Tag Archive | friends

Weeb-ing a Spell

“I’m going to get a bunch of Ramune today,” said Pete, after I replied to his Facebook message from last night. Later he sent me a picture from the store where he bought the glass-bottled “marble soda” drinks.

“Wes bought this and I couldn’t help but think of you.” This message came from another friend today, with a picture of candy sushi being held by a guy who I assume is the aforementioned Wes.

Lately at work, I’ve been catching up on my manga, getting back to reading Maid Sama! and ordering the volumes I lack.

While waiting for the deliveries in the mail, I read Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn, a young adult mystery novel about a teen girl who goes to Japan with her father, and while he’s busy with his assigned task, she’s tracking down clues as to what happened with a missing van Gogh painting. While it was somewhat enjoyable, I found a number of ways in which the writing could be improved, though I’m probably not the intended audience.

And when I haven’t been reading, or haven’t been at work, I’ve been getting back to learning Japanese. While at work, I have a kanji workbook, and I’ve practiced ichi, ni, san, yon, and go, or the numbers one through five. At night, I’ve been getting back into Duolingo, so far maintaining an 8-day streak while retaking lessons I worked on over a year ago.

I figured I would work on my Japanese some more to make it easier for myself when I manage to go to Japan, hopefully to start with going to a Japanese language school (hear me out: immersion. I’ll be forced to practice in my daily life) and have at least a year-long visa. I understand that if I try to go for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, or JLPT, and I manage to pass the N5 (basic Japanese proficiency) or N4 (a higher level of fluency, more conversational), it would help me get closer to the blue collar work visa when they finalize the requirements, but my weight would still present an issue. Regardless of that, if my skill with the language helps me get into the country, it’s a good start.

I didn’t stop at just reading manga and practicing my Japanese at work. I got mad at a coworker, and instead of being aggressive about it, I played up one of his insults for me, and let my weeaboo flag fly. To be fair, I don’t consider myself to be a weeaboo, just a Japanophile at best, and even then I have plenty of interests that don’t involve Japan. But I started wearing more of my anime and J-rock shirts to work, and I started wearing cat ear headbands. I had hoped that he wouldn’t want to be around me.

I don’t really understand why I am both comfortable and out of place while wearing the cat ear headbands. Obviously I’m the only one with cat ears, which makes me stand out, but no one seems to care, or they give me compliments if they do care. I’m reminded of the Japanese phrase that, translated, says that the nail that sticks out is the one that’s hammered down. Basically, if you don’t conform, you will be made to conform. But no one is making me change, no one is telling me to take off the cat ears, no one is telling me to only read novels if they’ve been approved by wealthy former talk show hosts, no one is telling me I shouldn’t be wearing certain shirts.

And worst of all, the coworker who upset me seems to still want to sit near me, which is the opposite of what I intended. Maybe he knows it’s frustrating me that my plan is backfiring, or maybe he’s using it to try and frustrate me. To be fair, though, the day he got me mad, it was “straw breaking the camel’s back,” I was wearing a new dress and felt ecstatic in it, but “trouble” came and I didn’t want to ruin the dress, and he seemed uncomfortable to be sitting next to me while I actually looked like a girl that day. So after I got back from my lunch break, he fed me a line that I could see through clearly. My supervisor asked me to take over a call elsewhere on the call floor, and after I finished the call, I used paid time off and left for the day. I was able to take care of what bothered me, and I had a wonderful afternoon as a result.

Maybe that’s what it is. I’m being a little more true to myself. My heart is in Japan, because there’s a guy there and I’m hoping for the best with that, but if that fails, I would have still managed to achieve a dream, I would go where I’m around a lot of the things that bring me joy. And maybe people are seeing that I’m happy when I’m around things relating to Japan. It’s kind of nice, though, to know that there’s something in this world that reminds people of me.

In the newest training class, there’s an Asian guy. In the looks department, he’s fairly average, and he reminds me of Gedde Watanabe from Gung Ho and Sixteen Candles in that respect. I’d date him, but… at this point, I’m starting to feel guilty for having feelings for Libra, for Bojack, for J, and I feel like anyone else would be a further distraction from my travel goals and possibly ending up with my friend in Japan. But oh, as I was walking down the hallway towards the break room, and he was heading towards the training room, when he said, “nice cat ears,” I melted a bit.

It’s good to be myself.

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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!

