Archives

Doing it Casual

I was lacing up my boots this morning, the green and black Renaissance faire boots I’ve been wearing in my daily life more so than when I first bought them. I was also sassing Libra at the time, playfully causing trouble.

He grabbed an empty beer can from the end table near the couch, and since I turned my head, he backed off but had a mischievous grin nonetheless. I turned back around, but turned again in time to see him throw the can in my direction. It didn’t hurt, but I felt a few droplets of moisture on my arm and shirt, and could faintly smell the remains of the brewed concoction.

I was mildly annoyed, as I had only been wearing that shirt for an hour, if that. I removed the shirt and tossed it into the hamper, disappointed that I had to change out of my Super Smash Bros shirt for the day. I grabbed my KISS Creatures Of The Night shirt and put that on, but not before Libra walked by me to pick up the can that he tossed at me.

He commented about the perfume I was wearing, which was a change from the mixed bottle of body spray I had been using, and he did say that it was better.

“Yeah,” I said. “Eau de Yuengling.”

He laughed, and it was as if I was a stand-up commedian who just reached the punchline. I tried to hold it back, but I was laughing just as much as he was, though I wanted to play the angered girl a little while longer.

I can do casual. I wear t-shirts and jeans to work every day, by choice since I can wear almost anything.

But to be honest, I want to dress up more often.

Like, I want to wear my dresses. I don’t particularly want to wear them to work, though.

I want to go on dates. I want a reason to get dressed up. But Libra and I are doing the casual thing, and then we’ve taken a step back from that.

And I hate it.

But it’s all I can ask for from him, he is only interested in casual stuff at the moment.

What else is out there for me?

I’ve been talking to my Japanese friend a bit more. He was wondering about how things have been, especially since hearing that I was moving yet again. He’s in awe at my ability to recall things he’s mentioned in conversation, but for me it’s just how my mind works at times.

To be fair, though, I’m not the best at recalling every detail, and I swear I learned a coworker’s name just today. He’s starting to do like another coworker did before I got his phone number, so I’m guessing that I’ll soon get this newer person’s number as well, in time. In the right light, it seems like he’s trying to get to know me and learn what I’m into, but it could just be to make conversation.

I feel like giving up on Libra at times, though, as if I’d be saving time and just getting out before I’m blindsided again by a break-up. I feel like I could remain loyal to him, do my best to be the me that makes him happy, and he would still put me second on some list.

No, I don’t want that.

I deserve to be the girl that a guy wants to come home to, in the sense that I deserve a guy who appreciates me.

I already appreciate having Libra in my life, even if I don’t always show it. I whine and complain, but who else has cared about my less-than-stellar motivation at times, or my poor dietary choices?

Who has actually asked me to live with them because they wanted me there and knew they were doing me a favor, instead of taking me in because I was desperate for a roof over my head? Who has been willing to help me move my stuff, not just to store it but to physically carry it and even transport it all?

The only things that my Japanese friend and my coworker have going for them are the fun I could have in their presence, and possibly any lust that’s there.

Libra is worth keeping around, at least to me.

Three transport trips down. I always considered myself to be an assistant on these trips, helping when I can. He thought they were fun, and they are to me because I get to see places in the state I’ve never seen before or in a while.

But I want to get dolled up for someone, I want to wear a dress and nice shoes, I want to wear dangly earrings that sparkle behind the strands of hair that I might have styled somehow. I want to pick out a bottle of nail polish that I haven’t worn in a while, then not paint my nails because other things were a priority in getting ready.

I don’t want to do casual.

I want to do unforgettable.

I want to do amazing.

I want to do that feeling when letting go doesn’t just hurt, it feels like a part of you has gone as well. Just the same, I want to be the one who fills that void in another, so when they look back at what they had, they wish that person was even remotely like me.

I want to make it so a person can’t look at the moon without thinking of me and wondering how I’m doing.

I want something where a person is trying their damnedest to make me dress up, as if the extra effort on my part is their reward, though I’ll certainly appreciate the effort they put in as well.

I want someone to go all-in, no regrets.

I don’t want to do casual, because it’s not a matter of if I have feelings. I will have feelings. I’m confident enough in myself that I’m aware of that, and I’m willing to face the heartache. If I’m into a person, I’m willing to risk the time I’m spending with them instead of finding someone else.

I want to be bitter later.

I want to complain about all the things they couldn’t do.

I want to go to the store and buy all the things they wouldn’t allow in the house.

I want to live, to feel, to laugh, to cry.

I’m not a casual person. I just dress casually.

But my heart, I take seriously.

Advertisements

Unsettling Dust

He asked if I wanted coffee, and I told him no, intending to make myself a mug of hot chocolate that morning. He asked if I wanted breakfast, and I said no, envisioning the bowl of cereal I would have to start my day. He didn’t listen, or so he said, when be brought me a mug of coffee and served me a plate of ham and potatoes.

May was an eventful month, and as such it was hectic and stressful, but maybe that’s putting it lightly.

