Archives

That, Too, Did Pass

“Tire is shot,” he told me. “Worn almost to the belt.”

Thankfully it wasn’t my car, and it wasn’t a mechanic telling me that. My car, which I’ve had nearly 9 years now, is running smoothly. I suppose an oil change will be needed soon, though.

At this time, I can’t afford new tires for my car, nor can I afford new brakes and rotors, all of which seem to need to be replaced about every year and a half or so.

I have nothing in savings. I had money in savings, but it’s gone now.

I planned to get my passport this month. But when all is said and done, I’m going to have $60 left in the bank, and I still need to buy groceries. I don’t have money for fun things right now, not unless I want to eat instant noodles, or worse, starve.

I remember back in 2017, when I was buying candy from a local religious fundraiser outside of a grocery store where I bought food on food stamps. One of the ladies, noticing that I was paying with spare change from a coin bank, said she was going to mention this scene in the weekend’s sermon. It was something about me having kept the change until it was nearly all I had left, or not knowing when you might need it, or something.

I hit rock bottom. I was sleeping on a friend’s couch. I had food stamps. I was having issues finding work, to make money, to pay my bills, so I wouldn’t lose the phone I needed to get a job or all the possessions I had in storage.

Finally, I got a job that lasted longer than a month. And before she threw me out, I got off my friend’s couch and out of her life… I mean house, I got out of her house.

I moved in with J and paid rent. Half of one biweekly paycheck went to J, and half of the other paycheck went to the storage unit rent. I had my phone bill to pay, and car insurance as well.

I managed to scrape up $500 to replace my brakes and rotors in early 2018, only to find out that I needed to replace my tires as well. When I tried to take out the credit card at the shop, I was denied based on my credit report. I had to hold off on the tires until I had more money put aside.

Once my car issues were resolved, and my income taxes resulted in a refund, I splurged and got a newer phone.

Little by little, I managed to put more money into savings, taking out as needed. At one point, I had $1000 back in savings! But after moving two counties away and then moving back, some of my savings went into the cost of moving.

I’ve been living on J’s couch for two months now, paying the same amount for rent as before. Since I haven’t been able to have the cat here at this time, he’s been at a friend’s house, with a two-month limit for his stay.

I had to find a place that would be within my budget, or I had to hope things would change here. Well, I had to go outside of what I wanted to budget, but I found an apartment that met my needs!

And then… They asked for a security deposit. There went my savings, what was left of it anyway.

And I need a bed. It’s a long story that makes me bitter.

When I looked at all my bills, and did the math, I realized I could afford the bed, plus my bills, plus the first month’s rent, on the paycheck I just received.

And that’s why I have $60 to my name, and still need to buy groceries.

But holy mother of who-knows-what… I couldn’t get an apartment last year, and definitely not the year before, because I didn’t have the means to do so. Now I’m going to have my own place, and the cat.

And when I panicked about how much more I’m paying in rent, and wondered if I could afford it, I remembered that the difference in rent between staying at J’s and living in my new apartment is equal to the storage rent in New Jersey. Since I don’t have that storage unit anymore, I can easily afford the higher rent and all the perks of living alone… with the cat.

I’ve come a long way. To think back on it all and realize I’m in a better situation now, it feels amazing!

I mean, I’m back to being broke, which sucks, but it’s temporary.

And maybe I can still apply for my passport this month, with any luck. It puts me one step closer to Japan, otherwise it gives me an excuse to drive to Canada for lunch on a whim, if I have my passport.

I made it this far, so let’s keep going!

Advertisements

Self Evident

I have been staring at this screen for at least a half hour now. I know I want to talk about something, but I don’t know which direction to go. 

I do know these things to be true:

For 2019, I want to avoid f*ckboys. They gave me enough to deal with this year, but they are temporary creatures and I want to focus on permanent fixtures. If you’re not aware, I’m talking about any guy who keeps me around and uses me to feel less lonely for a little while. 

I don’t want to be here. I still want to be in Japan. I still want to buy a camper or recreational vehicle and travel the United States before I leave the country again, but that thought scares me a bit and makes me cry. Japan always makes me feel hopeful and excited, but I think it’s because I know I’d be in a better situation, and I’d try to make it my home. I don’t know where I want to be in the United States, but I don’t feel like I want to be here anymore. 

