Monday, October 5, 2015

No one else has got me lifted off the ground

I started having phone calls 3 days ago where I could hear a lack of anxiety and anguish in Nick's voice. I hoped it wasn't just a good moment that it was really a turning point. I know that healing isn't linear but right now it has an upward trend. Which feels unbelievably light.

title from sweet little missive from Graham Colton: Hold Onto My Heart

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Every boy you ever met was too easy to forget. Well, I ain't going out like that...

October 27-November 12, 2014

For about two weeks nothing in my world could excite me more than those iMessage bubbles. It started innocently enough. I'd just text him make sure he landed okay, that he was home safely.  I did that. Immediate bubbles. Immediate butterflies and probable squealing.

He made it home just fine. We talked about our plans for the next week. It was almost Halloween and so we talked about our single lives. I was going as a zombie barmaid and he couldn't find a single costume at the Halloween store except "assassin" admittedly I teased him a little. He knew it was lame. I tried mostly to avoid the topic of Christine, until I couldn't anymore.

It was the day of their date. I sulked all day long. We had stayed up texting every night till bedtime and tonight he was on a date. I tired to do anything but think about it. After work before the date he kept texting.  "I don't feel like going." Hallelujah! I wanted to text "DON'T GO!" But instead I just listened like a nice friend. I said "What are you wearing?" Rookie mistake as now I would be picturing him in said outfit with the other girl. "Idk. Probably just a white t-shirt and jeans. I'm not into it." It made me feel a little better at first because he consulted me on what he should wear and he was pretty put together every time I saw him. But then I began thinking about how effortlessly handsome he probably looked. Never again, I told myself, do I ask what he's wearing on dates.

He said he had to get going and could he call me when he got home from the date? I said sure and was immediately happy because that meant he was coming home tonight and that he was coming home alone from the date.

4 longest hours ever. At ten I flopped on my bed, exhausted from jealousy. My phone rang. I squealed. He said: I'm in my car driving home, it was awful, can I call you in 10 minutes?

I squealed even longer.

I acted sympathetic when he called back.  "I'm sorry, why was it bad?" (of course I am dying for all the awful things he can possibly say about her). His assessment was hardly of someone you should break up with immediately.  He said "she has a cat."  He hates cats. I have 0 pets. 1 point me. He said she isn't interesting. And he was annoyed by her order at the restaurant. He said "It's kind of crazy, but I was annoyed and thought 'Shannon wouldn't have ordered that.'" Definitely that's lots of points for me. But she lives in Florida, down the street practically so she's totally ahead.

I got more sweet on him and changed him to "Nicholas" in my phone. It seemed more appropos, since we were just good friends.

It went like this for awhile. And then we added in the phone time and the FaceTime. He'd admit to being a little jealous of me going out and I'd admit that I wasn't interested in anyone unless they were him.  He went on a couple more dates with Christine. He'd call me and give me the run down afterward, thankfully to this day sparing me from any details about what she wore or them kissing etc (still makes me feel stabby).  Barring that information we talked constantly and we told each other everything.

So best friendsish, except with this attraction that I couldn't combat with other guys. I had seen one guy off and on and told him about Nick. And then I essentially dropped off the planet. 

I maybe was protesting too much.

Until late one night on a Tuesday, Nov 11 (Tuesdays are lucky). We FaceTimed until midnight. We decided it was the silliest charade ever to keep pretending we weren't in a relationship. I told him that I wasn't interested in anyone else. That I didn't particularly care if he dated other people (which was probably a lie, I'm not that cool). Nope. Not okay with him. He said. I'll take Christine to lunch tomorrow and break it off. So at 1:48 pm the next day I got this text and squealed more.

I of course wanted to know why she didn't take it well. Because I'm female. And I wasn't that sorry, but he knew that as much as you all do.  He said "she thinks I'm being dumb to get into a long distance relationship." Nick doesn't like being questioned about his decisions any more than the next guy so I don't think that tactic boded well for our non-friend Christine. He pretty much then decided to tell her that he didn't think they had anything in common and he was trying to just avoid her for weeks but she didn't get the hint. Okay, now I feel a little bad for the sting of rejection...sisterhood and all. I didn't let it get to me for long.

So now I had this boyfriend and he lived 1000 miles away, and we weren't seeing anyone else, or really each other either but no matter...I couldn't have been happier about anything.

The title is from this...

