your face has faded but lingers on

Another night of nothing accomplished. It will be past one when I finish this post, and I’ve barely touched my readings in two days. Instead I’ve traded my focus for 24, baking, talking to friends online, coffee with a boy, and reading Galatea on the bus.

Today in lecture we talked about the ways wireless technology – specifically mobile phones – has become integrated into our day-to-day life – and the challenges and excitements inherent therein. We talked about the blurring boundaries of personal and public spaces. I stood on the corner waiting for my bus and a girl passed me by, messenger bag thumping on her hip, phone clutched to one ear while she brushed tears out of her eyes with the cuff of her denim jacket. On the other side of the street, students walked with phone in one ear and iPod in the other, animated anonymous convos in the midst of a crowd. While we sat at the coffeeshop, his phone rang and mine vibrated. How is it that this technology with the potential to be so unifying instead makes us marginalized?

He said when he first moved to Urbana it was like moving to New York City – so many new people, so many cool new places, the anonymity of not knowing. Now it has all grown familiar. For me this landscape is still being written, but it does seem a place out of time, or at least out of place – this hotbed of technology and thought in the middle of the fields. Every day a reminder that we’re not the norm, and that’s strange to me after years in a city that embodied the status quo.

I’m rereading Galatea and listening to Iron & Wine’s “Each Coming Night” on repeat – both about memory, being remembered, what we keep and what we lose. I’m imbued with this quiet thoughtfulness, with this apartness. I am – still.

Today is the birthday of one that I love, and my own has just passed. So often I feel as if I am living both the past and the present at the same time. My beloved friend, true brother of my friend and love of my sister, has married without telling us, those for whom he is as close as blood. My heart is full, full to overflowing, and I am quiet.

You know what I love? Those moments that are less than perfect. You know, when you lean in for a kiss but she turns her head and you get her ear instead of her cheek. When you answer the phone and the person on the other end is doing something so ridiculous and charming that you can’t help but laugh. When you’re telling a story and realize you’re boring the other person, but push on anyway because you’re having so much fun with it. I love the awkwardness, the fumbling, the ways we make ourselves ridiculous when we’re trying too hard.

That’s what I want, you know? A lifetime of trying too hard, of fumbling around, of love that’s like laughter. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

You know what I miss about being in a relationship? I miss that half-awake and half-asleep talking in bed. I miss messy hair and warm bodies and random conversations and drifting in and out of sleep.

It’s been such a good week, and I’m all aglow with possibility. Right now, though, this two-jobs business is wearing on me, and I could really use a nap.

21 Things I Want In A Lover

after Alanis

1. Do you have a healthy relationship with your parents and siblings?
2. Are you polite and kind to waiters/waitresses?
3. Do you smell nice (or at least memorable in a good way)?
4. Are you secretly an asshole in disguise?
5. Do you read works of substance (more than the sports page) regularly?
6. Can you spend an afternoon being quiet without getting uncomfortable?
7. Do you have a healthy appetite for the ridiculous?
8. Are you honest and faithful?
9. Have you had enough life to learn what you’re really looking for?
10. Is education important to you?
11. Can you be ready to leave the house in under ten minutes?
12. Do you enjoy both really good and really terrible music?
13. Can you imagine a future beyond the end of the week?
14. Do you possess both a boundless optimism and a heavy sarcastic tone?
15. Will you talk about what you’re really thinking, even if it’s horrendously shallow and silly or deep as the ocean?
16. Do you have any desire to wander the world?
17. Can you understand the difference between privacy and secrecy, and manage the former without treading into the latter?
18. Do you drink coffee?
19. Are you uninhibited in bed?
20. …more than three times a day?
21. Do you have a faith?

These are 21 things that I want in a lover
Not necessarily needs but qualities that I prefer
I figure I can describe it since I have a choice in the matter
These are 21 things I choose to choose in a lover

tell me

how i’ve missed you lately
and the way we would speak
and all that we wouldn’t say

— iron & wine, “bird stealing bread”

I can’t believe it’s almost been a month. How much stronger I am now than I ever anticipated. How my life has changed in unexpected ways. How there are still things that stab right to the core of me – like Elliot Smith’s “Angels” or any of Damien Rice or reading on a marquee the name of a movie we saw or wanted to see together. I haven’t cried over him since Saturday, but every day this is with me in subtler ways. I don’t know – I just don’t know what to say.

From lancearthur.com:

Being in a relationship takes time, energy, patience and coordination. You don’t fall into it, you work your way into it. A relationship isn’t your most comfortable pair of flannel pajamas going in, it’s the tightest pair of jeans you’ve ever bought, but once you get into them you look damned good and want to keep them on forever.

wow.

