Alone again

Seems like I can never be happy on this blog, can I? I think it’s because I use it when I’m feeling down. Writing out my feelings makes me feel better, so I end up blogging at low points.

My boyfriend is gone, and I am alone again. Being in a long distance relationship is hard, especially going back into one after a months-long paradise of being together practically every day.

I’ve improved, mentally, so much since last time. Since mid-January when he headed off to Mexico. I’ve improved 100-fold. I no longer feel devastated, lost, isolated. I have my family, however weakly-held together it is, and I have my friends. If I open my mind, I have plenty to do and plenty of people to do it with. I will get crafty, I will knit to my heart’s content, I will clean every corner of the house, I will learn to use a curling iron and learn to crochet and learn to bake bread. I will learn every song in my ukulele book. I will write fiction, I will write articles, I will update my blog more and more.

I will be okay. But now, so soon after he’s gone, so soon after the summer has ended, I feel alone. Not lonely, because of all I’ve already said. Just alone.

In the car, when I was driving away though everything in me wanted to stay, I could still feel the imprint of his lips, the weight of his hands,  the tenseness in my neck from resting it on his shoulder. It’s impossible to think I won’t see him again until Christmas. It hurt me to type that. It hurts me to think that way. So I won’t. I just won’t.

It’s  not bottling: it’s feeling, accepting, and tossing out. I cried long and loud and messy, on the drive home, and now I’m done. I’m done with that feeling. I can do this. It won’t be so hard this time, it won’t be so hard this time, I will chant that like a mantra until even I believe it.

But for now…before I move on, before it becomes easy, before we find our rhythm of when to text, call, Skype, while I can still imagine his voice with clarity, I’m allowed to feel alone. And I do feel alone.

I’m an introvert, I like being alone. I guess it’s a different kind of alone. It’s not a quick aloneness. It’s both longer and shorter than it seems. I’ll be away from him for awhile, but I’ll be with others soon. They will patch the hole.

I will be okay. We will be okay.

I am okay.

Leaving

That’s it. The next intern is officially trained, and by this time tomorrow I’ll be officially out of here.

The nostalgia is real. I’ll not only miss the job and the people, but the color of the cubicles. The corn muffins for breakfast. The Liberty Mutual letter opener. The Sharknado poster. There are so many little things around here that I’ll miss. I’m never going to reenter this building again after Friday.

Yikes. I mean, I’ve already left several places before. Three schools, for instance. Five jobs. After each “last day” there were things and people I’ve never seen again. Even old friends’ houses, though with less warning. There was a time when I left their house for the last time, but I didn’t know it.

I can’t help getting emotionally attached to places. I’m introverted; I spend more time paying attention to inanimate objects than animate ones. My keyboard! I’ll have to leave my work keyboard tomorrow, the very keyboard I’m typing this post on. My computer, my crappy old Dell computer. My phone, with the blinking voicemail. The maps and lists and tips and tricks on my walls. The guidebook that was my bible for the first month or so.

Soon they’ll even take my email from me. Gosh! I like this job, though. I wish I could stay longer. I’m still learning. I just learned where the second bathroom is, the same day I finished training my replacement.

Leaving is rough. Leaving is hard. But I have to just keep on reminding myself that it’s a good thing.

Sure, I won’t get to be a Boston Globe reporter anymore, and I won’t see my friends anymore, and I won’t be able to be in this building anymore. But I also won’t have to drive an hour and a half twice a day in rush hour. I won’t have to do all those tedious intern duties. I’ll be able to freelance. I’ll be able to go on to the next big adventure.

It’s good to look on the bright side of bittersweet.

Changing backward

I realized that I accidentally published U yesterday instead of today! Oh well. Today will just be a personal blog then, since I’m a day ahead of the alphabet.

I can’t believe we’re in the final stretch of April. I guess my timeline was so set on Colin returning and my internship not ending until June that I kind of forgot about class. It was easy to forget class, this year. It was such a minimal part of my life. I’m so glad I went through with the American Sign Language class, it was one of the most fun classes I’ve ever taken, and it makes me want to keep learning it someday. Maybe be an interpreter.

Once I finish an essay on McTeague (wonderful book, highly recommended), I’ll be done with this school year! It’s crazy how both long and short the school year was.

Now I will spend my time pretty casually, working the last nine weeks at the Globe, doing some freelance work on the side, and then spending the nights either riding my bike or learning German. Probably a mix of both.

