knit to someone

Here is the first thing that she did not expect: for him to step into the space between them, in the assured way that he did. She was older. She felt, in some ways, more powerful. It had always been her money, her yes or no, her accepting or ignoring his occasional, hesitant flirtation. She expected that when it came down to it, that power would hold, and he would be shy. That he would follow her lead. 

But when they came to the place where these things unfold, he stepped into that space so confidently, so expertly, and with so much self-knowledge that she never stood a chance. Key, meet lock. Click. Then it was just a matter of delirious discovery after delirious discovery.  

What, his hands asked, if I were to do this? 

How did you know? her body answered. 

Things he said became tattoos she'd retrace the shape of again and again over the coming weeks weeks. Breathless chemistry: that was the first thing. 

The second thing was a wavelength thing. They found one another one it, on that infinitely nuanced spectrum where humor and intelligence hum, waiting to be sparked by the other. Jokes that hit their mark in the sweetest spot. Playful teasing that pulled all the right strings. Cultural references (fucking god how much she'd missed sharing cultural references) that landed. 

And the third thing? Was how quickly, and with what beautiful abandon, he let himself feel what was happening. How honestly he let himself express it, directly, in plain language.

You are fucking amazing. 

I've been thinking about you all day. 

You have no idea the things I've said to my friends.

These moments she gathered up, inhaling them deeply like clipped flowers that might not last the week. 

These were the big surprises. The smaller ones all centered around how much they had in common, in interests, tastes, styles, personality quirks. She had forgotten how good it felt to knit to someone with the same basic values and lifestyle. Work, friends, self care, creativity, play. Rinse and repeat.

She started to lose track of things, like how many times she'd seen him, how many things they were planning to do together, and the reasons why any of it would be a bad idea.

the same gold: part four

The Powerhouse looks, smells, and sounds as exactly as she expected. She's reminded of the once great, now shuttered Bar 107. Unpretentious crowd, bartenders who are surly with newcomers but chummy with regulars, and 90s-era bangers on the stereo. It'll do just fine.


She slides into the booth first; he closes in tight. And they're off. The lightning round comes first on this game show, and they skate from topic to topic back to topic, ticking boxes and laughing much more than anticipated. Five minutes into the conversation she realizes she has brutally underestimated his intelligence. He's making jokes that she barely catches. He's clever as fuck. Ten minutes into the conversation, she senses him realizing that's he's underestimated her, too. It's in his face and reactions when she references (the right) bands or songs or genres of music. When she asks probing questions about his work and his passions. When she gets it.


They don't drink. They just talk.


She loves the way he looks when he's listening to her. There's really no space between them already, and she has to twist sharply to face him directly--but his body language is serious all the same. Head slightly tipped down, eyes focused on the table, looking up at her quickly when some point trips his interest. If he interrupts her he immediately urges her back to her train of thought. He wants to understand. For her part, she feels one hundred percent relaxed and herself. There is nothing on the line her but a good time. This could never be a thing, right? There is no need to be nervous. This is not the usual two person audition. This is just some friends getting to know one another better. And it doesn't even matter that he has just casually pulled her legs across his lap. She's acutely aware of it but it's so natural and right that they don't miss a beat to acknowledge the step.


It happens fast. They're laughing too much, with too much chemistry to stop it. He calls it out, inhibitions peeled away by the chemicals flushing from his brain.


"Why am I so comfortable with you? Why is this so easy?"


She smiles. God that feels good. "Because. We've known each other for a long time, remember?" She shrugs, still smiling, and meets his eye. He wraps a hand gently around the back of her neck, kisses her, and then presses his forehead softly against hers.


This--all of this--is the exact opposite of what she was expecting. He is an entirely new and different person, a hundred times more faceted and complicated than the profile she had constructed of him.


He's sensitive: when she teases him about an old unsettled debt between them, his face darkens in shame. "Ohhh," she touches his chin. "You know I'm teasing." He won't look at her. "I'm sorry," she says, placing her palm against his chest. "That was a weird time in your life, wasn't it?" He nods. "It was a very weird time in my life."


He's quick-witted: for every wisecrack she gets in, he gets in two that are even better.


