

I guess one thing I should avoid is writing late at night when ideas come and go and seem to
have great meaning that somehow vanishes with the dawn.

Nah, tomorrow is another day and something will come up and I ll blog it all down because I m
addicted.

And with all my chat windows closed for now, I think I ll have a lot of time on my hands. Time
to blog more or for something new to come along, time to overcome something that I ve been
avoiding.

This 3Musketeer bar is really good.




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                                           Rebecca s Lament


                                          February 3, 2007

I went to a sock hop last night.

You heard me.

The Surf Ballroom is where Buddy Holly last performed and last night was the kick-off party for
the 50 s in February. I ve gone to many concerts at the Surf and it s always a good time. If only
I had a poodle skirt I would have fit right in.

A night out is refreshing. It gave me a little energy this morning when I was up to elbows in shit.
Literally.

The basement drains backed up and I pulled the snake plug and did the dirty deed. It had to be
done, and I stepped up. From one extreme to the other.

Did some shopping, took a nap, fried up some brat patties. All in all a pretty normal day.

Or was it?

Yeah, it was. I m just messing with you.

It ended with me watching Guys and Dolls and chatting a bit before sitting down to my blog. I
love old movies and catch them whenever I can. I m a great fan of Laurel and Hardy and Abbott
and Costello. Those were simpler times and everyone knew their place. Plus I watched it with
someone who didn t mind my cold feet or being used as a pillow. And we watched the whole
thing uninterrupted. How often does that happen?

In Guys and Dolls Sky Masterson marries Sarah after one date. They probably stayed married
for life unlike couples in today s world. In today s world it s split after the first sign of trouble
and find a younger, prettier spouse.

Gad, I could never see myself getting married.

I don t see why people can t live together and raise a family and grow old together without
having to file papers and take another name and have joint accounts and have to file taxes
together and stuff. I just never understood why something so simple has to be so complicated.

It s like when I bought my house and they had to do title searches and file papers and I had to sit
down and sign my name over and over and over. So, okay, all that is done. Then when I sold it,
we had to do it all over again. I can remember signing papers that said this is how I legally sign
papers. Why can t it just be like a car? Here s the title to my house, your check cleared, good
luck.

But no, nothing can be that simple anymore. You can t get away with things like you used to.




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                                           Rebecca Beste


Now with computers everything is tracked from conception to demise so if try to deposit money
in the bank it s tracked to the employer who is tracked by the government and what one debits
the other better credit because once you re a dollar off they send in investigators to see if
anything illegal is going on. Or if you buy a car the history of the VIN can be tracked. Even
when you send e-mail or visit a website your IP is tracked and recorded.

I m digressing. I ll just leave business to the businessmen. I guess if I want to buy a house I
have to play the game and sign things and jump through hoops. I try not to sweat the things I
can t control.

Of course, I can t control myself at times. This house was built in 1919 and I think the snake
plug must have been installed about that time. It was a solid mass of corrosion and of course I m
not blessed with a master s set of tools and lost my temper a bit and grit my teeth and hit things.
But I kept at it because I had a job to do, and when you have a job to do you grit your teeth and
do it. I could have called for reinforcements, I guess, but then I would be passing the job onto
someone else and I don t give up that easily. I m stubborn that way. The drains flowed freely at
last and we have a brand new snake plug. I get satisfaction from a job well done.

In doing that job I spotted several more that needed doing. Some tools were actually frozen to
the bench in the garage and it really needs to be cleaned up. I cleaned under the furnace and
noted that other areas in the basement needed attention. This house s new owner is slacking. I ll
have to talk to him about things.

We did chat today about maybe starting a business together. That could be fun. At this point in
my life I d rather start a business that get another job. There was a time I dreamed of being an
actress but I guess fame escaped me. I wish I could get paid just to travel. Maybe I should
become a truck driver or deliver packages or something. I can almost imagine that. Or write the
great American novel or create some art or fad that everyone just has to have. I never
understood Beanie Babies but I understood that when something catches the public s fancy that
there s money to be made.

Whatever.

I felt useful today and on days like this I can maybe believe that I ll find my purpose someday. I
had some good, clean fun last night and today I felt like I actually achieved something. Now
tonight the moon if full and at eleven below zero you can almost see the air sparkling and the
whole world seems frozen. It s very pretty and surreal and I actually love a good bit of cold
weather. Tomorrow night it s supposed to be more than twenty below and I m sure as I blog I ll
be watching the sparkles again. I may even go outside for a bit just for fun.

So, today was just a normal day and the only thing I learned is that a marker is more than a
man s promise to pay, it s his word and his honor rests on it. At least that s what it meant in the
50 s.

We ll see how good my marker is tomorrow. I have several bets on the Bears so they have to
beat a ten point spread. Good luck Rex and Brian and Lovie and the gang.


                                                112
                                          Rebecca s Lament


Sorry if you thought this was a boring entry but I could really be content with days like this.

Really, I could.




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                                             Rebecca Beste


                                          February 5, 2007

There is no joy in Mudville, the mighty Bears have struck out.

Way to mix my analogies.

I did lose a couple of bets but only one was for a wad of cash. I did have to perform a forfeit but
it was one of those things where no one is really a loser.

The party didn t happen at our house so I ended up with three huge pizzas and snacks and no one
to share them with. My little dog loves pizza and she sure got her fill.

It may be my imagination but it just seemed like kind of a mundane show. I think I felt the same
way last year. Even the million dollar commercials just seemed like a rehash of what you see on
any given night. It was funny to see little award notes flash at the bottom of the screen during
commercials.

Like so many things, I think the Super Bowl is a bit passed its prime and is waning as far as a
huge spectacle goes. It s wearing thin. I think its promoters are the only ones who really think
it s the biggest thing since sliced Jesus anymore.

What s funny is that I heard someone complain about how the Sabbath is being ruined by
sporting events like this. Funny how the religious types who think they know so much don t
even know that Sunday is not the Sabbath. I try not to pick this battle anymore. I ll let them
figure it out on their own.

