factory settings. april 24th.

yesterday was kit's birthday.

today the celebration continues, in a bigger way. more festively.

and in honor of her birthday, i'm stealing something from her.

she posted about her factory settings. and posed the question, 'what are your factory settings?' i've been thinking about it a lot since i read hers, because i really liked the post.

the thing is, in my newfound single-ness, i'm terrified. like i hit the reset button, and midway through wiping everything clean, realized that there was a lot of shit i forgot to protect and save.

i know who i am. and i know my patterns. and i don't want to continue to be that person, making the same mistakes repeatedly.

so what i think i might do, is think about my factory settings as they were. the ones i'll most likely return to.

and then really try to think about which of them i want to not return to, once the reset is complete.

so. without further ado... my factory settings:

1. i overthink EVERYTHING. i am a head case. since i was 19, friends frustratedly tell me to get out of my head. and i cannot.

2. i am stubborn. i always have been. i get it from my dad. once i decide something, it is decided. and if i realize i'm wrong, then i'll punish myself by sticking to my guns.

3. i am impatient. especially when i'm driving. or waiting in a line at a store. or walking behind people who take up too much space to be able to walk around them. sometimes i don't give people a chance, because i think i know them before i have a chance to, and don't take the time to get to. also i jump to a lot of conclusions before hearing something out. and i have a bad habit of trying to finish people's sentences. i used to think it was cute and kinda romantic ('i can finish your sentences! we think alike!'), but now i cringe when i do it. because it's almost almost never what they were going to say, or were getting at.

4. conversely, i also give people too much credit, especially when it's not due. i tend to put people on pedestals without really knowing them or what they believe in.

5. i always opened my mouth to speak, and watched the boys run. i say too much, too soon. and usually put it in writing.

i'm working on this one. i love writing letters. i love writing love letters that i'll never actually send. i usually keep copies for myself if i do send a letter.

i have a shoebox full of letters i've received, and copies of letters where i spilled my guts to boys and promptly found myself alone. i go through the letter box less often than my journals. maybe once every four or five years. but it has the same illness-inducing effects. and the 'what the FUCK was i thinking's.

6. i love with all of my heart. i give my heart away too quickly. i gave it to someone a long time ago, who wasn't exactly deserving. and i intend to take it back in july. or at least the majority of it. but i'm afraid it will backfire. like it did in december.

7. i re-read all of my old journals start to finish, about once a year, usually when i'm completely unsatisfied with my life.

i think of this one as being the most important of the list.

the thing is, i really beat myself up. because i read them knowing the outcome, obviously. and i see where i fucked things up. i always wish for reconnections. and i can always see exactly where i went wrong. it is PAINFUL. it is torturous. and every time a relationship ended, i wondered why i let it go, or why i left, or how i got left behind.

i usually wind up depressed for a solid week after the couple of weeks it takes me to read them. and also during.

i want to write a memoir. and then seal the box of journals and never open it again. or at least not every year. i tried to start one, but didn't know what approach to take. so i stopped the same day i started. until i come back to it...

i do the same thing with photo albums. i go through my old photo albums and laugh, remembering. and also cry. about once a year - usually immediately after i read the last journal.

and just remember.

8. and then wish for a time machine to go back and change things.

9. i latch on to things in an addictive way. a game on facebook (bejeweled, then farmtown, then farmville, now scrabble). facebook in general. a friend. a boy. places.

10. i overuse words that make me seem less smart than i am: 'dude', 'duder', 'like', 'anyway/s', 'fuck/fucking', 'shit', 'thing', 'stuff', 'bummer'.

ever used to say 'tea. use your words.'

like i was a child. yeah, he was an asshole the majority of the time, but his point was also valid. i'm really good at talking around things instead of about things.

i also say 'i don't know' pretty often.

11. without being diagnosed as bipolar, i have manic and depressive phases. i write prolifically, or not at all. i sleep for a couple hours, or for ten. i'm really excited and giggling, or crying for days on end. i don't read, or i read five books in a month (like this one).

12. i have stalker tendencies. and i get jealous. facebook is the best worst thing for this problem. wondering what someone really means by what they say. someone standing a little too close next to someone in a picture. seeing pictures of people together, when i didn't go and missed out. things i missed out on when i left home. etcetera, etcetera.