And most wonderful of all, he's vulnerable: every few minutes, as they move along this uncharted but strangely clear path, this adventure in shared surprise, he stops to marvel, aloud, at how great it is. "What's happening right now? Why are you so awesome?"


And it is, simply, great. They are having a blast. It is clearly on. God knows for how long, if it's the drugs alone, if it will even last the night--but right now, it is on.


After an hour of mutual delight, of talking and laughing and just enjoying one another's closeness, there's a pause in the action. They both feel it but it falls on him to say it.


"Do you want to go to your place?"


She does. She really does.

the same gold: part three

"Let's get faded and find some music."

That had been the official invitation. And maybe it was something about the word "faded" that edged her into "yes" territory. No one had ever invited her to get faded. Not in so many words (and words were everything). Faded sounded like just rewards for getting successfully past a difficult time. Faded like the pastels of sunset, deliciously cool after a long hot day. Faded like forgetting.

Yes, faded sounded just about perfect - so she said yes. After that, there were only two decisions to make: what pill to take (they'd agreed to party together, but launch solo) and what to wear. Both were easy enough: nothing crazy and nothing fancy.

Jeans. A crewneck top with thumbholes. Chunky white sneakers and a puffer. See how casually I am taking this? she hoped her clothes said. See how hard I am not trying? Dressing up or dressing sexy was absolutely out of the question. She'd feel ridiculous.

She'd suggested The Roosevelt, a renovated depression-era hotel on the far end of the Boulevard. It offered options: sprawling lobby with tufted leather sectionals; poolside lounge with DJ and tropical-themed bar; swanky speakeasy with cushy booths lining a single, perfectly restored bowling lane. Whatever vibe they found themselves falling into, The Roosevelt could accommodate.

Not that it mattered; they would leave after two minutes anyway.

She gets there first. Arranges herself, puffer-less with legs crossed, on one of the oversized lobby sectionals. Breathing deeply as the high kicks in. Breathing quickly when she spots him across the room.

"Hey." Big, boyish smile. Plops down unceremoniously next to her. Gives her a one-armed, sideways hug. It's an awkward angle but his touch feels different than anytime before. They'd shared dozens of quick hugs over the years. The difference is that this one doesn't need a chaperone or a curfew. This hug is an unopened envelope that can contain whatever they want.

He's already high too; already restless. "Let's get out of here," he says, offering his hand. "Let's go make some mayhem." She takes his hand self-consciously before dropping it a minute later. As much as she loves his conspiratorial, mischievous tone, her hands are not her strong suit. She isn't ready to let go of her insecurities quite yet. It won't be long now, and the pill will do away with them altogether - but not yet.

On the street outside they assess their surroundings. The Boulevard this far west isn't particularly crowded. If they head east and dive into the thick of things, they risk the throng of bumbling, gawking tourists harshing their buzz. So they go back into the hotel. Clamber upstairs to the speakeasy, joking unsuccessfully with the stone-faced bouncer, who unamusedly lets them into a bar thumping with shitty (to them) hip hop. They frown at one another dramatically, covering their ears as if in pain.

"Ugh. God. This music."

"Yeah, no. There is not enough liquor in the world to make this tolerable."

Back on the street now, the chilly night air welcome on their hot cheeks. They're going higher now. Soon they'll be absolute chatterboxes. Best to hole up somewhere warm and comfortable.

"I know," he says, taking her hand again. "Powerhouse." She's never heard of it but he nods confidently. "Super old school. Right at Highland. Let's check it out." They walk a couple of short blocks before a traffic light stops them. Standing close together, all the potential of a starry night's worth of adventure laid out before them, he suddenly kisses her forehead. And it's everything, that kiss - everything she needs to know. It lasts exactly the right amount of time. It contains exactly the right amount of pressure. It hits her at exactly the right spot, because she's now realizing he is exactly the right height.

And, most importantly, that is his first kiss. Not some fumbling, grasping, too-early and too-deep attempt at having her. This forehead kiss is barely a suggestion. It is sweetness and warmth and six years of harmless flirtation wrapped in the thinnest, most delicate lace of maybe. It says: I am so glad to be here right now. I appreciate this. I'm not going to rush this. 

It says everything that the next fifteen hours would say, in fact. And then the next two dates after that.