I think I found love. I thought I figured out what I wanted when I wrote it all down on paper and compiled a three-page list, but the puckish forces in the universe found a bunch of loopholes and turned my list into a joke. After they wadded up my list and threw it towards the trash bin, they asked, “no, really, what is it that you want? You know what it is, just say it.” And I thought about it. I want time, I want to take a while and get to know a person, and allow them to get to know me through life’s ups and downs. I don’t just want to write quick messages, I want to write paragraphs, and I want to actually speak on the phone. I remarked to myself that I never end up with anyone who’s introduced me to music I’ve taken an interest in, and then I realized that I haven’t cut ties with everyone that applies to. And then, if I asked the universe to send me some signs, it would probably be because I was ignoring the things that I already see as signs, because I would think that I was over-thinking something. Nevertheless, I have a blue dragon Beanie Baby watching my keystrokes right now, and he just happens to share a birthday with my friend in Japan, who spent three hours on the phone with me Friday night, with the only awkward silence being at the beginning of the call because neither of us could think of how to start the conversation. Two years later, and we actually seem to be on the same wavelength, at least more so than when we first started talking. 

I have too much stuff. If I had to sit in an empty room and recall the things I have, and I could only save whatever came to mind, I’d have a very simple list. I’d keep my books, video games, CDs and my DVDs. Doesn’t matter if a book or a game or a CD or a movie is part of a collectors edition, because if I mention that I want to keep it, the included goodies come along with. I want to keep most of my kitchen stuff, but I want fewer plates and bowls, and to be honest I’d like a different design for my dishes. I have too many clothes, and even though I want to ditch my t-shirts and dress a little more stylishly, I have t-shirts I don’t want to part with just yet; plus I might have moments when I need to really dress down and will want a shirt that I can get dirty or ruined. I want to keep consumables, like candles and incense, mainly because I can still consume them. Aside from that, there are a few items that I can recall that don’t fall under any of those categories, but I’d still want to keep them. That leaves a lot of things that, unless I see them and hold them, I would neither be able to account for them once gone, nor would I need them even if I could remember their existence. And I should keep that in mind, as I go through the things I’m still keeping. Not to mention, if I manage to permanently relocate to Japan, how much of what I have will I be willing to move halfway across the world? 

I do not have the financial means to go to Japan. However, my credit score has improved quite a bit, so if I line up some ducks, I might be able to take out a loan for some continuing education overseas. That’s grammatically correct, as far as I can tell, as I was referring to the concept of “continuing education” but doing so overseas. Then again, I get bothered when people talk about, for example, a rock band or music group, then use plural pronouns to further discuss that music group, when in my mind they are discussing one entity, the group as a whole. I’m also bothered by people who seem to use “whom” more often than necessary. English grammar is hard, and I want to learn Japanese? Well, I suppose questionable sanity is more socially acceptable than questionable morals, after all. 

Costume cat ears are a great way to express how little I care of what anyone thinks of me while at work, and I would gladly be remembered for my eccentricity. I mean, what else is there to say about me? I made a few bad decisions this year? I still have a job, a car, and a place to sleep, I haven’t lost too much, so I’d say I’m doing well. But yeah, I’ve realized how much gossiping is done at work, and how much I put myself on the wrong side of things because of it. But no one knows how much I do pay attention to everyone else around me, and I don’t even need to listen to gossip to know what’s going on. 

All of that being said, I can tell what I need to change, and what I want to change, for this coming year. I hoped that 2018 was going to be my year, and maybe it was in its own way, because I learned a lot about myself and have reached certain limits of what I can tolerate. As long as I put the effort in, I feel like I can have the 2019 that I want. 

Here’s hoping. 

Going The Ex-tra Mile

“So she was calling herself your ex,” I told the guy from work. “I knew you two were dating; I just didn’t know you two were an item.” 

“Yeah, you can tell her that’s not true anytime you want,” he responded. “More of a stupid mistake.”

It wasn’t the first of the workplace banter, nor did I tell him all of what was said this time. It was stupid and immature, and the person saying it was slowly losing my respect. Not that it mattered to me anyway, because it was nothing I had to personally deal with. 

A few days later, I was visiting my cat, since the current living situation doesn’t allow me to have my cat living with me. Since he’s being kept with people I know, there’s always the chance of seeing other people again when they visit, and this weekend had one such person that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. 

At one point in conversation, it was suggested that J probably has the most exes under his roof right now than any time before. And since I happen to be staying with J temporarily right now, I knew I was being referenced. 

