Next Tuesday, my company is having a big outing. I will be in San Francisco enjoying the sunshine with my dotcom colleagues. I will probably go do an open mic afterwards.
* * * * * *
Marcus was leaving for his global holiday on May 2. David’s birthday.
All the stuff that lead up to that seems, as I’ve written, to have happened in April while I was leading a completely split, completely double life.
There was the one in my head.
In my head, there was this alternate future for me. One where I would have Marcus’ life. I liked thinking about it. I liked believing it possible.
In no way did I make any plans on how to get there. Let’s be clear: there was no “escape plan.” Fantasy doesn’t work like that.
Fantasy is frivolity and escapism. I sent Marcus a care package. I went out and bought all these things and made all these things to send him on his way with. Because I’m sweet, right? Oh, and crazy.
And there was the one that was actually happening.
David and I took a trip to Denver to visit Em and Nick.* * * * * *
My best friend, Emily met Nick in college. They moved separately to Denver after graduating in ’97. I’d never gone to visit them out there, but when they announced they were getting married and moving back to the New York Area, David and I HAD to go visit them before we couldn’t anymore.
I remember the trip well. I remember being, among other things, jealous of their apartment. It was not too big, and it was chock full of stuff. It looked like the kind of place people in their 20s live in. (Not like, say, our house.) I also remember wondering how it was that they could ever want to live out there. Not that Denver wasn’t cool, but why live so far away from home?
See, deep down, I couldn’t understand why anyone would ever really want to leave the New York Metro area. My reality was that I liked a lot about where I lived.
My fantasy was only that.
I was dreading David’s birthday, the day Marcus would leave.
Marcus would go and then I would have even less of a fantasy to hold on to. You know? So that if I was actually going to leave my life, I’d have to do it of my own volition. Because I wanted to, not because some guy was going to save me.
And I didn’t want to go.
* * * * * *
On the night of Dave’s birthday, I feel like we had people over. His parents? My sister? I don’t know. Someone was there.
My dad called me crying. My mom was out of the coma but still in the hospital and it wasn’t looking good and they were going to do more scans for cancer. They’d done preliminary ones earlier and not seen anything, but, well, just look at her.
It was the first time my dad had uttered the “C” word. It was the first time I’d heard him crying because of my mom’s health.
Naturally, it wouldn’t be the last.
* * * * * *
And then you hang up the phone and you go back to your guests and get another huge glass of wine and you look around at everything and have zero ability to know anything. You love this home you’ve built. You have a home! It’s yours and it’s here and it’s stable and strong and you can stay here because that emotional mountain you’re about to climb is going to require a solid base camp. Maybe Mom will be fine, maybe it’s just something else that isn’t as bad as cancer. Enjoy tonight. Who cares that some invisible man is on vacation? David loves you and he will pour you into bed tonight and touch your skin and make you feel better.
Everything will be fine.