---

Haha, omg, I am doing that thing that I have done before which is take a single night and make eleventy billion posts out of it. I'm sorry, I know that's so extra. It isn't about being dramatic so much as I'm trying to get some writing in before crashing. I'm on a seven day week since the younguns' are traveling right now, so the game for the time being is get in a wee bit of posting when I can. Hope it's not too obnoxious, and I promise there is some wonderful payoff. Having the time of my life and am very, very happy right now.  - e

memento

Friend who's been struggling a bit gets back from out of town and stops by my work to drop something off for me. Walks into the store, back to my office where I'm in a meeting with my boss. Wordlessly sets a small wrapped gift and a card in front of me on my desk, then turns and leaves without interrupting us.

A bit later when I'm alone I open the gift and read the card. I text the friend two emojis - a heart and the bomb - and that's it, until I can say thanks later in person.

Everyone has different metrics for success, whether it's financial gain, creative output, or some physical milestone reached. I have a little bit of each of those, but more than anything, my sense of achievement and meaning comes from feeling like I'm a good friend to the people who've trusted me enough to let me in. It's everything to me. And everything I've learned about how to be a better friend has come from befriending better people than myself.

Chances are I will lose the toy and maybe even the card some day. But I'll never forget how this friend makes me feel.

the same gold: part two

Weekends all to herself - she still wasn't used to them. Entire days with no one to answer to for how she spent her time. Time that, immediately after the breakup felt hollow and anxious, was now starting to feel luxurious, precious, and full of potential.

His Friday afternoon text caught her running errands in WeHo. He opened with the usual subject matter. Had she tried them? No, she had not, but she promised to let him know when she had.

You know I'll text you when I do, all lovey and dumb.

I just wanna Netflix with youuuu.

She looked at her phone. Well, here it was. As good as an invitation, if she wanted to accept it. No reason not to. Nothing serious on the line. Nothing but some fun, probably, which she was certainly entitled to. She was, after all, one hundred percent single. She considered for a second, then messaged him back.

It'll happen. One of these days I'll be in Hollywood and messed up and I'll just text you "Fire up the wall stars I'm coming over."

She watched the "read" notification land. Knew he was looking at his phone, right at that second. Digesting. Picturing it, maybe. She watched him type and erase, then do it again. Then again.

I want to take some together but I feel like I'll fall in love. She smiled. She knew exactly what he meant.

No you're safe I don't have a heart. Deliberately unpunctuated. That's how the kids did it, right?

So let's roll and go out.

And there it was. Right there on the table for the taking, if she wanted it. He knew she could, if she wanted to. She'd told him about the breakup a few days before, when she'd seen him last. Why do you always look so fire, he'd texted immediately afterward.  Hush, she'd said back. Pfffft German guy, he'd replied. Get you an Elon Musk. 

She stood in the California sunshine, one of the first warm days of the year. God it had been such a long, cold winter. But now the heat was coming back. Just a little bit, and slowly. But it was coming. That was undeniable.

With a sigh she decided to shelve this delicious offer. She wasn't ready. But she was definitely curious. With reckless flirtation, she answered. When it warms up. So I can wear less. Feel more sun. Feel more skin.

He tried again. Let's link up now. 

She thought about all she had to catch up on after the long work week. More errands. Housework. Sleep.

I can't todayyyyy. 

What about tonightttt?

When she didn't respond, he continued, playfully trying to box her into a commitment. Just kidding. Tomorrow sounds great. Let me know what time.

Very cute, she thought, but didn't respond. That was enough for today.

But by the time he tried yet again, two hours later, she'd had a full two hours to ruminate on possibility. Two hours to walk the sunny streets of her city, reflecting on how great most aspects of her life really were. Two hours to remember that life was all hers again. Two hours of uninterrupted music in her ears, setting a soundtrack for her imagination--and her dangerously impetuous nature.

Two hours, it turned out, was enough time to change her mind from Soon to a Sure, fuck it, tonight, why not.

Because sure, fuck it, why not? Tonight.

the same gold: part one

She'd known him for six years, the night she got to know him better.