13. i do my best writing when i'm heartbroken. or have a muse. which is usually both. i wish i didn't believe this. but i still haven't been able to escape writing only what i know. i need help with this.

14. the most important one might actually be a tie. because the one i am actively working on, that i want to banish from my factory settings is that i let other people decide my happiness for me.

say i like someone. if that person isn't all about me, i cry. if that person flakes on me, i cry. if that person shoots me down, i cry. if something doesn't work out exactly how i hope for it to, i cry.

i've never let myself be alone. i've never been happy alone. i always defined my happiness by the person who is making me happy at the time, and it doesn't even have to be a boy.

right now, i keep saying that i want to be alone. but i don't. not at all. i'm just FORCING myself to be. because i know that i have to. plus, i believe that if i just do it, i'll get better at it. there's only one way to find out. august 14th is marked on my calendar. that is six months from the day ever and i split. september 6th is also marked. that is six months from the day i moved out.

i will not do anything that resembles this thing called dating until then.

august 12th is the meteor shower at dark sky park. hopefully i'm not tempted to drag a boy there with me...though that is doubtful. i can't think of a better 2-days-before-deadline-first-date. luckily, i have a date. her name is kit.

separate, but also related:

i feel like i didn't have a best friend during most of my marriage.

one day, about a year ago or so, i was talking to ever, and i said something about feeling like i don't have a best friend. he was really hurt by it, because he thought he was my best friend. but he really wasn't anywhere near it. and sometimes i don't think he really knew me at all.

and it really got to me.

i felt completely isolated and alone. i'd been unhappy for years, and had no one to talk to who didn't know ever. i hadn't reconnected with nina yet, i hadn't met kit yet. i hadn't reconnected with nate yet. and the rest of my past friends/best friends hadn't called me to check on me, or returned my phone calls. and if they talked to me, it was all about them, and they never even asked how i was.

so i spent a lot of time feeling really hurt. only i didn't do anything about it. except wallow and hold grudges. (maybe now i should make a 14.5 that reads 'is passive')

i feel like i usually put more into my friendships and relationships than i get out of them. and when i don't get out what i put in, i feel like people don't care about me as much as i care about them. and that makes me really really sad. which is why i was depressed for the majority of the last seven years.

i was always better at being friends with boys than girls. but because i was married, i didn't think it was okay to be like that anymore. for the most part, my best friends have been girls. but the girls that i met here just didn't seem like best friend material (during the first six years, i should specify, because alice and kit are amazing, but i didn't know them then).

it sounds so childish to label someone as my 'best' friend. but it's my history. i could tell you every best friend i've had, every year of my life. it's pretty crazy. apparently i've hated being alone for as far back as i can remember. since i was four?

15. i suck at playing hard to get. if i want something, i have no shame and say so. i hate the games that people play with each other. if you like me, tell me. call me, spend time with me.

don't act all aloof and uninterested. because i'm going to take it at face value, and start trying to get over you.

it's why i think i am being honest when i say that i never 'dated'. because i never treated anyone casually. and i like being in relationships. i like taking care of people. especially my friends, but also boys. and when people tried to 'date' me, i just got hurt every single time they chose the other person to spend more of their time with. or the fact that i wasn't awesome enough to only want to spend time with me.

i have been saying for about a week now that i will know i've found my next boy when he wants to take care of me. everything else is a waste of my time and feelings. because i like leeches who suck the life out of me. i have a few in my past. i will not have any in my future.

i develop crushes in nanoseconds. and there's nothing else i want to do with my time.

16. sometimes i forget to come up for air. i like to drown in things. see #9. see #15.

17. i procrastinate. luckily, i also work well under pressure.

18. i keep waiting for the hollywood ending. i am a hopeful romantic. someday, i believe it will happen. i'm working on the waiting part. my impatience is how i ended up married.

i fall in love fast. and out sometimes just as fast. i want something that lasts. but then again, who doesn't?

19. i love to cook. i hate to clean. and baking is my meditation. and i'm really happy when i do it.

i love to see the look on someone's face when they genuinely like something i've made. and i used to get really upset with ever when he wouldn't eat dinner with me after i spent a lot of time preparing it. because as soon as it was hot and on a plate, he'd leave me to eat the meal alone, to go smoke. after having a 30 to 45 minute countdown. every single time. and a yell up the staircase with only 10 minutes left. and then an 'it's ready'.

followed by 'i'm gonna smoke'. followed by the argument.

