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Neither Here Nor There

1 Jan

It was Sunday that I said goodbye to her. Not really goodbye, only almost, because she is still here, but will have no visitors. I miss her so badly. I want to grieve her loss. But she is not really fully gone. Sleepy, under the influence of vast quantities of morphine (vast enough, I keep hoping), she’s neither here nor there, and so are the people who love her. If she were gone, there’d be a funeral, I’d be skipping work to sit at home and cry, people would ask me “how’s your friend” and I’d whisper she’s gone and break down. It would feel OK to break down. It would feel a duty to break down. It would feel respectful to break down. 

It does not feel OK. It does not feel a duty. It does not feel respectful. It feels like weakness. It feels like an inconvenience to everyone who’s counting on me to keep a stiff upper lip. 

December 31st. Class field trip to the dessert. Seventy rowdy children screaming and shouting with joy. I put on my happiest face. I made it thought the day heroically. Got back in the evening and picked my Boy up from the babysitter’s. Supermarket (because milk and eggs still need to be bought). Shower (because, you know). Bed time stories, back patting. I sat in my dirty kitchen eating pasta and thought about 2014. Jesus Christ, what a year.

Here’s a recap: I don’t need no man. Maybe I do. Getting back together with BD. Breaking up with BD. Getting used to M’s cancer and its routines. Deciding to move. Meeting A  and chatting for two weeks. Moving. Sleeping with A on first date. Dating. Boyfriend. I love you? Potty-training. Talking! New Day care. Becoming beighbors with one of my closest friends. End of the school year, report cards & play. Cancer getting worse. Three magical days in Budapest. Breaking up with A. War. Sirens, shelters, hooking up with BD. Trying to get back together. Surgery. Montessori training. Writing Papers. Trying to break up with BD. Promotion. More Sirens. Trying to break up with BD. War over. New school year. Excitement. Exhaustion. Breaking up with BD. Liberation. Wanting to date. Cancer getting worse. Meeting a guy. Magical evening playing music at the park. Rushing too quickly to like him. Getting disappointed. Cancer getting worse. Attempting to date. Cancer getting way, way worse. Lonely. Depressed. Hitting rock bottom. Morning after pill. Wanting to never date again. Cancer steadily getting worse. Talking to boys online and scaring them off by telling them my friend is dying. Meeting a man who doesn’t scare easy. First date. Second date. First kiss. Fuck you cancer. Third date. Fourth date. Sex. Fifth date. Boyfriend. Telling M all about him. This can’t be the end of you. I love you. Freaking out. Pulling myself together. I love him. Freaking out. Pulling myself together. Hospice. Fuck-shit-stack. Parent teacher conferences. I can’t, I can’t, I must, I will. Seeing M every day. Saying goodbye. Saying goodbye again. This time goodbye for real. Falling apart. Pulling myself together. No more visits. Missing M like crazy. Allowing D to comfort me. Knowing she’s still with us. Falling apart. Not able to pull myself together.

Limbo is a bad place for me to be. It’s a bad place for anyone, but me especially. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.      

The 6 a.m Cry of the Other Woman

20 Dec

I hadn’t seen D for five days, which felt like forever. It’s only been five weeks since we started dating, but we’ve been seeing each other three or more times a week so it’s been pretty intense, the way it always is with me, I guess.

Ever since I blurted out the L word a couple of weeks ago, things have returned to normal, and I’ve been able to enjoy my time with him and languish over every sweet word or nickname or embrace. He’s Russian, and I’ve been called zayka, and slatkyia and krasaviza. He’s been saying that I make him feel alive again, that I’m special, that he loves being with me, that he misses me, that I’m fun, that he wants me. He even used the words “corrective experience” to describe our relationship. Moreover, we’ve begun acting a little more couple-ish, which I’ve been enjoying. And we’ve been talking a lot and sharing stuff. I’ve even talked to him about M, and he’s been asking, cautiously, how I’m doing and saying things like, “I know this is a rough time for you.”

Still, it will be a lie to say that I’m not anticipating his first “I love you” or dreading the notion that he might never say it. All signs clearly state that things are going well between us, and 90% of the time I am able to let go and not think about who likes who more and whether or not that presents an issue. My friend R suggested that I think about it like a gift that I’ve given him. It would be weird if I’d bought him a gift, like, cologne, and the next day he’d buy me perfume. I’ve given him a gift, saying that I feel love towards him. That’s a big gift. But he is constantly giving me gifts as well, other gifts, and that should be OK. And it is, most of the time.

