Things are getting better and worse. Now that I know I’ll be in a classroom soon, the loneliness seems less oppressive sometimes, but there are nights (often Wednesday nights, for some reason) when times slows down and I just don’t know what I am going to do with myself.
Sweetie and I have broken the habit of checking in several times a day, and when I do call her at work or sit down to talk to her, it isn’t the same. When I ask her for help figuring something out, I know I’m missing an opportunity to strengthen my emotional muscles, to build new friendly bonds and/or neural pathways. Little by little, our habits and routines are dying away.
We stopped switching back and forth between the foldout couch and bed. She claims that the couch is better for her back, but I know it’s an act of chivalry and I’m accepting it, because I don’t know what else to do. The window sill that acts as our (now my) headboard used to be cluttered with books, magazines, and art supplies from when we used to spend weekend days in bed together, doing our separate whatever but still snuggled up. I miss her there, I miss when that felt right.
Even after we broke up, she used to kiss me on the head before she left for work, but the other day I put my hand up and deflected it. With my mouth feeling so needy, I couldn’t risk even a forehead kiss.
She’s still my friend, but it’s closing up. I feel myself shutting off from her and seeking support elsewhere and within myself.
We used to have a mug that said “No Coffee, No Service.” for some reason, even when I wasn’t using that particular mug, I used to say that to her every morning when I brought her coffee: “No coffee, no service.” I just realized I stopped doing that a couple of weeks ago.
This apartment is a sucking hole of loss, and half the time I don’t even realize it. I start to think of it as the only truth, that I am the loss and sadness, but on days when I’m away, I start to feel like myself again. The other day when I was driving with The Lady of the House to the beach, it felt like a reunion with myself, a reassurance of my continued existence, a real life after this marriage.
But I miss the feeling of knowing where my family is—not my family of origin, not my sister’s family in the next state, but my own family, my own home. Having everything up in the air is exhausting and every life around me feels more situated than mine. It’s too much ending and not enough beginning. I need something to help pull me forward to the next life.
To give a little tribute to the grief without it swallowing me under, here’s a list of ten things I miss about her:
1. I miss coming home from a date or a night out and getting all kinds of snuggles, parsing out every nuance of the adventure I’d just been on. (I’m having an icky realization that it might have been filling a parental need, the wish to have a mother figure who rooted for me to find love and happiness. Yeesh.)
2. I miss travelling with her, stopping off at rest stops for snacks, stopping on the way home for ice cream. (My eating habits have been getting better and I really don’t mind pumping my own gas, dear.)
3. I miss our podcasts—I don’t think that I can listen to Radiolab or Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me or Judge John Hodgman without her.
4. I miss the cats being our cats.
5. Likewise the dishes, the sheets, the groceries. We still share all those things for the time being, but they are no longer a representation of our love.
6. I miss thinking of her at the library and picking up weird fantasy novels in case she’d like them.
7. I miss the garden being our garden. Since I might try and keep this apartment, I guess it’ll be my garden. Back when we lived in my hometown, the garden used to be like our whole life, but we haven’t had that in many years.
8. I miss her body belonging to me, but not mine belonging to her.
9. I miss having dates with her. We haven’t even been to the movies in a few weeks, though I guess that’s still permitted.
10. I miss the pink ropes and all the other snuggly things.
I’m grateful I can write it out.