“I’m not his ex,” I stated. “We never dated.” 

I don’t remember the phrasing at that time, but when I got back to the house, I talked to J about it. 

“I said that I had tried to date you,” he told me casually. 

The more I’ve dwelled on the thought, the more it has bothered me. I mean, this isn’t like the situation with the guy from work. He can at least say he dated the girl. 

But what about me? 

Once, J said he “considered” dating me. That’s nice. It sounds like I’m on an episode of The Bachelor, or one of those other “reality” shows, doesn’t it? Like, if I make a good impression, I’ll get to stay in the game. Needless to say, I hadn’t made a good impression, and he decided not to date me. Well, I guess, thank you for your consideration. 

But now he’s saying he “tried” to date me? No, I won’t accept that as an answer.

If his idea of a date is me hanging out on the couch while we watch movies and TV shows and such, then he’s dating me again, and he dated me when I last lived here. But that also means that anyone else who watches movies and TV shows with him while on his couch is also dating him, which means they’re no more special than I am. And when I mentioned how I had considered taking a potential date to an archery range one time, he said that’s something he’d do with friends, but I told him how I differentiate between it being a friends’ outing and a date, and that’s how I’d pay attention to what the other person finds interesting. To me, it’s a date if you actually go out of the house, if you actually do something more than just hang out. 

Trying to date someone, to me, means you actually asked them if they would like to go out on a date, or even if your date idea was a night in, you would at least say, “hey, how about a date night where we stay in and watch that new Marvel movie, and we order Chinese takeout?” If our busy schedules didn’t line up, or I rejected you, then you could say you tried dating me. You tried; I was just too busy. Or maybe you tried; I had already seen the movie you wanted to watch, and you waited for me to decide on an alternate movie to watch, but either we could never agree on something or I was just too indecisive and never got back to you. You tried; I was already seeing someone else and you weren’t aware at the time. You tried; you made the effort, you did everything in your power to go out on a date with me, but I never even met you halfway and I had nothing but reasons and excuses. At that point, you could say you tried. 

But if we never dated, I can’t be considered an ex. I don’t agree with that at all. If I did, I would have a lot more exes. By what unit are we measuring? If we went out for drinks and it was just one night, is that an ex? If we went to dinner, or we played miniature golf, or did both (and I’ve now dated two guys and had dinner and mini golf dates with both guys), does that mean they’re an ex? If it was just a hookup, are they also an ex? I need answers! The only people I consider to be my exes are the ones who actually had a relationship title, they were my boyfriends or they were my fiancé. 

So what does that mean for J? I’ve thought so much about this, and I feel like it’s a vanity thing. I mean, I could understand if someone said to him, “hey, you two get along so well together. Why don’t you ask her out?” If that happened, then I wouldn’t be bothered if he said, “well, I considered dating her, but decided not to.” It still makes me sound like I’m not amazing enough for someone to see if I have any further potential as a lifetime partner, but I would accept it over “I tried to date her.” Trying to date me does sound like I put up some resistance, but in this case I just see J as someone who didn’t try, that using my name is scoring him points. 

No, we’re friends. 

At least this time around, he has a slightly warmer tone when it comes to the guy from work. I suppose that since he’s still around after a year, I can’t call him New Guy. I guess he deserves a nickname as well, and I had been hard-pressed to think of something, but since he and I are watching a cartoon to point out his similarities to its title character, I might as well refer to the guy from work as Bojack. 

Not that Bojack and I are an item, or dating, or any of that. As much as I want to, part of me doesn’t want to lose him as a friend, though part of me wouldn’t mind waking up next to him in the morning. A month ago, I was wishing for his happiness, even if I wasn’t the one that made him happy. Then when things drastically changed for him at work, it had the opposite effect that first day, and in his misery he messaged me, when I was walking on eggshells after some things I had said and thought I had ruined things between us. But I didn’t think of any of that, as I dropped what I was packing to move out and rushed to aid him. As the dust settled, and he thought of all the positive things about the changes at work, his overall mood changed as well. But with it, I found we agree on one thing: 

It’s a bad idea to date coworkers. 

Not that it matters. My wish came true. It’s actually enough for me to be happy, because even though it’s Bojack’s happiness, it’s something I wanted. And something about that feels really good to me right now. 

Breakfast. Tiffany’s.

This has been the most stressful move out of all my relocations, and I’m not quite done yet. 

