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Follow The Love

In Japan, you can find a variety of cafes which cater to your every whim, from fandom-based cafes with themes like Sailor Moon and My Little Pony, to animal cafes where you can dine with owls and rabbits, and even cuddle cafes where you can curl up next to a cute girl for an hour and just talk and relax.

Perhaps a trip to Japan is exactly what I need.

Today was probably the first day in a few days that I’ve felt like my cheerful self again, and I have no one to thank for it but myself and my own biology.

I can’t seem to properly convey my biological stresses, to begin with. It’s possible that I have a condition that throws my hormones out of whack, so when it’s almost that time when the hormone levels change, I have a change in needs as well. My craving for cuddles, my need to be kissed, knowing I’m going to be denied these things if I ask, it all made me feel so lonely and sad, which was probably also the hormones talking.

Then Libra and I were talking, and it got up to the topic of how I wanted to be cuddled. His reply was to say, “because you want a boyfriend, and I can’t be that for you.” We dropped the conversation, which was just as well since it was going nowhere, but I couldn’t figure out why it bothered me so much.

Today at work, I had more than enough time to dwell on my thoughts.

I took out a pad of paper and wrote down, “guys who would cuddle me,” then thought realistically about it and added, “if I lived with them and schedules allowed.” J was on that list, as we often sat side-by-side on his bed and watched an episode of a show we were working on, then I’d go down the hallway to my room. Then I wrote down Pete, because even though I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve platonically shared a bed, the fact remains that he is a bit affectionate.

Next I wrote down, “guys who would kiss me.” And again, J and Pete. I’m just talking about a peck on the lips or the cheek, a loving kiss that’s not lewd. I know J would ask for a kiss before I departed from visiting him, and I know Pete would kiss me again if I give him the chance.

“Guys who have said ‘I Love You’ in the past few days.” Pete said this to me, after a brief vent from me. I felt kinda bad that I vented to him in the early hours of his birthday, but I ignored his replies so I could focus on sleep, then replied with an “I love you too” sometime after waking. I have friends who aren’t that close to me, but who will still say “I love you” to their friends, and I’m not uncomfortable with it because you should feel that strongly about the people you surround yourself with. You should love your friends, you should make sure they’re alive and are trying to stay alive, you should care enough to pick them up when they’re down, you should keep them from harming themselves or others. If you don’t love your friends, are they just… there?

“Guys I would date or who would date me.” Well, that’s the fun part. J has already stated that he’s not interested in dating me, though he had considered it at one time. Pete would date me, I could be his primary this time around, since last time I was secondary when he had a fiancée (it was complicated, but it was polyamorous). I have nothing against Pete, I just can’t see myself dating him. After some time away from him, spent with my ex fiancé, Pete became one of my best friends because we stopped trying to make a complicated situation work, and friendship and understanding came naturally after that.

When I put it in writing, I realized something. I was bothered by Libra’s unwillingness to give me affection, not because I was still hoping that Libra would be in a relationship with me, but because I have guy friends who are affectionate towards me and one of us isn’t looking to date the other.

I was so bored at work, my mind had all of these ridiculous slippery slope arguments. If we hang out, I might think it’s a date, because I’m looking for a boyfriend. If we get dinner, we should get separate checks, that way I don’t get the wrong idea and think he’s trying to be my boyfriend by paying for my food. I should just buy food for myself at the grocery store, anyway, otherwise it might look like I’m a live-in girlfriend and not just his housemate and friend. I couldn’t help but giggle to myself, because that’s how the whole situation sounded to me.

I missed being woken up to him laying beside me at my back. I missed cuddling in general. And if I imagine anyone curled up next to me, the feeling of comfort is still the same. But in my saddest moments recently, I wasn’t looking to put a title on a relationship. I was looking for platonic physical acts to release some feel-good chemicals into my system.

For tomorrow, I decided to take myself to the duck pond. I asked Libra, who protested because geese are apparently vicious, so I canceled the plan for us to go on Sunday. I mean, it also seemed like going out on a date, which is forbidden! So I’ll spare him from listening to me talk about how Mom would sometimes bring us to the duck pond, and how one time we drove in and then turned around and left because some people were using it for a “date spot” (I didn’t see what happened, but I’m thinking it was more scandalous than just kissing). Libra had asked me to think of something else as well that would be worth his while, so I suggested going to the mall. I didn’t tell him I was going to take him to the go-kart track in the mall, but that sounds like a date, the fact that I wanted to race him in go-karts. Suddenly, hanging out with J at an archery range sounds more enjoyable, because at least we have an understanding that it’s not a date at this point.

A phrase echoed in my mind while I was still at work, and I considered doodling it on paper. Either, “follow the love,” or “go where there’s love,” or something along those lines. It doesn’t have to be romantic love, just the caring and affection. Go where you won’t feel lost or lonely. Speak to those who you know will listen. Everyone has some kind of issue going on in their life; if someone helps you get through your problem, try to return the favor.

But overall, follow the love.

Map out the love.

Be a beacon so others can find love.

And as always, love yourself before others. Know your needs and wants, and always remember that you deserve to be happy.