I try not to pick battles anymore. Just like the guy who parks his car in the alley behind our
house. I can barely fit through. I ve called the cops a couple times but he s still parking there.
Now, when I squeeze past I quietly remind myself that it s not my battle. It s the back apartment
in a converted house and is practically a slum. If the driver lives there then he obviously has
problems and doesn t need the additional problem of cops ticketing his car or getting towed. I m
sure he appreciates being left alone now.

It feels good letting things go.

I ve let a lot of things go in the last year, especially the last few months.

When I was in Rome I had to walk a long, long way because you simply can t get a hotel room
and whole crowds were blocking the road so taxis were no good. I passed one or two fountains
and a funny old superstition came to mind. It s supposed to be good luck to pitch a coin into a
fountain. Even in the cold darkness I could see coins resting at the bottom, each one
representing a wish or idea. I also heard that throwing a coin in a fountain meant that you would
return there someday. I couldn t remember if that was a specific fountain or just any old one but
it s more romantic than granting a wish.

A wicked thought struck me.


                                                  114
                                          Rebecca s Lament


I wrote all this once before but it was in the entry that vanished. My train of thought is leading
this way so the story does fit.

Anyway, I fished around in my fanny pack and pulled out many coins. There were Euros and
Drams and Pounds but I pulled out a little penny that was worth quite a bit to the right collector.
I paid just under a grand for this penny and I knew if I brought it with me I would find something
special to do with it. It represented something that night. It reminded me of my whole life, my
search for relatives, attachment to material things, superstition, and how a simple little penny, the
smallest of all the U.S. coins, was born under simple circumstances and became something
everybody is looking for.

Isn t that what we all want, in a way?

So in the dark, on a cool Christmas eve night I threw a 97 year old coin into a small fountain
somewhere in a foreign land and with it went years of baggage and pain. This penny was now
special not because it was born on a date with markings that were never used again, but because
it bore away a girl s burdens and then cleaned those burdens away in the water of a fountain.

I stood there a long time and saw other people throw coins in and I wondered how special those
coins were now. How many burdens were bore away or how many wishes were made?

I saw many tears that night. I tried to get into the synergy of the crowd and let myself go,
crowds can be powerful that way, but nothing happened. I didn t really expect anything to
happen but it was one of those things I had to try and last minute plans are by default, rarely
thought out.

I shook myself back to reality. I had to pee, it was cold, and it was miles back to the hotel.
Surprisingly I didn t pass the fountain on the way back and I wondered if I ever came back if I
could even find that spot again. Well, I probably would be led back because as the saying goes,
when you pitch a coin into a fountain you are bound to return. But that was superstition and
logically you shouldn t put much faith in superstitions, if any at all.

I think that logic and intelligence will eventually win out and as that is happening fewer and
fewer people will make the pilgrimage to see the pope and this whole silly holiday will die and
be forgotten. It was hard to believe that when you are in a crowd of nearly a million people, but
now, in the light of day in the middle of Iowa I think I can.

But all that is a battle I won t fight. Religion will sort itself out. Maybe not in the next thousand
years, but someday. In the meantime I ll do what I ve always done and respect the belief of
those who have them as I would expect them to respect mine.

I don t think religion will be replaced by the Super Bowl either. It s just not the big party night it
used to be. I had two whole pizzas left. I can t even recall a good commercial. And I lost too
much money. And I had to dress like a cheerleader. Nevermind.

All things pass whether it s something as big as a religion or as small as coin.


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                                        Rebecca Beste


Or even the hype surrounding a single game.

Yes, I had good time watching the Super Bowl.

I imagine I always will.




                                              116
                                          Rebecca s Lament


                                         February 7, 2007

The thing about being bipolar is that you know the high will end. And sometimes suddenly.

Thank goodness that hasn t happened yet.

I know there are things I can do or drugs I can take but I ll just see what happens.

I also know that I m being played like a fiddle. Eric is just doing everything he can for me. I
wouldn t have a care in the world if he has his way. But I also know I need to stand on my own
so plans are in the works.

But for now I m just playing with this old computer. I m smarter than you think and have been
trying to get some forum or chat rooms working on it. It s good to have something occupying
your time.

I ve even started digging out some old art projects. I have a box made out of inverted mirrors
and mirror shards that is built around a monitor so when I play a certain random graphics
generator it reflects in all different directions. I need to make it presentable, though. Right now
it s just something I stare at when I need a Zen moment.

I ve also been playing with Yahoo chat bots, but I hate bots so I have mixed emotions about
them. Plus I need a web site to work with so I ve been playing with that as well. It s a challenge
to just get things to work even if I have nothing to use them on. Maybe it s good that my old
laptop died. If not, then I would never have been forced to surf on this old server and all this
stuff would have never cropped up again.

Welcome to the 21st century, I guess.

I saw in the paper that a local man died in Iraq and as it turns out I know his family. The war has
just been distance news to me but I guess in some small and distant way it s beginning to touch
even me. I really don t care about politics or what the government does as long as I can wake up
each morning and surf the web and buy gas and get things done. I don t know anyone personally
who is in Iraq at the moment and I really feel for troops and their families. Really, I do. I know
these people enough to stop in and offer condolences but it s still a distant thing for me and I will
try to keep politics out of it. My feeling is that we all die sometime and if you die for something
you believe in or for your country or even just because you were following orders then at least
your death meant something to someone. I ve already blogged about how I feel about death.
There will be no turnout at my funeral.

Still, I guess if I had my druthers if I did have to live in country at war it would be the U.S. War
is brewing between Armenia and Azerbaijan but both countries are so small that an all-out war
would devastate them both and both know it. We can only hope the diplomats can work it out.




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                                             Rebecca Beste


I can see myself fighting for a cause. I have a few causes that I support but nothing that I out and
out fight for. At the moment, at least. Nothing I would kill for. It would take a lot to make me
want to, or have to, kill somebody. At the moment I can t imagine it.

Of course, I m having a bit of difficulty fighting for myself at the moment.

Right now I m just trying to stay warm, and walk the dog, and make dinner for the kids. War
and politics and my future are too distant right now for me to even worry about. I keep up with
the news and note who did what but I m just a girl in Iowa and there s not much I can do about
any of it.

Maybe someday, but at this moment I m just a speck on this planet, like so many others.

