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Passing Time

April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s quiet where I sit. A warm, purring cat on my lap catches the tear that drips down my cheek. The weekend traffic, a car every now and then, passes slowly by; with each one my heart skips a beat. I hold my breath until the vehicle has passed. I hold my breath until I am certain it isn’t him. Eventually the cat jumps off my lap and the coffee in my cup goes cold. The snow banks haven’t budged, and I am starting to believe that this season will never end.

Thinking back on our short time together I try to force the memories back to life and my coffee back to a barely sip-able temperature. I wish tomorrow was our first date in the park, I wish we were still planning the new chicken coop and talking about the future. I would give anything for today to be that first time he said he loved me. But it’s not, so I drink the last of the coffee fast and cold, and I tell myself that he was all wrong for me. Lasting love cannot be built merely on a shared affection for pickled eggs and a disdain for religious conformity. And while I could spend the time in between passing cars to argue that we had so much more, I am tired of trying to convince someone to love me back.

Today’s epiphany – life is nothing like those romantic comedies I fall asleep to on lonely nights. The man doesn’t turn up at your doorstep, grand gestures of love don’t happen when you least expect it. No, instead you just end up checking your phone too many times per hour. You end up being thrown into the melting pot of single, divorced, unfortunate, and lonely adults, and every one of your friends has a 30-some year old guy to set you up with. All of a sudden the romantic comedy that is your life becomes just a silly comedy where your girl friends giggle at your misadventures in match making hell and coworkers laugh at the stories of the drunken text you sent last Saturday night. There are no “meet-cutes” and the childlike crushes never evolve into anything more than you feeling like a miserable 13 year old all over again. He never texts you back, the nights out with the girls never make you feel any more confident, and every night you find yourself right back where you started – alone.

So I have resorted to convincing myself I am too busy for love. I have a career to think about, a home to care for, and three pints of Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer to keep me company. And just about the time that the spoon hits the bottom of the carton, just about the time that I feel like I am on the right path, a car passes slowly by my house, and I find myself holding my breath once again. “Just one last time,” I tell myself. Just one last time I will hope for a brief moment that he has changed his mind, just one last time I will believe there is someone out there for me to love, just one last time I will pretend that anything is possible.

But I know missing him will not go on forever. The snow banks will begin to melt until the soggy, brown earth is all that is left. The cabins on my country road will fill up with out-of-towners visiting for the summer season. The traffic on my small highway will pick up and every other vehicle will be pulling with it a camper. I will forget that anyone else likes pickled eggs as much as I and maybe I will start attending a church again. I will forget what that love felt like or how much this heart ache stings. I will laugh at my own misadventures in match making hell, and I will learn self control when drinking and texting. I will forget that life isn’t like a romantic comedy. And I will forget that I ever wanted him to show up unannounced to tell me he wants me back. Eventually I won’t notice the cars flying by. And I will move on. Eventually.

One Hundred and Twenty Four

May 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Day 124

Goodbye Sweet Love of Mine, goodbye. The ups and downs of our affections have been an ever present consolation, a distraction from the reality that we are not what each other needs. You were there every time I cried, the mourning, the lonely nights. On the exceptionally great days you laughed with me; you made me believe anything was possible. And with that freedom I lived in a way that I had never before known existed. I stood from the tops of buildings, watching the sunset, and you were the only person who knew what I was thinking. In the mundane, when the streets were but a haze of people, when the masses threatened to consume, you urged me to keep my head up. Because of you, those days when everything seemed to be a repeat of yesterday, when my life revolved around a job and nothing more, when I was searching for an identity, I found the inspiration to keep going. Those mornings on the bus with my worn-in book, the afternoons that never seemed to end, and the evenings when I felt alone and misunderstood, you were there.

You made me a better person, but I wasn’t the person you needed. I could not stay around forever. And when I left, you waited. With outstretched arms you welcomed be back every time with forgiveness and understanding. But this time is different. Our paths no longer run side by side, and I am reminded of that time we agreed this would not last a lifetime. I long for quiet space, and you do not exist without the rush and vibrancy that attracted me to you in the first place. I wonder if I am making a mistake, the initial attraction, which kept me coming back time and time again, sits colorfully in my mind. The memories will never be erased, but I cannot continue on while living in the past’s fast times. We were always prepared for this, but somehow I do not feel as ready as I thought I would be. Yet this is day we always knew would come, its arrival is not ours to delay. This goodbye has lasted a gruesome while as we separate slowly and hesitantly. Mutual feelings I am thankful for, and I hold dear your promises of constant friendship. You have done so much to make me the person that I am today, and for you I am forever grateful. So on this last note, with one shed tear, I will say goodbye. Goodbye My Dear Sweet Chicago of Mine.

One Hundred and Twenty Three

May 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Day 123

To Self,

Here is that moment, where you must choose. Do you keep going through the sludgy thick stuff, despite the headaches, even with the rain falling gently outside and the thick linens holding you tightly in bed? This is that moment you thought you were ready for. All of the preparation – “I can do it… I can do it! I can do it!!!” – could amount to a lot of wasted motivation if you fail to pick yourself up and carry on.