For the first week, I was challenged to have all my stuff packed and ready to move out by that Saturday. While it was mostly packed, Libra had issues with his truck and we postponed the moving day a week. To make things easier, I brought down a few things in the car, and also picked up some groceries.

I managed to get sick by that weekend as well, as the weather had gotten warner and my room was stifling, so I put the fan in the window and slept with inadequate blankets. I spent the rest of the month clearing out my respiratory system, only feeling better after I stopped taking my expectorant/cough suppressant pill.

While my immune system was fighting the good fight, Libra managed to fix up the truck and I went with him to help on a transporter gig he picked up. I enjoyed the thought of going, as I’m always up for a road trip and to see things I don’t normally get to see. The trip as a whole was a decent way to see if we could put up with each other for a long period of time, and for the most part we did. The excursion took longer than anticipated, so I had no sleep to help me get over my cold, and I also had to go to work within an hour of when we returned.

A few days later, it was my car being transported, on Libra’s trailer, to Libra’s house, as full of my stuff as we could possibly fill it. That turned into filling the entryway of Libra’s house once we arrived here, I haven’t done the greatest job of clearing out the entryway and moving things either upstairs or to wherever would be appropriate.

For one thing, I’m not a fan of the upstairs. Eating, sleeping, and everything in between is done on the main floor, so it feels like extra effort to go all the way upstairs for other clothes I have, for example. I wouldn’t mind setting up my video games in the room upstairs that has a reclining sofa, but I don’t want to come all the way back downstairs to sleep if I’ve pulled an all-nighter on a  game. Second, I haven’t exactly felt comfortable going upstairs. Lately I’ve pushed through that feeling, a feeling I can’t really explain, but I pushed through that feeling because I was… I don’t know, anxious? Stressed? I needed to get away, not so much because I needed space but because I felt like I needed to give Libra some space.

Even though my things have been assigned that room to reside within, it doesn’t feel like it’s my room. Only after I changed out the wall hangings did J’s spare bedroom even start to feel like I might live there, but it still felt like I was just consuming space.

So with that thought in mind, I asked myself what I would need to do to feel like I permanently resided in this house, or at least to feel like that room is absolutely mine. I bought a can of paint, in a shade of purple that was bold and vibrant. I don’t quite know what I’m going to do with it yet, but I do have a few ideas. I don’t know if the purple will cover all of the blue, or if I’ll want it to once I figure out what to do. Does that even matter? Maybe I’ll change it every so often, maybe I’ll put some wooden lattice on the ceiling and hang silk wisteria or white Christmas lights from it. Maybe I’ll finally have my Ikea disco lamp on the ceiling, in place of the ceiling lamp that’s in place. I have plenty of time to decide, I think.

I’ve been trying to change my work schedule to ten-hour days, but there was a mishap when I first submitted the paperwork as it seems to have been misplaced. It wouldn’t be so bad, except for the nights I get out at 10, get home at 11, and have to wake up around 6:30 the next morning to be at work by 9. My new schedule starts next week, and by asking to start no sooner than 10 am, I have a fairly consistent schedule. It might help alleviate some of my stress in the morning, and the extra day off will be good for getting things done around here… maybe.

With so much changing, and so many maladies, it’s no wonder that things became a powder keg within the last week.

I had noticed a change in Libra. He wasn’t kissing me as much. If he had a rough time with someone else, he wouldn’t discuss it with me like he once did. I was feeling insecure about it, but maybe it would pass, or so I figured. When I let it out, it didn’t come out that I had noticed things had changed, but that I felt like I was less than: less than important, less than special. I don’t quite remember how I worded it. It was labeled as me being insecure, and i was told I need to tell him when I’m feeling certain things like this instead of bottling it up. Just when I was regaining confidence in myself and the courage to keep going, Libra said I was coming on too strong, and that we should take a step back. A step back from what? We’re not really dating, we’re not “Facebook official,” we really just live together. But he realized that he was withdrawing from me, and that cut into me because I thought maybe I was overthinking for no reason. No, I had a reason, I knew something was wrong, and I knew that somehow I was the issue.

That night, I went to bed wanting to fight, to work to get back to how things were before, to how they felt, but it was like I was facing a brick wall. I woke up the next morning, conceding that I had lost, and defeatedly asking for a bed to be put in to my room upstairs. That was the morning he made me coffee and breakfast, despite my objections. We talked a bit more, and while it seemed we had settled this, it’s still inside me.

This.

The poison. Or the cut and the scar.

The thought that I was too much, I was coming on too strongly.

The thought that I’m less important, that I can’t be a sounding board for his issues.

It’s the insecurity, and I swear I never felt this insecure before. I used to do nice things just because I wanted to do nice things, to help people out when need be. I had my selfish moments, when I thought of myself and what I wanted. I do nice things for Libra, and he’s not used to people buying things for him, or what have you, but I can’t stop because he’s actually good to me and I don’t want to take advantage of that. And when I want to be selfish, when I want to ask him for things I’d like or need, I can’t get it out of my mind that I should do something for him, or that I need to make sure he’s enjoying himself. One thing I wanted to find was someone who is willing to do things I want to do, even if their happiness comes from mine, but I’m a wreck now where I actually want them to have a good time.

