Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nights like these...

When I find one song and play it over and over again, it either means that the song is absolutely amazing or I'm in the sort of mood that could go to hell at any minute. When I would get panicky in London I would recite Hail Marys. The rhythm and the idea that maybe, just maybe, someone out there would hear and understand would pull me towards the edge of sanity. I also find it's easier to think with that sort of aural repetition, my own particular sort of white noise.

When my relationship with Alex was in its death throes, I kept listening to "Buying Time" by Great Big Sea. It wasn't until a year or so later that I actually sat down and listened to the lyrics and realized that the song perfectly described my vain attempts to keep us together. I'm not sure if the lyrics to today's song will be the same sort of oracle (but I've read them just in case), but I've just hit repeat for the third time in writing this.

I'm up much later than usual, old married lady that I am. AK is by nature a creature of the night. Indeed, his mother recently apologized for passing on that trait. Right now he's sitting on my (little used) exercise ball playing some XBox game about WWII planes. I'm at the dining room table, since this is currently the only place in the house where I can get wireless (hopefully solved on Friday). This chair is incredibly uncomfortable, or maybe I'm just not used to sitting with proper posture.

I'm feeling alone tonight, but it's an okay sort of alone. By nature, I think AK and I are some of the most social anti-social people I know. At times we crave people, but more likely than not we'll spend our nights holed up in our respective rooms reading or gaming or otherwise ignoring the world.

Really, I'm just projecting - I'm far more anti-social than him. In my mind I suppose I'm still 15 and awkward (great progress, since it used to be closer to 13). It's strange sometimes how I can crave people, but it must be the exact sort of people and at the exact right time. Otherwise I just want the world to fuck off a little. I've been taking long walks around the neighborhood behind our apartment every night. AK sometimes joins me, but really I crave the solitude. I let my mind wander or guide it through day dreams or worry about whatever it is that needs to be tossed turned.

Today I thought on the late arrival of our new debit cards, the smell of the new dish soap, how AK had dinner ready when I came home from work yesterday, the usual day dreams of living the life of a single poet in London (the escapist fantasy du jour), the smell of the rain soaked pavement and the growing tightness in my Achilles tendons.

Sometimes I don't understand how I wound up here - in Portland, with AK, with a VC diploma, with sanity, with a life that's seemingly on track and ready to grow. I don't understand why there is a tiny part of me that wishes I were someone else entirely -- someone with a capacity for foreign languages, who travels, who is fearless, who hasn't a large nose and thin hair and thick hips. I look at all my bookmarks about library science and Top Gear episodes, my Goodreads list, my bare bedroom wall and wonder if this is right.

That last sentence makes it all seem a little more "Oh no, existential crisis" than it really is. I suppose since I'm on the edge of the next big step I'm going to freak out a little bit. I remember sitting on the stairs at my parents house the day I was supposed to fly to London. I was crying and crying and couldn't stop. I couldn't properly explain why I was crying - I would miss AK, but there was something else eating at me, something for which I had no words. I haven't the words now, though this ache is more of a dull throbbing, the sort of thing that wouldn't even make you reach for the ibuprofen. The worst it can do it make me question - was I right to do X, to love Y, to let go of Z? As long as I refuse to answer, I'm safe.

These are the nights when I wish I could show up at a door in Brooklyn or Iowa or London or Berkeley, completely unannounced. These are the nights when my comfort in solitude turns slowly into apprehension, apprehension to panic, panic to terror if not checked. These are the nights when I wish I had a patrolled campus spread before me, a pile of homework to hide underneath. These are the nights when I need that dream of a new and better me, something I can pull around me that's safe and familiar, like the sweater I would steal from the back of my mother's door on the few nights she actually went out.

These are the nights when the words just seem to show up and fall out behind the cursor, unbidden. I'll leave them here and head to bed, after just one more repeat.

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