Tuesday, September 22, 2015

So I Guess You Call This Autumn (2015 Version)

Today was totally one of those "fooled you!" kind of days. I could have pretended that it was a gloomy Midwestern fall day, just looking out the window at the leaden-grey skies. Unfortunately, the second I stepped outside, I knew (and felt) the ugly truth: it was 90 degrees with 70% humidity. Just another late summer day in the deserts of Southern California. Still, I indulged in imagining cold air against my skin, gloomy evenings, rain lashing against the windows, pleasantly warm (not oppressively hot) kitchens. Pretty imaginings, and not really anything that could get me too homesick.

But, even so, the homesickness lurks. Yesterday, I gave Duncle a call. It was the first time I had spoken with him since my magical summer vacation, and as soon as I started talking to him, I realized why: the sound of his voice pretty much made me burst into homesick tears.

Today, there was no new news or word from the jobs that I applied to last week. And tonight, no new potential jobs posted. It's easy to just swing into utter despair, but day by torturously long day, I fiercely struggle not to. I will tell myself this as much as I need to, until I accept and believe it: every day I am still "stuck" out here is an opportunity--to retrench financially, to improve my health, to make myself more marketable, to build my character (oooh, goody, another character-building experience), to get all my ducks in a row.

Someday, I will go home. Some day, I will enjoy that chilly fall weather. Who knows? Maybe I will enjoy it with someone. Or not. For now, it is enough for me to strive for this simple, modest thing: a fulfilling job that enables me to go home to Indy and spend the rest of my life there.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Going through the Library tonight, checking the doors and locks and preparing to close the same as I have done hundreds of times over the past eight years, it occurred to me that it feels a little like the end is close–closer than I think. Or maybe I am just gently, slowly detaching. Kind of like that X-Files episode, where Scully was caught between life and death, and deciding if she wanted to cut the rope from the people who loved her, and drift away to whatever came next, or be reeled back into shore. 
I don’t know when the end will come, when I will leave the Library and California, and this life that I have grown accustomed to, but I want to be emotionally ready when that happens. 
(And no, this is not a post about suicide. Don’t worry, folks, it’s a post about moving home.)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Home Again, Home Again

The summer night presses close against my open window. Because we are a ways away from town, the night is even darker than it would be otherwise, and the noises are that of country, not civilization–A lone tree frog, croaking a couple of times each minute; a persistent cricket; some faint rustles near the treeline, which could be a deer or a coyote or serial killer, but most likely is one of the neurotic chipmunks that tunnel their way through the backyard and drive my poor Aunt Jo insane. 
Earlier in the day, at my request, she took me around and showed her various gardens, filled with everything from kale to black-eyed susans to green beans to raspberries to hydrangeas. But for each blossoming bush, she had a story of one plant crushed by bunnies, another decimated by hungry deer, yet another ravaged by the birds who aren’t satisfied with the feeder. After a while, I felt like I was getting less of a tour and more of a roll call of the honored dead vegetation, fallen at the hands (teeth) of Southern Indiana critters and varmints.
Still, those chipmunks are goddamned cute.
So, day 1 of 17 has passed, filled with kind relatives and scrumptious food and fireflies and firecrackers and my quiet resolve to return home, permanently, one of these days.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Peering Through the Cracks

Tonight, when making dinner, I had an intense moment of déjà vu.

Tired after my gym workout, and freshly showered, and more than a little hungry, I meandered into the kitchen, with the intent of frying up an egg and making a fruit smoothie. And before I could go about whipping up this sustenance, I was transported back to the last time I came from the gym and made such a meal.

Silently, contemplatively, I cracked an egg on the edge of the frying pan. Then I moved to the blender, and tossed in some fruit, some yogurt--before I could pour in some juice,  Mr. Melissa came up behind me and kissed my neck. 

Resentfully I shrugged him off.

"Don't you love me anymore?" he asked, as he sometimes did. Before, I would feel guilty. But not anymore. 

His words cracked my facade as easily as I had just cracked the egg now sizzling in the pan.
"You know what?" I said quietly, realizing, as I did, that I was Over It. Over Everything. "Just...you know what, Mr. Melissa? I know that you and _____ are having a thing. So don't try that 'don't you love me anymore' crap."

With those words, I cracked through the crust of civility, of half-truths and whole-lies and diplomatic acceptance and avoidance that has formed over my marriage in the last three years. I drilled through that crust and got to the truth, which was maybe a lot less ugly than I feared, and definitely more freeing.

I never got around to eating my egg that night.

Eventually, tiredly, I tossed it into the garbage, too wrung-out to even feel the slightest bit of hunger anymore. I hadn't planned to confront Mr. Melissa that night, but pretending and keeping quiet have never been strong points of mine, and it was twisting me up inside. But what was also keeping me up at night was a truth I hadn't expected to uncover: in accepting that my marriage would eventually end, I realized that I will be free to return home. And the thought of that elated me--it still does--beyond belief. That truth--or at least the possibility of it--left me weeping with joy more than a few times. In a few years, I am going to have the chance to move home, to Indiana or at least the Midwest.

It's sad to know that my marriage has failed. It's sad to know that this marriage--begun hastily, but with hope and love--is for the next one or three or five years being kept alive on the life support of kindness and friendship and history and cooperation and acceptance. But I've been around the block enough times to know that the fact that I am not more sad, or at all jealous or enraged or vengeful, indicates a lot about my own feelings, and the role that I have played in steering our marriage to this place.

All of this is sad. And the old born-again Christian me would be appalled by my blase attitude toward the institution of marriage, and the 29-year-old desperate not to be an old maid me would be appalled that I am eventually walking away from what I once couldn't wait to have. It's twelve kinds of fucked-up. This world that I built up--I cracked open almost impulsively last month.

But through the cracks shine some rays of hope.