Heather made reservations for us (and Sergey) at the Back Lane Café last week. We hadn’t seen each other since the summer, before they were homeless 1 and I started recovering. Last time I saw her, she left me with a takeout Hintonburger and a meditation audiobook that she hoped would help me feel better. It was so sweet that she didn’t understand at all what I was going through, but tried so hard to help with very thoughtful gifts anyway.
This time, she wouldn’t let me pay, even though she treated me last time as well, and she said please with such heartfelt intent that I knew she’d be hurt if I didn’t give her the honour. We’d been playing phone tag for weeks up to that point, and between their careers and camping, they could only spare themselves for a meal sans tea or dessert. It made me realize how precious their time is nowadays, and the fact that they made the time to see me meant so much more than the two hours we spent catching up over a great food and conversation.
Earlier this week, I had Chris over for a short visit. He flew out east for a wedding, and took two days out of his week-long trip in Toronto to come to Ottawa. Much to my delight, I discovered he was an old Magic player, so we spent the night facing off with my decks and doing shots of Jäger2.
We hadn’t seen each other since last winter, and it felt strange to fill him in on the time in between. To be so far removed from everything that’s happened, and sum it all up so matter-of-factly, when it was such profound misery while I was living it. We barely had time to catch up before he was on the Greyhound back to Toronto, but he still took the time to visit. That’s how I know I’m important to him. Even though we haven’t had much opportunity to know each other in our lives, we still share the bond that makes us the lost children of the Chinese culture.
Nowadays, I hang out with Tiana as much as possible, cause she’s been the one to fix me when I’ve needed it most. Lisa and I are trying to be productive together when we can’t seem to be productive by ourselves. I still do my weekly dinners with Aaron, although we’ve started alternating between his place and mine, so we get both our own time and time with his kids. And with the nights I have left out of these regular plans, I’ve been trying to maintain relationships with the people I rarely get a chance to see, but who are important nonetheless.
I’ve had to sacrifice parts of my life (not least of which is time to myself), and it’s helped me realize how valuable my time is too. That’s why I’m in the process of simplifying. Avoiding the people who cause more drama than the relationship is worth. Investing in the people who keep me as a priority, instead of the dead-end relationships that never go anywhere, so I can build on the relationships that matter.
- They got evicted due to an unsympathetic landlord, couldn’t find a suitable place to stay, and ended up putting as many of their possessions as possible in storage and selling the rest. Luckily, one of their friends needed a house-sitter, and it gave them enough time to find a place. [↩]
- My first taste of alcohol in about 10 months, cause I was given very stern warnings about mixing booze and anti-depressants. It only made me feel nauseous and sleepy. [↩]