Probably November 3rd he sent me the link to this video.
I didn't stop listening to the song for days.
It still makes me smile, the way you do when you have a really delicious secret.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It won't be perfect, just an unbroken promise

Nothing is linear. Arguably, least of all, recovery. I felt a little better by the time the phone rang last night. And then he said "they added another week to my treatment plan."

So the minimal communication routine will be going on for a bit longer than I first bargained with myself to get through. "It's okay," I tell myself "it could always get worse."

And complain though I do, he is getting excellent care and participating in what I consider (along with numerous well-controlled studies over the past two decades) to be the best practice for PTSD as well as his obvious co-morbid conditions (anxiety/depression). 

Chin up, buttercup. This phase is lasting a little longer. I mean at least you'll all be here with me.  

title from Erick Baker: Unbroken Promise (you should totes make out to this one)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

All of the things I'd like to say but cannot speak

Okay, I'm ready for this to be over now. I'm ready to have my person back.

I can't begin to count how many times over the last 2 weeks that I've thought about wanting to pick up my phone and call or text Nick. About small things but also about something significant that happened to Sloane (that happened to occur the initial day of Nick's inpatient treatment). 

Then there's this: 

The missed call. Deployment was worse. The missed call would send me into cultivation of a fresh ulcer. Luckily during deployment I could send messages usually full of emojis and not too much emotion. I was hyper aware that he needed to be hyper aware of everything  besides things like how I was worried or how the copy machine had recently enraged me at the office. 

The missed call on deployment, everyone knows that call could be the last call you get. Every call from everyone's spouse could be, but this feels ever present. That thought looms over you. No matter how well you function it's up there, the dark cloud in your atmosphere that people forget is there from time to time and you forget too sometimes, for moments, until it rains. 

Now the missed call makes me feel completely deflated. I spend about 17 minutes a day being able to talk to Nick. At night we are both tired and there are tons of people walking around him waiting for the phone. I easily give in to the feeling of "just listen and say you're fine, he's tired, and this is really hard for him." The morning call, if he has time, is a bit more true to life. 

This morning I had just dropped Sloane at preschool. Started to get ready for work, left my phone in my purse. My ringer was off. 

I missed it by a few seconds. Can't call back. Can't write a message. 

Monday deflation. 

It wasn't all that important what I would message: probably just "ugh, I missed your call. My ringer was off. I miss you. I hope your day goes well. Sloane fought all morning with me over what to wear. I started The Affair Season 2 last night: these people are awful. I love you." 

Title from Ron Pope (he loves him some love songs) Headlights on the Highway 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I could be long gone, I could be a ghost in your eardrum

October 27, 2014

My team lost game seven of the World Series in a heartbreaking effort with the tying run 90 feet away. And then the next morning Nick got on a plane for home. 

We decided to be friends. In fact he set up a date with a girl he worked with while he was in my town. He told me about it because it shouldn't have been weird. We'd agreed to a week of fun. We both knew it wasn't a relationship. 

"Christine." I knew nothing but her name and saw her picture. I said "oh she's not what I expected!"  He asked me why. I said she's pretty she's just edgy. He laughed and said "yeah, you actually aren't my type."  I asked him: "how's your type working out for you?" He laughed but the look in my eyes gave away that I meant it more than I was kidding. 

Before our official transition to the friend zone began I sent him a text message goodbye. I thought out everything I wanted to say and as a recently divorced person I wanted him to know about how wonderful he was. 

I was teaching my class and proctoring a test when his goodbye text came back. I saved it because what if it was the last text? 

What if edgy, short haired-brunette, doesn't wear pearls on the reg Christine steals his heart next week? 

My sweet college students had watched me transition through a tough time. I had only started dating very recently when school began and I was struggling through divorce proceedings etc. one of my students who always watched my behavior closely saw me get the text and read it and something in my face made her smile at me. 

I told myself I'd simply text him that night, tell him I hope his flight was safe. And that he was happily sleeping in his own bed again etc. I'd just keep it casual and I would not think about how much I couldn't keep my mind off of him going on a date later in the week with ugh, Christine. 

My brother-in-law to be is also named Nick. So I couldn't store him in my phone as such, it's a disaster of epic proportions to send a flirty text to your sister's fiancée. So AF was fitting, maybe because Air Force, maybe just because like the kids say: I found him to be hot af.

Title from Mary Lambert's As You Sleep


Friday, September 25, 2015

I'm miles away from seeing you

Nights are the loneliest. 

Nights were the hardest during deployment as well. At night there is less busyness to distract you from the all-you-can-eat buffet of peril that you can imagine. 