I wonder if parenthood is an exercise against futility. I’m feeling a lot of that these days, and I found myself wondering that late last night.

I’m struggling because yesterday I gave up my beloved baby cat Gypsy. She went to live with my brother Mark. This will be the best thing for all of us, I think – I will be without the stress of trying to clean up after her accidents all the time, Mark gets a cat that he absolutely adores, and Gypsy gets a good home that isn’t the Humane Society – but it was still horridly hard. She was so sweet last night – and cute and good. It broke my heart to give her up, but I know it was the right thing.

And I’m worrying about my other cat because this is the first time he’s been alone. He’s managing just fine so far by pestering the hell out of me, and in the middle of the night we had to have a talk about not launching himself off my side after the catnip mousie. In fact, there will be no launching off me period. But before the launching he was sad and snuggly, and I hope he’ll be OK.

And – I don’t know. My friends are struggling, and I can’t help. My cat is lonely, and I have to work. The boy that I love is far away and having a hard time, and I can do nothing but wait for him to need me, and hope he knows I’m here for him. I just feel like my hands are tied.

just easier

Friends are a good, good thing. Spent Sunday pm with Sarah and Hannah, watching movies and eating good food. Sarah and I put together a bookcase, and I gave myself a nasty blood blister. I needed the companionship after a long hard night and morning – I am eternally glad of them.

Yesterday was lots of working – at home and at work – then Sarah came over and Jonathan later. Randomness ensued, and the cats were implicated in some sort of conspiracy. Nice to just have people here hanging out.

Tonight was pirates and tacos with Michelle and Diana – Michelle and I talked about our boys and how we miss them and what we miss about them. She misses having fun with hers, misses his smell, misses him being affectionate. I’ve gone through many phases of missing in the last 2-3 weeks. I’ve missed his laugh, his voice, his gorgeous blond hair, sex with him, his companionship, just being quiet together, watching him get dressed in the morning, curling into his body in sleep. Right now my bed feels really empty, and I just want him here so I can sleep next to him. Only a little more time. Michelle’s boy is in Iraq. I can’t even imagine.

Anyway, it’s been good, having friends around. Makes the nights less empty, you know? Some days it’s good to have time to spare – and others I just crave human companionship. My cats are lovely, but they are lacking in the communication skills.

And things are better with the boy, too. I didn’t hear from him today, but we talked yesterday and it was wonderful. I sent him a package of randomness, which he received and enjoyed muchly. We talked about silly and serious things, and laughed. He emailed me late Sunday night setting some things straight, and I emailed back in the morning when I was feeling much more stable. Michelle said today that long distance relationships are really hard unless you know definitely where you stand before you go away. I maintain that they’re hard, even if you know definitely where you stand. There are some things (and I’m not even talking about the physical) that are just easier when you’re near. It’s been a strange week already, and some days the ache is damned near overwhelming – but I know – I know – that this is what I want, and that it is worth the heartache. If you’re reading this – you – I love you far beyond words.

surprise

My surprise was waiting on the couch when I got home – Shawn drove the 4-or-so hours from Wellsville back to Champaign to spend the weekend with me (and Jen, down from Rockford). Lots of tears followed – and continue to follow. I’m thrilled that he’s here, sad that I can’t spend more time with him, sad that I can’t spend more time with Jen, devastated because he has to leave tomorrow. I managed to rearrange my schedule so I can have the next two days off from Aroma, so at least I get to spend some time with Jen. Shawn’s going to leave tomorrow afternoon, though, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it – how I’m going to say goodbye again. And I feel like I’m being a terrible hostess because I can’t stop crying and because I had to work and because there’s nothing to do.

Addendum

I worked with the label girl again tonight – I found out that she just finished her degree in dance performance, and will be auditioning for a company in Chicago next month. Her boyfriend, the one with whom she hung out all Saturday night, is an opera singer and was in tonight, translating Don Giovanni. Wow.

I almost got a new free love seat, except it started storming on the way home. So much for that item of free furniture.

Also finally connected with my sister on the phone tonight. She’s watching Wonderland, which we watched over the weekend. She’s talking about coming down in a week, which would be really nice.

When I said that I lack the promise of a future, I wasn’t exactly clear. It’s not that there isn’t a future – that this relationship has nowhere to go – I guess what I meant to say is that this relationship – this life – doesn’t have a planned future. I’ve always had a shady five year plan or one year plan – now I’m constantly kept guessing. We could have such a life together – but right now those things are only dreams, not necessarily something to wait for.

It’s late, and I should sleep. I have another day of double shifts ahead of me. S’OK, I can use the money. Definitely. It’ll just be late cos I’m going to Shawn’s to watch 24 after Aroma. I’m hoping I can finagle the morning off. We’ll see….