Libra is good to me. He’s good for me. Yes, I want to keep him in my life, and yes I wish we were something romantic, something that could escalate and become more serious. He doesn’t want that right now, and if he did it wouldn’t be with me. But I know what he’s going through, I know why it can’t be.

Maybe this is just another thing I’ve needed along the way. I suppose, then, that living with J was closure I didn’t need. To think, I used to have a backbone, I stood up for myself to him. But this time, I could have lost my living arrangements that came when I needed them most, and that’s what I feared. Maybe what I need is for people to stop having power over me somehow. I don’t yet feel like Libra has that power over me, though. Maybe that’s why I cry, because I can be vulnerable around him, or I can assert myself. Just the same, I’m scared that my vulnerability will bother him, or that I’ll be assertive at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons.

That was May. This is June.

I’m waiting for the dust to settle, when apparently I need to catch life off guard.

If I say I’m going to fight for what I want, I can’t be so willing to retreat to my corner of the house.

And I live here too, so if I want things on the main floor, I should be allowed. Wait, I am allowed certain things, within reason.

I need to start saying it’s my house, too. I have to stop thinking that, when I ask for his opinion, it’s because it’s his space and instead I should think of it as making sure we want the same things or agree on something.

And I should stop thinking that there’s an expiration date on this. The cynic in me is waiting for the eighth or ninth month to come around, as if to say that’s when I’ll be moving out again, as it’s become the norm for me since leaving New Jersey. I don’t want to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy, as anyone would be bothered by the little things after living with someone that long, but I might think that means it’s my time to leave.

So I’ll paint the room. I’ll put clothes in closets, knick-knacks on shelves, and stuffed animals… somewhere, I haven’t decided yet. I’ll cook in his pots and pans and eat out of my dishes. I’ll sleep on his bed with my sheets and blanket. The dust may not settle, but I will, this will be my home. I will heal my wounds and find my inner strength, and I want to leave here in better condition than when I moved in.

And since relationships and addresses don’t seem to last, I might as well just try to have some fun with this one.

Someplace In Between

My bedroom here at J’s place is a mess, it’s a disaster that has resulted from moments of varying levels of apathy.

I’ve lived in J’s house for about eight months now. In that time, I feel like I managed to settle in a little bit, I moved some of my condiments and ingredients into the pantry instead of just keeping them separate, I put books on the shelf next to my computer. And yet, there were some things I never really unpacked, nor did I need them, such as my bag that was filled with baking supplies such as extracts and food coloring.

Technically, I had still been living out of a suitcase until about 3 weeks ago, when I stopped using the suitcase to hold the stacks of t-shirts I was wearing and just set them on top of the bin of more clothing where the suitcase had been sitting.

My room is a bit tidier now. I took some of the books off the shelves and put them in a reusable shopping bag. I put my dresses and some other clothes that I wouldn’t immediately need into the suitcase I had emptied out. The pantry downstairs is devoid of anything I brought into the house.

I don’t feel like I ever really settled in here. I had places to put things, and I could use my own things if I wanted. I had a bed, and a room, and it didn’t matter what I did in my room or with my bed because I was the only one sleeping in this room. But it was still J’a place, and I didn’t dare put any holes in the wall without his permission, so I never put up the closet rod so I could hang my shirts. But J was never my partner, and was never going to be. I occupied a space in his house, in his life, and possibly in his heart as well, and while some of that might still continue on, I won’t still be here to grow and become something more in his life, because that was never to be.

A few of the things I’ve packed so far have been left at Libra’s place. He had asked me to move in with him about three days after we met, citing that it’s lonely in the house by himself, which made me a bit cautious. I spoke with my best friend, our mutual friend, and she doesn’t have anything bad to say about him. So about a week ago, I took a few things with me and left them at his place, though a small part of me felt like I was invading his space. This weekend, I took a few more things with me, though it was mostly food from the pantry.

Libra’s house is a mess. There are boxes scattered here and there that are halfway packed, or halfway unpacked. Beer bottles and cans sit on an otherwise unused dining room table, not to mention there’s cans on the countertops, cans underneath the counter on the floor, cans on the floor just underneath the couch. The cupboards and drawers are scarcely filled with food and utensils and what not. The center island is a drop zone, upon which sits a mostly empty box with a few utensils and some silverware in it, a half empty box of soda, a few decorative bits that are covered by empty plastic bags and other bags that have unknown contents.