(which just reminded me of the name of the album i couldn't think of all week. i used to listen to it driving from home to ever on repeat for two hours. sigh...everybody wants somewhere.)

i love to send things i baked to friends in the mail. i try to do it at least twice a year, usually around christmas and at some other random time.

i'm about to do it today. i'm excited.

and i'm baking kit a birthday cake, too. she doesn't know.

today is going to be a great day.

20. i'm a recovering flake. and now i have no tolerance for flaky people. if i say i'll be somewhere, i'll be there. even if i feel like shit. even if i don't want to. because i said i would be, and someone is counting on me to be. i'll kill myself to make it where i'm supposed to be.

and if you tell me you're going to be somewhere or do something with me, i'm banking on it. and it sucks to be disappointed. i always take it to heart. i always take it personally.

i'm working on this, also. because when i say disappointed, it feels more like devastated. and i need to tone it down a little. cut people some slack. not everyone has the life i have, and the priorities i have, and the same belief system. and i should be more forgiving.

21. i love to make mixed cds. i've been doing it since it was mixed tapes. calling and requesting songs on the radio, and listening with my finger to release the pause button, while the record button was depressed, when the song came on.

i love to turn people on to new music. i love to be turned on to new music by other people. giving someone a mix i made is like letting them inside my head, in a way. it's usually what i'm listening to at the time. and because of my mindset, it's always pertinent. getting a mix from someone is really flattering. i love that most of my friends think of me as a source of music. i feel like i have an ear for it. i wish i could make music.

really, i just love music. for most of my life, i haven't been able to sit anywhere without music. i'm just now appreciating silence.

22. i hold grudges. i'm spiteful. i'm vengeful. i will give you the world. but if you fuck me over, i'm never speaking to you. ever again. or for at least seven to ten years... it's like a collections account on a credit report.

i need to stop there. i could go on for days.

it's a beautiful spring day in the northeast.

but no one needs to know any more about me, really.

besides, i've got baking to do.

nina and more. april 22.

letter to nina:

i thought i could make it through today without crying. but sitting in
neighboring yards sipping coffee and talking all day brought tears to
my eyes.

i'm home. in bed.

i ate something that wasn't ok to eat yesterday. all day at work today, feeling like i was punched in the stomach. and came straight home.

it literally JUST started raining. smells like hot pavement and musty rain.

i ate three tums on my way home from work and a small loaf of french bread.

i am determined to feel better.

i'm gonna lay here until i do.

god, last night was the worst. actually, sunday was the worst. but last night was pretty sad.

i count the days til i get you back.

she was giving feedback on that post i wrote late last night, technically this morning.

it felt really good to get that all out of my system.

all of that anger.

and a bunch of sadness.

i spent most of my day today reading old posts, in preparation for the book i'm putting together now.

i figure that, until i am inspired with a new story (i DID have an idea today, walking to catch the bus to work) i will edit down the divorce book that is comprised of posts and the stories and exercises i've written since october.

i've been working on it already, i'm about 50 pages into editing. but kinda fine-tuning. and seeing what works, what doesn't. what needs to be changed, slightly. or eliminated altogether.

it's funny, when i wrote that first story, i was so into it. i mean, really thought it was awesome.

and now i read it, and it just needs a LOT of help. so i'm revamping as i go. so they are fluid and pretty. the way i intended them to be.

listening to owen.

i really like him. sometimes he's a little too intentionally hoarse. but for the most part, i love listening to him whine about life. this is probably the first time i've listened to two albums all the way through.

it's crazy to me. i've written more on paper lately than on here, because of being stuck at work for hours with nothing to do but read and write. and nowhere to plug in. so it's all analog.

and i just feel like i get so far on paper. hours of writing. and the thought of digitizing is just horrible.

i don't know. besides getting a little homesick for nina today, i had a pretty decent day, emotionally.


really, i think all that virtual yelling helped me to remain calm today. i was angry this morning, about work, at work. because i hate wasting my time. i hate wasting money. and i am keenly aware of doing both for several hours a day right now. and there is no way to get out of it.

but, it is only for two more days. and then two weeks of bullshit will be behind me.

i finally cleaned up after all that weekend cooking today. i was having a staring contest with the dishes since saturday. i finally broke my gaze. dirty dishes won.

i was tempted to start packing. but i really succeeded in not unpacking a bunch of things i don't need. and not bringing things from the house that i didn't need.

so i really can't pack yet. and it's good, mostly. but also a little frustrating. because i want to feel ready to go.

how funny that i'll be in the new place on mayday.

there's something to look forward to...

cupid. four twenty.