Nick was deployed during the release and hype of the film American Sniper. I always see the Oscar noms. Not this time. I told myself reading it would be better. So at night I read it. I must've leveled up on masochism. 

When I would talk to him I remember clearly agonizing about things that made him uncomfortable. If he said the food was bad or he was freezing on the plane or it was burning up in the tent. I would find myself simmering with rage. I sent Hot Hands, Hot Feet, I sent snacks for long 12 hour flights, I sent Sriracha sauce for the sucky food. He'd laugh at my tirades over these moments: "honey it's war not the Hilton." It was always just easier for my brain to handle those things because I couldn't handle thinking about things that were past minor physical discomfort.  "You're pretty worked up about bland food but not the plane getting shot at?" He'd laugh and laugh and think I was cute and tough. Or maybe he thought I was incredibly naive when I tried to disguise my ever-present fear. 

Nights are hard now too. There's no way to reach out in the middle of the night except to write here and know that in a few weeks he can log on and see it all. Nights are too quiet. There's nothing to distract me from the realization that it isn't people that are outside that are shooting at him now. 

Bunk selfies from across the world because your gf insists
Title is lyrics from Ed Sheeran's All the Stars, it's one of those songs that's so perfect you can't get yourself to even listen to it all the way through

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I named both of her eyes: "forever" and "please don't go"

October 25th, 2014

After that perfect first date I was more than excited to see him again. So when he asked me if I had plans for dinner on Saturday I was so happy. And I realized this would be our last date and that already had a sting that I didn't want to attend to or admit.

I taught my Intro to Theatre History class from Friday morning on cloud nine. Even the nights we weren't together during his stay in town we texted quite a bit. He would always tell me his schedule for the day, as if to say: if I don't reply: here's why.

My daughter was with her dad for the weekend and I wasn't lonely. What an odd feeling.

We went to Daimaru an Asian hibachi grill restaurant for Game 6/date 2/night 3. We sat in the bar, it was less romantic but it's where they had the Royals on. He wore the same shirt from the other night, a checked Ralph Lauren long sleeved button up, but an orange color again those blue eyes looked somehow brighter. It was a chilly night. He had on jeans. The Sperry's again. Very Florida.  I remember driving to the restaurant because it was the first time I talked a little about how nonchalant I was about this being the last date we'd ever have together. To which he laughed in spite of me and said "it's your lie, kid, tell it however you want."

The game was on. Game 6. I had on a Royals top (again) and leggings and jewelry and the bartender incorrectly assumed that Nick was a Giants fan (orange shirt) and was a little rude to him about it. I liked watching Nick in this situation.  I had been on a date a few months earlier with a man who was so condescendingly rude to our Uber driver that I knew from that moment on that it wasn't going to work out. In this case the bartender deserved it, Nick mostly acted like he didn't even notice.

Unflappable. That shouldn't have shocked me. But it did a little. Add "so cool under pressure" to the long list of things I found so damn intoxicating.

The Royals routed the Giants in game 6. I should've been overjoyed. I kept thinking about how typical it was for me. To like someone immediately who is so completely unavailable in a few ways. A long distance relationship with someone living in Florida is one thing, the Air Force added an entirely new wrinkle.

We had both divulged how uninterested we were in relationships. How we tended to find someone who was immediately more in love with us than we could be with them. How if we had a long term relationship it was with someone so damaged that we were trying so hard to fix and they weren't interested in seeing the problem.

There isn't a lot I remember specifically from this date. We enjoyed our food, he moved over from across the table to sit next to me at one point near the end of the meal, he said I looked so pretty and he felt far away. I normally see couples sitting on the same side in some sort of amazement. I didn't know people could really want to be that near each other when they ate. I didn't mind it when he did it though.

Mostly I remember struggling to remain cool and aloof over him leaving and this being the last time I'd ever be around him again and reminding myself he wasn't in any way mine.

I made the soundtrack to night 3, he seemed impressed. Sam Smith: Stay With Me, Mary Lambert's She Keeps Me Warm and When You Sleep, Springsteen's I'm On Fire, Matthew Perryman Jones: Only You, Ryan Adams: Two, Possibility Days by my favorite band of all time The Counting Crows, John Mayer's Edge of Desire, Matt Nathanson's Still, Ryan Adams: Come Pick Me Up.

And because Nick's list had a lot of country music I put on The Trouble With Girls. I chose that song for one line: "The way that you hate that you already love them."

When I dropped Nick off at the hotel I flipped the music to Eminem. I had some feelings to destroy.

Title from Mary Lambert's She Keeps Me Warm