It would be wrong of me to say that Libra’s house has reached that state due to apathy. When I first met him and came to his place, the trash bin had been tipped over, and he didn’t care at that time to clean up what had spilled. When I had returned about two weeks later, that was cleaned up. Apathy isn’t the cause for his mess, because I’ve rarely seen him throw in the towel and just give up. I see his place as the reflection of his life right now, and while I can’t go into detail, I will say he’s waiting for some resolution to a major event in his life, whether things will conclude and he can move on, or if things will change so drastically in his life that nothing he’s done to this point would matter. Moving in with him, I’m caught in the crosshairs of whatever will come his way, so I’ll have to be prepared with an exit strategy of my own. But I figure, if he was consumed by apathy while waiting for this to all blow over, I wouldn’t be in his life by now.

The past couple of times I’ve visited his place, I’ve managed to arrive before he got home from work, and to occupy my time while I waited, I’ve done the dishes. Libra does have a dishwasher, which is a relief because for the first time in about a year and a half, the dishwasher is named Whirlpool and not Marybeth. However, dishwashers being how they are, I find myself cleaning residue off more than a few pieces, and I’ll hand wash those things and put them away as if they came out of the dishwasher without a flaw.

The last time I visited, I wiped down the stovetop as we were cleaning up after making dinner. This weekend, I wiped down the stovetop and part of the counter, as well as cleaning debris out of two of the commonly used drawers next to the stove.

Saturday night, while he cooked fried chicken on the stove, I cleaned up the center island. The box of utensils was emptied, its contents going into the sink to be cleaned and the box itself going into the wood stove to never be seen again. The plastic bags were emptied and gathered, the contents going either in the garbage or elsewhere depending on what could be used or needed. When I was done, my bottles of liquor that I brought down a week before were sitting on top, able to be viewed at eye level. The decorative pieces were arranged in the center, and I believe I have some candles in storage that I can add to the arrangement to improve upon that. But the best part was that I managed to make it so the center island could be used again, it could be used for additional counter space.

I wouldn’t say I did much this weekend. Overall, I hardly cleaned anything. I wasn’t trying to exhaust myself with overhauling Libra’s place. But I did make things feel a little more comfortable and livable, if I say so myself. The cupboards have a little more food, the drawers have more utensils and ingredients for crafting tasty treats.

And I know that if it were me in his position, I’d feel a bit helpless and maybe ashamed that someone else was doing this cleaning for me. Then again, if I hadn’t done it myself, I couldn’t have emotionally brought myself to doing it anyway.

Libra’s house bears the weight of a family he supported, the ending of a decade-long chapter of his life that will leave him wounded for some time. It’s not my intention to take any of that away from him, because I’d rather have him deal with his emotions and work through it all. More than anything, I want for him to feel like he actually lives in his home. I want him to feel warm and welcomed, to feel he has a place to find comfort.

And I want that for him because I want that for myself. I’m tired of moving around, of packing and unpacking and packing everything up again. I want a person I can grow with, to share things with, and I want to feel like the space we occupy expresses both of our personalities and interests.

Unfortunately, I know that Fate doesn’t like me having or being a roommate for more than eight months, and with Libra’s life issues hanging over him, I have no choice but to accept that this might be yet another living situation that won’t last a year. Maybe it’s not really about me, maybe my path is to help Libra in some way, and my consolation is in knowing if what I wanted in a partner is really what I wanted.

I guess time will tell where things go with Libra. It may still be someplace in between the things in my past that I have to undo and let go of, and the place in life where I’m meant to belong and be mostly happy and satisfied. If I can bring some light to his life, at least my time won’t be wasted.

Tipping The Scales

I barely slept last night, or so it feels, and I spent this morning in the realization that I am dating another woman’s ex.

The new guy needs a nickname, because it’s clear that I’m not about to let him go, and he doesn’t seem willing to go anywhere. I will refrain from using the moniker that was bestowed upon him by his ex wife. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to call him Libra, which is his astrological sign (opposite from me, being that I’m an Aries). Also, it has a nice ring to it.

I had asked Libra if he wanted to visit me for my birthday, which was only a week after meeting him. He agreed, and I spent the entire week in anticipation of seeing him again.

Upon telling J about the plans I now had for my birthday, he told me he would have to cancel the plans he had made to spend time with me instead. I don’t even know how sincere he was, because every time I asked whether he’d mind if I had a get-together in the house or if I considered getting a few friends together and do something out on the town, I wasn’t getting much input from him on what he would be willing to allow or if he’d even join in whatever festivities I had settled on. But now I had a date. It almost felt as if I was being asked to choose between a new guy who wanted to see me again, or a guy who doesn’t want to date me but sees me every day anyway.

And I chose Libra.

In my spare time after work, I tidied up my room a bit. It was still a mess, but I forced myself to do some organizing that I had been putting off. When I had a day off, I redeemed my Red Robin birthday burger and accidentally wandered into a dress store after that. Maybe it wasn’t entirely accidental, but it wasn’t necessary, as I had dresses back at the house in my closet. I just felt like I needed something new. I found a cute black and white floral dress that was knee length, and then I picked up new shoes so I wasn’t wearing flip-flops (the only shoes I have that aren’t in storage and aren’t sneakers or my boots). I got absolute approval from my best friend, but J wanted to point out that I wasn’t cleaning my room.