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Things I Hold Onto

After a little over three months of knowing him, Libra and I have reached a point where we care about each other, but it won’t go beyond that.

For the past week, I’ve been dealing with figuring out what I want out of this now. He wanted physical space, I gave him that plus emotional distance. I have shut off the part of my heart that felt like we could have been something special, that everything I was willing to give could and would be reciprocated.

I wish Mom was still around. All I have is a mess of boxes to show of the life I had with her, which Libra and I made a special trip to New Jersey just to get all of those boxes. Now they’re consuming the entrance to the house, this wall of boxes that keeps me from my TV and therefore my ability to play video games and just forget about life for a while.

The boxes have been an issue between Libra and I, though I’m not completely against the idea of parting with many of the things I possess. The problem is the difficulty in actually parting with things.

There’s porcelain dinnerware that I could use for special occasions… except I’d be nervous about breaking a piece or scratching it somehow. So I should sell it off and not worry about it… but I worry that I’ll accept less than what the set is worth, and the buyer will resell it and make a profit.

There are items I insisted on keeping because they were aesthetically pleasing to me… some of which I know that Mom and Grandma would have reminded me of who owned that item and how long it had been in our family. I don’t remember any of those stories. I also don’t know if I’ll ever use or need some of the things I kept.

There are collectible toys, and t-shirts, and things that I bought as retail therapy while I lived in New Jersey, because I had the money and I had no one telling me I shouldn’t have these things. And as I go through the boxes, little by little, I’m happier when I uncover something I packed from my childhood home instead of things I packed from New Jersey.

Overall, it’s emotionally overwhelming, realizing that I will have to permanently part with more than just what I’ve decided to part with, that there are some things I will never have again because… because… I can’t come up with a good enough reason. I could buy certain things again, I could get married and have a porcelain dinner set on my registry that I might enjoy more, if I even think I would use it. I could buy more Funko Pop figures, I could buy more t-shirts, I could fill my closet and my walls with things that… look good.

Well, there are some things that cannot be replaced. I found a notebook that my Mom had used to copy her diary into. I took a break from working the boxes, and spent the next hour or two reading every line. The diary mentioned my father in a few places, but most of it seemed to be about this guy named Joe. Mom was clearly in love with Joe. My Dad, however, had been an on-again, off-again guy that she dated, who seemed to be a bit more possessive and into my Mom when he started to come back into her life, though she was still more interested in Joe. And while everyone else seemed to give her cards and such for one birthday, my Dad gave her a bouquet of sweetheart roses, when he wasn’t even her main squeeze at the time.

I kept looking at the reusable shopping bag that I put Mom’s jewelry box into, and I didn’t want to deal with it until today. Most of the jewelry is costume jewelry, nothing I really want but I found a few pieces I might keep. There was also a photo of Mom with another guy, and I had an issue pulling it out of the section it had been set into because the photo was laminated. Once I lifted it free with the use of a brooch, I turned over the photo. Mom often wrote who was in the photo on the back side, usually writing the date as well. On the back was written Joe’s name along with my Mom’s name.

I can’t question why she still had a photo of an ex, as I still have physical photos of my exes. It made me wonder, however, how much time was spent wondering if she had made the right choice to marry my Dad, or if maybe things would have been better with Joe, because I don’t know how things ended between my Mom and Joe at all.

It’s strange, and yet oddly comforting. I feel like my Mom’s love life is reflected in mine right now. Libra is my Joe, the guy who seemed amazing just to talk about him, but he’s not the guy I’m going to end up with.

If there was one hard-to-swallow pill from a year ago, it would be that I should just live my life and deal with the here and now. Living in the here and now got me to living with J, which broke my heart because I hoped there was something there. Living in the here and now brought me here to live with Libra, which broke my heart because I wanted more than he wanted to give me. But living with Libra is forcing me to deal with things I didn’t want to deal with, which I seem to need to do. And if I can sell my things and make enough money, I can go where I still feel I’m meant to be.

I’m going to meet my Japanese friend.

Okay, I’m going to Japan. Meeting my Japanese friend would be a bonus, and yes I hope it happens, and that this is the fairy tale part of my tale. He’s been in my life since about a week or so after things ended with the ex fiancé, and he dealt with me going insane while I was sleeping on my friend’s couch. He introduced me to Japanese entertainment that hadn’t been presented to me before, such as Downtown and Kyosuke Himuro, and to this day I listen to Himuro like it’s melodic comfort food because it’s a part of me now.

He spoke to me through songs, he wanted me taking care of myself when I was at my worst, he stayed in the background while I lived with other guys. I had to do what was best for me, and I feel like I hurt him in the process. But what have I been doing the whole time? I’ve been shopping at Asian supermarkets, buying books to understand how Japanese people think and how they handle romantic relationships, and I’ve basically been low-key preparing myself for a life with him. After all of that, I don’t want to go to Japan solely to meet my Japanese friend, I want to go because I want to go. If I don’t get the guy, maybe I’ll get someone else, or maybe I’ll just live and do what makes me happy.

Whatever happens, I now have a diary of my own, where I talk about the guys who had my heart and what became of them.

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.

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.