Thank you winter for making my cats super cuddly and slow-falling snow and the chance to wear new cardigan-dress shirt combos. You are totally worth the hassle of having to warm up my car (for now). It’s because of you that I learn how trust is found in the gentle cooing of girls who fall asleep on your shoulder.
Mornings are spent upstairs in the breakfast nook, now that I have work I can get done on my MacBook Pro. To be bathed in the cool sunlight reflecting off the snow was a change of pace I never knew I needed.
Jesse’s birthday brunch at the Lieutenant’s Pump.
I’ve been living without any sort of schedule. It’s nice to be able to make my own hours cause I’m far more productive at night, but it also makes my life free of the structure that keeps me paced and balanced. The only reason I have to keep any sort of regular sleeping pattern is so I can be awake when my friends are.
Still, I tend to stay up past the point of exhaustion so I don’t get stuck in an endless cycle of thought when trying to fall asleep. Otherwise, the cider always helps.
Soon, hunger will overtake the fear of punishment.
It’s one of those weeks where I’m feeling antsy cause I don’t know when I’m seeing Lisa next and I haven’t heard from her in a while. I don’t pursue the issue cause she has her own life, and I have so much to do that it works out anyway, but that doesn’t make me miss her any less. Our time is special cause there are so many things I share only with her, our exclusive little club for Breaking Bad, cat walks, and super hotties.
It feels like I only talk about my friends lately. Probably cause that’s what my life is filled with now. They’re the good that’s come out of the bad, the ones who picked up the ball when others let it drop. They validate me and notice what I wear and listen to me cause they believe what I’m saying matters. And at the very least, they’re a chance for me to care about someone else.
I’m ready for the winter. To be reborn with the first snowfall that covers the grass, awash in muffled serenity.
Time is measured in weeks, not by the cycle of day and night, and this makes everything pass at a blistering pace. The good weeks involve bacon breakfasts and people bringing me food and new projects and Magic nights. The bad ones involve battles with my old arch nemesis, acne, and his side-kick, scarring-on-my-fucking-nose.
I’ve been dealing with this overwhelming sense that anything can change. So much has left me feeling like there’s no certainty anymore. Maybe that’s why I’ve stopped dreaming. I have no idea what to expect from the future, and I don’t know if that scares me or gives me hope.
To stop myself from thinking about it too much, I distract with all the right things and few of the wrong ones. It’s a fragile form of stability. Some days, the strings, they don’t do enough.
I’ve always believed the best gifts are things we would want but wouldn’t buy ourselves cause we couldn’t justify the purchase (regardless of how much it costs), or something handmade by the giver. Good gifts also happen just because, not necessarily due to a birthday or holiday. Lisa says this ideal makes me an intimidating gift-giver. ____ used to call me a professional consumer, cause I have a tendency to purchase what I want without hesitation, which I imagine makes me even harder to shop for.
Recently, people have been giving me awesome things for absolutely no reason at all, and each gift is thoughtful, practical, and just my taste. It must be really hard to find presents that will make me happy, but that just makes them all the more special when they do.
These were in my mailbox one night. The event was actually a strip-spelling competition, and Shawn won “best stripper”, the reward being the CD of cat purring. The other guy won the “best speller” award and got the book. They had to follow him out of the cafe and ask him for it, cause it was totally meant for me obviously. Shawn has said I’m a cat for as long as I’ve known him.
I had tea with Heather G in a cafe last winter, and we had a conversation about design and how satisfying it felt to hold these mini teacups. Somehow, she remembered and found them and bought me a set. They’re mouth-blown so each one is unique, and insulated by double-wall borosilicate glass.
Lisa got me this book safe, made out of an edition of Ernest Hemingway’s Selected Letters, for secrets big and small. The choice of what book to use in making a book safe is very important, as it has to blend in with a library collection, but also not be so recent or interesting as to make someone picking it up.
It has little magnets embedded in the frame and cover to make sure it stays closed even when stored vertical. This little detail was what swayed her decision to go with this particular crafter, and something you learn is very important if you ever try to keep your stash hidden from…uhhh…cats.
It’s been hard to write, though not from a lack of inspiration. Far from it; it seems like there’s a smile or tear hidden in every little detail of an Autumn day. The problem is I don’t have the time. I don’t reflect on an emotional rush until I have a chance to write by a window in the dark, and those opportunities are getting more and more rare.
That means I’m getting better at putting my feelings on hold, though no better at figuring out whether that kind of distraction is a good idea. I imagine it’ll all catch up to me at some point, and I’ll find out soon enough.
It’s a sure sign that the Cipralex is out of my system. I’ve decided that being able to feel is better than being numb, even if that means not knowing which way things are going to go. Right now, I’m just appreciative of frugal forms of happiness again, my latest discovery being the feeling of a healthy lather rinsing clean from your hair.
Maybe my time away did me some good. I lost a week, but I’m feeling recharged. I’ve been productive. I’ve been social. I’ve even been exercising.
Now I’m ready to begin again.
I walk towards Penn Station, after being unceremoniously dumped along with several other confused passengers at Grand Central by shuttle. While it’s hard to get a sense of how long it’ll take, the grid gives me the courage to continue on foot instead of waiting for a transferring shuttle.
I carry screenshots of a map on my phone, which I soon discover is a poor substitute for an actual map when navigating New York. The roads occasionally run in strange directions or skip numbers, and it’s enough to throw off my orientation.
Still, the city feels smaller than I thought. So many stories happen here, told in movies and novels and songs, that I’ve always expected it to be a size relative to the dreams people have. This is what F. Scott Fitzgerald must have felt when he climbed the Empire State Building, saw the limits of the city for the first time from within, and was left “with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe”.
I passed through here many years ago when I was too young to be scared of what could go wrong, and too much in love to care anyway. That journey — on my way to Jersey by bus — was far longer than this one through Toronto by plane. I survived then, that’s how I know I’ll survive this, no matter what happens.
Continue reading “Escape from New York, part 2”…