I was discussing these five days apart. He was called in for reserve, and had a really crappy week. He was placed in a base up in the mountains where it’s freezing cold, and they had no warm meals or coffee or heating anywhere. While he was freezing his ass off, writing me texts about his fantasies of what he would do to me if he could have me then and there, I experienced one of the hardest weeks of my life too.

With the background of parent-teacher conferences, with 34 sets of parents to meet and talk to and be presentatble with, all the while keeping my classroom functioning as they rehearsed preformances for Grandparents Day and got into the types of fights and arguments that only 9-12 year olds can get into, I was busy attempting to say goodbye to one of the people closest to me in my life. It’s been 20 months since I first realized that we might not get to grow old together. But my mind seems to have that unique ability to only take in what it wants to, and completely ignore all the rest, so I think it’s only been in the last several weeks that I’ve begun accepting the fact that M has very little time left to share with me, with us. And this realization is devastating.

So on Monday, I was so easily agitated in class, that one of my co-teachers asked me to step out for a breather. When I did, I began crying and could not stop for a full hour. I walked around campus, hoping I would not run in to any children, and tried to calm myself down.

I recovered eventually, and I’m back to acceptence now. I feel better about it actually, like I really needed to let all of that out, and despite the unfortunate timing of my meltdown, I am glad it happened.

When D came back though, it felt like these five days, which objectively are not a long time, created a huge void between us. I hadn’t called him to share what I’d been going through. We texted a bit. I’d said encouraging stuff to him. I’d mentioned I’d had a few rough days. But I couldn’t talk about it. It was too personal, too powerful, and I was afraid I’d break down again if I mentioned it. I was also afraid that he might withdraw, because it might be too much for him to handle.

So seeing him again, feeling his embrace, it was comforting, and at the same time it felt a little like the beginning again. Which was not neccessarily a bad thing. Now, as the weekend progresses, and having spent some time with him, things are beginning to unwind. He came over to spend the night last night, after we each went to our separate dinners with family/friends, and when we met, close to midnight, we cuddled under the blanket and fell asleep at once. And for the first time in what felt like a long time I felt like everything was going to be OK, or more specifucally, like I was going to be OK.

Until 6 a.m.

His phone rang and with half closed eyelids I saw him fumble for it, saying, “at this hour, it could only be L”. L is the ex. Ex-wife and mother of his two girls. And indeed it was her. Having a melt down, crying on the phone. One of their girls won’t stop coughing, and she doesn’t know what to do. I could hear her desperation through the phone, her sobs and gasps. I remembered a time when I called my ex at 1 a.m. sobbing and gasping the same way, because our son had a high fever and I was freaked out. It was too much for me to handle so I went to the bathroom, and brushed me teeth, and drank some water, and then I basically sat in the kitchen and waited until I couldn’t hear his voice responding calmly and assertively to her hysteria any longer. I stepped back into the room. He looked at me with troubled eyes. “It’s OK.” He said, “She’s just coughing, It’s nothing. L panics easily. Her mother is right across the street, I told her to call her. She always calls me when something is wrong. She expects me to drop everything and go be there with them. And I can’t.”

I thought about telling him that he should go be with her. But I didn’t. “She’s adjusting.” I told D. “There will come a time when she doesn’t call every time something happens.”

“I hope you’re right.”

There was no point of going back to sleep. D works every other Saturday and he had to get ready. So we got up and had some coffee. And I tried to put the other woman’s 6 a.m. cry out of my mind. But I couldn’t help but remember my own meltdown of the week, which I hadn’t shared with him, and ask myself if there would ever come a time when he would love me and I would allow myself to lean on him.

Speechless

14 Nov

No one here to tell me this is going to be alright. Or to just shut me up and have sex with me so I don’t have to think about it. Maybe it’s better this way. Painful but better.

Sitting in her room by her bed, on a really bad day, post chemo, nausious and achy. I wanted to give her this big speech I had planned, but I couldn’t.

A few years back, before her mother passed away, I remember a night at the hospital, urging her to tell her mom anything she felt she needed to say. “You don’t want to regret not having said something important.” And here I am giving myself the same advice now, unable to follow it. Because when I see her, all I want is to make her somehow magically better. I can’t even begin to say stuff where the subtext is: you might not get better.