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) 

Orange Crush

I’ll never forget the night I came home with his phone number.

Back when I was living with J, a guy at work gave me his Playstation Network ID, which took me a few tries to decipher his handwriting before I was able to add him. Sometime after that day, I was given his phone number, and I was grinning from ear to ear as I walked home. I don’t often get guy’s phone numbers, and usually when I do, it’s someone I have no intention of contacting ever again (which is part of being a woman, I guess, feigning interest just to get away from a guy without starting a problem).

Anyway, we ended up hanging out one day, because I had the day off and was content with doing my own tour of the mall. I left the mall to pick him up, only to bring him back to the mall for a little while.

Prior to picking him up, I had made a playful comment that was taken as a double entendre. My intentions for the day weren’t more than platonic, as I simply enjoyed his company and wanted to spend time away from the office. Well, something happened… and after it did and we had parted ways for the night, I said that what happened was because he wanted it, which in hindsight sounds like I had regrets, or that I felt coerced or even forced, but that’s really not the case.

I suppose you could say I’m “all or nothing” when it comes to certain physical acts. However, I have an odd history when it comes to casual sex partners, which is why I don’t want to have any more casual sex partners. I mean, the guy who deflowered me would only talk to me about sex later on, so I lost a friend who made me a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards and would talk about different movies that I now enjoy, but the final nail in the coffin was his current political stance. Another guy, who was only vaguely memorable for the physical stuff, was more memorable for the conversations we had, as he grew up on the west coast and had experience with hallucinogenic substances and I still lived on the east coast and was too afraid to even try pot. I actually miss that west coast dude, and I wonder what he’s up to these days, but I realize he didn’t send me any messages because he simply wanted to talk, so my purpose in his life has ended. So that’s my thing, either the friendship is lost, or it was never really there, so I’d rather not do something that could cloud my judgment if this person happens to be pretty shitty.

To be honest, the guy from work kind of reminds me of West Coast Guy. It could be the chill attitude, the nicotine reliance, the physical build,… I don’t know, but they are two separate people.

Recently, we were geeking out over Coheed And Cambria, comparing favorite songs off each previous album, to which we have similar tastes. Most of his favorite music is heavy metal that I’ve never heard of before, but sometimes he delights me with covers of popular songs that I know but wouldn’t otherwise listen to of my own volition. But to sit there and compare favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, with someone who seems to have a little more than just a passing interest, that’s an amazing feeling for me considering my passion for the music i connect with.

Overall, I found myself talking with him more often in recent days, and for no real reason so of course my mind has to justify it. Since I work with him, I was contacting him on the day of Libra’s verdict to give an idea of how late I was running, and that day he was one of the first people I saw once I got to work, and told me I should go home instead of clocking in. I asked him for a hug when I saw him, expecting to be rejected since we work together, but he gave me a half hug in consideration of me being over encumbered with coffee and leftovers from lunch. I stopped by work a couple of days later, on a night that I wasn’t working but he was, because I wanted to show that I was already doing better than the last time he saw me. I had forgotten I was still wearing makeup from my solo trip to the mall, so now I’m wondering if it was noticed and given a second thought.

I feel like I’m developing a crush on him, which isn’t to say I wasn’t before. But after that one night, when he started sitting next to another girl at work, and then someone else, I nodded my head and applauded my decision to not reduce what we had to something physical. But now, I want to go out on dates with him, especially because I know him well enough now that I think there would be something more than sex between us. Then again, I don’t think I’m really his type, just that we get along well. And then, I thought about it in the car tonight, that if we dated or this did get physical or whatever, I would end up losing someone who’s become one of my favorite guy friends. So maybe, just maybe, this is how it’s meant to be between us and nothing more. Also, I’m dealing with feminine stuff right now, in addition to life weaning me off Libra, so I wonder if this crush isn’t just a neurochemical cocktail designed to ward off a cold and lonely winter, so to speak.

Eh, I should just view it as I’m spending time with him while I can, before I leave the company for another job elsewhere, or before I leave the state to try living somewhere else for a while. If something is really going to happen, it will happen, right? And if not, then I’m right about us being good friends and that we should not mess with that.

Yeah, after everything I’ve been through, maybe I should take a break from a lot of things for a while. What’s meant to stay will stay, whats meant to return will return.

Mission: Adventure!

My time in this house with Libra is nearing its end.

