Monday, April 22, 2019

Ugh, Why Are You Like This?

She regretted the text as soon as she'd sent it.  She'd just sent out her last ditch effort text for someone to join her with ramen or sushi.  She was having a craving and since the weather had improved she'd been antsy to just stay outside of her apartment.

She needed a walk and talk, a D&M.  Instead, she sent out the text to Mel.

"You have to be at work tonight right?" She asked.

"Not until like 10pm, why?"

"I just wanted to get some ramen or sushi and wanted to see if you'd like to join."

"I can't, I have the play.  It's opening night."

"Oh, you got into the play?  You didn't tell me."

They chatted a bit longer, and he offered to take her to sushi the next week.  "Thanks for reaching out, it was really nice to hear from you." he ended.

She winced.  She had no dog in this fight any longer.  Why did she keep going back to this situation?

Validation is a real bitch.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Idea of Something

"If I could re-do any part of my life...like if I died and I could come back and re-do any decade of my life, I would re-do my 20's."  KSL said.

"I wouldn't re-do anything.  I'd just be glad it was finally all over." She replied.

She had come to terms that now she was 100% alone.  She took comfort in the fact that Nameless had wanted to meet up with her, and was really sweet and comforting about the end.  In fact, it was almost a relief that it ended this way.

Because in the end it all just seemed not real.  3 years of dates.  Flirtations.  Kisses.  Sleepovers.  And sex. 

And so much time alone in-between.  Almost so much time that she forgot about him, about their connection.  Whenever he came around again he was always sweet, always "making up" the time they spent apart.  Their sense of humor gelled.  He could make fun of her and it never made her feel bad.  Their Love Languages were similar, so their time together, however short, was always meaningful.

She thought of their harmless conversations about her coming up to Portland with him for a weekend, or how if she was making 3 figures how he'd quit his job and be her "house husband."  Lots of fun talk for something that was never meant to be.

Maybe if they'd spent more time together it wouldn't have worked out.  His need to keep the bedroom cold would have gotten to her, they'd become short with one another during talking.  But they never really would.

It had been a perfect casual relationship because there had been time and space to romanticize it.  In the end, it was the idea of something that had been perfect.

Reading about romance, writing about romance, was so wonderful.  So heart-warming.  To imagine someone being there and loving her and thinking she was wonderful.

Imagining kept her safe, so she preferred it.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Tryst Less

"You need to see it.  You need to sit down with your husband and watch it." The customer insisted.

"Well, I don't really have one of those anymore but I can watch it alon--"

"Watch it with your boyfriend then."

She caught a sigh mid-air, and said evenly "I don't have one of those either."

"Okay, your girlfriend."

She gave up.  "Okay."

Later that evening she came home to the singles box that she canceled in January on her porch.


The universe was really hitting it hard how single she was.  It was starting to sting.  This was usually around the time that Nameless came around to pull her out of her slump.  This time however, he also had a curveball for her.

"Well everything got pushed up.  I have been making edits on my dissertation and at the same time working on my presentation.  I really can't think of anything else.  Been so tired.  Company is also interested in me heading up a big project, so I might be moving again."

Two states over.  He was moving two states over.  Even though they hadn't seen each other in months, she was still a bit devastated.  She suddenly realized how not alone she felt with his shadow, his non-existent existence, always in the back of her mind.  For the next two days she was bummed out, processing the emotional hole he would leave in her life.

But he would be up once more, in a few days for his presentation and turning in his dissertation. 

"Time for one final tryst?" She asked.

"Hahahaha...I don't know yet.  I am trying to get my presentation done.  I have to review it with my advisor and practice it.  If he doesn't have any changes he wants me to make I might have a little time."

She curbed her expectations.  What he was working on was a big deal and she suggested seeing him after it was over.  "I wish I could stay," he responded "I am flying out Saturday to head back east for an experiment.  I would really like to be able to grab a drink and have that final tryst (as you put it).  If I can get this done I am down.  I couldn't be an all night thing though.  I have to talk for an hour and I will need to practice multiple times at night and early in the morning."

Her heart melted a little bit.  He wanted her to stay over but knew he had to concentrate.  It was really very sweet of him to be straightforward about her staying, which she never would have done anyway.  As much as he was sweet about her staying, he was always running too hot to cuddle throughout the night, and he was always grumpy in the morning.  Staying over was cute when they weren't having sex together, but ever since they'd started, it hadn't gone well.

The night he was in town he said he'd text.  A little before 9pm he texted.  "I am still fumbling around with this and need to work on it more.  I don't think today is going to work unless I make some serious head way soon."