I guess offering my condolences is something.

It won t shake the world but it s a start.




                                                 118
                                          Rebecca s Lament


                                         February 8, 2007

So, it was a slow day.

Eric loaded Office 2007 on this computer and it looks all goofy. It will probably screw with the
formatting on my web page. We ll see.

I wasn t going to write anything today because nothing had changed and nothing had happened.
Just a day in the winter, trying to keep warm.

I keep promising myself I ll do stuff. When it s hovering around zero a hike may seem like a
bad thing but I really like to get out and brave the elements. It s better when there s a blizzard
but there isn t one forecasted in the foreseeable future. I bundle up and go out. I walk away
from the truck until I can t feel my feet or nose or hands then head back. It helps that survival
instinct kick in. It s just a little bit of a rush.

I m not sure why I haven t been out this year yet. With wind chills hitting thirty below I really
want to. Maybe tomorrow.

So, there I was, watching television by myself. The kids were out to a school play and Eric was
sitting at the desk trying to decode a cipher that s been stumping him for weeks. I was just
wrapping up a chat and closing some instant messages when I heard something I hadn t heard in
ages.

Poor Bailey was having a seizure. She has a couple a year and it s heartbreaking. I hold her to
keep her from flopping around and Eric grabbed a towel to soak up the drool. It s hard to see.
Her legs bend in ways you d never thought you d see a dog s leg bend in and her eyes look like
they are going to pop.

I hold on. It takes a few minutes until she starts to relax then ten or fifteen more before she can
hear me again. Every moment of the day she is by my side and curled up next to me. I don t
know what I d do if I ever lost her.

It s these types of things that blindside you on a normal day. Like stepping on a tack.

Just this morning I get out of bed and it was like lightning went up through my leg. It wasn t just
any tack. I have a vintage chair that is all wood and leather that I sit in sometimes when I m
typing and it s got big upholstery tacks all around the seams. One of these must have fallen out.
They are thick and long like nails and it was hard to pull out. Just a damn, oh well, sort of thing.
Just the universe showing me who s boss.

Or was it the universe telling me I still have things to lose? A person with nothing to lose is a
very dangerous sort of person. Having nothing to lose makes one fearless. I know, I ve been
there. But then I ve learned a lot from it. Every day I find something else that reminds me of a
happy thought or time and I m glad I came back.




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                                            Rebecca Beste


I m glad I survived.

But highs are always followed by lows so I must tread carefully upon this path. This is new and
strange territory for me. I m supposed to be dead so everything I do from here on out is
precarious and I feel like I ve used up my chances and one more wrong move and I ll get kicked
from the pool.

I feel like I d better find a purpose or the universe will change its mind and let me go. So I ve
been cooking and cleaning and fetching kids from school and returning a little affection to those
around me.

And helping a small dog through a tough seizure.

Will it be enough? Can I convince the fates to let me continue?

And, of course, by fates and the universe I mean that little voice inside of me that tells me if I m
doing a good job or not. After all, that s who I answer to. I only have myself to blame for, well,
anything and everything. If I fail it s because I didn t allow myself to succeed and if I succeed
it s because I didn t allow myself to fail. No one else controls me.

So now I hear the kids returning and Bailey is at the window wagging her tail. Things are back
to normal.

The new normal.

Just a quiet day at home.




                                                120
                                          Rebecca s Lament


                                        February 9, 2007

Boy, it was one of those days. There must be something in the air because every chat room I
went into today was down right pissy.

It started when I went into the survivors chat and was surprised that there were people in there
that early. There is no moderator or anything there and it was an all-out war. Somebody had
spilled somebody else s secret and all hell was breaking lose. People who I thought were chat
buddies were just going at it with, each with supporters throwing their two cents in. It s pretty
low to blab a secret, especially on a site where trust is one of the most important reasons people
go there. I m not sure if the girls are going to recover from that one.

Car chat wasn t much better so I took a nap and then went into the old crypto site. Again,
everyone was arguing. The crux of this matter was that if it s okay for, say, a beaver or squirrel
to change the environment, why is so bad if a man does? They were talking about a spring
where if a person steps into it with their shoe and spreads bacteria and they start to thrive and
change the water until the whole area is changed how is that different from a squirrel dying and
falling into the spring and doing the same thing? Aren t they both animals? Wasn t the spring
ruined in both instances? So it s okay for a squirrel to do it but not a man? Isn t a man a
mammal, just like the squirrel?

Ah, the crypto people. Always arguing about lines in nature.

I ended up home alone again and so went back into another chat. People insulting one another
and moderators booting each other and innocent bystanders at will.

Deep breath. Must be cabin fever or something.

Cabin fever can do strange things. I realized today that I ve never seen my dad in jeans. Just a
little thing that makes me miss my family even more. It would be a time like this that I would
call my mom and shoot the breeze and ask her if dad ever wore jeans. It s time like these that we
laugh about how he always wore those blue work pants you get at Sears and always had to wear
shoes, even when just sitting around the house.

I don t have anyone to reminisce with anymore. My whole family has been reduced to a few
brain cells and those, too, will one day be gone.

I promised myself I wouldn t take on this burden anymore, but I guess I never really put it down.

Everybody lived rich, full lives and now it s my turn. I just have to keep telling myself that.

I pulled out my old viola and promptly popped a string.

Even when I started cleaning I found that the dust pan had mysteriously vanished.

Somebody is trying to tell me something and I m not getting the message.


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                                            Rebecca Beste


In the skeptic s forum I ve learned that a long string of meaningless coincidences can be the
framework to build a belief system around. If you are the type to believe in ghosts and gods then
when things go wrong you tend to pray or have a séance or do some ritual to purge the bad
spirits. Sooner or later the coincidences end and you give your god or your ritual the credit
which in turns makes you want to pray sooner the next time things start going wrong. Or you
start performing rituals to prevent the bad things from happening in the first place. Knocking on
wood and things like that. You pray then get a promotion so you give your god the credit and
belittle your own hard work.

Gods aren t responsible for what happens, almost everything that happens to anyone is pure
chance and circumstance.