Six years of chaste, usually comical assignations. Late-night trips to his various apartments (he moved as much as she did). Hollywood, Silverlake, even the valley once. Or he'd come to her place, usually after several days of flaking and last-minute cancellations. Sometimes they'd meet in public: a hasty exchange in the intimates section of a crowded Gap, or the parking lot of a Costco. Exact change always ready for him, bills folded neatly in her palm. The awkward, attention-getting way he'd shove a baggie of pills (or mushrooms or tabs) in her open tote bag. The whole thing so ridiculous, always. Fear and shame attaching themselves to something that should produce neither.

He exasperated her to no end. He was unreliable and uncommunicative, and his products were consistently inconsistent in quality. Sometimes though, they were pure magic. She had no choice but to see the humor in it all and to come to regard him with affection.

Over time, they became friends of a sort. He always followed up to see if she'd enjoyed/survived her purchase. Such customer service, she teased, admittedly moved by his concern. When she took acid for the first time and found herself in a blind spiral of terror, he answered her call and calmly talked her off the ledge. And when that same acid leveled out and she discovered the pure, heart-splitting joy it could offer, she called him back. He answered again, this time laughing to hear her first-timer's evangelism. I know, babe, he said, simply. I know. And when she took it subsequent times, she couldn't wait to talk to him again. There is no connection like that between those who've crossed the same rainbow and found the same gold.

These pre and post-purchase conversations grew in length and scope. She learned about his other interests, professional and creative. She listened to his music. When he quit his bar gig and began working in a lab -- a genuine, salaried job -- she was thrilled for him, and truly impressed with how far he'd come.  She knew all too well how easy it was for bright, good-hearted people to undersell themselves for the sheer ease of it.

He kept selling her drugs even when selling drugs became the side-side hustle. And then suddenly, he wasn't really a dealer; he was more of a friend keeping her in the loop. When something came around that was purported to be good, he offered to be the go-between. Or when she wanted something specific, he made a call or two. Meanwhile, he worked full time and pursued his passions on top of that. Just like a regular civilian. Just like her.

And of course, all this time, there was the fact of their chemistry. That didn't hurt her willingness to accommodate his flakiness. It was the sweet, uncomplicated chemistry of two people who are in no danger whatsoever of getting involved and getting hurt. She had a boyfriend, almost always. He was over ten years younger than her. She was, essentially, his client. No danger.

Still, it was there. Hello and goodbye hugs that lingered, with smiles that said everything. His occasional compliment on her looks, her outfit. Over time he grew bolder. The compliments became more direct. It was flattering and fun to her; he was absolutely adorable. But it wasn't an option. There were an assortment of things in the way. Among them: she was taken.

Until she wasn't.

ok to use

Doing laundry right now, being held hostage on my day off by a duvet that refuses to dry. Sticker on one of the machines catches my eye. because I, too, am feeling good and mostly healed and "OK TO USE."

I grab a Sharpie and my phone to snap a photo before I realize the company initials exactly match the first names of some of the people who have been the most supportive and available and just amazing over the last month. (You know who you are.) The universe is funny, and sometimes ha-ha funny.

Check it:





I might be scarce for the next few weeks, as for April, thanks to all the travelin' younguns I work with, I have given myself exactly one weekend with a full two days off. But that's okay! ...because I am focused and feeling content. Thanks, Spring.

p.s. It does not hurt that a criminally cute guy asked me out yesterday. Something something equinox fox.

invincibility

St. Patrick's Day is a very big deal for me. It's been a big deal for me since 2012, when I went to the downtown block party with Cameron and Greg and had one of the greatest holidays of my life. As long as I live I will never forget the closeness the three of us felt that day. Arms slung around one another's shoulders as we belted out Sunday Bloody Sunday, singing along with the U2 cover band that sounded for all the world like the real thing, feeling invincible in our connection to one another, to our futures, to our beliefs about ourselves. 


It was just a few weeks before my dad got sick, and it remains in my memory a time of suspended innocence, before everything just went...upside down. Before my dad died. Before I inherited all the money that I was completely unprepared to handle. Before I learned how deep and dark my depression can go. Before I wasted nearly four years aimlessly wandering the halls of my own life.

March 17th, therefore, imprinted itself on me. It came to signify joy and friendship - and the friends I choose as family. It became my favorite holiday.  And for the next couple of years, I lucked out and again and again and had absolutely fantastic, laughter and love-filled St. Paddy's Days. Different friends, different boyfriends; same celebration of gratitude.