I think the most stress has been just living in a house that has no heat. Well, that’s not entirely true, there’s the wood stove in the kitchen area, which has caused all my clothes to make me smell like I’ve been around a campfire. Not that there’s anything wrong with campfires, I do prefer it to my clothes reeking of cigarettes (one of many reasons why I don’t smoke), and I’d love to tell everyone I was roasting marshmallows before work or something. There is also a heater in the bathroom, but there’s a gap in the window which brings cold air in and lets the warmer air out. There are also two heaters in the room I’ve been sleeping in, one of which requires propane (of which there’s none in the tank) and the other is an electric fireplace that tripped the circuit breaker when I first tried using it. But I digress, as the heat is only one of the reasons why I needed to get out of the house. 

I’d say one of the other reasons is that the housemate will walk off with my dishes, then not return them to be washed unless I specifically ask, “where’s my plate? Where’s my bowl? What happened to this cup?” He’s about as old as my parents would be, and when asked, he contorts his face as if the rusty gears are trying to go to work inside his mind. I don’t know if it’s an act or if he had really forgotten if he had used certain dishes. 

I would leave for work, and he would get bored and clean. That’s not an issue, really, except that I had things strewn about from when I was trying to go through the boxes of things I was keeping. One day, he went through one of the boxes that belonged to Libra and his family, and somehow the contents got all mixed into my things. It was already an overloaded day for me, and I just found myself mentally shutting down for the evening. 

To some extent, I remember where I’ve left things, to the point where I’m actually freaked out by my own ability to remember certain things. And I remember I had left a certain blue bag in one of my purple plastic crates, that one day had been “tipped over, and its contents spilled out.” Well, the contents weren’t near the crate any longer, and I’m mentally trying to figure if I had placed that robins egg blue bag somewhere else. 

The bag in question came from Tiffany And Co.  Yes, that Tiffany and Co., the one on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. Back in 2013, just after Valentines Day, I was visiting my friend who lives in Queens, and his fiancee and I went into the famed jewelry and home goods store. I bought what was probably the least expensive item in the entire store, a bone china mug in the signature shade of blue, with a white ribbon design molded into the mug. I watched as the saleswoman wrapped the Tiffany Blue box in the white ribbon, then placed it into a shopping bag in the matching blue hue. I paid the $35 plus tax, then descended in the elevator, walked through the main floor of jewelry displays, and headed back out to the street with bag in hand. 

I never did take it out of the bag, or the box. The bag has traveled with me back to the house I lived in at the time, then all the way to New Jersey, then back up to New York when I moved in with Libra. 

I remember showing it to Libra once. Did he take it and give it to someone else? 

Did the housemate take it, when my crate supposedly spilled its contents? Did one of his friends take it when randomly letting themselves in to the house? 

Or have I already packed it, or otherwise not found it in the house? I’m so stressed, I hope it’s fine. 

My mind is thinking about the fact that… it’s gone, in my mind it has to be gone. And all I can think is that someone knows they have something from Tiffany’s, so it’s something special to them. All I can think is, if it was stolen, it was by someone who either has never had the chance to go to Tiffany’s, or they never will have the chance, so all they know is the name and that’s all it means to them. To me, that was a souvenir of a moment in my life that not everyone will get to have, and I’m by no means wealthy, I’m making minimum wages, so this was something nice I bought for myself that wasn’t breaking the bank. 

In terms of monetary value, it’s nothing. I have video game consoles and portable video game devices each costing over $100 each. I have full sets of porcelain dishes that I could probably sell for over $35 unless I wanted to get rid of them as quickly as possible. I have shirts that cost over $10 each, some over $20 each, jeans that cost $60 in store, and I just bought a pair of winter sneakers that cost me $95. But most of these things are barely able to evoke a memory that’s anything more than how I paid for them. 

And how many of these things can I look back on and remember that I was there, Fifth Avenue, across from the store they used as one of the locations in the movie Simply Irresistible. I was in Tiffany And Co., and to be there as someone in my income bracket, it’s something magical. 

I’ll never forget the sound it made when the mug smashed on the ground outside. This mug was the Deadpool mug that Libra bought, when we went shopping at the mall on my birthday. 

“It’s just stuff,” he told me, scoldingly, as a means of convincing me that I should part with most of the things I had acquired and moved from place to place. He told me how he’d always have the memory of buying that Deadpool mug, but he didn’t need to keep it. 

Maybe I do have an unhealthy attachment to a porcelain mug I wasn’t about to use, but it was special to me. I wanted to keep it in perfect condition. 