It s chance that we re born at all, chance who our family is, chance who we meet, and chance
who we lose. People have a hard time understanding this. Me included. Yes, there are things
we control but how we make our decisions is based on how we were raised and how we were
raised is based on who are parents were and again, who our parents were was a complete roll of
the dice. Obviously my life would be drastically different if I were born to a Siberian woman, or
in a Pygmy tribe, or in a slum in New York City. My life would also be completely different if
the genes I got made me fat or disfigured or just plain unattractive.

What if I was born a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, or even twenty years from now?

All this is futile, I know. What if s and wishes are the last resort of the desperate. I m living the
hand I was dealt. I just need to deal with that.

It also helps to remember that others are doing the same thing.

But then emotion takes over and you just can t stand being around so many pissy people. It ll
rub off sooner or later. Tonight was one of those nights where I just closed all my web browsers
and decided I just don t need it for now. Chalk up another chapter on the effects of chat on the
modern life.

So I tried to take a hot soak but as I was stepping in tub the toilet started leaking and ruined what
was left of the night. I had to remind myself that it wasn t a god or a ghost or a failure to
perform a ritual that caused this, it was just a rubber seal that was old and cracked. It was just
chance.

So I took a deep breath and tackled the job at hand. That s all we can do.

It was just one of those days.




                                                122
                                          Rebecca s Lament


                                        February 11, 2007

Why can t we predict the future? I mean, accurately, so we know what s coming.

I know I m semi-addicted to chat rooms and many times, even though there s thousands of
people in a forum, there are just a dozen or so that you get to know. When a few days go by and
you don t see a regular you wonder what real-world event is taking up their time.

But I can t be concerned with that. After all, I m not part of their real world. I m just a name in
a chat room and even after three months people didn t notice I was gone. They just figured real
world became more important than the discussion at hand. I don t tell people when I m taking a
day off and going driving or something. Sure, I ll come back and shoot the breeze and if
someone asks where I was the day before I ll tell them.

I just don t think they really care.

I mean, if I never logged into another chat in my life, no one would really notice. New names
appear, new people fill in the spaces, and discussions get fresh new outlooks. I shouldn t care, I
know, because life goes on and the internet isn t real.

I went back to my old employer the other day. I read in the paper a local man was killed when
his helicopter went down in Iraq and it turned out to be my old boss s nephew. I went in to offer
condolences and of course everyone wanted to know how my trip was. Already there were new
people there and I got the feeling that things went smoothly after I left. I wasn t part of this
office anymore. If I hadn t stopped by no one there would have made any effort to contact me.

Such is life.

Anna Nicole Smith died this week and of course every media outlet from cable news to the TV
Guide is covering the event, which must be the biggest thing to ever happen. Someone even got
a shot of the body bag going into the morgue and I m sure every single little detail of Anna s life
will be relived, reenacted, and gone over with a fine tooth comb until every man, woman, and
child in America is an Anna Nicole Smith expert. I didn t cry when she passed away, but I did
tear up a little talking to my old boss about his nephew. His nephew didn t make CNN and even
in the local paper the headline only read that a local man died, his name was in the small print
that followed.

Who left the bigger legacy?

Whose death meant more?

Why should I even care about two people I ve never met? In reality, I don t. I care more about
my old boss, and how he feels. I went there not to honor the nephew, but to comfort the uncle.
He politely thanked me for stopping by and said it was nice that someone was thinking about
him.




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                                             Rebecca Beste


Is that all it takes? A little compassion?

I know I think about death a lot, and I m working on that. I guess when you feel worthless you
look at your death as kind of a measuring stick. He who has the most people at his funeral wins.
If you get a parade, even better.

So, I do get choked up when someone passes. Even if it s someone I ve never met. Just
someone I flirted with in a chat room because he was kind old duffer who invited me out to meet
him every time we chatted. One of the few people who I thought was real, and not just a screen
name. A person I thought I would meet someday.

We can t predict these things, they just happen then we deal with it and move on. Until the next
big story, the next big celebrity dies, or the next nephew gets killed in a foreign land. Sometimes
we can pick and choose who we mourn for.

Sometimes we can t.

So, for whatever reason, I m gonna miss you Tom, we all are.




                                                 124
                                         Rebecca s Lament


                                       February 12, 2007

I ve been hanging out with the bigfooters and skeptics and psychics these last few days. Mainly
because the forum I visit the most took a dump and is still down. These are hard core people.

These are people polarized. Pick a subject, any subject, and it will turn into an I m right and
you re wrong and this is black and white and you ll never convince me otherwise slugfest.
Take the refrigerator ghost for example.

A man sees his refrigerator pop open one day with no explanation. I have had my freezer door
pop open and not thought twice about it. Pressure difference, crooked floor, bad seal, a bottle
leaned out of the door to prevent it from closing tight, or a hundred other things could have
happened but this man, for whatever reason, thought it was a ghost. Once he s convinced there s
a ghost in his house, no one will convince him other wise and every little thing that happens is
attributed to said ghost.

Making matters worse he calls in a medium and of course the medium tells him that there is a
presence in the house, a cold feeling here or an unresting feeling there, and now it s carved in
stone. The house is haunted. Never mind that the medium didn t prove or disprove anything and
got paid for his services, he s a medium after all, he must have passed a test or something.

Try to give a rational explanation to one of these folks and they run away crying how unfair,
mean, and close-minded all skeptics are. They weren t trying to help him with his ghost, oh no,
they were just trying to show that there wasn t a ghost in the first place. That s not what the man
with the ghost wants to hear. Again, it will then boil down to I m right and you re wrong and
this is black and white and you ll never convince me otherwise.

Gosh, who s being close-minded?

It wouldn t be so bad but this isn t an isolated case. It happens over and over and over with
every subject imaginable. UFOs? Remote viewing? Astral projection? Talking to the dead?
Bigfoot? Predicting the future? Dowsing? Astrology? Yeah, it s all been done.

The really funny part is that after some discussion it will boil down to show me proof. This is
where the believers really look bad. So, you actually met someone who could tell you what card
you were holding and he must be psychic? Good, bring him in, we ll open a fresh set of cards
and put a few controls in place so he can t peek and let him tell us which card we re holding.
Oh, he can t because, well, insert your excuse here. Too much negative energy, he can only do it
with someone he knows, he has to see the cards first, or any other excuse that shows it for the
trick it is.