Finally it was date night, and my birthday. I made the right decision to dress up, because it meant he had to dress up a bit as well, and I was treated to Libra wearing a black collared shirt with purple stripes. However, I didn’t make the right decision to not get a reservation at the fondue restaurant I planned to go to, however he was running a bit behind in getting to the house so it was what it was. When we were seated, it was around 9:30, but we had a fairly quiet table in the back room of the restaurant. By the time we finished, most of the mall surrounding the restaurant had closed up for the evening. It was a delicious dinner that I paid for, and he picked up the tip because I hadn’t taken out enough cash from the ATM.

I had to work a morning shift on my birthday, and another day shift the next day. As I worked, Libra drove around the city, occupying his time as he saw fit. He picked up lunch from Arby’s and met me outside my work building where we sat in his Frankentruck and ate. He went back to his thing after lunch, and I finished my work day.

That night, we went to the grocery store to pick up dinner, and we also picked up an ice cream cake because I was craving one for my birthday. The whole scene starts adorably enough, where he put 34 candles on top of the cake and lit them all. It ends with me having 34 candles in my mouth because I was starting to lick the whipped cream off the candles but Libra kept adding them to my mouth before I had removed the previous candles. Pictures exist, and laughter still ensues just from remembering that night.

He left on Sunday, and since we agreed to take turns visiting each other, the next trip was mine. There’s not much to say, it was dinner and movies and learning that if I put cannoli filling on his nose, I will have cannoli filling all over my face.

The night after an impromptu dinner visit, last night, I was reading a link he had given me days ago. Instead of reading just the page he had linked to, which was on a message forum somewhere on the internet, I read the first page of the message thread and continued from there. The thread was mainly from the perspective of Libra’s ex wife, and as I read her words, I kept an open mind. After all, I know I have a slight bias towards Libra. I also consider myself to be a writer, and as such, I paid attention to how she had written her characters. She portrayed herself as a loving mother who wanted to do some soul searching, and Libra was the husband who couldn’t deal with how she was living her life and how wonderful it had become. I read all about how their marriage fell apart, and how she blamed Libra, but she never tried to fix it and never had anything positive to say about Libra. That is, until the end when she said she missed the stability and security of her marriage to him.

Libra was already asleep, so I just left a lengthy message to tell him I read it all this time, and even gave him my thoughts.

This morning, it wasn’t until after we talked about it for a bit that I realized I was dating another woman’s husband. Well, ex husband. But everything I do, everything I want to do, she’s already done it with him, more than likely. Anything I try to do to be romantic, I might open an emotional wound without knowing. All of this, because some woman wasn’t happy with her own life so she had to ruin Libra’s.

But here’s the thing: I’m not her, and I know this.

I am Marybeth, or Luna if you prefer. I lost both my parents during my 20s. I have a narcissistic brother who I can’t deal with. I have two ex boyfriends and an ex fiancé. “The baggage that I carry would sink a thousand ships.”

While I may be worried that I’ll do something that reminds him of his ex, at the same time, I’m comparing him to everything I’ve had before. I compare him to my exes, for which there is no comparison, I barely knew what I wanted and I seemingly went for guys who were nice and who seemed to like me back. I compare Libra to my Dad, though I usually just think of how Mom would approve of his Southern and country qualities, which doesn’t even describe my Dad at all.

Tuesday morning, he offered me a choice between lemon meringue or key lime Greek yogurt, and it wasn’t until I chose the lemon that he mentioned buying the blended yogurt because I preferred it over fruit on the bottom. None of my exes have bought something based on my preferences.

I found a thoughtful and caring guy who is playful and mischievous. I found him because some other woman forgot what she had. And I’m keeping him because I have a fairly decent grasp on what I want, which is to say I could use more people like him in my life. So yes, he was another woman’s man.

And now? He’s my Libra.

Road Trip Part Three (Amore And More? Part Four)

Our story so far involves J dating again, and in response I planned a trip to meet a guy I’ve known a while but only online. As part of the trip, I figured I would stop in Edgewater, NJ so I could go to Mitsuwa Marketplace once again.

After my stop to the bookstore and the shop that sells almost everything else you would want from Japan, I headed into the supermarket. My goal was to only buy things I wanted or might need, things that I couldn’t easily get in Syracuse at one of the local Asian grocery stores, and since I was far from home I couldn’t get anything that required some kind of refrigeration.

I got some makings for okonomiyaki, such as the powdery nori (basically seaweed sprinkles) and fried flour bits (think of it as tiny batter drippings that are fried). The special okonomiyaki flour was about the same price as what I pay around here, so there was no point in buying more.

There are hard candies flavored like some of Suntory’s beverages such as Dekavita C and CC Lemon, which I first bought from Mitsuwa though I never tried looking for some of the other beverage flavors. I couldn’t buy any more CC Lemon while I was there, but I did get another bottle of Dekavita C, and I found the cherry drink and the honey and lemon drink that are also featured flavors of the hard candies. The cherry drink was good, but of course I enjoy the hard candy as well.