Tiffany’s doesn’t sell that style of mug anymore, sadly. I’m not going to replace it from an eBay listing. If I replace that mug, I’m going back to Fifth Avenue, I’ll dine in the cafe they added to the store, and I will walk out with a different mug or something of similar cost. And if that too gets stolen from me, well, they can’t take away the rest of the memory. 

Whether Terrified Or Unafraid

Girls don’t do that. And I knew that, and I knew that I’ve failed before. And I knew the timing was off.

Oh, where to begin?

Thursday night, the guy from work got out before me, as expected. That night, when I got home, I was scrolling through Facebook and noticing that the things which usually pull up his name were either absent or missing his name. Photos which he had commented on were without his comments, and the string of comments which remained just seemed incoherent. I clicked for his Facebook profile through the Messenger app, only to be met with an error message. I searched for his name the old fashioned way and found his brother, but the guy from work wasn’t listed among the mutual friends we had.

To me, the absence of his Facebook profile, despite still being on Messenger, was a bad sign. I panicked and worried… a lot. I went to sleep and woke up feeling calm, which upset me because I still wanted to be in fight-or-flight mode. At work on Friday, I wrote him a note that listed a few songs, the lyrics of which were the words I wish I could say to convince him that he’ll get through this, and then I mentioned a few things about him that I was proud of. After that, I admitted that I had lied about the trip where I picked him up to help him get his Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 super deluxe edition, as I said I had dropped a few things of mine off at J’s house which put me in the area, but the truth was that I had planned to drop things off and time got away from me, and I pushed to make the trip just so I could give him a ride and nothing bad would happen.

I added in the message that I wasn’t going to text him and add to his issues over the weekend. After I dropped the note in his mail folder at work, I noticed that with everything going on and his mind being elsewhere, he’s been neglecting everything in his folder. So on Saturday, I debated whether or not to text him and tell him to check his mail folder. Unfortunately, I did make that text.

I was up at J’s house at the time, one of many guests in his house. I had a collective of women to whom I could ask questions, and I did. And I asked, “do you think I should ask this guy out?”

“Do you think he’s into you?”

“Well, yeah, because if he wasn’t. he wouldn’t have stayed in my car for about an hour after work, he’d have said his thanks and gone in the house, right?” I listed off a few other things as well, which were possible events that could have meant something more, I supposed.

I heard, at least twice, “you’re a good person.”

He texted me to ask me why the note, what the purpose was for writing it. Eventually I said that I was working up the nerve to ask him out, but I could also think of a few reasons why he’d probably shoot me down.

“The fact that you even thought that was a good idea to bring up. Full fucking stop on this, dude.”

“Fine,” I said. “I’m sorry. Just.. whatever.”

I don’t think he blocked me, just ignored me sometime after that. I mean, I appear to still have the possibility of sending messages, but I haven’t tried, I don’t dare. I said the wrong thing, at the wrong time. I was aware of it, but I still went for it. My hope was that I could make him feel less alone as he’s going through some rough times.

“… not a good idea right now,” was the message that replayed in my head, forcing me to go back to the stream of messages to read his words over and over. He never said it wasn’t a good time, or that it wasn’t a good idea right now, just that it wasn’t a good idea.

But he didn’t say it wasn’t a good idea, ever. So, maybe?

Oh, give it up. Either his Messenger is acting wonky, or he has it set so that I’m ignored, maybe. Then again, maybe he just hit the switch so that people can’t tell when he’s idle or online. No, that can’t be, because I can’t see the link to view his profile anymore… although, that could be just a result of having his main Facebook profile disabled? I don’t know. But I screwed up, that I do know for sure.

“That was selfish of me.” I said to J, recalling the ride to get his limited edition version of Call Of Duty.

“Selfless,” he retorted. “Self. Less.”

“No, because I’m the one that wanted it. He would have just walked home and been fine with it.”

“Yeah, he would have walked home with $200 worth of video game stuff, and something bad could have happened to him.” Yeah, that was exactly my motivation for doing it, and J understands that. I’m sure the guy from work understands as well, but his roommate probably had some kind of issue with it.

I am selfish, though. I’m the one who wants him to get through this. I’m the one who wants him to be happy. I’m the one who wants him to not have an emotionally toxic environment to go home to. I’m the one who doesn’t want him on happy pills, because I don’t think it’s going to improve things (I’m aware that I’m not a doctor, but even I know that some people are toxic to others).