"I am sorry...I was really looking forward to one last tryst.  But who knows I could be back sometime."

She smiled.  It was bittersweet.  She wasn't happy that the last time she saw him wasn't going to be the last time.  This wasn't like with Piz, when it felt like she was neglected.  He had kept her up to date and wanted to meet up, it just wasn't in the cards.  She was really going to miss him.

She had decided she would finish her dinner, then text KSL and ask him where his was on his bus route and go pick him up.  Before that could happen, he walked in the door.

"Hey, I was--" He cut her off.  Apparently he had a rough day, his mom had picked him up and taken him shopping and dropped him off at home.  She tried to ask him what had happened and he continued to cut her off.

Cool.  What a masculine trade-off.  Turns out in the end she wasn't alone at all.  She was worse.




Monday, March 11, 2019

Brunch and Growth

"IL and I just talked about how I need to get up from the table, and that's what I did.  And I honestly feel amazing right now.  I'm getting enough space to myself, enough sleep.  I don't have to worry about him as much even though I still do because I'll always care about him, it's just a weight lifted."

"That is so amazing!" He friend exclaimed.  "Seriously, people in my group at work never get to this point in their lives, and I want to like, bring you in for a talk or something."

"You should bring in IL, she's the one who got me this far.  I wouldn't have been able to see things without her shedding a light on them."

It was nice to talk about how content she was despite not being entirely happy with her apartment.  Things were rough all over, and it looked like they really didn't have a choice about staying in the place for another year.  Anywhere else was going to be more expensive, and better the devil you know when it came to a lack of home repairs.

"You look amazing" her friend said to her.  "I always wanted you and KSL to get together, but maybe this is always the way it was meant to be for you two.  Leaning on each other without having romance cloud judgement or let it become something that gets weaponized in the heat of an argument."

"We are weird together.  It's like, a practice relationship.  Things that I would normally do that I know aren't healthy, I can draw boundaries without fear of loss of love, because he never loved me to begin with.  I'm learning lots of lessons that I need to learn.  There are times that I wish there was more, and times when I wish there was far less.  I think it's been good for both of us, but honestly who knows what goes through his head.  All I have is myself, and I'm only responsible for my own actions.  It's always something I keep in mind now.  Instead of playing a victim, instead I think about how to change myself to get the outcome I need.  So far, it's working."

Thursday, February 21, 2019

This is Going to Make a Great Blog Post For You

"So I'm surprised that you didn't invite her to stay" She said to KSL as he walked in from walking his ex out to the car.

She was honestly surprised that he didn't go harder for another round with her.  Lord knows he wanted to keep their "competition" up with whoever had sex last with him winning.

Instead he walked over to where she was standing, dropped to his knees, and wailed "I'm going to be alone forever."

Her eyes widened at the sudden juxtaposition of her standing over him.  In the history of their entire friendship this had never been a position they'd been in.  She wasn't sure that she was focusing on this fact in order to deter her emotions from what seemed to be happening, which was him suddenly falling apart.

She hesitated, then realized that he had no intention of leaving the floor anytime soon, joined him.  He was mostly half-hyperventilating/half dry sobbing, occasionally interjecting with "She doesn't want me," "I haven't been like this in 14 years," and "I've just been trying to hold it together for so long."

Since this wasn't really the best time to go for her phone and do a quick search for "what to do when someone is clearly having a mental breakdown" she just let him get it out and stood by him.  When she was high and upset, she knew it helped to have someone anchoring her to the earth, so she kept rubbing his back, then his arm when he ended up on his back on the floor.

"At least you know now I'm not making this up" he said in-between gulps of air.  This particular phrase stopped her empathy, and she knew she couldn't spiral into this with him.  On some level she now had to wonder if he was just, in a small way, doing this for attention.  Either way, her sympathy wasn't stopping whatever he was going through.

Through everything they had gone through, usually when she raised her voice he responded by calming down, so though she still held onto him she made an effort to steel her voice a bit more to get him to come around.

"This is going to make a great blog post for you," he said.  She pursed her lips, and took a deep breath.  It was amazing that through all his pain, anguish, he was still able to be petty and insulting.  Up until that point she had no intention of posting about it, but that changed her mind.

She decided that she needed a occurring line as well.  "Stop."

It didn't work.  She couldn't talk him down.  He told her to leave, and when she stood he begged for her to stay.  She resumed always keeping a hand on him but mostly letting him be.

She managed to keep his hysterics to a simmer, but only after he gave himself a bruise banging on their kitchen counter and putting a small hole through the wall.  After an hour she felt like she was failing terribly.  Every time it seemed like he was winding down it would ramp up again and she would have to yell at him.

