I had just gotten off the train and was walking home. I was listening to a podcast shocking about relationships shocking again when I walked past someone who I thought looked familiar. I did a double take because I wasn’t sure and low and behold, it was him. We hadn’t seen each other since everything fell apart but we had texted a little bit on New Year’s Eve. It’s amazing how put together my response was all things considered. He’s leaving the city in a couple weeks and we agreed we’d get lunch before. I walked right up to him and ducked so my face was in the same line of vision as his phone screen. He was surprised in a good way and it made me feel really good to see him smile.
We started walking together and he asked me how things were going and I realized I didn’t have much to report. My life looks a lot like it did when we were seeing each other regularly. How can I still be in the same place as I was a year ago? That can’t be true. Maybe on the outside things look the same same apartment, same job, same relationships status but on the inside, I think things are different. I hope things are different. Things have to be different. Of course things are different. Look closer.
I bailed on a tree-trimming party last night. A good friend of mine was hosting and I had told her earlier in the day that I’d drop by after work. But as the end of my day was approaching I realized I wasn’t up to attending a social gathering. It was cold. I’d spent all day freezing my ass off in that shop watching the winter squall go off and thinking how I can’t wait to move to a place where winter isn’t a thing. All I wanted to do was go home. So I bailed. I sent that text that we all know so well only this time I sent it without any guilt. I knew I did what was best for me and that my friend would understand. I chose myself first.
I haven’t been feeling the holiday spirit so much these days. I’m very aware that it’s that time of year but the magic just isn’t there. Is that what happens when we get older? Am I becoming disenchanted? Maybe a little. It happens in moments like when I’m handwriting holiday cards for other people’s gifts with the most impersonal, generic, dull messages. “Happy holidays. Thanks for all of your help this year.” There’s no heart and not much thought behind those words. They’re unremarkable. Yea, that kind of shit disenchants me.
When I got home I lit my pine-scented candle, poured myself a glass of wine, pulled out my guitar and played Christmas songs for myself. It was oddly perfect. My own little tree-trimming party. A small, unexpected, self-administered dose of holiday cheer.
I know I’m supposed to accept the present moment but on this cold, gray, rainy morning in the middle of December, all I want to do is indulge in my memories of the time I spent on that warm, sunny island in the middle of the Pacific.
And now I’m crying. Why am I crying? My therapist would ask me something like what are your tears saying? I’m sad, bitch. These tears are saying I’m sad because New York does not make me happy in the ways other places do and I don’t know if it will ever even get close no matter how hard I try. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m trying too hard to make it work when it’s just not meant to work. I tend to do that.
I know I want more but I don’t have a clear picture of what more looks like. Aside from sunny. How will what I’m doing now set me up for what’s next? Some days more often these days I feel like I’m not moving forward. I’ve been working towards solving the same problem. It’s a big problem. It takes a lot of time and I don’t have that time because there are a lot of other things being asked of me on any given day. And I’m not a goddamn software engineer although if I could do it all over again, it’s a trajectory I’d seriously consider. It’s going to be fine. Eventually. Stop crying.
Maybe the end of me and New York is closer than I want to admit. How much longer do I want to try? What are the things that I’m not getting here that I could get somewhere else? Sunshine. Wow, maybe seasonal affective disorder is a real issue for me.
But what are the things here that I can’t get anywhere else? Those are the things that I’ve stuck it out for but now I’m not so sure if those are the things I need. Maybe the things I need are things New York can’t give me. But can any place give me those things? What even are these things I’m talking about? Does it matter where I go if I don’t know what I’m looking for except for better weather? And is the weather really that important to me?!
Is it really the place?
Is it really the job?
Or is it just me?
I don’t (want to) know.
So that’s the danger of typing.
I push a few buttons and all of a sudden
the whole thing I just spent however long writing is gone.
That’s wouldn’t even be possible on a typewriter.
I love technology.
Just pay attention.
Don’t zone out and become unmindful.
Is that the word?
What’s the word?
What was I writing about?
This amazing hat made by my amazing friend.
My friend who let me wear his hat home tonight
because it is too damn cold to go without.
Thank you for the hat.
I hate the cold.
I know hate is a strong word,
I’m dealing with it.
It’s nice to have a friend so close.
Although in this cold
that walk feels so far.
I’m grateful for good friends
and toe warmers.
Yes I’m wearing toe warmers.
They arrived in a package
from Amazon at work today
along with icy hot patches.
I love my job.
I love New York.
I love winter.
Repeat until true.