'think about stars. the night sky, and how if you time-lapse it over a night, you see so much of the world moving. spin, little earth, spin.'

those are nina's words, not mine. it was a perfect analogy for what i was thinking about at the time. but it is just too poetic to not preserve for posterity.

it so perfectly sums it up. because days in my life are sometimes little glimpses. through windows. into other worlds. other really pretty worlds that are new and different.

i've written a lot about global consciousness. how sometimes things are eerily fitting. and i'm always glad i mention them, because later when it recurs, i've got a witness. but i usually fail to mention it to the person who would appreciate it most.

it's funny. i had a lot i wanted to write down. but fought it, in an effort to go to sleep two whole hours ago.

and here i am, awake at 1130. writing. because i was only halfway awake. and now i'm totally awake.

earlier, i was really incensed.

i was fuming about ever. and it's the first time i've been really angry with him since i was so angry with him, before i became numb to the anger, that i left him.

because apparently, he is ready to begin dating. and that part is awesome. i have encouraged him to go out and get laid. i think it would do him some good. i know it would make me feel less guilty. because i have zero intentions of ever doing that with him again.

but the thing is, he is on this dating website that he knows my friends use. and after that weepy sunday cryfest, or rather in the middle of it, i got a text saying that he was on it. and that it was discovered because he was a match for my friend.

none of this is what is upsetting to me. my initial reaction was definitely 'what???'. and the second immediate reaction was, 'he's just doing this because he knows they're on there and will tell me. he's trying to upset me.' and the second slower reaction was, 'wow. he must be really hungry, and sick of doing all the chores.'

because that is how i feel. he is just looking for the next sucker to take care of his lazy ass.

i cried during my session on monday at the shrink. and i knew about this then.

i almost canceled the appointment, but forgot. and was so glad that i kept it. it was the best i've felt leaving the office, after the worst i've felt going in.

but nothing had anything to do with ever at all. i mentioned this dating site thing in passing, right before i walked out of the door. i was crying about other things.

i really could give a flying fuck. it's a little unsettling. i feel like i should be really upset about it. or even hurt. but i really honestly am not. i am just angry. i worry that this reaction is dangerous and abnormal.

but who does he think he is, qualifying himself to these poor unsuspecting people?

all i know, because i absolutely refuse to look for myself, or pry for more information, is that under 'things i'm good at', his response was 'paying the mortgage early and on time'


you have done it once. ONCE. in your whole fucking life. and that makes you good at it? really? who are you trying to convince?

i've been trying to come up with the list of things i'm good at all day. things that i've only done once. that could possibly be as ridiculous as this.

and i cannot come up with a single one.

if i had ever gone skydiving like i've always wanted, i'd put that i'm really good at that.

but i haven't.

and i am at a total loss for a single thing i have only done once. driving from florida to california once, in a beat up k car?

i'm really good at driving from florida to california.

it also pisses me off that somewhere, i don't know where, he put that he is 'self sufficient'.

really, fucker? because i'm pretty sure that every single reason i left you is related to the fact that you're a codependent piece of shit who can't do anything for yourself, and isn't willing to so much as fucking try. you are a child. a thirty five year old CHILD. you need a mommy. not a fucking girlfriend, or wife.

and i'm not trying to be mean to anyone else, and i hope to not offend, but if you're so fucking self sufficient, then why the fuck are you on a dating website when your wife left you SIX WEEKS ago?


that wasn't nice. i'm self sufficient. it doesn't mean that i don't want to be in a relationship, or that i don't need one. but come ON.

i am so glad that i have my wits about me enough, at this point in time, to think clearly. to know that i am not, nor will i be for a while, in any place that i should be subjecting any boy to the mess that is a post-leaving me. it wouldn't be fair.

to me or to him, whoever he is.

and i guess that leaving is what made it clear.

because on a daily basis, i am tempted. and it's hard as shit to not cave in and light little fires all over this city, after moving backward through time down my laundry list of regrets i made before i met ever, setting those aflame.

but i need time. i need to get over the fact that i made a very bad decision. i need to be alone.

