* I turn 50. Clayton and Ann Marie have a big surprise party for me at The Still. Lots of fun with all of my friends there. Of course having Mike, Taylor and Tina made it really special. Great cake and gifts. Those attending are Lynn and Jack, Gary, Bonnie and Jay, Susan and Paul, Jackie and Wes, Mike and Tina.
* Mad Mary marries Druggie Mike with a wild reception at Sea Breeze. Clayton is back in North Carolina so I go alone. I drink too much (so does everyone else) and meet this really great dancer but rather wild guy named Tom. He looks like a troll and has a long red beard. This was towards the end of the month so I give up drinking for awhile.
• A really nice month. Clayton is back for Valentines Day, which coincides with the Shipwreck Jazz Festival. He braids my hair and paints my toenails. I paint faces outside and he gives massages inside. We charge for parking in the yard and eventually everyone ends up on our porch as all can sit down, drink and soak up the music. The weather is perfect and it is a really mellow weekend with loads of good music, conversation and friends. I also do horoscopes this month and earn some extra money.
• Clayton begins planning an extensive trip to China. We are really happy - going to the beach every day and just chilling out so I cannot understand his desire to get away. After all, both of his parents have just recently died and I am still getting over Jimmy's death so I feel we should just leave things as status quo. I have my own room and enjoy being alone. He comes in and cuddles each morning but is still very mentally disturbed over the fact that he is impotent and has genital herpes. This does not bother me at all as I really don't want to have sex anyway. Holding is quite enough, thank you.
• This is a really serious month as all hell breaks out with Tina's addictions. How she has kept it quiet I do not know but all of a sudden I am totally aware that she is doing pills, cocaine, grass and alcohol - all simultaneously. I am distraught. I keep Taylor as often as possible as he has become the major part of my life. I give to him all of the love that everyone else seems to want. Tina and Mike are both working. She is making the rounds of jobs as she is always late and gets fired.
• During this time Clayton actually leaves for a month's massage course in China. I am really distraught that he has left me with all of these problems. I need his help and support and don't think it is fair that I handle this all alone. He obviously needs to get away from the underlying stress. He never had children and has no way to cope with Tina and Michael. I just love Taylor that much more. Clayton actually stays away for six months but I don't know that at this point.
• It is during this month that everything falls apart. Tina is drinking to the point where even Alcoholics Anonymous will not even accept her. She brings Taylor down for the day and then goes on a binge I could not believe. I am to take Taylor back in the evening. I know that I can't do this so I pack our clothes and take the ferry to St. Thomas connecting with a plane to St. Croix. Taylor and I stay with Tina's sister, Christine for a day or two. I decide that Taylor is better there with her and come back to St. John alone. Tina and Michael are furious and accuse me of kidnapping. Of course, this is most upsetting to me. I really don't need this and neither does Taylor. The thing that is the most puzzling to me about this is that Mike actually takes Tina's side and feels that I am wrong. Is he putting the blame on me so that he will not have to face the fact that they both have drug problems? What is wrong with my brain that I actually expect either one of them to act rationally? As a parent this is totally traumatizing. As a grandparent it is devastating.
• I continue staying in Clayton's house but know that I have to leave as Mike and Tina are not doing well and they will not let Taylor stay with me. Christine and I discuss legally removing Taylor from their care but the process is long and painful in the courts - just like having Jim declared mentally incompetent would have been.
• Needing to get away I decide to join some friends of Ann Marie's on a delivery of a Morgan 60' from St. Lucia to Tortola. I fly to St. Lucia and move aboard. During this month we have a lovely sail to each of the upper island, spending time and doing much sightseeing and visiting on each. Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, Antigua, St. Barths, St. Martin - see notes from journal.
• Most of this year I have been drinking only at parties and with friends while visiting. I really don't think that I should be drinking with Tina having such problems. However, when I return from my trip Tina and Mike have taken Taylor on Elan, their Pearson 28, and are in St. Croix. Mike is still mad with me and Tina is hostile. I am alone and upset. Perfect conditions for the partying to begin. I spend the entire month going out with friends and alone - dancing, partying, etc.