I found Hello Kitty Pasta! Unlike the Rilakuma spaghetti I’ve purchased previously (which I didn’t find this time), the Hello Kitty pasta is shaped like Hello Kitty and flowers. It was $4, and it’s not even a pound of pasta, so I’m not sure if I want to eat it or keep it around for looks.

About $75 later, once it was all back home and in the pantry and elsewhere, I was asking myself what I bought. And yet, it’s been two weeks and I still haven’t consumed all of it.

Before I got back to the car, I got myself something for lunch. Previously when I’ve visited Mitsuwa, I was in the mindset that I only lived about 40 minutes away so there was easily a next time and it could be sooner than I could imagine. With that mindset, it didn’t matter what I bought to eat for lunch, because I’d be back again to try something else. This time, since it had been over a year since the last time I was at Mitsowa (which is hard to believe that time really passed that quickly), I figured that I had to get something worth the visit. I paced from one eatery to the next, trying to figure what I wanted. I settled on ramen, but I went for the combo that included natto. Oh yes, I was going for natto.

From what I’ve gathered, natto is pretty much the Vegemite of Japan. It’s an acquired taste that is seldom enjoyed by foreigners. Let me put it this way: imagine you’re eating beans, like kidney beans, but they’re in a sauce that requires fermentation… oh, and the sauce looks like the thin, stringy slime they use in movies depicting alien lifeforms. Natto is supposed to have a strong scent, from what I’ve heard, but my natto served on rice and topped with green onions was rather mild in taste and aroma. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it, and ended up not finishing my ramen because I just couldn’t eat anything else.

But then I got dessert on my way out the door, most of which traveled back to Syracuse with me. I ate the coffee jelly when I got to the storage unit, which was dumb of me because it was topped with ice cream. I knew it was topped with ice cream. For whatever reason, my brain thought it would be fine to wait that long before eating it. The ice cream was soup, of course, but it didn’t make a mess and was quite tasty as anticipated.

At the storage unit, it was lightly raining. As I packed the car, it seemed like a lot of things I had in storage were affected by the moisture in the air, as boxes seemed slightly damp and such. Well, my goal is to empty out the storage unit by the end of this year, maybe, so aside from a  few things I desperately wanted to get out to make sure they survived, I just loaded up the car with whatever was nearby. Within an hour, I was back on the road, and this time I was heading for home.

The whole trip was exhausting, but exciting. And I did find love, as I had hoped.

It wasn’t for my date, which I’m sorry to say and yet I don’t regret it. Being around him feels like being around my exes, which is only a bad thing because I wouldn’t be giving him the chance that Mr Smith probably deserves. And yet, maybe it’s just my inner workings being hyper vigilant and trying to avoid a repeat of the past, a past where I wasn’t happy, where the relationship I had really wasn’t what I wanted.

If anything, the love I found was for myself. I focused on what I wanted and what I needed to do. I did what made me happy. And I told people about it, because I wanted them to know that I found something that made me happy and they might enjoy it as well. I did things so that I wouldn’t walk away with regrets, or at least that I could say I tried. I met Mr Smith, and I had been wanting to meet him for a while, but now I know I like him as a friend and I don’t want to lose that. I tried natto. Heck, I spoke three words of Japanese to a vendor, which always made me nervous because I never wanted to assume that any Asian person was Japanese or could speak Japanese (and yes, it was a positive experience, or so it seemed).

Maybe it’s for the best if J’s house is just my home base for now. I can’t imagine it’s going to help my love life, as potential suitors might think J and I already have some kind of relationship and they might decide to not invest much time with me. But maybe I’m not supposed to be in love with anyone here, not even J. Maybe J exists to keep me from feeling lonely, to get me back on my feet and figure out where my life should go from here.

And maybe there’s an adventure in my future, a trip to Japan and not just a Japanese restaurant or supermarket. Why do I feel like I’m being called there?

And why have I really been brought back here to Syracuse? Because I could do without living with an unrequited love while he dates someone else. I never would have remembered I had a thing for him if I hadn’t moved back here. But I do have a good environment now, where I can think critically about anyone in my life. I know that J isn’t perfect, Mr Smith isn’t perfect, even J’s date isn’t all that wonderful.

Since I do have love for J, I do want him to be happy, and if it’s with his date and not me, it might be for the best. After all, getting tied down with J would only keep me in Syracuse. If I’m meant to be in Japan, then I need to be ready and willing for the opportunity when it comes my way.

So that was February, or at least the major parts of it. My birthday comes at the end of this month, and hopefully something exciting will happen between now and then. If not, I’ll find something to get excited about. Mark my words.

Road Trip, Day Two! (Amore And More? Part Three)

Previously, J started to date a new girl, and as a result I sent a message to a longtime internet friend who I hadn’t met before. After a four hour drive, I was at his front door. We ate sushi before driving into Connecticut to play mini golf and walk around a mall for a bit. After that, I drove him back home and headed for my hotel.