But I want her to know. I need her to know that she has been there for me at every single important summit in my life. That I have no childhood friends, but she is the closest to it. That she is my constant. That she’s been there consistantly througout my horrible military service, my stupid crushes, my very long relationship with BD, the moving abroad, the returning home, the yearning to get married and have children and the fear that He did not love me enough, the wedding, the birth, the realization that He did not love me enough, the horribly painful breakup, the career change, the raising my boy, the writing this blog, the moving to a new home, the dating, with its ups and downs… She’s been there all along. Like a rock that I could lean on. Someone I could tell anything to, and never risk being judged. Someone who always looked out for me, who chose my side 100% percent of the time, even if I was wrong, who remembered all the important dates and kept in touch even when I was too distracted to call, who’d listen to me bitch and answer: that sucks honey, I’m sorry, without trying to fix it. I want her to know how much I love her, how much our friendship means to me. How no matter what happens, she will always be my best friend and I will never forget her.

And that’s not all. I know life has been rough on her. I know that none of us know what the future holds. But I believe that we are put on this Earth to become the best version of oursleves that we can be, and I want her to know that I think she’s really evolved. She’s absolutely nothing like that girl I met 15 years ago. She may be sick, but she’s a much newer and improved version of herself in many ways. More trusting, more forgiving, more open to see and accept the good in people and in the world, less comprimising, more realistic, and somehow not less hopeful.

I think about little things, like the way she slices apples meticulously to make a perfect pie, and the way she jokes about the holocaust or teases boys and how she used to be so rough aroung the edges that people didn’t know how to react. And how she lived a street away from me when we were students, and we’d walk to class together in the morning, stopping for coffee. And how her roomate wrote her a love song and she freaked out and knocked on my door at 3 am and spent the night on the sofa.

I will always remember cooking and baking, and eating and chatting. Parties at her parents’ huge house, and making fun of everyone and everything, and long distance crushes and disambiguation and douche canoes and rising to the occasion. Dancing at a club. Learning how to drink at a local bar with bar tenders that hit on us and cut our bill in half consistently. Bachelorette parties. Deaths. Births. Sitting together with our closest friends and forcing ourselves to say one good thing that happened to us this month, even when it was hard to think of something. We didn’t do that in our last meeting. I want us to do that again now.

And receiving the news that she was sick, and consoling J as she cried, telling her that this was nothing but a bump in the road. A hell of bump this is.

Whatever happens. M, I love you. What a chicken shit way to tell you that.

I Don’t Even Know What to Name This Post

18 Oct

I am well aware that this is my third post in 24 hours. This is what happens when I’m left alone to contemplate on my weekend off.

All week I’ve been pestering my friends, trying to make plans for this weekend, and everyone’s been busy. Literally, there were no options, even my parents went away this weekend. So I binged on seafood and beer and watched a movie (girl’s life sucks and then she meets a dude) and spent too much time online, and finally I went to bed and took forever to fall asleep, and pulled a muscle in my shoulder which is bugging the hell out of me.

And oh, in case you were wondering, my preiod’s late and I have horrible PMS. And don’t worry, I’m not pregnant, last time I checked you needed to have sex for that to happen, and I’m just not that lucky. But, this waiting irritably for my period to come has one perk to it, which is that no matter how fucking lonely and sad I feel right now, I cannot sleep with an ex. And I think that should be my new life mission: no sleeping with exes.

Last night after finally falling asleep, reading a silly romance novel (girl’s life sucks and then she meets a dude, sound familiar?) recommended by my friend J, who guess what, went away this weekend with everyone else, I had a very weird erotic dream, which I am about to share with you lucky bastards.

I was in Berlin, in my friend M’s uncle and aunt’s house, where we visited summer 2013. That was a hell of a trip. I’m going to sidetrack now and tell you about it for a second. M had only recently found out that she was sick, and it was as good an excuse as any to get together for a reunion trip. There was me, playing the role of the single mom, betrayed by her partner of 13 years, but awesomely strong and feeling hot post affair with SG. There was G, who now has three kids and is in a cult, but back then only had two kids and was in a cult. She had recently moved into a new house in the middle of nowhere and was weening her youngest from nursing, so had sore boobs the entire trip and basically could not believe that she was actually sleeping through the night. J was the stable one, which was weird because shortly before she had been the all-over-the-place-looking-for-herself one. She lived with a boyfriend, who we all loved, but now hate, since they broke up. She’d quit the life of unbearably low teacher’s income to work in hi tech and was overwhelmed by the hours, the emails and the stress, but at the same time enjoying immensly the sense of financial relief. E couldn’t come. She was busy going into labor. Actually, I think I should lable her as the stable one. She’d had a bunch of shitty stuff happen to her, but she was now living with her very kind and loveable husband and having a baby with him. Plus, she’d just handed in her thesis.