Or they come in and get zero cards out of fifty-two. Then they retrofit their excuse afterwards.
Instead of saying, gosh, maybe I don t have this power they find excuses why it didn t work that
one time when people were watching.




                                               125
                                            Rebecca Beste


Then they try to turn it around. Prove that he can t tell you what card you are holding? The
failure to understand the logic on why this is wrong is just staggering. First of all, he won t
submit to a simple test and second of all you can t prove a negative. That s what almost all the
believers fall back on, You can t prove it doesn t exist, therefore it does.

What simple lives these people must lead.

Oh, but Doctor Important Person proved it in his lab. Good, let s replicate this proof in another
lab. Oh, we can t? Why not? Government conspiracy and his is the only lab not infiltrated with
spies. Okay.

There s never a shortage of excuses, only a shortage of proof.

I watch all these discussions from the sideline.

I have a policy that I don t ridicule. I may try to point out flaws in their logic or show them
alternative explanations but I won t make fun of them. Let them believe.

In reality, my reality, I don t care one way or another. Let them argue until they are blue in the
face. I ve never experienced anything out of the ordinary and the likes of Sylvia Brown or John
Edwards will not collect seven hundred dollars from me for a psychic reading. Not when they
can t even get a name right.

I ve said it before, all someone has to do is tell me the nickname my father called me and I ll
believe. You d think this would be simple for someone like John Edwards but his e-mail just
comes back I don t respond to challenges. Well, duh. That s because he s a fake. I mean, it s
so simple yet he can t do it. No one can. That s not ridicule, that s just fact. He knows it and I
know it. So, how about it, John, tell me the name and I ll remove this whole blog entry.

But don t think I m completely closed minded. If I saw a ghost, then I would probably believe in
ghosts. If I saw a bigfoot then I d believe in those as well. If anyone asked, I would proudly
say, Yes, I saw a bigfoot and I believe they are real.

I doubt if I ll ever see either.

Another reason psychics stay away from me is because I ve only known three people from my
entire family. My father, mother, and brother. When they say, I sense a B or a K and it s fall or
winter and something is wrong in the chest well chances are they aren t going to hit one of my
three. If I had a big family with lots and lots and relatives then chances are I d know a B or a K
and since most heart attacks occur in the winter that s a safe bet but the chest could also be
heartburn or lung cancer as well, also safe bets. That s all a psychic does, takes pot shots and
hopes something will hit. Funny how they only guess a first initial and not a whole name.
Funny that. Funny how they guess at chest or abdomen as ninety percent of what we die from is
in that area.




                                                   126
                                          Rebecca s Lament


In fact, I wish that all this was real. Can you imagine how interesting life on this planet would be
if there really were ghosts and monsters? How would Hollywood make money? After all, we
wish these things were real and go see movies to see how interesting life would be but if real life
was like a movie then we wouldn t need movies.

If I thought there was even a slight possibility of seeing a gnome or fairy or bigfoot or even a
UFO I d spend all my time walking in the woods. I d live there. I d never leave.

I do walk in the woods but it s because the sound of wind in the trees is soothing and comforts
me. It s because water flowing in a stream is Zen-like and mesmerizing. It s because the simple
act of watching an insect eat a leave can really put things into perspective.

I think it was Douglas Adams that wrote, The universe is bad enough, why would I want to
invent any more of it?

So, my time with the bigfooters and skeptics and psychics is not wasted. It shows me that some
people will believe in anything and some will demand proof.

Too bad it s always so polarized. Too bad other things like politics and religion are the same
way.

It s too bad wishes don t come true. I have a few whoppers.

In any case, watching the arguments and the sparring is good for me because it makes me face
reality. Nothing will get accomplished unless I do something about it. I can only be what I
make myself be.

I can t spend my life chasing ghosts.

I think that s exactly what I ve been doing.




                                                127
                                             Rebecca Beste


                                        February 15, 2007

The days have all been running together lately. Sometimes I don't even know what day it is or
how many days have passed since the last big thing.

I've been working on some projects that Eric gave me. He has projects that have sat on the shelf
for a while and so we've been bartering jobs for jobs. It's good to feel useful again. I've also
been doing some cooking and cleaning and running kids around. Sometimes they tease me and
call me mom and other times they call me the help.

I've had to take a good hard look around to see where I'm standing. I still have my health, well
physically anyway, and for the most part I'm pretty clever. I have a roof over my head and food
in my belly. I guess I'm doing better than a lot of folks.

Of course, I still have nagging questions but for the moment they don't drag me down and beat
me up. Most of these questions start with Why         and some have cussing in them.

I don't know. Maybe I don't have to conquer the world or overcome the decisions of the past.
And believe me, there are always reminders of past decisions. I'm a great fan of Laurel and
Hardy and after missing them for a long time I thought I would try a P2P service to see if there
any shorts out there I could watch. While playing around with that I put a few secret keywords
in and sure enough, there I was. It just won't go away. At least I'm at a point in my life where
the connection can't be made, where I can ignore them and the chances of anyone figuring it out
is slim.

Except for the people I've told, and the people they've told.

The funny part is, I'll be in bed with someone and I still think to myself what camera angle
would look good with this? Is this what the viewer wants? How can I turn these people on? I
still act like I'm being watched. I still put on a show and sometimes I forget that I'm with
someone who wants to be with me, not someone trying to earn a buck.

Today I allowed myself to wear something that made me feel pretty. Not slutty or sexy, just
pretty. I haven't felt that way in so long that I almost forgot it was a way to feel. I went
shopping and bagged my groceries and held my head up because I wasn't feeling ashamed or
depressed or any of the other emotions that keeps me from showing my face too openly. I
realize now that people see me as just a girl shopping, not as that throw girl who did videos.

I've been taking myself way too seriously.

I've been making too big of deal out of my past.