Just the same, it’s taken me the longest time to see that I don’t need other people in my life. I’ve been comfortable, for a while now, with running errands alone, or going to the movies alone, or even dining out alone. And I don’t even know what the guy from work would really bring into my life, other than he’s a good person and good support system. So I really don’t need him, I never needed him.

From the first time we hung out outside of work, when I wanted to make it so he couldn’t say that no one ever wants to hang out with him, or that he really doesn’t text anyone. I wanted him to not be a homebody, to get out and run some of his own errands. I was already at the mall when I asked him about hanging out, and if he said no at that time, I was already at the mall and doing my own thing, I didn’t need him. Then more recently, when I gave him a ride to get a new computer monitor, he asked if there were any stores I wanted to go to, but I had already completed my mission of buying new jeans a couple weeks prior so I was wandering aimlessly.

I’m not trying to make a situation where he needs me, either. He doesn’t need me, he needs to not give up on himself and what he’s capable of. He needs to want all the things I want for him, all the happiness and satisfaction in his own life that I wish for him. And I know he’s capable of achieving the personal goals he has for himself, he just needs to give himself time and stop beating himself up because life hasn’t turned out as he has wanted.

Well, that cross-country road trip for fun and profit is looking better every day. Just me and the cat, hitting the open road. The fewer personal connections I can make, the better. There are good people in the world, probably not me, but I’m sure they exist, and I’m better off not getting too attached solely because they’re good. I can tell, I’m meant to be alone in this world, because I’m becoming proud of how it doesn’t bother me.

I hope he’ll be okay.

Hope Is A Four Letter Word That I Wrote On My Fingers

So the strangest thing had happened Saturday night.

I woke up to my computer being shut off, along with my Playstation being shut off as well and not in rest mode as I had left it. When I turned the Playstation back on, it complained about being improperly shut down so I went through the prompts to have it check and repair itself. The fact that I woke up to a shut-off computer isn’t all that strange, as I think my body wakes up when it no longer hears the music I had been playing. I turned it back on and resumed playing my iTunes playlist for the remainder of the night. I also noticed I had a response to the last text message I sent, which made me think the delay wasn’t because he passed out for the night.

I fell back to sleep, which is what I wanted to happen but hadn’t realized it happened. See, I was standing near the guy from work, when he gave me a printed out black-and-white picture. It looked like it was printed on regular printer paper, with the edges slightly curling upwards as if the paper had been saturated with too much printer ink. However, the image itself appeared to move, at first appearing to be like a lenticular image that you would turn from side to side to see the motion, though the little bit of motion came without turning the image at all. Eventually, the image played like watching a video online, a similarity to the Harry Potter series that’s not lost on me; the image was a montage of things he must’ve been proud about, or things he wanted to show me because it might have been of interest to me.

By the time the image had actually played like a video, we were somehow divided from a group of people we had joined, the group of people all going to some kind of restaurant. I sat in a section of the restaurant where I could sit by myself and yet still talk to other diners nearby. Towards the end of my time there, some young girl came up to me and handed me a small box, about the size of a man’s billfold wallet. It was a simple cardboard box, and inside was a bracelet that had a silver panel on it with a single word: “Hope.”

Elated, I sprang from my seat and ran around the restaurant, eventually running outside where I finally found him standing nearby a few other people. He was happy, which always looks good on him, and he asked me when he could move in. I was taken aback, slightly confused, but still quite happy in the moment. He said something about trying to be quiet about it, but I was so giddy that I jumped into the air, bending my knees on the way up.

When I woke up for the day, I was in such a good mood! But then I remembered, I was having a dream.

I used to analyze my dreams when I was younger. Some of the dreams I had back then, I can still recall certain details, and I try to figure out if that dream was meant for back then or to prepare me for now.

The hope bracelet stands out to me as something I should focus on. I used to sell some of the bracelets I made, simple beaded designs in pretty colors. Originally I just made bracelets for my own use, but currently I have three bracelets needing to be restrung and I’m wearing two cheap plastic Halloween bracelets I bought from a craft store a few years ago. That being said, if someone gave me a bracelet, I’d probably wear it regularly, which means they put enough thought into who I am and what I might like.