And oh, faithful readers are probably wondering how my time with Colin went. Well, after three months apart I was a bit worried that we wouldn’t click back in place, but it really was as if he had never left.  Seeing him appear from the terminal, all smiles, made every sucky, lonely moment of the last three months worth it.

Before my next personal blog post I’ll have moved back home for the summer. Strange. It’s always weird moving back home. Much like the end of a period of separation in a long distance relationship, moving back home after months away is both disorienting and startlingly normal. I’m going to miss my friends here, but I’m sure I’ll fall right back into my old routines. After all, I miss my family too, and it will be great to have a break from classes.

I suppose changing backwards is easier than changing forwards. Well, like all things, it’s only temporary.

A to I: Isthmus

Sue Anne had to look up “Isthmus“ in the dictionary before she moved to Nahant, Massachusetts. She’d lived in the hot, flat country her whole life and yearned for the ocean, for a small town. Nothing smaller than the smallest town in one of the smallest states, connected to the mainland by a strip of land the size of her pinkie.

She was thirty when her mother joined her father in the cemetery. She hadn’t visited him since they buried him there when she was eighteen. She waited until her mother’s coffin was in beside him, then had her Aunt drive her to the airport.

“You don’t have to disappear,” her Aunt said after a long silence. “I can help you with the baby, you don’t have to be alone.”

“Thank you,” Sue Anne said after another pause. “But I do.”

Her hands rested on her swelling belly. Only five months in. She did it artificially, which bothered her mother, but Sue Anne was desperate for children and not very desperate for a spouse. She was running out of time, and she knew that. She was running, and she knew that too.

Nahant. One square mile, though far from being square. It hung off the side of Massachusetts like a splinter. Surrounded by strange, Massachusetts-y sounding towns like Swampscott and Saugus and Peabody, it was easy to find from Boston. Sue Anne had bought a little, crumpled white house that was just far enough from the water that she would have to walk to the beach. She had only seen the house online, but in person it seemed even smaller. Perfect. She needed small.

It came fully furnished, smelling of moth balls and the old couple who had decided to drop everything and retire to Florida. The overcast sky and September chill made Sue Anne wonder if they had the right idea. No matter. A living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a spare room. Perfect for her little family.

She didn’t like the furniture, but she didn’t bother buying anything new. It was free, after all, and the sailboats and fishing net décor did go well with the ocean and seagull sounds outside. She had a little yard, with a birdbath and a small brick border where a garden probably was at some point.

She spent the night sitting on her porch in an old rocking chair, sipping at a glass of wine—the wine came with the house, too. One glass per day, the doctor had said, though she wasn’t sure if her fancy new Boston doctor would have a different idea. She rubbed her tummy. It pushed back.

She held perfectly still. Nothing…she rubbed her stomach again, firmly, and her stomach pushed back. Yes, definitely, that was her baby. It kicked her. She leaned back in her chair, and her baby settled down again. Sue Anne began crying, her tears as salty as the ocean air.

As she rubbed her tummy, holding her breath for another movement, a couple walked by her new house.

“Hello, neighbor!” The man said. “Are you moving in here, then? Do you need help?”

Sue Anne waved. “Oh, no, I’m all set, thank you.” Small town, Sue Anne, small town. “Would you like a glass of wine?”

They talked on Sue Anne’s porch for about an hour, and even made plans to have dinner the following weekend. Sue Anne kept feeling her stomach, waiting for more kicks, but her baby must be asleep.

The woman noticed first, and asked with careful words if Sue Anne was expecting. Yes, she was.

“There’s no father, before you wonder,” Sue Anne said. “I wanted a baby but I didn’t need a husband.”

They all laughed. As the couple left, to go pick up their children at school, they realized they had never exchanged names.

“I’m Suzie Quentin,” Sue Anne said. “They used to call me Suzie Q.”

As she said it, she remembered how the name used to make her furious, how it was the name her dad called her before Alzheimers made him call her a stranger, how she wanted Sue Anne because he never said that unless he was yelling at her, how Michael McClane, her high school sweetheart, broke up with her over the phone and said that he wished he could have his Suzie Q back. She realized, now in this tiny town with boxes to unpack and a fatherless baby in her belly, miles and years away from her father and her mother and her Michael, that she was ready to have Suzie Q back, too.

“Suzie Q,” the man said. “That’s a great name.”

And so, with everything else fighting for her to become an island, the name “Suzie Q” became a welcome isthmus.