I think I can just forget that chapter and be done with it. Except there's the little matter of never
having a child and why. Eric's kids are grown. They are out on their own or halfway through
high school and I do have a lot of fun with them but I will never feel the bond that they have with
their father or mother. Even if I adopt, and I've thought about that, will the bond be the same? I


                                                 128
                                            Rebecca s Lament


just think there will always be that little nagging voice somewhere that will always remind me
that this isn't really my child.

I knew a girl who was adopted and she was a trouble maker like I was. She told me that she
didn't really feel like part of the family and acted out. She's an adult now and has tracked down
her birth mother and they are now best friends and she has made peace with herself and still
looks at her adopted mother as her real mom. And she's made sure her mom knows that she
loves her more than ever.

Sounds like a happy ending but do I want to put a child through that? Do I want to put myself
through it? What kind of mother would I make anyway?

Deep breaths. I think for now I am accepting the fact that it will never happen but little
reminders pop up from time to time.

Do we ever escape the reminders of out past? Should we? I mean, it's our past that makes us
what we are today, if we forget our past does that help or hurt? I guess we should build on our
experiences as that's what makes us grow and get stronger.

I've grown a lot in the last few months alone. I went to Armenia. That will always be a highlight
of my life. That cured me of a few demons at least. That took a load off.

I have different questions now so maybe that means change has taken place. I've heard that
before somewhere. It's time to stop asking why, and to start figuring out where to go from here.

Or have I arrived? Or will I ever arrive?

Always questions, always more questions.

I'm tired of seeking answers. I think from now on, or at least for the time being, I'll stop looking
and let the answers come to me for a change. Let them do the work.

For now, I'm just going look for things that make me happy, or at least comfortable.

It may make for a boring blog for a while, and sooner or later I'll crash, but to hell with it.

Right now, there are things that need my attention.

And someone who's been waiting for me.




                                                  129
                                               Rebecca Beste


                                         February 18, 2007

Sometimes we have to open our eyes.

I cleaned the basement last week and pulled some old projects out of storage and took a good
look at them. When I was in Paris I went to some art galleries and was so impressed by the
creativity and general genius of what I saw it made me realize that perhaps I m no artist. I was
actually envious of the talent these people had.

Tonight I was browsing the artwork of a photographer and was again blown away by how much
work he put into each shot, sometimes taking weeks to set up one picture. What have I ever
done to compare to someone like that?

No, I don t think I ll ever be that caliber. At most I ll be like the old woman with Pepsi can
sculptures blowing in the wind in front of her house. Just a few things I did for myself and no
one else.

I m not very good with people, either. I could never be a politician. Or even in sales.

Maybe an office manager is all I ll ever be good at. I can see myself at sixty still balancing
books and making sure the documents are signed properly. Of course, by then there won t be
many offices left and retinal scans will take the place of signatures.

While writing that I realized it s the first time I ve imagined myself as an old woman. Well, in a
long time at least. I still think I may never hit thirty. It s getting very close, though.

I spent a long weekend on the road and did some drift busting and other things that could have
left me stranded a long way from anywhere. Not sure why I have this reckless streak still but it s
fun sometimes and maybe someday it will lead to adventure. I was way up in the boondocks of
Minnesota when I heard a snippet on the radio about Mardi Gras and thought that may a neat
place to end up but I had already chosen my direction and didn t want to backtrack. I circled
back down through Wisconsin and back home.

It s nice to get out and hit the road again.

But this time of year is barren and even the most touristy of shops were closed. I love it, though.
I love it when winter freezes everything and there is nothing moving except snow and you feel
like you are on another planet and the truck is caked with ice and salt and snow. And it s funny
because it reflects my mood perfectly.

I know Eric was afraid I might try something, but I just needed a few days out. He was glad
when I got back. He realizes I m flighty that way. He s just as afraid of me as I am of him.

The strange thing is, I m actually okay with all of this. So, I will never be an artist and I may
end up growing old as somebody s secretary and I may always just take off on a whim just to
look at the landscape, it s just me and I really can t find anything wrong it. Why fight it?


                                                   130
                                          Rebecca s Lament


I know this is just a bi-polar high talking but I think the key is to just open your eyes. Finding a
place in this world is as much finding out what you aren t as it is finding out what you are. It s
not fighting the past but living in harmony with it. It s about accepting your little quirks and not
trying to change them.

I don t want my life to be cliché and I know the odds of me living happily ever after are still slim
and I know when I m in a good mood my blog is boring but right now I m just living in the
moment and kind of enjoying it.

I may get some serious things done this week.

I d better hurry while my eyes are still open.




                                                 131
                                           Rebecca Beste


                                        February 27, 2007

Sometimes I find myself walking down the street watching people and wondering what their
lives are like. Total strangers. What do they do? Where are they going? What do they wish
for?

Other times I don t even look. When I walk through the mall how many people do I pass? 50?
100? No one can think about everybody.

We are ships that pass in the night, each not noticing the other. So the saying goes. I m a ship
afraid of running aground, afraid of casting anchors. I once thought I would never find a port.

But sometimes we are thrown together like castaways. Strangers forced to be friends.

We had a storm here in Iowa and I didn t think anything of it. I love storms. I thrive on them.
We got about a quarter inch of ice and about a foot of snow. I ve seen worse.

But just up the road a whole row of telephone poles were snapped off. And the scene was
repeated all over northern Iowa. We started to hear story after story of people stranded. One
whole town was cut off and shelters sprang up. The newspaper exploded with stories of stranded
families and tried to remind everyone to check on their neighbors.

It starts small. Eric s son asked if his friend s family could come by and do some laundry and
take a shower or two. Eric insisted they come stay with us. All seven of them. Then another
family.

Then another.

I used to live alone in this house. It s considered a four bedroom but it also has a completed attic
and basement. Four stories of living space.

I ve had people live with me before. A Tanzanian here for the summer training to be a nurse to
go back home and help her small village. A woman escaping an abusive husband. A mentor at
the end of his rope. And a few others over the years.

And even though it s not my house anymore I was asked my permission and of course I gave it.
Eric treats me like a queen sometimes.

At first it was nuts. People sleeping everywhere, constant cooking and cleaning, and constant
use of the bathrooms and kids getting into everything. I got to put my truck through it s paces,
too, pulling cars out, rescuing people on unplowed roads and delivering food, and even just
teaching a new driver how to do doughnuts in an empty parking lot.