“Much more up your alley,” he said on Saturday, as he shared a song by the band Tiamat. The vocals were haunting and beautiful, a departure from the screaming vocals of some of the other songs he’s been sending my way lately, though a few of those have resonated with me and I’ve come across other similar bands who had a good song or two. It was one thing when he was sending me songs that he liked, or that he said I should listen to; for him to presume that he knew what my alley was and what would be up it… I’m not sure if he was paying attention to something I’m unaware of, or if he was playing Tiamat and just randomly figured I’d like it, but I like it.

Back to the bracelet, and the word of Hope. The bracelet was given to me by a young girl acting as a messenger, in a sense. Somehow, I knew where it came from, I knew it came from him, though I don’t recall him acknowledging that it was he who gave me the bracelet. If the bracelet is just representative of the feeling, then did he give me hope or was it someone else? That being said, should I have hope for things in my waking life? Should I wear this hope, literally and figuratively, not only as a reminder to myself to not give up, but also for others to glance my way and see some kind of positive message?

So what of the image, the moving montage, the brag reel of parts of his life? I would say that’s reality bleeding into my dreams, although the images were different. In our conversation earlier in the evening, he shared with me a picture from a couple years ago, from an event he went to during the day that I had attended after sundown. The event was for a video game, and if I had attended during the day, I would have had a chance to play the demo that I was too late to start, and I would have met him about a year sooner. Though I regret not getting to play the game, I was in a bad place at that time, as I was a month out of my relationship with the ex fiancé, and I was unemployed and couch surfing, so I’m thankful that fate hadn’t crossed our paths at that time. However, it’s still funny to know we were both there.

The first thing that echoed in my mind upon waking from the dream, however, was the idea of keeping things quiet, and how I jumped into the air. To me, that said I’m likely going to give something away, that if this became something more, I’d be obvious about it. I’m actually worried that would be true, or that my behavior suggests that I’d be likely to give it away if we got together like that and he’d err on the side of caution instead.

But it was all just a dream, and whether you believe that a dream is the subconscious sending a message to the conscious thought, or if it’s a message from angels or other divine beings, the fact is that the dream is not going to mean that I’ll end up with the guy from work.

Right?

Right now, he’s going through Hell in his personal life outside of work, which is rough enough that he can’t just leave it at the door, so it’s spilling into his work life and making things miserable.

I was pleasantly surprised to see him tonight at work, as he was covering for someone else. As I walked past him, I ducked my head down to look at his face, to see if I could gauge the mood he was in. When I talked with him on break, it was obvious that he was miserable, and that didn’t change all day as he was still in a mood as we clocked out for the night.

He lit a cigarette and smoked it as soon as he was out of the building, and there was nothing about the way he took a drag that suggested he was calm and collected. I started to say something to him, and while it wasn’t on the subject, he shut me down and said not to talk to him about his personal life. That was fine, because I wasn’t even trying to work through his stuff this time, after already throwing out suggestions to see what he’d be willing to try to see if it would help. So I said to him, “I don’t care what’s going on, all I care is that you’re happy. Happy looks good on you.” He vented out the short version of what’s wrong at that point, as the lit part of the cigarette neared the filter.

“I want food,” he stated.

“What do you want? We’ll get food.”

So we went to a certain place known for their double arches, where he asked me to order one of their burgers and a chicken sandwich for him, and to get whatever I wanted as well. So I ordered the burger, then added, “no pickles.” Oh no, what is he going to think? Because I remembered that modification from the last time we went to that fast food place. My mind remembers these details, and then I never know if it’s being mindful, thoughtful, helpful, or if it’s creepy and I’m trying too hard. In my self-conscious state, I questioned him if it was okay, and he said yes.

By the time we got back to his place, we had been listening to Vanna and he was spending most of the ride talking about their music instead of anything else, which was fine. We sat in front of his house, watching a video on YouTube of a concert performance by Vanna, one of their last as the band had announced they were breaking up. By the time we had even arrived at his house, he wasn’t the same miserable person I spent eight of my ten hours working alongside, he was closer to being that cool person who was fun to be around.

I mean, I hate myself. If my goal was to attract him romantically, on the grounds that the dream suggested we should be romantically paired, then I failed for every time I went looking for him to be by his side, to talk to him over the course of the day. I pushed to make sure that he had a ride home tonight, to the point where I was willing to stay late if he had to cover any call that ran past closing time, just because I didn’t really want him walking home in the rain. I was literally a pest!

But…

If only for the rest of the night, he broke out of his misery. And I feel like I might have been what cracked him, but I can’t say for sure, and I can’t give myself too much credit.