So gearing up for this year, freshly (read: painfully) single, I really, really wanted to have a special day. I needed it. So I took a shot at organizing a relatively big group of friends/coworkers/ex-coworkers. And though I tried to keep my expectations low, I really did pin a lot of hope on everyone turning out. In the morning I rallied the troops and started a group text to get everyone laughing and hooked on being together. And it worked. And they all came (except one, who couldn't get out of work). And it was just fucking glorious.  



We opted out of the actual block party and took up residence at the corner bar (which was much busier than these photos make it look). And for the first time in, I don't know, maybe ever, I spent the day with people who not only love me and accept me despite my vast catalogue of personal failings - they also respect me as a coworker and, crazily enough, their boss. 


And I felt more whole in myself than I can remember ever feeling. And it was just such a wonderful thing, to talk and laugh and spend time with people I've grown close to over the past two years, to just lean back and watch them be exactly themselves. There was lots of drunken hugging - we are an affectionate and demonstrative bunch. Multiple times I laughed so hard I cried. And then in other moments I just quietly listened and appreciated these incredibly supportive, really good humans I get to have in my life.







We partied from 4pm until midnight, across two bars and then Edmund's house, where we ended with wine and pizza and conversation about Big Things, until we all just couldn't go anymore. Some had peeled off by then, to go dancing at Short Stop. But I was exactly where I was meant to be, with the exact core group I wanted to stay with.



Today I stopped by to say hi to Costa as I was leaving work. We talked for a minute about whatever, and then he said something like "By the way, yesterday? Was the greatest day ever. You made the greatest day ever happen." I shook my head, started to say it was thanks to amazing people just showing up, and that's all that matters.


"Yeah but you made them show up. You set it up, you invited everyone, and it was such a great crew. We all had a blast. Seriously best day ever."


That right there is all I need in this world - and I'm not talking about the compliment of my party planning skills. That right there is a dose of invincibility that will power me for months.


Not that this puts ever more pressure on you, St. Paddy's, 2020. Don't worry about it. I'm sure you'll do just fine.

all these friends

Can I tell you a beautiful, happy thing that happened last night?


Months ago Timo and I got tickets to Luttrell, and the show was last night in Hollywood. We bought our tickets individually, and I knew there was absolutely no way he'd go anyway, but I was feeling a little emotional about going for another reason. July 3rd, 2016 was the last time I went out as a solo and single person - and that was the night I met Timo. So yesterday was the first time in two and a half years I was going out with that particular status again.


I've been going out to clubs and shows by myself for years. That doesn't bother me. It was just, you know - significant.


I texted a bit with Cam before I got ready, which is always so empowering. He said he wished he was here to go out with me. I told him he always is, in spirit. Then I sent Costa a Luttrell track. Costa has absolutely no exposure to EDM, and since I always go to his shows (including a country concert at The Echo), he's promised that one of these days he's going to come to an event of mine. (I've been waiting for the right thing to bring him to. A hot, sweaty club isn't his scene; needs to be something major and open-air.) But in the meantime, I'm introducing him in bits and pieces. "That's so you," he said, in response to the song I shared.


So I get ready, I'm feeling really good, great mood, super confident. I'm even having a good hair night. And I'm walking down the Boulevard, listening to Kolonie, feeling all warm and wrapped up in the love of my friends, and it's just great.


It's just great.


I get into the club and I'm ordering a drink when I get a text from one of my coworkers - a frowning picture with her and Costa. Help :(, it says. I don't know if they've run into one another or are out together but they're two of my absolute favorite people and it's awesome. I have a huge smile. Sorry, I text back. It's fatal. You've got...Costaitis.

Come out! She texts back.

Lol I am high af gurl. I need music.

Omg where are you!! Let's go dance. I'm in weho.


A second later, I get another text from one of Costa's best friends and college buddies. Come ouuuuuuuuttttttt, he says.


I ask: is there anything better than multiple people urging you to come be with them? Is it not just the best feeling in the world? To me it is. To me it is gold. To me it is everything.


By now I'm starting to have trouble reading my phone. Come to MY out, I reply. I guarantee it's better.

Where?