I knew this was coming, before I agreed to moving in with him. However, I didn’t know when. He didn’t even know when, because there was no set date. As much as I don’t want to be vague, since it sounds like we’ve just reached a point where we can’t stand each other, I unfortunately have to be vague for the sake of privacy and personal information. Yeah, it sucks, but I don’t feel as if I’m at liberty to discuss such things.

Ah, but tragedy befalls other friends as well, as my best friend suffered a tragic loss. There’s a lot going on with that, so I should probably hold my figurative tongue. So much going on in life, not at liberty to discuss any of it.

Well, one of these two situations provided me an excellent opportunity!

I was asked if I would personally deliver some legal papers to an address in Buffalo. I agreed, solely because i had the time and I was helping out a friend in need. So preparations were made, Libra gave my car an oil change, I was given gas money by the friend I was helping, and I set off on my whirlwind adventure.

It’s been years since I’ve been to Buffalo. I’ve driven through the area more recently than I had last visited, as we (Mom and I, for example) would have to pass through the area on the way to visit my brother when he still lived in Pennsylvania. The last time I had visited was when I was spending time with my first ex, which was about ten years ago.

I didn’t want to just go, drop off the papers, and then turn back around.

Libra was going to go with me, but then he changed his mind for reasons I understood. Had he accompanied me, I might have tried looking for the two bars that my ex had visited, as I felt like Libra might have enjoyed the bar that had a devil theme to it. Then again, I felt like Libra might not have cared what we did, except to tell me that he didn’t want to be with me while I rekindled memories.

I ended up going alone, which is not a problematic situation for me. So I chose the music, brought some snacks, and headed out on my three-hour-long journey.

When I was almost to my destination, I sent a message to the friend I was helping. I was then informed that the recipient wouldn’t be home for about two more hours. Well, I did plan to occupy more of my time while I was out, did I not? So I pulled into a parking lot for some business that was closed, either for the day or forever, and I searched Google for something that would cater to my interests.

Asian markets.

In hindsight, I don’t know why I searched for Asian markets. It’s not as if I couldn’t make a day trip to Syracuse for Asian food, or just popped in to Wegmans after work for their limited selection of goods. Furthermore, it’s not as if I actually needed anything, as I still had two bottles of Calpico in the fridge, I had ramen, panko bread crumbs, okonomiyaki flour,… I did not need anything more. Why I didn’t search for something entertaining, like a science museum or an arcade, is beyond me.

Lucky Dragon was closed for the day, which was only a disappointment in that I couldn’t say I visited a store with Dragon in the name. My first stop was then Hana Mart, a shop with about a third of the floor space of Han’s. I’m not kidding, the floor space was about the size of someone’s living room. It was tiny! But what the store lacked in floor space, it made up for in selection, as I found a few things I wouldn’t have found elsewhere. The girl behind the register was so nice and friendly, and we talked about how baked goods always taste better while they’re warm, after she passed along the suggestion that the brownie-cookies I bought would taste better after being in the microwave for a moment.

I consulted my phone again, this time finding another store that was occupying a repurposed Walmart. The store is called Asia Food Mart, and the entrance is flanked by a pair of lion statues, just like the other Asian market that I know of in Syracuse. Like that Syracuse store, there is more of an emphasis on Chinese food and culture, although other Southeast Asian countries are represented as well. But unlike that store in Syracuse, this one had a nook with furniture in it, and one corner of the store displayed porcelain dishes with small spotlights focused on the items, and glass display cases arranged in a rectangle with jewelry pieces and jade knick-knacks on display for purchase. There was also more Indian food and seasoning as well. I bought a lot of drinks, from canned coffee to juice with bits of coconut in it. I also bought some jelly snacks, which are closer in consistency to gelatin than to something you might spread on toast. I told myself I was going to avoid anything that needed refrigeration, which probably saved me some money though I might have missed out on having ice cream mochi as a treat in the car. At least I know the other Asian store in the Syracuse area has ice cream mochi, so I’m not at a loss. But what I didn’t know, or at least what I didn’t realize at the time, was that the Asia Food Mart in Buffalo is a sister store to the Asia Food Mart in Syracuse, the place I keep using for comparisons. No wonder they have so much in common!

