My best friend is grieving the loss of her significant other. And, I get it.
How do you go to the grocery store, and look at different items, and not think about another person? It doesn’t matter if it’s some kind of food or condiment you liked but they abhorred, or even if it was something they made for you and you both shared. I almost started crying, just looking at yogurt, thinking about how I didn’t eat greek yogurt regularly until he was in my life.
How do you go anywhere in the world, and not think of that person? I walked around the mall last weekend, past Jared’s Jewelry where he took a picture of me in front of the store when it was closed for the night and I glanced at what remained of the Melting Pot, where I took him for my birthday dinner but that location has since shut down. But that mall was always a favorite spot for me to spend my time and money, so I have every intention of reclaiming my memories of going solo.
How do you live in the same house, when they’re no longer there? I’m not a fan of cleaning my own room, but I just spent part of today cleaning his room and washing his clothes that were on the floor. I feel like someone is going to complain that it’s too soon, especially for the fact that I’m going to move myself into his room. I also feel like someone is going to think something ridiculous, basically undermining my honesty and trustworthiness, because I know how people can be. But the only thing I’ve gotten rid of was the stack of letters that I wrote to him, back when things were good between us. I can’t go back to how things were. Other than that, there are so many things in his room that bring back memories, even if it was just fast food I picked up on the way home. Regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels, I’m going to clean up his room, I’m going to box up his stuff, and it will be ready to go when his dad stops by.
Even though there are memories, I don’t feel like he’s here, or even that feeling that comes when you’re waiting for them to come home. It doesn’t feel lonely here at all. Maybe in a metaphysical sense, he really wasn’t here, even when he was physically present.
But no, Libra isn’t deceased, at least not yet. For the time being, he’s incarcerated while he awaits sentencing for a crime that a jury found him guilty of committing.
I find myself on the other side of the looking glass. I spend 40 hours a week at a job where a third of my calls are from inmates. Now I’m the one putting money on an account so he might call me, I have to try to visit him during certain hours, and I have to abide by strict guidelines when it comes to any of these procedures. I expected that I would have an account on JPay, but his correctional facility uses something similar instead.
I remember my Mom telling me about how she wanted to take my brother and I to visit my uncle when he was in prison, but my Dad told her not to take us, because we might end up glorifying prison life later on, or at least we’d be desensitized. But now here I am, making arrangements to communicate with an inmate.
I don’t think I’ve been desensitized to prison life, either, not from watching Orange Is The New Black, not from taking prison calls, and not from personally knowing someone who’s locked up. However, there are a few things I’ve witnessed from having to process calls from prisoners. I’ve seen people ignore phone calls, with the number of rings on redial being different from the last time the number was called, so you know they’re hanging up. I’ve had people ask how family members are doing, even going so far as to encourage a family member to do well in life. Inmates have families, they have spouses and children, and they want to make sure that things are going well even when they can’t be there to help take care of things. I’ve seen how helpful and generous Libra can be, so I know he’s not a bad person, whether or not he did a bad thing.
But that’s my next problem, is that whether or not he did it, people believe he did it. I live in the house of someone convicted of doing that bad thing. I’m friends with that person who did the bad thing. It really limits the things I might want to sell at a yard sale, if I have one here, or even if I should be festive and celebrate Halloween. I knew of the charges against him, and I still chose to move in, but it was an accusation then whereas now it’s a verdict.
Well, there’s only one direction to go from here, and that’s forward. Forward means new places, new people. Forward means that my memories are just that, and are not binding me to stay in one place. It doesn’t mean I can’t write to or talk to Libra, but since I’m not coming home to him anyway, it doesn’t mean I have to return here, or be here at all. I can be anywhere, I can live my life how I want, where I want. Not that anything really stopped me from leaving before, it’s just that now I feel like I have more of a reason to go.
Meanwhile, as I take the time to figure out my next direction, I will slowly take ownership of his room. If nothing else, it will be more presentable, if someone should happen to stop by to collect his things. And who knows, maybe my efforts will be appreciated.
Also, his room has a heater, my room does not. That’s reason enough to move in there. I’ll be damned if I’m going to freeze this winter.