Outside the storm slowly ceased and the first estimate was five days before power was restored.
I can t recall ever being without power for more than a few hours and this is the middle of




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                                          Rebecca s Lament


winter. I can t imagine what it s like to be a small child in a stranger s house not because you
want to be there, but because you have to. I tried to make things easy for them.

For some reason the kids were drawn to me and I would keep them entertained while the parents
went to work or to dig out cars or to tend to broken pipes. For the first time ever I took care of
not one, but two babies. To have a baby curl up in your arms and fall asleep is the best feeling
ever. To insist you are perfectly fine but have the mother take it back anyway is the worse
feeling ever.

But this was just a small bump in the road. It was only an inconvenience. No one died and no
houses were destroyed and no lives were changed. People just don t like freezing and so we
invited them in.

A couple times we talked late into the night about life, the universe, and everything. We
reminisced about good times and bad times, about families and friends. I learned about horses
and was invited for a ride if I wanted to. I tried to explain the thrill of the catacombs and they
tried to explain the thrill of dirt track racing.

I learned the names of 17 people. They learned that sometimes you just have to accept help.

Without a word all the kids ended up camping on the floor of my room and I actually read them a
bedtime story, In The Desert of Waiting, by Annie Fellows Johnston. The story ends with the
main character praising Allah, and I explained that to the kids. Then, before I got roped into
explaining religious tolerance I switched on Laurel and Hardy. They are just kids, after all.

As I m writing this there is still a family with us and I still get to feed a baby, a six-month-old
little girl, and let her fall asleep all curled up in my arms. I talked with the mother about how my
tubes were tied, and why, and she told me that it was a pity, because I d make a very good
mother.

Another storm is looming on the horizon. We re going to get socked again and much of the area
is still without power. We may be filled to brim again in a few days.

But I did something I haven t done in a long, long time. I sat down with strangers and made
friends. We all accepted each other for who we are, not for who we ve been. We shared lives
for a few days and all that was missing was the campfire. All this without chat rooms and
computers. Face to face. We pulled together as a community.

I was part of something.

I thought a lot about my dad and how he never turned away a person who needed help. I think
he would have approved of these last few days. I think for a while the big holes in my life
weren t so big.

The fates aren t always cruel.




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                                           Rebecca Beste


So now, after six years, I think I m officially an Iowan. And the anchors I ve been so afraid of
have finally been cast.

And although ships will still pass in the night, it s comforting to know that sometimes they will
end up in the harbor together and during those times we can down a pint and keep each other
company.

And weather the storm together.




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                                           Rebecca s Lament


                                           March 8, 2007

A strange day begets strange thoughts.

I was taking a crap on the toilet when I noticed a small brass wood screw lying on the floor near
the cabinets. I stare at it.

It looked brand new. I don t know where it came from. No one, as far as I know, did any
projects around the house lately and we ve had a lot of guests these last few days with the
blizzard and all and I ve even cleaned and swept in here.

Yet there it lay.

It was short, and shiny. I couldn t think of a single use for it.

It just sat there, perfectly still. A small brass wood screw.

As one is wont to do in the middle of the night I went back and back to see if I could think of
where it came from.

I went all the way back to the Big Bang.

Stars formed not too long after the Big Bang, giant hydrogen stars. Eventually they collapsed
and after banging themselves they produced a few more heavier elements. The next generation
produced a few more heavier elements. These stars, too, blew themselves apart making a few
more heavier elements.

After billions of years most of the elements were made and when new stars started to form,
planets formed around them from all these heavy elements.

One such planet stabilized out of this cosmic dust that was churned by all those stars. After a
few more billion years some amino acids started replicating themselves and as they did so they
found new and better ways to do it. They started grabbing other atoms and molecules to help
and more complex arrangements arose.

Then they grew more complex. And more.

They eventually became so complex that they started competing with each other for available
resources. The more successful ones moved on, the less successful perished.

They grew more complex and started feeding off each other. Ecosystems started to form where
critical balances played with each other sometimes leading to more successful organisms and
sometimes wiping others out.

Some became more successful and took more and more from the environment around them.
Some moved into caves and others found they could make their own caves from mud and grass.


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                                            Rebecca Beste


They realized that who ever had the largest cave had the largest family and the larger families
survived better. Having a larger family became desirable.

Some built larger houses to attract families and these houses were made from more diverse
materials and more clever designs arose. It was found that a spiraling inclined plane could be
made from something hard and could be screwed through two pieces of wood to hold them
together. This was a good design that lasted a long time.

Houses became more and more complex and made from virtually everything. So many were
needed that each part was made in huge quantities and spread out so everyone could have a
house. Screws became so commonplace that they were made by the billions.

Some were to be left exposed and so were designed to be decorative as well as functional. And
somehow one came to be left on my bathroom floor, with no explanation whatsoever.

Perhaps it came with a doorknob or some cheap furniture that had to be put together. Perhaps it
fell out of something or was purchased in a package of six when only three were needed and so
was stuck in a drawer someplace.

I will never know.

But I stared at this screw and knew that the very atoms that made up that screw was forged in
perhaps a dozen suns before it condensed on the Earth. So were the atoms in my hand, and my
sink, and virtually everything around me. We are just cosmic dust that happened to come
together for a moment on a small sphere trapped in orbit around a larger sphere.

Sometime, about five billion years from now, our sun will blow up like a balloon and vaporize
the Earth and blow all of its atoms back into space. They will condense back into planets or stars
and do it again and again, as they have always done.

The entire history of this planet won t even rate as an eye blink, but a fraction of a fraction of a
fraction of an eye blink in the cosmic scale of things.

Someday I will die and be put in the ground or cremated. My atoms will pollute the Earth for
millions of years. This fate will even be the fate of the sun, which will pollute the galaxy when it
dies.

We don t even have the ability to imagine this.

So, I threw the screw away, knowing it will go into a landfill and will vaporize with me and the
Earth and the sun at sometime in the near future. It never got to fulfill its purpose. It never got
to hold two pieces of wood together.

How many screws never get used? Millions? Billions?

All wasted.


