August: The Good, The Bad
(Where were we? Oh, right.)
(Where were we? Oh, right.)
The bad in August came because life just goes on.
Everything was supposed to be changing except nothing was. There was just every day.
Every day I would get up and go online. I would work some. I would take a walk.
Every day I would talk to my mom and she would not feel any better. Some days she'd be lucid, some she wouldn't. Some days I could get off the phone with her and go about my business. Some days I would get off the phone with her and cry and shake until I was nothing but a puddle on the floor.
Meanwhile, every day I would hope that our awful, ditzy realtor would find a family willing to buy our house, so that change -- the final change -- would actually come. My finances were frozen. I couldn't pack anything because the house had to look lovely and lived-in. I couldn't leave anything messy (even a little) because I never knew if I'd get a sudden phone call saying last-minute potential home-buyers needed to stop by. (Note: "lived-in" does not include having dishes in the sink or wet towels hanging on the bathroom door.)
Every day I wondered what it would be like to speak to Dave. I could never guess what kind of mood he would be in or if he would have determined that I'd done something wrong. I could never guess. I was doing my damnedest to keep things under control, but he would often call me furious about something I'd screwed up.
I was never physically or mentally abused, but I think I can safely say that I know what it's like to live with someone you're terrified you'll set off. The wrong word – the wrong inflection from me could result in any number of punishments, from being screamed at to being ignored for days.
Every day I was on edge that something new would go wrong. It often did.
But I was also walking around knowing I was on this life-altering precipice; when would the plates shift? When would the earthquake hit? When would I be able to jump off and go?
Waiting... Waiting... Waiting...
* * * * * *
The good in August came because life just goes on.
For one thing, Em and Nick were getting married. And moving back East. And that was such a bright spot. Finally I could just drive to see them (even though that arrangement wouldn't last long). Better yet, I could be there to help with some elements of wedding planning, which I loved.
I adored Em and Nick together and always had (still do). I loved that they were marrying. I didn't, as my sister asked me, begrudge them or the timing of their wedding. I didn't wish it had been happening at a different time. In fact, I was grateful to have it to look forward to. A big, joyous celebration was a welcomed change from my typical weekend.
In fact, I started looking at their wedding – scheduled for October 6 – as a get-to date. I thought if I could get to there, to the wedding, to that side of summer, the worst time of my life would finally be behind me.
And so it was with delight that I spent at least some of August planning their (co-ed) wedding shower.
That’s the kind of good I remember – it pierces through the otherwise heavy and humid memory.
* * * * * *
I went on a few Internet dates in this time. The in-person encounters were fine, but I enjoyed the safety of online flirtation and the feeling of being desirable more than the real-life stuff. I mean, I wasn't going to date anyone seriously before moving to San Francisco, and the virtual relationships were just enough to make me feel engaged without feeling the total vulnerability of putting myself "out there."
Plus, I hadn't actually been in the dating pool since my junior year of college, and the idea of dating as a grown-up was totally new to me.
And also with my body issues.
So I went on a few dates to see what it felt like.
Mostly it just felt like the guys offered nothing compared to the compatibility and camaraderie I had with Dave. (Dave and I may not have been perfect, but we weren't together for nothing.)
And anyway, there was El_G.