My logic for hotels was that I wasn’t going to make a reservation, that asking for a room in the evening and leaving in the morning would earn me a reduced rate. Maybe that would work under normal conditions, but I was trying to get a hotel room between Valentine’s Day and the weekend that followed.

Not to mention, the hotel itself had a view of the Hudson River, as it was next to the Hudson River. My room had a view of the shopping plaza I had to go through before I got to the entrance to the hotel itself, but I wasn’t there for the view anyway. No, I drove to the Comfort Inn in Edgewater, New Jersey, because it was supposed to be my cheapest option and it was closest to Mitsuwa.

When I booked my room, the only option I had was two queen beds. I’m fairly certain I had the last available room in the hotel for the night, but I can’t complain because I did have a room. I was in room 111, but my mind didn’t think of the video game Fallout 4 at the time, all I could think of was the numerology significance. Three 1’s is a good, positive number. Four 1’s would be better, but I’m not about to suggest that my room number wasn’t good enough. Anyway, I carried in all my stuff and put it on one bed, then went here and there while in the process of settling for the night. I checked in around 8 pm, but it was almost 10 before I forced myself to sit down with my can of pasta because I was starting to get a headache from not having eaten since sushi. It was at this point that I realized I forgot to pack anything remotely resembling a bottle opener, so my bottle of sparkling apple juice went unopened. The can of pasta had a pull tab, so I didn’t need a can opener, but I didn’t bother to bring a dish to use in the microwave. And yes, my room had a microwave. But I considered it more of an emergency ration to have a can of pasta in the first place, though I was thankful I had the foresight to pack it regardless because I was exhausted.

I turned the TV on and watched the Olympics while eating the pasta from the can. It was a good day.

I woke up the next morning, and I woke up, and I woke up. The bed was too firm and the pillows were too soft for my liking. I kept having dreams that I couldn’t remember. It was just before 7 when I texted J and told him that I hadn’t slept well, but I would try to get more sleep in. About 15 minutes later, I texted him again and said it wasn’t to be, that there was too much noise in the main hallway to get back to sleep. I was in the main hallway, four rooms away from the front lobby. Not only was it just noisy enough to keep me awake, I also had a song stuck in my head.

A couple days before departing, I asked J if he wouldn’t mind giving me a wakeup call and playing guitar for me since I would be missing out on that by being out of the house. He said no, but agreed to send me recordings he’s made of songs he has covered. I chose a couple of songs, which he sent to my email. However, none of my chosen songs were Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, a cover of a song by The Flaming Lips. So I was playing the original version on YouTube while J sent me a link to the cover he made. I played both versions before I rolled out of bed and got dressed and such.

In fact, I mostly played my Japanese music while getting ready for the day. It was my thought that I would set a certain mood for myself, because I was heading to my favorite Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa Marketplace. And I told myself that maybe I would find love while I was there.

Well, there was an Asian family of four that ate breakfast at the table next to mine at the hotel, and as I was leaving, they were taking pictures near the row of bushes that framed the spot where I parked my car. So the first love I found was the familial love between parents and children. It might not have been the romantic love I was looking for, but it was love and I found it right there in front of me.

After breakfast, I did a final check of the room, even cleaning up after myself so it would be a little less work for housekeeping. I don’t think I left anything behind, but I really didn’t unpack much, either.

I checked out of the hotel, which was basically just telling the front desk that I was checking out since I had already paid for the bill when I checked in. Then I drove to Mitsuwa, where I had my choice of parking spots because the parking lot was empty.

It was 9:30 am, and if anything, only the grocery store was open.

I have a ritual that I start with the Kinokuniya bookstore, then Little Japan USA, and THEN I go into Mitsuwa. And the other stores opened at 10 am, so I had a half hour to wait. I took some pictures of the Hudson, and of the store fronts. I wrote to my Japanese friend about the trip so far, but he was being a man of few words. Finally, I think I walked into the bookstore at 10:01, not entirely sure if they were really opening for the day or still preparing to do so, but I was running out of ways to pass the time.

One of the books I got at the bookstore is called The Japanese Mind. I’ll have to write about it later, because it’s been interesting to read.

In Little Japan USA, I got a lucky bamboo and two gatcha balls with black cats playing instruments. For some reason, I was called to get the bamboo, like something in me said I had to have it. I’m actually surprised I’ve kept it alive for two weeks so far, as I’m not usually good with plants.

As for the supermarket itself, I set a rule that I would only buy things I absolutely wanted or needed, that didn’t need refrigeration (especially not if something needed to be kept frozen), that I couldn’t get in the Syracuse area. How did I do? Unfortunately I have to save that for next time.

Road Trip, Day One! (Amore And More? Part Two)

When we last left our heroes, J was dating, I was emotionally overwhelmed during his first date, and I wrote to an old friend who I haven’t yet met in person to see if he would like to meet. Unfortunately my friend said he was seeing someone, so I had to keep moving forward with life.