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                                         Rebecca s Lament


All came from cosmic dust. All will return.

People ask me why I feel worthless at times. Why do I feel like life isn't worth the time?

Now you know.




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                                            Rebecca Beste


                                          March 11, 2007

If you haven t read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings (not the movie) then quick run out and read
it. If you have, then you can relate.

In The Hobbit a Mr. Bilbo Baggins finds a ring in a cave that belongs to someone else and ends
up keeping it. For this he is branded a thief and lives with that title for the rest of his life. He
ends up giving the ring to his nephew and the story unfolds from there but he never really had a
way to atone for his thievery.

It was a secret shame he lived with.

Of course, the uber geeky will say that the ring worked it s will on him so it wasn t really his
fault, but the act was committed just the same.

I had read this when I was young as I was required to read by my father and it seemed like a
popular book. I read it a few more times later in life, most recently when the movies came out
and it was about that time that I realized I was a lot like Bilbo.

He owed the way his life turned out to an act of stealing.

And so do I.

He stole something from an immoral character who was himself guilty of stealing and murder.
Does that somehow make it okay? Because, you know, so did I.

Yeah, at first I just paid bills, but I also bought a brand new car. Strangely enough, about six
months later I loaned the car to a girl I knew and her boyfriend ended up driving off the road and
totaled it. Providence? Fate?

I bought a house and sold it about six years later and I sold my mother s house when she passed
away plus a few other things and I actually ended up with even more than I started with. Now
not only did I feel guilty about the original money but I felt guilty about profiting from my
mother s death. Okay, that s twisted logic, but it s there nonetheless.

One of the reasons I went to Europe was to do something good with all this money. Okay, I flew
first class most of the way and that was a bit selfish but it was for a good cause.

I paid some fines in Paris and even bought some last minute tickets, which are expensive as hell.
I still came home with a bankroll. But to my credit I didn t have any souvenirs except what my
distant cousin gave me.

And experience, and knowledge, and maybe a little wisdom.

Eric suggested I donate the rest to a worthy cause then find a job and live like everybody else.
Okay, I seriously considered this.


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                                             Rebecca s Lament


But I m still a little selfish, and I feel guilty about that, too.

I decided to take a trip to a place I m fascinated with and only visited once before, a little place
called Death Valley. I ve read a lot about it and the legends always fascinated me. Underground
caves with pale inhabitants, ghosts, the Donner trail, the Devil s Playground and more. I even
have a tea kettle to leave there. It s tradition.

So, I m leaving on one more trip, this time a road trip. I will visit a few places to see if they are
worth settling down in, I want to see the Grand Canyon and visit a little place in Utah where old
VWs were befriended. There are some spiritual native American sites I wish to visit as well. I
gave other holy sites a chance, it would only be fair.

Now, I once read an account of a guy who wanted to cross a big salt flat in Death Valley and he
kept trying and he kept failing. All he wanted to do was cross it and come back. On his last try
he finally made it all the way across and most of the way back. But he underestimated his water
supply and so was grossly dehydrated when he finally came in sight of his car, where he had
more water. Thinking he was scott free he sat down to rest a moment but in that condition I
guess your blood gets very thick and when he was prone his heart relaxed a little and he couldn t
get up again. He died within sight of his goal.

I once mentioned to Eric that this actually sounded like the way to go. Alone in a desert, giving
back to the food chain. In the sun, doing something challenging. It didn t even sound painful.

Of course, this has made him a little apprehensive about my trip. These last six months or so
have been very hard on me. It s true, sometimes it s hard to see the point in going on, but I m
sure I m not the only one who s ever felt that way. But I have put myself in harm s way before
because I m not afraid. He knows this.

He s worried about me.

So today, he gives me a penny. A penny that must have cost about a grand. He said as long as
there was a hole in a collection, then it s not complete. Maybe a special penny was tossed into a
fountain, but another special penny has come to take its place.

Cracked out of its case it was free again. This penny is even more special than the last one.

On more levels than I can even say here.

The bug was also signed back over to me. The kids gave me a muffler and said I had to come
back to put it on. It was one of the only things I never finished on the old girl. And while I m
sure Eric put them up to it, they were sincere.

It seemed like everything today was making sure I had a reason to come back. I always planned
to this time, but they wanted to make sure.

Death Valley, you know.


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                                              Rebecca Beste


Now I have another reason to feel guilty. At some point I made the most important person in my
life think that I wouldn t come back. No, I just need to see.

I won t be bathing in an ancient fountain, but I may pan for gold. I may not touch a pyramid, but
I will walk an ancient path. I may not be visiting the land of my fathers, but I will be exploring
the country that is now mine. I may not be looking for family this time, but I will have one to
come home to.

Again, I don t know what I hope to find, but I ll keep looking.

I ll be leaving at night, like a thief always does. And if you ve read my blog you know I won t
be traveling alone.

Yes, if old Bilbo Baggins can be a thief and still have adventures, then so can I.

And if I recall correctly, he said that they all lived happily ever after to the end of their days.

It may not be that easy, but here s hoping.



I plan to be gone a month or two. The blog may die out in that time but it's not like anyone is
reading it anyway. If you are, be patient. I'll be back. I have to come back, there's work to be
done.




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                                          Rebecca s Lament


I got a package from UPS one day and when I opened it I became very angry. Her laptop was
smashed, things were torn and broken, how could they treat Rebecca s things so badly?

Then I realized it wasn t the fault of UPS. The accident really happened.

Somewhere on a Californian highway a most remarkable girl found an unremarkable end.

I think I cried for three days straight, but then I had to step up and stand tall. I know she didn t
believe in an afterlife and didn t care what happened after death, but I made many arrangements
for her. If she were cremated she would be permitted to squeeze into her family plot, with her
father, mother, and brother. I m sure she would have loved that.

She was driving up the coast, to bigfoot country as she called it. She wanted a new place to
settle down. Someplace to camp and hike without the drone of trains or traffic. Someplace
quiet. Someplace where she could see the stars. I hope she finds that now, for her spirit, if she
has a spirit, is free.

It may not seem possible, but this only scratched the surface of her incredible journey and her
wonderful life.

This has been Rebecca s Lament.




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