Then there was M. I met M when we were 18 and clueless and soldiers (gotta love mandatory military service), and I hated her at first because she’d made a comment about my weight. She’d been cynical, she later clarified, and I hadn’t discovered cynicism yet back then. A few months later we got to know each other and became best buds. Our gang got me through some rough times. I was horribly depressed in the army (and then I met a guy. Sound familiar?).

Anyway, M was going through some hard times back then, and her way of dealing with it was for us to go out dancing until the wee hours of the night. She didn’t like to drink back then, so she was always the designated driver. She lived with her parents in a gorgeous house in a beautiful town with the greenest most soothing views. And our favorite thing to do, after clubbing, was to come home at 6 am and order junk food and eat it at the best viewpoint in town, joking loudly about the guys who had hit on us, or who’d told us we danced like whores (true story). Our ears still ringing post BabyOneMoreTime and YourLoveGotMeSoCrazyRightNow, we’d fall asleep until it was early afternoon and then laze about in the garden, picking fruit from the trees.

Fuck.

I know I was talking about Berlin, and my dream, which now suddenly feels totally unimportant. I’ve been very honest and open in this blog until now, but if there’s one thing I haven’t written about at all it’s my friend M’s sickness. And I think I mostly haven’t written about it because she’s one of the only people I know who reads this blog. And it feels sort of unfair to write about how hard it is for me that she’s sick, and to have her read about it. Sort of like how my mom kept telling me how hard it was for her when BD and I broke up.

Obviously it’s hard to worry about her. Obviously seeing someone you deeply love in pain is the worst thing in the world. Obviously it pains me that I would like to be there for her more than I am able to, physically and emotionally. But in all honesty, the worst part is the most selfish part. I just miss our carefree friendship of early 20’s. I miss going out to a club and dancing “like whores”, and making fun of the boys that hit on us. And I’m not good at being patient. And you need a lot of patience to fight cancer.

Well.

Berlin.

That trip, I think, was a moment of forgetting about all the crap that was going on in some of our lives and just having some carefree fun. I think I remembered it now because I was going through some old photos and maybe that’s why it entered my weird sex dream which I was about to talk about when I began reminiscing like some sad 80 year old. So let’s get back to it, shall we?

I was with M at her uncle and aunt’s house, and I think the rest of the gang was there too. Yes, E as well, I’m remembering now, no kiddos, just us. And there was a guy there, his name was K, and actually, I know him. When I went on my three magical day vacation in Budapest this summer, he had showed me around. I knew him through M, because she was into couch surfing and he’d stayed at her apartment in the city the year before. K was really sweet, funny and had a sexy French accent, because he was originally from Bourdeau. Anyway, he was in my dream too, and we were sharing a room.

The room was enormous and our single beds were at two completely different corners of it. Before we’d gone to bed we’d had a dinner all together, with the aunt and uncle as well, and we were drinking red wine and laughing and K and I were slightly flirtatious, but only slightly. When we got to the bedroom though, I decided I was going to make a move.

I was a little worried because I hadn’t showered, and I felt self concsious. Still, I felt like I had not been touched in forever (wonder where that feeling came from) and I decided to just go for it. I came to his bed and started chatting and kind of touching him on the shoulder and flirting. And he said: “I don’t know if this is a good idea.” Which I read as rejection. But then I said to myself, don’t over think it, and I kind of continued flirting and soon we were making out. I remember vividly thinking to myself that if he had said this was not a good idea, that meant this was probably a one-time thing. And I was OK with that. It also crossed my mind that he might actually stop in the middle, because who knows, maybe there was a good reason why he’d said that. And then I remember thinking, even if we don’t actually go through with this, at least someone is holding me right now. I should just stop thinking and enjoy this warmth because who knows when anyone is going to ever hold me again.

He was warm, and I remember it in a non-sexual sort of way, like it was just comforting and nice. And then, it started to become sexual and I was totally worried about the shower thing again, so I told him I needed to go to the bathroom and went to shower quickly. I had to run around the entire house half naked and couldn’t find the shower, and finally did, and there was no door or towel, and I sort of washed myself and somehow dried up, but then the shower curtain fell and I just decided not to fix it and run back to the room.

He was still in bed and was waiting for me, and I was surprised he still wanted me, because I was sure I’d taken too long and he would be over it. And then we fucked and it was totally boring and missionary, but just so nice and comfortable and warm and when it was over I was prepared to go back to my bed but then I got the nerve to ask him to hold me and he did.

There will be no paragraph tying everything I’ve writted here together, with some hopeful message to the world or to myself. In two hours my Boy comes home and I go back to being a mom, which is something I can handle. So for now, goodbye alone time. I hope to not encounter you any time soon.