Half way through the Asia Food Mart, and when my phone wanted to deliver a message, I got a message from my friend saying that my recipient had arrived at home. My friend was anxious for me, and everyone was fearing that the scene would be more eventful than it was. I didn’t mind taking my time to finish up in the store, as it allowed my recipient to get comfortable for a bit, though I’m aware that it only drew things out for my friend. But I navigated back to the given address, confirmed I had the correct recipient, then dropped off the papers and fled the scene. There was no confrontation, probably because my recipient was blindsided and confused. Hey, I’m just the delivery girl, I did what I was asked to do.

I parked in another parking lot, then made the necessary phone calls to say it was done and how little I had to deal with. Then I recalled seeing a listing for a ramen restaurant, which I searched for as it was nearing dinnertime and I was not going to do drive-thru if I could help it. The first five listings, when searching for ramen near me, were all for Sato Ramen, located near the University of Buffalo campus. My first thought was that this is obviously “the” place to go for ramen, so I went there. The food was amazing, of course! I’m pretty sure the portion of ramen I had was an American-sized portion, and with my okonomiyaki fries on the side, it was too much for me to eat in one sitting. I’ve heard in Japan, you can’t just get your leftovers to go, but since we’re in America (and again, that was a generous portion, I’m not even kidding), the restaurant had to-go containers. With my leftovers packed up, I returned to the car.

At this point, it’s after 6 pm on a Sunday night. The mall was closed, in fact a few things would’ve been closing up for the night if they weren’t already.  I already told myself I wasn’t going to cross into Canada, which is why I left my birth certificate at home (birth certificates along with photo ID can apparently be used in lieu of passports or the enhanced drivers license to cross the border into Canada). That didn’t mean I couldn’t go to Niagara Falls, it just meant I couldn’t go to the Canadian side of the Falls. So, I plotted a course for the Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls USA.

That was the second time I had been to the Hard Rock Cafe on the American side of the Falls, the first time being when I took another friend of mine to the area to pick up her daughter. That was before I met my first ex. I bought a t-shirt and a necklace at that time, along with the Shakira pin which is one of my favorite pins yet – it’s a pink winged guitar! This time, I bought two shirts, a necklace, and three different pins. I couldn’t resist the one shirt, as it had a guitar with wings on it, and it wasn’t until I was wearing it at work the next day that it reminded me of Kyosuke Himuro and some of his merchandise. I wanted to get dessert, but I had already transferred money out of my savings account to pay for shirts I didn’t need after buying Asian groceries I didn’t need.

After I left the Hard Rock Cafe, I walked around a building that housed an international food court and a gift shop. I walked in because the Chinese eatery advertised bubble tea, but then I didn’t buy anything, not even the bubble tea. When I was looking through the gift shop, I thought about different people and what I might buy for them. Libra might’ve received a pocket knife with his name on it, and I might’ve purchased a shot glass for one of the guys at work who’s a close friend. The only thing stopping me was knowing how much I had already spent on the trip, though I also considered the gift-giving gesture would be appreciated but the gift would be unwanted.

I was quickly running out of daylight, so I decided not to stay at the Falls for too much longer. Besides, the Falls are spectacular at night… from the Canadian side, not the American side. Since I had to work the next day, and I needed to get home without passing out and crashing the car, I figured it was best if I ended my adventure, at least for this time around.

I hated having to leave for home. Home, of course, being the place where I rest my head at night. I could’ve rested my head in a hotel room, but I wouldn’t have been ready for work, and I can’t just do my job remotely. So that got me thinking, I should get a remote job, I should just go to different places, especially places I’ve never been before.

So that is my plan, at least the most generalized version of it. I will get a remote job, I’ll quit being a relay operator, and I’m going to see more of the United States. Because if I leave for Japan, there are things I’ll have never seen in my own country and might never see, and I’ll have to fly over all of it anyway. So then I thought about taking a train across the country, to at least see the landscapes, then hop a flight to Japan from the west coast. Finally I thought about just taking a road trip across the country, instead of taking a train, before I conceded that Japan isn’t in my budget yet. So how will I afford this excursion? I’ll stay in one place for a few weeks, then go somewhere else.

For now, though, I will prepare, because this is going to be a long journey, and I don’t quite feel prepared for it yet. But when I am ready and I head out, I hope it’s going to be worthwhile!

Follow The Love

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

Perhaps a trip to Japan is exactly what I need.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But overall, follow the love.

Map out the love.

Be a beacon so others can find love.

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