Sound in Hollywood, I tell them both. But now I have to get rid of my phone and get to the dance floor. I have absolutely no expectation anyone is going to come, they're all already out somewhere, so I check my coat and phone and that's the end of it.


And it's so good. The music is perfect. I've seen Luttrell a handful of times, but this is the best set so far. I'm in heaven. I'm too high to dance much, but I find my usual spot near the outskirts and just drift away for 45 glorious minutes. Then at some point something makes me turn around. I don't know if he touched my shoulder or I just subconsciously felt his presence, but I turn around and fucking Costa is standing there, wearing his fucking cowboy hat and just fucking smiling at me.


Let me explain the significance of this. Costa is from Nebraska. He grew up on a cattle ranch. Granted, he then went on to study at Yale and work in politics in DC before pivoting to do creative work--but he's a country boy at heart. He also hates crowds. He has told me this. He also has never taken a drug other than weed in his life. Also? He was already out, elsewhere. And to drive across town in LA on a Friday night; to fight the crowd to get your damn ID from the bar where you've opened a tab; to derail the buzz you've got going just to go wait in a different club's line, pay a (not inexpensive) cover, work through another crowd to order a drink, then go fight through 500 people to find your one single, solo friend... I was very high in this moment but ecstasy is a love drug, and all the meaning of what he'd done to come spend time with me just came crushing down on me and my jaw fell open.


It's too loud to talk really so I just shake my head at him. For like twenty seconds. He gets it. Gives me a hug and puts his mouth close to my ear. "Edmund's here. He wants to see you. Franki's here. She wants to see you, too. All these friends are here for you," he says. "But right now..." And then we just dance.


I dance with my friend who, just a few days ago, spent an hour on the phone with me, as he stood under the stars back home in Nebraska at 2am, standing outside in the snow after the birthday party he'd flown back for. An hour telling me all the good things he sees in me. It was a conversation I'll never, ever forget. I had been feeling really, really low, in a place of desperation and fear, and he took those fears and beat them to death with encouragement and support. Said ridiculously kind thing after ridiculously kind thing about my character, my heart, and the friend I've been to him. "If nothing else," he'd said, "I just want you to feel seen."


That is a thing I am currently having in my life - that friendship.


So the slight bummer ending to this story is that I got separated from Costa and Edmund pretty quickly (my fault; I dashed off to dance and I lost them). And I didn't have my phone on me, plus I was extremely out of it (not to mention the show was oversold and jam-packed), so we ended up apart in the end. And infuriatingly, I never even got to see Franki; but she assures me she had a ton of fun anyway (and I believe it - Franki is the sweetest, happiest girl ever). But the best part is that both Costa and Edmund clearly loved the experience, too. I don't think either of them had ever been to something like that. “This is actually pretty great,” Costa said at one point. And that? Introducing someone to my world and having them like it? That too—gold. The vibes were great and the music was incredible, and the lonely night I thought I was in for morphed into just this beautiful affirmation that I'm not alone at all.


So that is my Friday night tale for you. Happy weekend, babies.

fin

Before Timo and I spoke on the phone - one week into the breakup - I sent him an email. It contained things I needed him to, if not acknowledge, at least hear. I put a lot of thought into it. It contained some criticisms, some deserved call-outs--but mostly clarifications about where I'd been at in the relationship. Because I suspected his ending it had a lot to do with his fear that I was in some kind of hurry to get to the next level.


(I was not.)


But when we talked on the phone, I'd asked him if he'd read that email. He had not. "I couldn't," he said.


So I proceeded to say the things I needed to and ask the questions I needed to. He was honest and undefensive, but very emotional in his responses. Some of what I told him he hadn't realized. I thought I heard a shift in his voice. He cried. He refused to point-blank say he wasn't in love with me. Said "You're asking me to jerk you around" instead. There were other little moments during the call, too. Little clues, little softenings of his tone, in which I heard - still - love.


And it completely fucked me up. I hung up victorious and sure he just needed a little time to miss me. He was in Europe for work, but I knew when he came back he'd call. He'd want to see me, right away.


I knew it.


But then of course he didn't. And every minute of that first 24 hours was a breath held until I remembered I had to keep breathing. It was one of the most torturous days of my life. The next morning as I was getting ready for work, I made the decision to message him. I just had to know, either way. Had he been conflicted? Did he maybe just want to take a little time, think about what he wants? Or was he done--truly done.