The next day, my friend (who we’ll call Mr Smith) wrote to me and said that he had called it off with the girl he was seeing. After that, we started making plans to meet.

Since the drive was so long, a stay in a hotel seemed like a good move for me. Actually, the long drive would put me fairly close to my storage unit in New Jersey, so the intelligent move was to not waste the distance I had traveled by just having a pleasure cruise. And as much as I’d have been grateful for the assistance, I had to turn down Mr Smith’s offer to help me load the car at the storage uni, mainly because I’d lose hauling capacity but I’d also have to go out of my way by a couple of hours to take him back home.

The week after I had first planned to visit, we were making plans for me to actually visit. However, I kept watching the weather, and the weather kept getting colder and snowier for my area. When the day came that I would have otherwise been heading out, the weather wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t bad. However, I was far from prepared because I had been anticipating precipitation, and opted not to pack or anything. He teased me and urged me to drive out anyway, asking what I really needed to bring with me. I kept my feet planted, because I knew if I rushed around to pack, I would definitely forget something.

I had another “weekend” the following week, and this was going to be my last chance, or so it seemed, because my days off were going to be separated again. Leading up to that date, I told Mr Smith that I had a little something happen to me, and asked if he could plan to not share the hotel room with me. He was fine with it, so while I knew that meant I’d have to foot the entire cost of the hotel, that also gave me flexibility as to where I wanted to stay.

And when I mapped out where I needed to be on this trip, the gears started turning. It was going to be an awesome trip, no matter what happened.

Thursday morning, the very day after Valentine’s Day, I set the alarm for and woke up at 6 am. I figured I would be cute and go down the servants stairs, but without any lighting, I missed the last step before the landing and, well, I landed on my knees. I’m still surprised I didn’t smack my face into the wall or land on my hands. I effortlessly got to my feet and continued down the stairs, but my thud was enough to make J ask if I was all right. I couldn’t be cute, or at least I couldn’t be quite as cute at that point.

I made him coffee, I made me coffee. I ate breakfast with him, catching a glimpse of the morning routine that I usually only heard from my room if I woke up before I wanted to be awake. Then I bid him farewell as he left for work, and I finished preparing for the two days I’d be away.

I was sure I had everything I needed. I had two pairs of jeans, despite the fact that I could have worn the same pair for both days and no one would have known. I had two shirts to choose from for Friday, or one could have been a spare if need be. I had at least three pairs of underwear, just in case my monthly visitor decided to riot against my toiletry of choice for such incidents. I had two or three pairs of socks packed, because who knows what could happen. I packed a bottle of sparkling apple juice, which I was going to share in the hotel to be cutesy and romantic, but the thought of just being fancy while I unwound for the night was equally appealing. I packed a can of pasta, a started bag of cheese curls, and two pudding cups, just in case I was hungry and needed to eat but didn’t want to spend money or didn’t want to put in the effort of finding food to buy. I packed a bottle of water, just in case I needed it for anything. I packed reusable shopping bags, in case I needed them when getting things out of storage. I grabbed my purse with my portable video game things, just in case I wanted to play on my Nintendo 3DS or my Sony PS Vita while in the hotel or something. I put everything by the door and took a picture of all the things I was taking with me for an overnight trip, and as I took that picture, I remembered I still had to grab a charging cable for my cell phone.

It was about 10 am when I was finally rolling out, so I told Mr Smith to expect me around 2. I stopped to the ATM to get cash for the trip, especially since I knew it would be so much easier to pay for gas. Oh, gas for the car, that would have been a brilliant idea. I had half of a tank full, so I figured I’d see how far I could get. I ended up having to stop in some place called Beaver Kill, where I put $20 in the tank and left before I could hear the banjos.

After I arrived, we talked for a bit, then we headed out for sushi. The place where we went to eat was empty, but in all fairness it was mid afternoon. We were served promptly, then we paid and headed into Connecticut. No, it wasn’t a long drive to Connecticut, it was like driving to the next town over. We played miniature golf at a place that was decorated with a monster theme and glowed in the dark. Since he had already told me it was glow in the dark golf, I prepared by wearing a shirt that has a design that appears when it glows. It was the perfect choice, and it made his day when he saw it. After that we walked around a nearby mall, but the later we stayed there, the more I could tell the coffee was wearing off and I had been awake for too long. I got him back to his house in one piece, and by that I mean I was in one piece, as it was dark and I couldn’t navigate the area as well as he could. When I had first arrived I got to meet his dad, and when I brought him back I got to meet his mom, and they’re both really nice people who probably think I’m insane for driving 4 hours to meet their son.

Maybe the insane thing I did involved driving through the outer part of the Bronx, then crossing the George Washington Bridge to get to my hotel. I could have stayed at a hotel where I would be 5 minutes away from my storage unit, but I chose a hotel that would be 5 minutes away from a stop I had to make because it was so close to my route. All I had to do was add the stop to my route.