i need to celebrate the fact that i stopped believing that it was a permanent decision. for fuck's sake, i could have been out of that marriage in the very beginning when i already felt that it was doomed. and not wasted the last seven years of my life doing all of the work, all of the trying, going to work everyday.

but i was trying to stick it out. honor my commitment. what a fucking waste of my life.

my shrink commended me for seeing myself in an honest light. for knowing myself and my tendencies and habits well enough to prevent myself from doing things that will put me squarely back onto the path that i was stumbling along, the one that landed in a shit marriage.

and i am happy for that. i don't want to be who i was, making the decisions i was making before. i don't want to get carried away. i don't want to transfer feelings from person to person anymore, and i certainly don't want to put anyone on a pedestal who doesn't deserve to be there. because i can not, i WILL NOT, go through this again.

i will not let myself.

but my head still works the same way it always has. i don't know if there's any hope for me, ultimately. i don't think i'll ever get it on straight.

she did however point out that i'm in an instant gratification mode, and to be aware of it. because i am thinking about things that i want right now, and saying aloud/on paper that i know there is nothing permanent/lasting that will come from it. and maybe i'm only kidding myself when i say that i don't want a long term payoff. that i just want one night of cuddling. one night of making out.

because i can think more than anyone else i know. if someone said to me, 'you look nice today,' i'd be thinking about it all day. and probably tomorrow, too. i'd think about everything it does mean, everything it doesn't mean. everything that they might have been thinking at the time. wondering if i look good today only in comparison to how i looked yesterday. and trying to figure out if they're making fun of me, at my own unsuspecting expense.

dissecting. maybe it's not thinking as much as it is dissecting.

i'm still stuck in dream for an insomniac mode. thinking of lines all day every day.

it started with 'settle for anything... and you're doomed.'

then, 'i don't want another fish. i want the little blue eyed david schrader fish.'

and, 'it's just... that's IT. that's everything i've written.'

and finally, 'you live in a dream world, frankie.'

i live in a dream world. my dreams, for years now, have meant more to me than my waking life. sometimes i wonder, if i didn't dream, and couldn't daydream, or daydream at night, if i could have survived so long in that marriage.

i am so grateful for anonymity with this blog, that there is no way to trace it to who i am, except for the people who read it, who aren't accurately named.

because i have been dreaming for years. and it used to be so hard to be so in love in my sleep, and to wake up and see ever. and be so disappointed. every fucking time. to be so alone. god, i cried myself to sleep so many times.

i have been holding a pillow and pretending for so many years. it's never been him in my mind. never. never ever.

it was never ever.

when i wake up from a dream that is a good dream, i don't want to get out of bed. i float through the beginning of my day, until i'm walking around with only the tiniest shred of a memory about what it was all even about. until i can't remember it at all. i just want it to continue on how it was in my sleep. and i hate that my dreams effect my waking life. affect? i always forget...

because, for example, when i wake up from a dream about coffee, i want to initiate contact. i want to say, 'hey. wanna grab a drink?'

and sometimes that desire will swell inside for days at a time. until it fades slowly, and until the next dream.

it is where the novel came from, specifically, the ghost dreams.

all i know how to write is what i know.

nothing else makes sense to me. and it's like i'm dying to find people who relate to my writing, as some kind of validation.

and i feel like i will never succeed at a male perspective, because i'm so heady and emotional. and i think my male characters will always read as girls who are disguised as boys. when i try to write in a way that isn't like that, they aren't believable. or so i think.

nate said that my whole entire novel is just me, me, me. and that it is common in a first novel to do that.

and i don't see a problem with it. because if someone didn't know me, i don't know if they'd know that. luckily i'm really good at criticism. so if it legitimately sucks, i can handle knowing. and what i'm hearing so far is that it needs a total re-write.

but the problem is that now i've written the first one. and i don't know where to go from there. i want to write the next novel. and i can't figure out where to start. i feel the words swimming inside of me. but i don't know what to do with them. i can't find a voice. i can't find a subject. i just think about how bummed i am that i can't seem to get started.

the problem is that i feel trapped by it. that i cannot think outside of myself. my experiences. my life. my head. my heart.

this is an incredibly scattered post. but i'm incredibly scattered right now.

nate and i went to walk around the city the other day, the concentrated, historical parts. and we came to pass this cemetery.