• As far as men go I get fairly wild for me. Having only known Clayton on the island, I begin dating again. I go out one night dancing alone and end up with Michael Messina of Loggins & Messina. We dance until dawn and then go to the Marriott International where we literally sleep it off. He leaves the next morning and I continue to party with Abby, Zoie, and the younger girls. Towards the end of June I begin going out with Tom. He drinks a lot so I am in good company. We dance, party, swim, screw, and then start the cycle all over.
• Clayton calls continually and I generally am angry with him. He convinces me to come to North Carolina, where he is staying in his parent's house getting it ready for sale. I don't want to go but aqueous as I know that at least with him I can dry out and get my head on straight.
• I leave on the 6th and have several drinks on the plane. When the plane lands I am feeling no pain but am in a great mood. Clayton meets me with a red rose. He sees that I have been drinking and goes through the roof. Very controlling. Won't touch me, criticizes, etc. We get back to his parent's house. There is no furniture so we have to sleep on the floor in a back bedroom. This really pisses me off. From here it all goes downhill.
• We spend the next four weeks touring. We visit every beach on the North Carolina seashore and eat great meals but he is still cool and controlling. We return to Raleigh and he works on his houses for two weeks. We then go to the mountains and camp. We drive 8 hours a day with stress and strain and then sleep in the back of the car because he has no money and won't take mine. This becomes a point of contention as he always took it before. I can't sleep in the back of a car so I become irritable and hostile.
• We see some gorgeous scenery but the atmosphere is really stifling. Finally, after almost four weeks of no sex, no hugging, no petting, no kissing, I explode. I start crying. He heads home for Raleigh. I cry, really sob, for the entire six-hour trip. When we arrive I get a ticket back to the islands and leave the next day. I have had it. By this time he realizes that he has really fucked up. He starts crying and doesn't want for me to leave. Sorry, Charlie Brown, I am fuckin out of here.
• I actually moved to Tortola without even knowing it. I returned to St. John on Aug. 6th. The split is going to be permanent and I know it. I have no plans for my life. Michael is having his problems with Tina, Bud is living with Shannon and Coral Bay just isn't the same living in Clayton's house without him.
• The weather is unbearably hot and I am bored to tears. Fortunately, Tillet Gardens is having another Artist's Weekend in St. Thomas on the 17th. As I have produced a number of off-loom weavings in the islands, I decide to take some tapestries over. Odd, now that I think of it. Clayton and I began our romance at Tillet Gardens in '87. Now I am ending it at the same place three years later.
• I wasted no time in returning to my "party" mode. I meet Tom Norman there and we have quite a time. However, looking back I know that I am still lost and have no idea of what I am going to do. Jim's death and the shortness of life is still fresh in my mind. Tom and I were having Oriental food in St. Thomas and really began a, quite serious, conversation. He asked me what I really want to do with my life. I want to sail. I have always wanted to have a large sailboat and am bitter because, of all of the millions Bud has wasted on schemes he never even thought of giving me the one thing I dreamed of, a yacht.
• Well, I knew I can't afford a yacht but Tom convinces me, that with my savings, I have enough money to purchase a small liveaboard. I know that he has no direction in his life either. It isn't a matter of a relationship or love or anything like that. We are just two people with no where to go and we both want to sail. And not just sail. We want to get away. Being on FLYING GINNY V had convinced me that I want to get to know the islands, and from a boat.
• I want the entire Bacardi Ad. Palm trees, slow living, sailing under tropical breezes, nothing to do but loll around in the sun all day. Before I knew it Tom has planned the entire dream. I will move out of Clayton's and he will begin the long search of finding a suitable boat. I had bought an old wooden Tortola skiff from Brian before he left from the states. It has a new 15hp Yamaha engine on it and a small wooden "house" attached floor. Just large enough to get in out of the rain.
• I return to St. John and began sorting my things. Tom is living in the big house across from The Still and is in charge of doing some plumbing. He has a few days off. I take one of Clayton's old aluminum lawn chairs and a bright hot pink umbrella, with a large ruffle around it, and head for the Tortola skiff. As we were only motoring to Tortola for the day, there is no need to take anything else. It is a beautiful day and the island of Tortola beacons with mystery. We motored the entire southern coastline from Nanny Cay down to Frenchman's Cay before returning to Coral Bay. We didn't find a boat but I found a new island.