Maybe I’m not the only one who was given hope, or maybe I am the one who reminds others that there is hope for them.

(The title comes from a song called Whether Terrified Or Unafraid by the band 68, yet another band this guy has introduced me to that has a few good songs) 

Captive Audience

My best friend is grieving the loss of her significant other. And, I get it.

How do you go to the grocery store, and look at different items, and not think about another person? It doesn’t matter if it’s some kind of food or condiment you liked but they abhorred, or even if it was something they made for you and you both shared. I almost started crying, just looking at yogurt, thinking about how I didn’t eat greek yogurt regularly until he was in my life.

How do you go anywhere in the world, and not think of that person? I walked around the mall last weekend, past Jared’s Jewelry where he took a picture of me in front of the store when it was closed for the night and I glanced at what remained of the Melting Pot, where I took him for my birthday dinner but that location has since shut down. But that mall was always a favorite spot for me to spend my time and money, so I have every intention of reclaiming my memories of going solo.

How do you live in the same house, when they’re no longer there? I’m not a fan of cleaning my own room, but I just spent part of today cleaning his room and washing his clothes that were on the floor. I feel like someone is going to complain that it’s too soon, especially for the fact that I’m going to move myself into his room. I also feel like someone is going to think something ridiculous, basically undermining my honesty and trustworthiness, because I know how people can be. But the only thing I’ve gotten rid of was the stack of letters that I wrote to him, back when things were good between us. I can’t go back to how things were. Other than that, there are so many things in his room that bring back memories, even if it was just fast food I picked up on the way home. Regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels, I’m going to clean up his room, I’m going to box up his stuff, and it will be ready to go when his dad stops by.

Even though there are memories, I don’t feel like he’s here, or even that feeling that comes when you’re waiting for them to come home. It doesn’t feel lonely here at all. Maybe in a metaphysical sense, he really wasn’t here, even when he was physically present.

But no, Libra isn’t deceased, at least not yet. For the time being, he’s incarcerated while he awaits sentencing for a crime that a jury found him guilty of committing.

I find myself on the other side of the looking glass. I spend 40 hours a week at a job where a third of my calls are from inmates. Now I’m the one putting money on an account so he might call me, I have to try to visit him during certain hours, and I have to abide by strict guidelines when it comes to any of these procedures. I expected that I would have an account on JPay, but his correctional facility uses something similar instead.

I remember my Mom telling me about how she wanted to take my brother and I to visit my uncle when he was in prison, but my Dad told her not to take us, because we might end up glorifying prison life later on, or at least we’d be desensitized. But now here I am, making arrangements to communicate with an inmate.

I don’t think I’ve been desensitized to prison life, either, not from watching Orange Is The New Black, not from taking prison calls, and not from personally knowing someone who’s locked up. However, there are a few things I’ve witnessed from having to process calls from prisoners. I’ve seen people ignore phone calls, with the number of rings on redial being different from the last time the number was called, so you know they’re hanging up. I’ve had people ask how family members are doing, even going so far as to encourage a family member to do well in life. Inmates have families, they have spouses and children, and they want to make sure that things are going well even when they can’t be there to help take care of things. I’ve seen how helpful and generous Libra can be, so I know he’s not a bad person, whether or not he did a bad thing.

But that’s my next problem, is that whether or not he did it, people believe he did it. I live in the house of someone convicted of doing that bad thing. I’m friends with that person who did the bad thing. It really limits the things I might want to sell at a yard sale, if I have one here, or even if I should be festive and celebrate Halloween. I knew of the charges against him, and I still chose to move in, but it was an accusation then whereas now it’s a verdict.

Well, there’s only one direction to go from here, and that’s forward. Forward means new places, new people. Forward means that my memories are just that, and are not binding me to stay in one place. It doesn’t mean I can’t write to or talk to Libra, but since I’m not coming home to him anyway, it doesn’t mean I have to return here, or be here at all. I can be anywhere, I can live my life how I want, where I want. Not that anything really stopped me from leaving before, it’s just that now I feel like I have more of a reason to go.

Meanwhile, as I take the time to figure out my next direction, I will slowly take ownership of his room. If nothing else, it will be more presentable, if someone should happen to stop by to collect his things. And who knows, maybe my efforts will be appreciated.

Also, his room has a heater, my room does not. That’s reason enough to move in there. I’ll be damned if I’m going to freeze this winter.