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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.

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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.

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.

So I Wrote A List And Went To A Party

After J started dating his current girl, I channeled my emotions through pen onto paper. I sat down and wrote a list, or three lists, dealing with what I wanted in love and the lustful side as well, not to mention what I hoped to find in a partner.

The list wasn’t done in one day, nor did I intend for it to be so quickly compiled and absolutely written.

It started with things that were definite, like I definitely want a guy with fair skin, and eyes that can hold my gaze. I definitely want to be in a relationship and not a casual fling, I definitely want to be with someone who has much in common with me but is still different and makes up for what I lack.

I added to the list as I lived. I read about Japanese relationships, about how Japanese women have no moves in bed, and how some Japanese guys get startled when foreign girls actually do stuff or how they wish their Japanese women would do more than stay still. So in the list of lust, I wrote, “If I’m expected to lay there and do nothing, then I expect to be tied up and/or tied down. Just saying.”

As I added items to the list, I thought more about what I wanted, things I haven’t had in a relationship, things that seem old fashioned but that were probably still being done in the 1980s or so. For example, I wrote down that I would like to receive flowers, just not for Valentine’s Day when they’re marked up in price, and not after an argument because it doesn’t actually fix the issue. But after I wrote that, I realized it contradicted my statement about only wanting a guy to buy me things I need, even though gifts and such would still be appreciated. But it also reminded me of the ex fiancé, how he would buy roses for me at the Renaissance Faire, so I added that I didn’t want to get roses just because a guy feels like he has to since “that’s what guys do,” I wanted a guy to buy me flowers because he knows I like flowers or he sincerely feels like buying flowers.

My intention was to reach a point where I felt the list was fairly complete, that I had considered as many factors from my life as I possibly could, from turn-ons to annoyances and everything in between. At that point, I figured I would give the list to J, because either it’s all coincidence or he has a fairly decent command of the universe and the energies held within and all of that stuff that I can barely explain because I don’t know how he does it. Then again, I’ve had my own moments since moving in here, which I assumed were because of things I told him about and he made good things happen for me. Well, J never saw the list, at least not yet.

One thing is for certain, which is to say I realized J isn’t the right one for me. There are things about him I wished were different, which is normal, but I feel like he won’t be someone I really want to spend the rest of my life with.

J’s girlfriend said she might stop by after work on Friday, so J was hoping I’d be a little more social and actually talk to her. Well, my best friend, whose birthday falls five days before mine and who was born about five years after me, was having her party on Friday. I never told J about the party, not only because I figured he would probably choose to stay home, but because I didn’t even know if I was going to go. With J’s girlfriend coming over, and me waking up from a  weird and horrible dream that really got me down, the only right thing to do was to go to this party, drink something with alcohol, and try to neither sit in the corner or monopolize the party by drawing attention to myself.

I came home from work, and within 20 minutes I put the dog out and changed my clothes. There was a goth theme to the party, and while I’ve never been a goth, I have shopped at Hot Topic once or twice. I put on my black skirt from the Ren Faire, then paired it with a lacy spaghetti-strap tank top which was also black. I was going to wear a black cardigan, but my Pokemon hoodie had pockets which everything else was lacking, and it too was black. I added a beaded cross necklace and feather earrings, which did come from Hot Topic, and my outfit was complete. I could have spent more time making myself pretty, but this is just a party at my friend’s place, where everyone is either already attached or wouldn’t be interested in me anyway, so I was safe to just enjoy myself. After all, I wasn’t going to the party to meet people, I was going there to spend time with a friend I don’t often see, and she couldn’t care less about how I was dressed or groomed… within reason, of course.

When I got there, I couldn’t park in the small lot where I parked last year. So I called my friend to ask her where it was best to park, and she said in front of her place, that I could just park behind the little pickup truck that looked as if it was built from random parts of other trucks. It was dubbed the Frankentruck, and its owner couldn’t prevent the teasing. It reminded me of the Johnny Cash song where he talks about walking off with all of these various car parts and then has assembled them into a vehicle of mixed years and such.

After I parked behind Frankentruck and came inside, I found a seat in the living room near Frankentruck’s owner. He was a guy about my age, fair skin, dark hair, wearing a black dress shirt with white and reddish-brown stripes. From that point, the timeline got blurry. We shared a few laughs, I helped him make more of the mixed drink he made for the party, it was a good time.

At one point while sitting beside him, his fingers started stroking my hand. Eventually, his fingers linked mine. I don’t even remember when we started kissing, but we did, seated next to each other while party people were partying next to us in the living room.

My car followed the Frankentruck back to his place, but not before my friend sang the praises of this guy who I just met. Before that, I had to ask if she could assist me in my need for feminine hygiene products, because I was self conscious and unprepared for any outcome other than going straight home after the party. But it was after 4 in the morning, and I didn’t feel tired, but sleep was probably the smartest thing I could have done at that point.

Yeah, sleep.

I slept face down next to him, and was comforted by his hand stroking my back every so often. When I woke up, I was still under the same blanket as he was, still laying beside him and touching, which seemed hard to believe because I’m used to guys saying they get too warm laying beside me. I hadn’t considered that, but mentally I added that to my list, that it would be nice to sleep beside someone who didn’t feel overheated beside me.

It was at one point, when I realized I was focused on his eye color as much as I was focused on just staring at the edge of his contact lenses, that I recalled my list item that said something about having eyes that held my gaze. And, check.

In fact, while we sat in my car the next day, he checked off a few more things. He replaced the windows in his house, by himself? Knows home repair, check. His talk about car repair checked off the item where he would need more skill than I have. He mentioned going out to see live music at a bar, and I knew I found someone who wants to go out and do things instead of just staying at home watching movies and tv shows.

Within 22 hours, he went from being this guy who I never met before (that I’m aware of, so far) to being the kind of guy I’m clearly looking for in life.

And yes, from the time I arrived at the party, to the moment I left his place, I had spent 22 hours with him. If he didn’t have plans for later that evening, and if I wasn’t worried about dealing with J because I hadn’t returned home and was therefore postponing the grocery shopping until the evening, I don’t think I could have left his side. I could have cuddled him forever, gently running my fingers through his hair. I could have talked with him about anything, the conversations seemed to flow endlessly, I was never bored, I was enlightened and I could contribute my knowledge and opinions freely and it would only enrich the conversation and bring about more knowledge from him. And as for kissing and all else, I can’t begin to describe how perfect all of that feels with him, and yet if I couldn’t be in his presence to kiss him and such, I know there is still more to him that I’m seriously admiring right now.

I felt love for him before we shared his bed, before we left my friend’s house, after we had been kissing. I could see myself sitting beside him, embracing him warmly and tenderly, nothing even remotely sexual about it. But it’s too soon to feel that way, or to even call it that, right?

I am so very scared.

It all feels too perfect.

I’m waiting for fate to give me the punchline to this cosmic joke. It feels like fate is saying, “No joke this time, go for it.”

But if I go for it, what if I say or do the wrong thing, and it fails?

Ah, but what if everything I do or say isn’t so bad?

What if I’m everything on his list as well?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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