and after the novel, and all the cemetery dwelling there, and a conversation from saturday night with the writer, we stopped dead in our tracks in front of a wrought iron fence surrounding a cemetery in center city. and paid two dollars to go walk around the place where benjamin franklin has been sleeping for the last three hundred years.

and since, that regina spektor song has been stuck in my head. 'crispy, crispy benjamin franklin'. i don't know what it's called. that's the line. (later remembered that it's called chemo limo...)

nate wanted to lay on graves and have his picture taken. i swear, that boy laid in front of thirty headstones. six feet above thirty dead bodies. all poses, all theatrical. and i humored him, and took a shit ton of pictures for him.

i wanted to lay on graves, to see if i could see what it would feel like to be dead.

just for a minute. to lay on the cold wet ground, and stare up at fluttering leaves. and close my eyes. and just be dead.

but i was too afraid of having another ghost attach itself to me and follow me home to live with me. so i didn't tempt them. one is more than enough.

it was a beautiful day. it was crisp. super windy. i felt like death warmed over. it was only fitting. and also, in a way, i think i was grieving.

i feel like cemeteries aren't meant to be photographed in color. all that contrast of stone in sunshine is deserving of black and white. i so wish i had a way to take pictures that way.

when i'm looking at a place where everything is dead inside, i don't want to see it in vibrant color. i don't want to see the blue of the sky and the green of the trees. i want to see it in deadened shades of grey.

when i dumped the pictures, i was disappointed. because there were some where i really nailed the composition. and there were some where i made decisions about the headstones to take, and made the right choice. only they were bright, and somehow cheerful. and very disappointing.

it was really interesting. i've never spent any amount of time in a cemetery. i wrote a lot about specifically avoiding them in the room to write exercises. which is why i made charlie go to them in the novel. because i always wondered what it would have been like to deal with death that way. but i just never did.

i used to smoke pot in cemeteries in high school. but would get so incredibly freaked out and paranoid after smoking that i only did it a few times. i was scared shitless. i really hate cemeteries. which is a shame. because they're incredibly beautiful.

the thing that stood out to me most that day, was this sadness of being anonymous. some of the stones were so old, so weather-worn, that you could tell something had once been carved into them. a name. a date. but they were merely slivers of what they once were, maybe half the thickness. and all of the print was gone.

and i just kept thinking, how awful to be completely forgotten. how awful that someone made an effort to remember. and that rain washed it away over the course of hundreds of years. and now you're just someone. anyone. dead and buried. and anonymous. and forgotten.

i don't want to be forgotten. i don't think i want to be buried either, despite the fact that my family plot has a space all cut out just for me, next to my baby brother, my uncle, and my great grandmother. i don't want to waste the space. just burn me up and send me to the moon.

i think i'd like to be remembered as the girl whose ashes are floating out there, somewhere. among the stars she stared at all of her life. among her wasted wishes.

and now i've circled back, again. and now i'm going to be really tired tomorrow. now i'm crying again. and now i'm going to sleep.

night, cut short. april 18th.

i've just felt off all weekend, timing-wise.

and today is no exception.

i'm still tired, but not feeling as awful as yesterday.

i woke up at 830, after going to sleep at maybe 330.

i don't know that i'll recover from all of this until next saturday or sunday.

so yesterday was overcast and made me sad.

i spent a lot of time waiting. i spent a lot of time cooking. i spent more time waiting. i spent time worrying.

i had left my coat at work, so i dragged nate with me to go get it. so that was one good decision.

i don't know what my problem is. i think i just wanted a little fun and excitement after the way that i spent most of my week feeling. and there was all this intense building excitement leading up to events. and then strange disappointment. i wanted excitement.

and yesterday (day) was a lack of that. i felt like i wasted nate's day here. i felt myself slipping into old habits. cooking was good though. i hadn't done it on this scale since the day i met rob crow.

it was maybe the second time in my life that i nursed a hangover with a beer. i tried food first, but that didn't work. the blueberry beer did the trick. then i was just nerves. waiting.

eventually, i got ready.

then it was time to head to the show, and nate got ready.

as terrified as i was of having pictures taken of myself, i was excited to do something i'd never done before. but the chance was dashed, and that was unfortunate. because i was really looking forward to the prospect of the ease of it.

but finally we went.

and we were pulling money out of an atm and their van rolled up behind us, and people started piling out. i turned around, and recognition of a familiar face followed. it was impeccable timing.