I sent him a short message saying that apparently I wasn't as strong as I thought I was, and while I thought I'd heard conflict in his voice, I wasn't going to be able to just sit on my hands with the indefinitely open door that I'd offered him. Can you just please say the words, 'I know for certain that I don't want to be with you now or in the future'? so that I can for real this time move on?


I couldn't focus at work, kept checking my phone constantly. No response. Hours go by. No response. I'd DMed him on Twitter, and as best I could tell from the dumb little checkmark/date stamp system, he hadn't even read it. Which makes no sense, because he lives on Twitter. Had be blocked me? Had he actually blocked me?


I barely keep it together long enough to close the store, get on a train home, get out of the subway car, and get on the station escalator before messaging him again, this time SMS. He's got an Android, though, so I've no way of knowing if he's read that, either.


It's the worst feeling. I am instantly twenty-whatever again, just pathetically begging and chasing whichever man it is (oh god there were too many) who just isn't that into me. I hate myself, in this moment. A grown woman knowing better than to do what she's doing, but doing it all the same, because she's a grown woman with anxiety and abandonment issues, and, probably, a dash of love addiction.


I wait and wait but he doesn't respond. I am absolutely beside myself. By this point I know he must be totally done, but I just. need. to hear. it. I need to hear him say it. I need either the ice water-in-the-face of a cold, "I'm sorry, Ellie, I don't want to be with you" or the satisfaction of hearing a tear-filled version of the same.


I call. He doesn't answer. I leave a voicemail. I am now in a dangerous place, spiraling fast.


And this, my dear lovely friends of so many years - this is where everything changes. My own mental illness is what is now about to save me, in a way. Because Timo knows I am not always, shall way say, "totally together"? He knows I am prone to debilitating, dangerous panic attacks. Ideation. Very, very bad stuff.


He knows this about me, and yet he does not respond.


And so here's the thing. Even if I weren't? Even if I was the sanest, healthiest, stablest human being on the planet? We were together for two and one half-years. He broke up with me out of the fucking blue. If I needed one more conversation - ten more minutes after two and a half years - I should have gotten it. Full stop.


But I didn't get it. Timo did not pick up the phone and call me back, broken and hurting fellow human being that I am. He didn't even text back. He fucking DM'ed me on Twitter. And I could tell, both from the dumb little checkmark/date system and from the absolutely banal and nonspecific BS that he sent, that he had not even read my DM.


In other words, he had not read or heard a word of the pain I was in. He saw I was reaching out, needing help, but he just...shoved his fingers in his ears. Hid completely. Would not give me the closure I was begging for. Could not even read my words. And I guarantee he deleted my voicemail unheard.


So this DM comes back, these three little paragraphs of absolute breakup-cliche dreck, and I'm sitting on my bed reading them, and it all comes home for me. How unbelievably not okay it is, for him to do things this way, to someone who he knows suffers in the ways I do. To not have the tiniest bit of compassion or patience. Mind you this had not been me trying to get him back. It had just been me, hurting badly, asking for absolute closure to a very confusing week.


And I realize that this was the best thing ever. Just the best thing ever. Because who wants that? Who wants a person like that in their life, capable of such selfishness, cowardice, and cruelty?


Not I.


---


So here's where I'm at now: on the far side of it. I got launched hard and fast to that far side. And I am really grateful to be there. I'm smiling again, and laughing, and the amount of time I go in between thinking about him gets longer and longer every day. I'm stung by the rejection, of course. Because ego never really dies. And I'm angry that he didn't hear me out (or read me out), even though it would have been painful. He told me during that phone call that he'd decided in January to end it. That's a full month of pretending, and incredible pretending at that. That alone is just... that alone earned me one more conversation.


And I'm sad to lose companionship and affection. That's hard. But now I look back at things differently, through the lens of his final choices. And I still have my list of all the reasons he is wrong for me. Big reasons, small reasons. Petty reasons, important reasons. And I have everything else to keep me busy. Awesome job, world's greatest friends. And some of the loyalest, most supportive people on the fucking internet to cheer me on as I get. back. up.


Again.