I have a crush. Steve Marriott. His intensity of voice and movement just knocks my socks off. And his story moves me intensely. Because I relate to it so much. And it’s bringing up some stuff let me tell you.
Of course, Steve Marriott was someone who would never have been available. And he’s dead. I think the infatuation, aside from the fact that he’s AMAZING, well, I think this is due to the process of grieving for the final loss and death of Joel.
Joel was my ex-husband. We divorced in 1984. I’ve never remarried. It was 10 years before I could think of him and not have a panic attack at the thought of running into him. I was not afraid of him. On the contrary. I was afraid of myself. I have never, NEVER, connected with another human being the way I connected with Joel. And every time we split, I would go back to him. Every. Time. I had to stay away or was I a goner.
I met him shooting drugs in a condemned hotel my friends. Yes, that is a fact of my life. He was my needle wing man. The situation was not pretty but he sure was. We eventually got away from that particular sport but continued to use drugs and drink, him especially. He made me look like a lightweight and I wasn’t by any stretch. Holy crap, this wasn’t where I was going when I started this post but I guess I’m committed now.
We married eventually and one month later were pregnant. At 8 months, Joel disappeared. He was there for the birth. I had found him, long story, and made him watch to punish him. That punishment never ended for him. We gave our son up for adoption.
This photo was taken one month later and doesn’t do either of us justice. My friend Rob says it has a kind of hippie Bonnie and Clyde vibe. I concur. Joel had a flowing mane of hair, beautiful skin, incredible body, a lust that was contagious, an amazing mind, a gentle heart, and a shattered soul.
We were a mess, him especially. I don’t think he ever did stop grieving. He never could get it together, tried treatment, all kinds of things. Leaving him was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I was incredibly co-dependent and he was in need of serious care. I had to walk and I did. When I left him 18 months later for good, he tried to kill himself. Everyone blamed me but I knew it wasn’t my fault. He survived. It would be many years before we connected again. He made his 9th step amends to me and 2 years after that I got sober and made mine to him. I stayed sober. He didn’t.
A month ago I ran into Joel’s brother on Facebook. Joel and I had birthdays 5 days apart and I started looking for him at my 50th (his 61st which he didn’t make). I have felt for several years now that he was dead. And his brother confirmed it. Suicide. He just couldn’t take life on this plane any more, he couldn’t get sober. His plan at the time I made my amends, which I knew nothing about, was to get himself arrested. He told his brother the only place he could get sober was jail and that he needed to do at least 7 years to really get it. I don’t know where or how he got this idea. But he set out to achieve this plan.
He robbed a bank. He stood on the street afterwards and waited for them to arrest him. Then he went to the corner bar and drank a pitcher of beer. Left and got on the ferry and went home. So the next week he went back to that same small town and robbed the other bank. Stood on the street waiting for them to arrest him. Then he went to the corner bar and drank a pitcher of beer. Left and got on the ferry where someone recognized him from the bank. They stopped the ferry and arrested him. And gave him 2.5 years. He didn’t have a gun. I don’t know how he got them to give him the money.
He’d been in jail before. He was sentenced to 20 years for intent to distribute a pound of marijuana back in the late 60’s. He was a baby, barely legal himself. He did 4 years in Monroe State Prison and was released when they changed the pot laws. Only he knows what happened to him there. I know that those years did damage that would never be repaired. Two more felonies, federal felonies for bank robbery, and he got 2.5 years. When they released him he went to his brother’s home (the old family home), took an intentional overdose, and died. I’m sorry but that story just cracks my heart wide open.
I never processed the emotions and pain of our divorce and the loss of our son. I proceeded to spend the year after the divorce completely wasted. And then told myself it was all over and never looked back. In treatment I had to write a grief letter to my son. The counselor said it was the best grief letter she’d ever heard (I had to read it in group). But I never allowed myself to grieve the loss of Joel and now he’s really lost for this lifetime.
I’m having some very intense emotions of late. Realizing how much I had loved him and why and that I’ve never met anyone like him since. Joel helped me find the way to being a witch. I knew I was one but he had the keys. He opened my mind, my heart, and my body in ways that I will be grateful for until the day of my own death. With the exception of the chemical addictions the other qualities are what I’m looking for in a partner. I simply don’t know that I could make it with a partner who doesn’t have the intense spark. It matches mine so well.
We’ve walked the streets of this city for miles and miles, climbed hills, watched the sunrise, freaked out on strong LSD, spent hours in obscure book stores, met strange and interesting people, laughed our asses off, had great sex (never been that good since), he cooked for me, we read to each other. Wonderful evenings home, he’d roll us each a joint, I’d cook dinner, and we’d laugh at some new beer Tarzan commercial. And then there were the other women, the car accident, the disappearances, the screaming and the fighting, me pushing him backwards over a chair, him beating up men who looked at me twice. The entire spectrum of this thing we humans call love and connection and addiction.
The photo above is all I have left of him. So when I watch Steve Marriott I see those times in that era, I see the intensity, the passion, the force of body and mind and I remember and I grieve. I only watched three of his videos today. Okay, I only watched four of Steve’s and the Small Faces videos today. But I watched them a dozen times each. It’s getting better. Really. Moving on.
It’s funny. Remember M? He did end it with his ex. For good. He told me on the phone two weeks ago that I was right. I had said that he was settling and that he wouldn’t be able to do that for long. I was right. I was sorry that I was right. I know how he feels. We talk. We’re friends. I don’t know what I want from him or what he wants from me but I do know that he listened to the story of Joel the other night with true compassion in his eyes. He rubbed my back for the briefest moment last night as I was talking to someone in recovery about relationships. Nothing sexy or creepy about it, it was the pat of a friend who understands. I needed that. Plus, honestly? I think he needed to touch me as much I needed him to.
Joel died in 2000. 9 years ago. But for me the loss is immediate. Time is not linear. We can access those times and those feelings with very little effort. And Joel’s death means that there are no more chances for him. No more opportunities to hope that maybe one day we could have met again and dealt with some of that pain. And M gets that. My High Priestess gets that. Nancy gets that. But everyone else asks when he died and when I tell them in 2000 they look at me as if I’m crazy to feel bad 9 years after the fact. How can they not see that it’s only been 2 weeks for me? And I truly don’t understand why in this world that is the first question they ask me. WTF? I so don’t get that.
M? Has that spark. I was drawn like a moth to the flame. I’m a different person than I was 30 years ago and even than I was 8 months ago. But it was nice to have that from him last night for just that private moment in public. I was surprised that he was moved to do so. It was a little message. He knew I was talking about Joel and he knew I was talking about him. I gave no names and no details, the talk was general. But he knew, I’m certain of it. And he comforted me. I turned and looked at him when he did that and I heard him tell me I’m amazing in my head. He smiled at me. I smiled at him. I know that was true and real. I needed that because our relationship hadn’t been about human kindness last winter. Thank you.
May the Lady and the Lord bless Joel and keep him close and safe until he’s ready to come back and do it again. May he see now that it was just a stop in his spiritual progress and that he learned what he needed to learn.
I love you Joel. Still. After all. I miss our Itchycoo Park days. We had some of the most amazing times of my life and I believe they were some of the most amazing of yours. I know you loved me, I’ve always known that. Thank you for the dreaming spires and nettles.