My back hurts. That’s new. It’s that pain that older people are always talking about. A kind I never experienced before but it’s now in the forefront of my mind as I’m lying here with my warm salt pillow pressed against my back. Thank you Mom for what I thought was a random gift that I’d never use. I’m ordering icy hot patches from Amazon on the company card. And toe warmers because I’m sick of having cold feet.
I left work feeling defeated. Not just physically. I don’t know what it’s for. Why am I doing this? I could be doing anything else. I could’ve moved anywhere for a fresh start but I came back here and I don’t know why. What am I learning from this? I don’t know what I want or where I want to go but I am getting a better idea of what I don’t want and where I don’t want to go. And that’s not nothing.
I caught myself tearing up on the train. It happens more than I’d want you to know. Is it that I’m so depressed? I don’t think so? I think I just feel things more intensely than most people. Always have. It rained all day here and I remembered how much I love when it rains there. And before I knew it, I was almost crying.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’d be lying if I said my heart doesn’t ache, too. Because on day like today, all I want to do is reach for you but you’re not here anymore. It’s been 784 days and I don’t know how to make that pain go away. There’s no icy hot for the heart.
Someone told me they saw you on a date recently. I lied when I said it didn’t bother me. I was also half a bottle of champagne in. I knew it was inevitable. I thought it’d be easier. I thought it wouldn’t hurt because I’d beaten you to it. But I care more than I want to. How did you meet? What does she look like? Is she funny? And does it even matter because deep down I know she’ll never be me. I know she might be good for you. I know I was not good for you. We were not good for each other.
I think about what life would’ve looked like with you. I want to reach out so badly. Why? Just something simple. Hey, how’s it going? But there’s no such thing as simple for me. There’s no such thing as friends for me. I feel too much remember? I can’t help it. I don’t know any other way.
I miss you.
It’s a special wet cold that I find particularly dreary.
The kind of day where I just want to sit around and watch
the new season of The Crown
with someone who loves me.
And I got a bit of that.
But I also got to walk home in the cold.
Back to reality.
There are parts of my reality that I’m not crazy about right now.
I wonder if I made the right choice.
Is this really what I want?
I don’t know what I want these days.
But the things I don’t want are more clear to me most days.
I still doubt myself.
All the time.
I wonder if I did the right thing.
I wonder what it would look like another way.
A Sunday where I might have seen you.
Or at least texted you because tonight’s pretty sunset
would have been a perfect excuse to initiate a conversation .
Not that I was ever at a shortage of excuses.
A lot of things lead me back to you.
That’s still where my brain likes to go
more often than I like.
It was nice while it lasted.
Whatever it was.
But at the end of the day,
I don’t miss that roller coaster
we put me on.
Oh but when it was good,
it was great.
Is that why I still think about it?
Why am I so hung up on it?
Why haven’t I been able to find anything like it?
The good parts I mean.
There hasn’t been anyone that’s even remotely close.
I haven’t found it again yet.
And that’s that.
Maybe I need a project.
Something that is so consuming,
that takes up all the space I spend thinking about
how much I hate the weather
and other such generally negative themes
including relations lost.
But it’s that kind of day
where I wish there was someone to come home to.
A warm meal and a warm bed.
I miss that.
Not to say that things are bad the way are.
I have a lot to be grateful for.
It frustrates me that I want it.
Because wanting it
and not having it
is the worst
I hate how soon it gets dark.
I miss living in a place where the sun shines and it’s warm.
Why did I choose to come back here?
Because it’s unlike any other place.
But it gets really grey and smells bad.
Loneliness creeps in more easily here.
I live in the most populous city in America
and yet some times
not all the time
but a lot of the time
I feel alone.
And the weather doesn’t help.
You ask me not to overthink it. You say we can be friends. You really believe that? You really want that. I don’t have that kind of faith in us. You say I make it so black and white by trying to define it. But is that so bad? You want me to just let it be because it’s too good to be deny. Don’t I know it.
I’ve tried so hard to deny you. I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t nice talking to you. It’s always nice. Except when I said I hated you. That was not nice and not entirely untrue. I hate how good it feels when you drift back into my life. I hate how easy it is for you to separate. To stop. To not get carried away.
Why should we be friends? I don’t need more friends. I don’t think I want to be your friend. You want that. So what do I want? You said you missed me and I missed you too. There’s something here. What kind of relationship can we possibly have if there’s a limit? A point where can’t get to? A line we don’t cross? Isn’t that a rule? Didn’t you say we don’t need rules? WTF.