october, 2012

Tue, 02 Oct 2012 21:08:19 -0400

One drink (two, this time: the wine bar at ORD-C17 had Domaine Chandon and a garrulous surgeon) and 35,000 feet always confers this sense of rightness, well-being, Soma. Or it could be the eleven, twelve hours of sleep per night over the weekend in Inyo National Forest: Wine from 800-mL Platypi sipped from backpacking-light aluminum cups, sitting around a campfire on a plateau of rock facing Mammoth Mountain, the luminous moon hovering first just behind the ridgeline, then screaming silently over the whole valley of granite and waterfalls and hard-scrabble conifers tenaciously growing up into the rarefied eagle-air, the crackling fire slowly making us colder as it descended to embers, despite MacRae's dinosaur hat and our zipped-together his-and-hers sleeping bags (I had to lie on top of him in our double down cocoon to warm him back up when he and Patrick had finished the whiskey and he finally crawled in, later, when the moon was vertical, dead above the mesh window in the top of the tent). I figured, since I wasn't coming into the office Tuesday through Friday anyhow, why not spend the weekend plus Monday eating double packets of oatmeal with peanut butter in the mornings, swimming in meltwater-cold lakes at 9000 feet in the afternoons, debating Turing tests on the trail and taking bear-tests (can you open this canister?) before dinner in the evenings? And then to have a shower-beer with said boyfriend, sleep in a real bed (which, unlike a Therm-a-Rest, does not punish the extra arm of entwined sleep), and wake up to a warm 25-year-old and a pot of tea, before flying off to a conference for the rest of the week? Why not, indeed.

I fed him breakfast and took an ÜberX to the airport, where I bought an Italian novel and a San Franciscan burrito (con tofu). I've been staring out the cabin window ever since, thinking how much I'd still like to be running around the six-miles-below landscape with him: Matching titanium sporks, mountain lakes, and zip-together sleeping bags.

Mon, 08 Oct 2012 17:48:37 -0700

Funny how the sound of the other shoe dropping is immediately recognizable. I flew home from New York yesterday, excited to see Lion-O after most of a week's absence, and yet instead of us having dinner and curling up on the couch, the evening took the turn I was hoping no evening would ever again take. It was the other shoe from my confession in May, closure on that topic -- and thereby on all topics between us -- in the negative.

I was so excited about him. So happy. So hopeful.

Jaime came over with Snuggle Cat (a reasonable ersatz boyfriend, as these things go) and some food (though my appetite had dropped out from under me at the same time as that shoe, and hasn't really returned yet). I managed to eat most of a Tartine morning bun between sobs this morning with Erica. Food still doesn't sound appealing, but I'm not going to waste away. And friends -- thank you, all of you -- have come out of the woodwork with messages, texts, emails, and hugs of support.

I know, horribly, how this goes: You make it through the part where your contacts regularly salt over from crying (I keep some solution on my desk, and have rinsed them out so far at least five times during the work day), then -- oh, but I don't want to think about it, the part where I return his T-shirts and he the hairbrush I kept at his place, the part where we un-sync our iPhones from our shared calendar, where I delete, or perhaps just rename, the list of things to do with him I've been keeping since Day 1.

One step at a time. First, to regain my appetite. Then I can begin to deal with the shoes littered about the floor.

Sun, 28 Oct 2012 21:01:23 -0700

Three weeks today. Three weeks, during which he has failed to observe International Oh God I've Made A Huge Mistake Day, or to take advantage of the discount I can only imagine San Francisco-based skywriters put on their services when they heard of his predicament and pressing need, or even to send a card for the popular holiday Please Take Me Back Day. I've begun to think we're operating on different calendars. And this, I'm sure, is the problem.

It hurts. Daily. Sometimes I have heartburn; sometimes my heart just burns. I stopped clenching my jaw within three days, returned to eating normally within a week. But a visceral unease yet persists (the after-effects of the gut-punch he delivered), and my eyes are perilously, unpredictably watery. (Like now, typing this on a plane. I've started carrying tissues in all my jacket pockets, not caring who sees me weep on various forms of transit, shuttle or MUNI or airplanes). It's both predictable (taking people who aren't him to the opera; canceling the Lines Ballet tickets we had for last night; discovering new yoga positions in which it's hard to cry) and un- (walking through the De Young yesterday with Astrid & Julia, remembering that the last few museums I've been to were with him; his love of the format). I grieve continuously: Between meetings; reading the newspaper; accidentally finishing a cocktail alone at a bar and unwittingly reëntering the singles scene (I'm so not ready).

But that calendar shit, I must admit, is real. As much as he doesn't appear to have heard of the aforementioned, completely mandatory holidays, he read my calendar very well, and acted on it. (Presumptuous as it may be, I don't for a minute believe his stated reason.) I remind myself (daily) that he's 25. I'd stopped thinking about the 7-year age gap when he proved himself both literate and sociable, and managed to ignore it in the small ways it poked through -- his new apartment with its dirty carpets, though not a far cry from the Goat House of my own quadranscentennial self, stands in contrast to my second refinance, my plans for a kitchen remodel. Carpets and mortgages are themselves immaterial, but can perhaps bespeak stage in life.

The worst of it (the best of it?) is that he's not wrong about what I want, and when I want it. Whatever else this relationship taught me, it showed me that I'm ready. I've spent the last long while creating space in various ways -- job; house; self-knowledge -- and now the emotional space is there, too. I made it for him, but I think it's transferable.

I'm right now on a plane to London, ostensibly for business to meet the other half of my team, recently transplanted from Dublin; more pressingly, so I can stop looking for him on every street corner of the Mission -- for his back-lit curls and busted-ankle happy lope coming down 18th Street, for his face to pass by in the sea of neighbors at Bi-Rite, the cervecería on my corner, hoping he'll be sitting on my doorstep or waiting outside the musicians' entrance of Davies Symphony Hall with a dozen roses and an apology. Two weeks' change of scene ought to help with the pathological face-scanning, the ever-springing hope.

Better day by day (even if I haven't stopped crying).

all this Šnori heikkinen, October 2012

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