… that if I miss him, I have to look to the past, because he’s too ill to be that guy again, the one I miss. He’s not at the other end of the line, or living in his old house. Sometimes I think I only imagined the man he was, but then I go back and read and know that he was real.
How has my year been?
Well, there was the night in jail, this that I still can’t fully explain, and the subsequent fifty pound weight loss, the surprise pregnancy, the surprise UN-pregnancy, moving from the country to the city, learning to make chocolates, getting bangs, and despite all the expense and loss, I end up with money in the savings account I didn’t even have a year ago, a much nicer apartment, and evidence of who my friends really are and that there’s more of them than I realized, and that somehow, I’m twice the woman I was last year.
How on earth do I say all that in 150 characters?
Moving out of my old house brought back a lot of memories of moving in. Memories of Nick.
Of the two places we’d viewed, he preferred this one. And so of course I agreed, because Nick was generally so miserable at that point that ANYTHING that made him happy I would have agreed to.
And so even though he only lived there for a few months, I still think of it as our house.
I’ve always been pretty quiet about what went wrong in our relationship, trying to respect his sense of privacy. But to realize that a year later, memories still have the power to make me cry, that tells me I need to be able to vent about this.
A few months into our relationship, Nick’s depression re-emerged. And our whole relationship changed. I said later that it was as if the Nick I knew and loved died, and I was left with our surly, adolescent lovechild. He looked like my boyfriend, had moments where he was just like my boyfriend, and had his sense of humor at times.
But the Nick that was my lover, my partner, my equal, he was gone.
I loved him every bit as much as I did before, but in a protective way.
Nick became really hard to live with. Withdrawn, and mean.
The really difficult part about being around a person struggling with mental illness is that it’s hard to know what you can be mad at. Was he being a douche, or was this a symptom of his illness?
I knew Nick well enough to know that when he’s well, he’s the gentlest guy in the world. So I constantly had to remind myself to not react, that he couldn’t help it, that it wasn’t really him. It was really difficult, but what else could I do? He was sick. I wouldn’t leave him if he was suffering from cancer, so how could I justify leaving him because of mental illness?
I don’t think I realized quite how much a toll it was taking on me until he left.
When he did leave, it was abruptly, and leaving me with a lease and two car payments. I sucked it up and didn’t complain, for the sake of preserving our friendship, a friendship we don’t have now. I tried to take care of him, in what ways I could, from afar.
He’s continued to withdraw. Now he doesn’t answer my emails at all, and he blocked me as a contact on flickr. Which he’s free to do, but considering his health, seeing his flickr stream was the only way I have of confirming that he’s alive.
And I know he’s sick, and I can’t blame him for his actions at this point, but goddam this hurts. To worry, to care, to offer friendship and have it so cruelly rejected. To worry, and have no way of helping, or even expressing how much I still care about him as a person.
We were such good friends once. I figured out pretty quick that our relationship was just not workable, but where did our friendship go? I gave up so much to keep it, and I have nothing.
And so in moving out I realized that my favorite roomie was never coming back, not to hang out, not to laugh together, not for me to watch over and take care of….
Nick is no longer, in any capacity, mine.
……. you often discover friends that you never knew your desceased loved one had.
So I wasn’t that surprised when a pack of bikers followed me across town from my house to Bunny’s, to bury Miss Cleo. I said aloud, “Figures,” and waved.
About a year ago, Nick had bought a really gorgeous orange shirt and happened to set it next to her cage. Miss Cleo must have really liked it, because she proceed to eat about a third of it, which was uncharacteristic of her. It was such pretty fabric, for some reason it never got thrown out, and when I needed something to wrap her in, I thought of it immediately.
I’d had a hard time thinking of just the right box to bury her in, and even briefly considered a small dollhouse that matched the colors of her cage (too small) and eventually settled on a plain cardboard one, but found a use for that roll of polka dot packing tape.
It looked so festive that there was momentary confusion with my little brothers about whether or not I had brought them a dead rat or a present.
We buried her under the rosebushes, and my little brothers hugged me and told me they were sorry and that she was a very good rat and that they understood and knowing they way they love their pets, I knew they meant it, that they really DID understand, and Bunny laid a rose on top of her because Miss Cleo always liked brightly colored things.
When we saw them huddled in a tight group in the parking lot, Knickers whispered, “Drive though ’em!”
I advanced slowly into the flock, but they didn’t fly off as expected. The just barely scooted outta the way, leaning out of the way of my tires, rolling their eyes and tolerating me the way you tolerate people moving in and out of your aisle at the moving theater.
The few that were actually displaced by my tires simply few up a few feet and I kid you not, resumed their place on the roof of the car. Within a minute we were in the middle of the group, and now I was scared that one of them was going to get all Tiananmen Square on me and let himself be run over, but they surrounded me on all sides.
I tried honking, which got me the reaction of them all bouncing up about one foot off the ground and then settling right back in their spot within about four seconds. Which didn’t help me at all.
While Knickers made squishing noises I slowly advanced out of the group in a constant state of cringe, lest I actually hit one. Finally we were free of the group.
I turned and took this picture.
I have no idea how to feel about what happened.
Valancy Jane – “Oh hey. We had, uh, I have those same sheets.”
Knickers – “Oh. Yeah.”
Valancy Jane – “Hey.”
Knickers – “Yeah?”
Valancy Jane – “You know, pretty soon we’ll be past this, we won’t even notice these potenially awkward moments. And it’ll be nice.”
Knickers – *nods* “Yeah.”
Valancy Jane – “Except that I’ll point them out.”
Knickers – *laughs*
Valancy Jane – “And refuse to shut up.”
Knickers – *laughs*
Valancy Jane – “It’ll be fun. And they’re nice sheets.”