Tuesday, July 18, 2017
We tend to think of sudden things as bad things. Sudden tragedy. Sudden death. Sudden illness. But we rarely talk about good things in sudden terms. You don't hear people say, "I was suddenly happy." Or, "I suddenly felt great." Or, "Then sudden fortune found me." I think it's often the case that we don't see those sudden good moments for what they are. It can take a while for the good stuff to sink in. As a species, we're much more prepared for bad things to happen, which probably pulls from some ancient instinct regarding the avoidance of being eaten by a smilodon. "I told Glorg not to go out there today. I had a feeling something bad would happen." We don't anticipate good (random) things. Most of us don't set out in the morning thinking, "I'm ready for great stuff today!" And if we do, we're just asking for something to go awry, right? Right.
But the good stuff happens anyway. And it almost always happens with the same suddenness as the bad stuff. So, we ought to just go ahead and expect it.
I didn't recognize my own moment when it happened, but it happened anyway. I never saw it coming, even though I was the one who placed the ad in the singles section of craigslist, "Sure is a pretty day! Wish I had someone to share it with." I wasn't looking for eternal love. I'd given up on that. I was looking for some companionship. Someone to turn to and say, "Look how pretty the clouds are against all that blue!"
Within minutes, I had two responses to my little ad. One was the standard dick pic (Do those ever work? Seriously, if you're a guy and you've had success with that as an initial approach, let me know.) The second response was a picture of the mountain I was living on, Mt. Pilchuck, with the reply, "It sure is!" I responded to the second one, having been completely unimpressed with the dick pic. (It just wasn't that special, y'know?) But the picture of "my" mountain did impress me. So, I wrote back, "Where in the Pilchuck are you?! Oh, dear. That makes it sound like I'm swearing at you and we haven't even met yet." What ensued were several hilarious, sarcasm-filled messages and a few evenings spent on the phone.
Then it was time to meet. We were having a ridiculous heat wave here in the NW. By ridiculous, I mean that temps threatened to go triple digit - not something that happens much here. He called and said, "I'd love to get together, but it's so hot, I don't know that anything would be fun." It so happened I was living next to a river. Being the bold, brazen (read: sometimes foolish and too trusting) wench that I am, I told him to come on over. We could sit in the river and be cool and comfy, and maybe throw some burgers on the grill.
He showed up a couple of hours later. He brought bags of groceries - stuff for salad, a couple of steaks, fresh corn, and some snacks. I was impressed. I'm a cheap date, so I was really impressed. He set the stuff down and then we hugged. That hug was so familiar. It was like slipping into a new jacket that's so comfortable you know you're going to keep wearing until it's a pile of thread.
It was late afternoon, and the crazy hot weather was stifling. So, we walked down to the river and spent a couple of hours floating in the water and lounging on the rocks. If I close my eyes, I can still feel the cool river juxtaposed against the heat of the day, and smell that delicious NW mossy green smell mingling with the scent of fir trees and water. Talking came easily for us. He had stories; I had stories. There weren't any long, awkward gaps.
As dusk moved in, we went back up the path to my house and he cooked. He did it all. When I expressed my surprise and delight, he said, "I'm not a complete ass. I wasn't just going to come over and eat all your food." We ate and watched a movie. When I kissed him goodbye, I thought, "Well, that was pleasant." And fully expected that I'd never see him again. Because, that's usually the way of things. I'm a practical romantic.
But he did come back. Two months later I moved in with him. You see, the day I received the response to my ad was my suddenly. One minuted I didn't know he existed; the next minute he was in my life for good. All of the sudden I was happy, I was loved, I was cared for, I was cherished - and it happened out of the blue. Yeah, I suppose you could say that I put the message out to the Universe, but I don't really think the Universe was so overly concerned with my love life. Like bad stuff, sometimes good stuff just happens, which it did for me, nine years ago. In July 2009, I won the good human lottery and not a day goes by that I don't live in gratitude for that.
You can tell me I'm smarmy or mushy or whatever. I don't care. I'm proud of this relationship. I'm proud of chances taken. Mostly I'm proud of the guy who reminds me every day that I bring as much value to his life as he does to mine. And if a sudden moment should change it all (may it please the gods that it not be any time soon), I will know the treasure I've had and I will carry it with me.
Oh, and Dear Dick Pic Guy - way to ruin an opportunity. I hope you and your mediocre penis are having a nice life.
Monday, July 10, 2017
This is difficult for me to write. I've been sad and I'm not good at owning sadness. I have no patience for it within myself. To me, it's like a nasty cold, or a minor injury. I just want it to go away so I can get back to normal. In truth though, this feels like more than sadness. It feels a lot like grief (and that never does retreat completely). My reactions to everything and everyone around me feel like they do when grief is fresh. I feel edgy (and not cool edgy), raw, unfocused, and fairly pissed off all the time. That's me during grief. So charming.
You see, I've lost a friend. Not to death - at least I think she's still alive. It's not because of some falling out. It is, as far as I can understand, because her life changed drastically due to mental health and financial issues and she's either unable or unwilling to communicate with me. I've read up on everything I could to learn and understand. I let her know I was there without, I hope, pushing. I listened. I offered whatever support I could, which really isn't a lot more than a hand to hold and lunch. I've tried to not make this about me, but she's gone completely silent, and I hurt. I hurt a lot.
I've lost lots of friends over the decades. Losing a friend is nothing new - people change, people grow in different directions, life gets in the way. I'm not being a whiny pre-teen whose bestie doesn't want to hang out at the mall with her any more. This isn't a simple case of, "Well, I guess I'll go have coffee with someone else then."
The thing is, it was one of the best friendships I've ever had. We had a blast together. We enjoyed the same movies, music, books, food, artsy stuff. We shared a very similar sarcastic, dark sense of humor. We shared heartbreak and tears. We had great conversations about a great many things. In short, we really enjoyed our time together. I haven't had a friendship like that in many years.
Now she's phased herself from my life. She's disconnected herself. And I hurt, even knowing full well that it's not about me. I know she needs time to heal and to mend the things in her life that need mending. I'd be okay, and I told her this early on, just getting a text that reads, "Still breathing."
In the movie L.A Story, Steve Martin asks the question, "When friendship dies, where do you go to say goodbye?" Maybe that best sums up what I'm feeling. I love her and I never got the chance to say goodbye. The wretched irony is that the one person who would know how to comfort me in this is she.
I'll dry the tears that fall as I write this. I'll carry on. It's what I do. But I will hope with all my heart that a day comes soon when I can say hello again.
Because this feeling right now? It sucks.