Saturday, December 20, 2014


"Not forever. Just for now." - Jay Farrar

I walked into my apartment at 1:00 am. My thoughts were swirling and jumping through a mix of anxiety and comfort. Frustration and ease. I was thinking about work, and family, and love life, and friends. Thinking about what I do and don't have in all of those realms of my life. Thinking about how I got here. My stomach was a little knotted. I was aware of the knot, but mostly okay with it. I could see the knot, but I wasn't in any rush to untie it.

I fed my cat. My needy, cranky, 19 year old cat. Her food placated her for a bit. But it wasn't long before she was back to her never ending search.

I poured a beer and sat down at this laptop. Ready to write about those swirling and jumping thoughts and feelings. Ready to finally sort it all out and make sense of it. Ready to turn the corner. Finally take that big leap into a giant pool of understanding and peace.

I checked Facebook first though. Maybe I had some new Likes. I'd like some Likes. Then email. That's fair. There could have been some important news there. Something I really wanted to know. There wasn't. I glanced at the basketball scores too. Nuggets win.

The knot is gone. It slipped away while I was distracted. I still remember what it looked like. But I don't know that I could pick it out of a lineup of similar knots.

I was thinking about all of the changes in my life right now. Big changes. And I was thinking about a text from my old friend Glenn.

It's been almost a year since my ex-girlfriend and I broke up. It was our third break up. Pretty sure she'd call it our second, but that's another topic. A topic related to our breakup, and our relationship too, but not exactly related to the topic here. Though I don't know that I've really established a topic here.

Big changes. And the little details in between. Topic and subtopic. Or maybe the other way around. The breakup was one of the big changes. Whether we agree on the number of breakups is one of the little details in between. So that detail isn't on topic. But it's on subtopic. Or maybe the other way around.

It was a good relationship. Even with all of the difficult, painful, ugly, and unhealthy aspects of it. On the whole, it was still pretty wonderful. And so is she. I don't regret it for a second. But I don't regret the fact that it's gone either. I can't imagine going back to it. It was time. We both knew it, but she called it. I knew it, but I couldn't say it. She's stronger than me in that sense. So I left the heavy lifting to her.

My friend Glenn sent me a text tonight. Following up on a text that he sent two days ago. One that I didn't respond to. Am I going to make it to Austin in early January? I'm not. I can't.

That's what got me thinking back to the breakup.

I was thinking about all of the more current things swirling around my head. Work being front and center. More big changes. Hopefully. The very thing that makes it impossible, or at least incredibly irrational and irresponsible, for me to go to Austin. And I was thinking about how much I'd like to unload those thoughts, and a million others too. I was thinking about how Austin is exactly where I could go, to find the people that I needed to talk to. Old friends. People that could hear my now story, without needing any back story. They already know the back story. They were there for a lot of it. And I was there for a lot of theirs.

So then I thought about how I got to this place. This place where nobody in my day to day life knows my back story. So I walked it back. First stop. One year ago. Break up. The Final Episode. No potential for a part four. Just dead bodies on the ground. Nothing left. And both of us finally able to see that.

I didn't have anybody to talk with then either. Just the ex. And she's the one that I'd created that carnage with, so maybe not the best ear to bend.

Jumping forward. Last June. I was in Alton. Grandma. Mom. Little sister with her family. We had a good visit. But when it was over, and I pointed my car north for Chicago, I felt this immense gulf between me and my family. I didn't feel closer because of the visit. It just reminded me of the distance between us. Miles. Years. Lives.

Last winter, when I didn't have anybody to talk to about the breakup, I looked back on the relationship itself. I considered the ways in which I'd let some old friendships drift away, as I made a new best friend with the woman that I was in love with.

But as I drove away from my family in Alton, the broader view of my life and my relationships came into view along with the wide open plains of central Illinois. This has all been here for years.

So I'm here now.

I spent several wonderful hours tonight with a delightful woman. I still smell her. She's soft and thoughtful and beautiful and vulnerable and strong. Our lives, on the surface, couldn't have taken more different paths. But there's an underlining commonality to it, that feels warm and comforting.

I practice yoga now. I went to my first yoga class about seven or eight years ago. But this year, it changed. I don't so much go to "a yoga class" as I do just practice yoga. Sometimes in a class room. Other times in my car or at work or at home.

Running is coming back too. I feel strong again. It's been a long time since I've felt strong. This running experience feels a lot different. It's not like before. But it's familiar. Comfortable. Like coming back to a childhood home. Sleeping in your old room. You can't have a second childhood, but you can still come home. You can still be at home.

I'm alone through all of this. I'm alone in my life right now. I don't say that with sorrow or self pity. I'm not sad. I'm just alone. Not forever. Just for now.

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