so we got a beer and sat down to catch up.

it was nice. it's kinda surreal talking to someone only virtually and trying to decipher their tone in their words. and i suppose it's just him, but it's also funny when you sit across from someone and you still can't decipher what is real and what isn't.

after a beer, we all arm wrestled each other. i didn't ever win.

we talked about being broke. we talked about writing only a little. he talked about his life before he moved, and his life after. i talked about leaving ever, but only a little. he talked about being hungry. and lonely. we talked about being alone. we talked about friendships. he talked about not talking. he talked about drinking. we talked about going to shows. he talked about photography.

the bands were all very loud, so not much was discussed during sets.

nate read everyone's palms. i'm going to live a long time. i'm going to be in good health. i'm going to have one kid. i'm nearly positive these were all the same things the palm reader in atlantic city told me.

and i have one true love.

as if i didn't already know that. i will be permanently fucked over that one, i have decided. it will never go away. i will talk about coffee until the day that i die.

anyways, kit was having a shit day and night, and cut her stay only a little short. we talked hurriedly over cigarettes during sets, trying to cram in all the conversations to be had away from boys' ears.

she stayed until he read, and then she ended up leaving.

the band played. there was this song that i really genuinely loved. something about it struck a chord in me that very nearly made me cry. not that the song did or would have on its own, but the mood and frame of mind i was in was perfectly suited. and wouldn't it have been fitting to cry at the bar twice in three days? after this week, the answer is yes.

but i didn't cry.

and like staring down the quickly draining sand in an hourglass, time was running out, and i wasn't quite finished with it yet.

but it doesn't stand still. and i could also have fallen asleep there, given a more comfortable chair to sit in.

nate and i were discussing going, but it didn't stand a chance.

he asked to take portraits quickly before leaving, and we went into a gritty bathroom for lighting sake.

there was no lock on the door, so people kept trying to push their way in.

i was too nervous. i always look worried in pictures, even if i'm having a good time. but i felt faint. and he told me i looked nervous, after asking me if i was.

it is from the place of self-consciousness. it is from the place of a total lack of esteem. his photos are so beautiful, the girls are just perfect. and to think of myself as being mixed in with that is just too hard to accept. i couldn't figure out why he was wasting his precious film on me.

having someone stand one foot away from you with a camera so close you could practically fog the lens with your breath was unnerving. if i hadn't driven, i'd have had more to drink over the course of the evening, and that would have improved the situation, settled me down a little. but i didn't even have a buzz, because i had a ways to drive.

he commented that i wouldn't look into the camera. and then kinda made me. gentle instructions on a few poses. look into the camera. look into the camera.

i was staring into the lens. i could see that the aperture was very open. and i was thinking that by staring it down, i was looking into his eye through it. and i just kept wondering what he saw when he was looking at me. besides a scared little girl.

after a lens change, my reflection was in the lens, and i stared that down. i stared at my pores, my scars, the shine on my face. and tried not to worry about it, because i know how unfocused his photographs sometimes are, and that anything he touches is rendered beautiful.

and then it was over. he took a picture of nate, and we talked for only a few minutes before everyone got kicked out of the bar.

there was gentle nudging in the direction of a suburban adventure. and as much as i wanted him to feel less lonely and alone, and as much as i wanted to feel less alone and lonely, i just couldn't do it. i wanted for one night to curl up, and say 'you know? it's not so bad all the time. i am now your friend.'

he didn't want to separate himself from the band, for a few reasons, which i understood, but wished against.

so we didn't go the house after the show. and he didn't come home with us.

it was far, it was 2 am. i couldn't have stayed awake, if we'd gone, if i'd tried. and it didn't make sense to pass out after getting somewhere kinda far from home when all i wanted to do was talk more.

and it made me wish that i'd been able to sleep in yesterday. if i'd been more well rested, i'd have gone in a second.

but i didn't.

there was an open invitation to visit him. i sincerely stated an intention to do so. and there were goodbye hugs.

and we drove home. and i had a waffle. and i crawled into bed feeling entirely defeated by my own self.

i asked if i could have the second pillow (i only have three in total) to curl up with and pretend, like i do every night, that i have someone to curl up with.

i curled up with the extra pillow. and without a word, nate rolled over and put his arm around me, which was the sweetest thing.

for one night, last night, just before falling asleep, i didn't feel completely cold and sad and alone.