Maybe you didn’t think it would be this difficult. Or were you in denial with what you knew would inevitably come your way? No one is exempt from ups and downs, the highs and lows. Life goes your way until you realize it; then comes that big decision. Do you keep going on, no matter what is required, no matter which way life sways?

Option 2: Stay in bed. And wait. But like past attempts this will disprove itself an option which produces satisfactory results. For no amount of bed covers can hide the truth. Endless amounts of rest will not provide the answer you need. And alas, motivation won’t lift you off of that bed anymore than willpower.

The long, seemingly shaky bridge is ahead. Cross it or give up. And did not I already explain that to give up (i.e. roll around in your sweaty sheets) stands as no option? So get up! Get up I say! Cross the bridge, make that decision to forge ahead. It won’t take perfect vision to see, that when you are halfway across and on your way, you will be in a much better place than now. And for that you will thank me.

One Hundred and Twenty Two

May 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Day 122

What will you do when all of your money is gone? Wallow by the river with your last handful of pennies. Wade in the cool water as reality starts to sink in. Skip rocks while contemplating your next move. When you see a small toad hop by, ask him what you should do. You can only hide for so long. The grass will feel less comfortable with each moment, and you will probably shiver from the cold, damp bottoms of your pants that sit heavily rolled up below your knees. If the sun leaves on a good note toss your last handful of pennies into the river and let go of the worth you thought they would give you.

What will you do when you lose the one you love? Look out over the city from your mountain top seat. Hang your head and your heart low as you look down on all of the buildings below. With each inhalation of fresh air, imagine your new life. When a nearby bird scolds you from his treetop perch; remember you are only human. Sooner or later you will have to take the trek down from that mountain. Eventually you will have to come to terms with the life down below. It is bound to get cold up there at night so with haste you head back to your reality.

What do you do when your position in life is no longer valued? Take a long walk down an old dusty path as you question your validity. Cry in secret as the wind blows through the trees. Kick up the earth when you feel crushed. When a small rabbit hops out in front of you don’t become angry. Let her see your tears and remind you that you are not out of sight forever. When you turn back to head home, remember that you are not heading back to the person you used to be. But you must at least try to get back on track.

You cannot hide forever.

One Hundred and Twenty-One

April 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Day 121

I hope today is the last day I ever have to change my address. Unlikely? Not necessarily although the odds do seem to be against me. In the past 11 years I have had 12 “homes.” All of the moving and changes and new addresses have caused me to give a lot of thought to the idea of “home” and what is required to give a certain place that title.

Some say “home is where the heart is,” but it was in many of those 12 houses and apartments that I spent all of my time wondering where my heart had gone. Does home have something to do with love? – love for family, God, pets, or oneself? Is home the nest you fly back to after a long day? Or is home merely just a roof, some walls, and a floor?

For me, all of my homes have been, at one time or another, all of these things. Sometimes, although always grateful for the roof over my head, my home was nothing more than a place to wallow in despair or loneliness. Other times I could not be pulled away from my home, for all of the warmth and love it held felt too great to depart from. My homes have been the places where I have learned to cook, learned to relax, learned to love, and learned to let go.

I just changed my address with the United States Postal Service for what I hope is the last time ever. I still have to notify my banks and insurance agents and friends that I have another new address for yet another new home. But I have a feeling this one is going to be different. My small cabin in the middle of nowhere (most literally too if one looks at a map) is the home that all my other homes have led me to. This new place will be where I master the perfect pot of chili and the best chocolate cake. My new home will be a serene place to relax. It will be a home just for me, for now. After 11 years and 12 homes I have still not figured out what really makes a house a home. But I am nearly certain I will figure it all out soon.

One Hundred and Twenty

April 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Day 120

In regards to peace-and-quiet:

Peace and quiet – that beauty that overcomes you as you lay in bed at night listening to the owl call. It is the serenity that overtakes you when you step onto the porch of an empty house and listen to the birds sing. Peace and quiet happens as the fire crackles or the teapot whistles or the cat purrs while curled up. It overtakes you as you sit in the sand, the waves thunderously crashing against the shore, the seagulls cawing overhead. It is the autumnal sound of dry leaves crunching underfoot as you listen to the cool breeze blow in a new season. Peace and quiet sounds like a bath filling up with hot water, the hum of your bicycle whizzing down the path, and the turning of crisp pages in a book. Sometimes it is even the sound of your own voice talking aloud to God, the empty room, or yourself. But rarely is peace and quiet void of noise, and it is almost never a vacant and motionless place. So too is being alone not always an ill and forlorn feeling. Can we ever really escape the available peace and quiet that awaits us? It is not something that needs to find us, but rather a treasure that is always waiting for us to let it in. The only thing that seems to stand in the way between us and peace and quiet is our very own fear of being alone