I have found that regardless of how hard I try, I always look like a hipster. My favorite outfits are preppy, but when you combine them with Converse All-Stars, a punk haircut, and specs that look like you went shopping with Ira Glass, it’s kind of unavoidable. In fact, I’m donating most of my shoes to Goodwill, because I have both brown and black All-Stars, and I hardly ever wear anything else (except for my Dr Marten’s, which don’t help my hipster case in the slightest). But perhaps it’s just that I’m on the wrong side of the tracks (or the country). I would look completely in place if I lived in Takoma Park, or in Portland, Oregon. For those of you who are unfamiliar with either, the slogan for both should be, “welcome. Here’s your brown hoodie.”
This morning, I worked for a little bit at the Dupont Starbucks, and then on impulse, texted Scales and said I was there if she wanted to meet up. We had a quick coffee and then I got back to work. I should have been blogging, but I wasn’t. I was making a shopping and a to-do list, both of which are several pages long due to all the things I have not done lately. Here’s a tip. Pneumonia sucks. Plus, the antibiotics gave me the runs and that was the one day I decided to stay home from work. Because first of all, I got maybe an hour of sleep in between all the trips to the bathroom. And secondly, pretty sure the acceptable age for shitting yourself in public ends at two. So, after four doses of atropine, I was back in my office (because my officemate moved out and I could hack up a lung in private) with *just* pneumonia.
I have too much to do to either take time off or work from home. If I take time off, no one does the things I do. If I work from home, I am distracted by every damn thing you can possibly imagine, and I leave my laptop at work not to entice me to want to work from here. I can write for 45 minutes at a clip, but eight hours chained to my own desk is far more torturous than being chained to the one at DSI. Mostly because I have three monitors, a tea kettle, way faster Internet, and company when I want it.
Speaking of company, I am trying to spend as much time as humanly possible with Scales because she may be leaving DC as well. We shall see what we shall see, but in the meantime, we weren’t supposed to get together until tomorrow for dinner and “Exploding Kittens” (I don’t know what that is… Sounds messy.). But, I thought, I was in the neighborhood anyway, so I decided to see if she was free. It was the perfect amount of time- 20 minutes. She told me what was going on in her life and I told her what was going on in mine. I told her that I’d only really had enough energy to watch TV, and even that was pushing it.
And then she surprised me. She said, “do you think this is the end of you and Argo or are you calling it?” I said, “I’m not so much calling it as saying that the next contact MUST be from her because I’m tired of the feeling that I’m just imposing on her life.” She said, “I don’t think it’s the end. You two seem to wax and wane.” I was standing up when she said it, and it was a good thing that I’d just had two Venti espresso roasts… otherwise, I would have slumped onto the floor in grief. I call Argo that because she is the ship that carried me through the worst part of my life. Her nickname for me is moon-based…. or was. The first time she named me, I wasn’t familiar with the term, and when I Googled it, I cried and cried, I was so touched.
There have been so many people for me that have hung the moon, and for the first time in my life, I got to be the moon for someone else… and no, she didn’t call me “Green Cheese,” although that is apt as well. I am very green in a lot of ways, and very cheesy in others.
Grief is so weird. It’s not linear and it’s disorienting and it goes up and down in strange ways… sometimes over months and sometimes all in the same day. There are so many adventures I wanted to have with her, to be able to share ourselves AS WE ARE as opposed to how we presented ourselves, but after this last go-round, when I thought I was being transparent about how I got lost on the way to Auto Zone and decided to turn it into a sight-seeing trip and to her it seemed like I’d planned this whole crazy stalker ruse was just too much for me. I didn’t agree that it was my reality, but I did agree with how it might have come across to her, and apologized profusely, which led to yet another fight in which we cut each other to the quick. Those we love the most know our softest spots, and we used them to disastrous effect. Everything I’d worked for in terms of Argo seeing me for who I really am instead of her preconceived notions was slashed in less than a second.
It was at that point I realized I needed some self-preservation. If all it took was one innocent mistake to return her to that dark and twisty version of me that doesn’t exist unless we are just trying to out eight-year-old each other, then I didn’t want her in my life. There’s only so many times I can hear that she regrets ever letting me into her life and taking every opportunity to remind her of it when I have worked my ass off at trying to get her to see me in the light that I want to be seen. When I remember birthdays, Christmases, holidays. When I take the time to lift her up so that she feels like a badass every morning. When I take the time to write hand-written notes instead of just e-mailing. When I take the time to CARE.
I wish that we could go back in time so that I could have gotten the help I needed not to be such an asshole to her to begin with. But if making amends over a year won’t help, then perhaps nothing will.
But there have been so many times by now that “never ever” has lasted maybe ten days at most that I don’t know what to think anymore. It’s been a month and some change, and the weight lifted off my shoulders when we “wane” is enormous.
Back in Michelangelo’s day, imperfect statues were filled in with wax to hide impurities in the cut. If the stone was carved perfectly the first time, it was called “sin cera,” or “without wax.” It is the etymology of the word “sincere.” Though neither Argo nor I was carved “sin cera,” it is my sincere hope that this is not the end of our movie. But perhaps the end of the movie is making better friends by being the friend to others that I wanted to be to her, but couldn’t get right. Maybe all this friend-grief is about making room for friendship, honest, painful, and real, without all the filled in wax of my fucked up past.
I have friends here.
I have made friends since I got here.
Painful, honest, and real.
Sin cera, hipster glasses included.