She was worried that some neighbor was going to call the cops, but then she remembered all of the neighbors that they shared walls with and how garbage they all were and she stopped worrying.  They could have one night of keeping them up instead of the other way around.

Eventually his breath started to regulate, and she got him to a standing position.  He then transitioned into saying he was sorry over and over again.  She went back to telling him to stop, and he continued apologizing.  This was the hardest part to take, and her wall came down a little and she teared up a bit.  "You're okay.  You're gonna be okay." She repeated.

Her hand had moved up to caressing his face, which seemed to be calming him.  He laid his head on her shoulder, and she rubbed his back.  He seemed to be coming around to being in his right mind again, so as a friendly "you got through it" gesture, she kissed his temple.  It wasn't unusual at this point in their friendship to be okay with the occasional forehead/top of the head kiss.  Then he kissed her neck, and her heartbeat quickened with panic.

She pulled away and asked if he was okay to go to bed.  He said he was.  She asked if he needed her there for awhile, and he gave her a look that made her backtrack immediately, saying she was just worried he was going to put a hole through the wall if he was left by himself for awhile, or do something harmful to himself.  He said he would never go that far.  She decided that joking about him needing an audience to do anything wasn't well timed, and she watched him go off to bed.

She had a dull ache in her chest for days afterwards, as if she was unsure where to set down all that she had taken in.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Grief

Her mother had offered to come with her on the 4 hour round trip drive to the Ex's funeral with her.  They managed to not kill each other there or back, but there were moments of tension.  She'd emotionally thrown up a wall to deal with the day anyway.

She expected to attend the funeral, pay her respects, support the ex, feel like she shouldn't be there the whole time, and leave.

She didn't expect to feel everything that she'd feel. She got into town a little early so they stopped at a rest area and then went directly to the funeral home.

It was packed, and for a moment she panicked.  She needed to find a place for her mother to sit, at least.  She saw her ex and went to him for a hug.  He said there were still spots available so she ventured down the pew-like benches. 

She locked eyes with some of his best friends from the town, and she didn't know if they were going to ignore her, or hate that she was there.  They told her to sit down next to them and gave her a very warm hug.  She didn't expect sympathy, caring or love.  She was completely unprepared for that reaction.  Her wall came down in an unexpected way, and she cried in a way she didn't think she would at the funeral.  They somehow made it okay for her to be upset about this death.

They stuck with her through the funeral, and the wake afterwards.  She couldn't believe how much they treated her like nothing had changed, like the divorce didn't happen.  Even his brothers gave her a hug, and although the feeling was just them dealing with their grief.

The weather was so bitter cold, but her heart was warm from the not-rejection she experienced.  She just expected the reception to be as chilly as the weather.  She felt so relieved that she was wrong.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Getting Up From the Table

"That sounds like a toxic living situation for the both of you." IL said.  "Mama, you ain't kidding" She replied.

After 24 hours she had finally calmed down and started to think rationally.  KSL didn't set out to have a tryst deliberately to spite her when she was grieving.  But she did obviously feel slighted, and she needed to explore that.

She had been pushed to yet another brink.  Why?  What was missing that was causing her to be so emotional about this?

She took stock of how she felt.  She was stretched thin, she felt it.  After some thought she realized it was because she gave too much of herself without any sign that it made any difference.

She didn't get enough sleep because she stayed up watching movies with KSL, and then had to get up an hour earlier to drop him off from work.  He wasn't making enough money so she was not requiring him to do the things he'd normally do, like pay for every other tank of gas.  Her car was showing the wear and tear of 9 months of driving across town multiple times a day.  She knew soon it would get expensive and time consuming and she didn't have enough money to get a down payment or have a car payment again.

She was stressed.  She was putting herself, her health, at risk for things that he was just taking for granted, and wouldn't even miss if they were gone.

So then why was she doing it?  She swore she'd never again keep setting herself on fire just to keep someone warm.  It was bullshit.

"I'm sorry that I came at you the way that I did," she started.  "I realized that the reason I reacted was somethings that I needed to change, so I'm going to tell you about them."

"I've set an alarm on my phone for 10:15.  When it goes off we need to wrap up whatever we are doing and I need alone time."

Later she had told him she could no longer drive him to work after the second week in March.  The new office that he could walk to should have been ready at the beginning of March, so 2 weeks longer seemed more than fair.  She knew she'd become angry and resentful after that point in time.

She could only change her, and her reaction to things.  It was time to take control of that.