Today, as in the day that I’m writing this blog, my mom and I worked together to hang up the moon tapestry that used to hang loosely above the computer desk and chair in the main room. It now hangs above my bed and the bedpost downstairs in Northford, in a dramatically different town and location than its previous home. I wasn’t expecting to get that back, actually, but I guess Alex no longer wanted the tapestry for herself. On a visit to Stamford to pick up the last of my things, I think this would’ve been when Mike and I went to grab the desk and mattress, I noticed that she had hung up separate portraits on the walls. I guess the moon didn’t interest her that much any more, or maybe she wanted to rid the apartment in Stamford of everything that once reminded her of us. I don’t blame her for it, honestly, but I do feel like it would’ve been nice to still have up in the old apartment. You don’t have to get rid of absolutely everything to appease your desire to get rid of the past.
The tapestry is now hanging above my bed, and it’s going to stay there for the foreseeable future. It reminds me of how much of a lunatic I was for staying there and getting comfortable with life as it was, for not seeing the signs and not listening to the people who told me right from wrong and what to expect from a person who’s trying to separate from you the way that she was trying to.
For awhile, I wanted to avoid discussing this topic on my blog, but I feel now that it’s essential to let these feelings out. In a previous time, I would’ve channeled this into poetry. Maybe I’ll try that again sometime soon.
Having an alarm clock helps you wake up on time, and it helps keep you productive, feeling like you’re doing the right thing every morning. You get used to waking up to the same mechanical alarm sound, no matter the circumstance. It begins to feel like home, like you’re used to the sounds that emit from the clock every morning at 6:40am. Some people wake up earlier, later, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. You do what you can to survive and that’s what sticks around.
So when I opened up the box of things that Alex had prepared for me, the last of the last bits and pieces, I scavenged around, hoping there would be some memento to hold onto, something small to remember our relationship by. I had already kept the purple teacher’s apple we made at the Yankee Candle emporium in Massachusetts, even though I probably shouldn’t still be holding onto it. It’s one of those things you just can’t look away from, like a natural disaster or a cringe-filled television show or drama production.
When I looked through the box of things, I saw the alarm clock, and it stuck with me. Not because it was inherently significant on its own, but because I didn’t expect to get it. It’s like the blue sweater; you see it enough times for it to be significant to you, and you forget it was ever once yours. Divvying up the items in the apartment by who owned what, the vacuum, the blender, the moon tapestry, the posters and art prints and framed photographs and poems from Valentine’s Day 2019. She took the batteries out of the alarm clock before giving it back to me. I guess she had to conserve everything possible.
In Magic: the Gathering, the exile zone is the zone in which you are placed when you are unable to return, unable to come back from. I mean, there are a few ways to get cards out of exile, to be honest, but they’re very very limited and infrequent. They don’t show up in the limited format and you’d have to run them in your sideboard in any sort of constructed format. That’s pretty much how it goes.
So when I was exiled away back home, I originally convinced myself that I deserved it. That I needed this time away to fix myself, to make myself better and help rebuild what I lost over the years of being too comfortable and secure in the apartment, in the dog, in our relationship as a whole. I felt like everything was going well, like my future had been decided already and I could comfortably relax without worrying about what life would be like in five years’ time. Turns out, I was wrong, of course. There’s more to life than we ever expect, and the second we become comfortable in the way things are, they start to show signs of deteriorating. Like all things, this too shall pass. I just need to accept where I am now, in exile, wherever that is, and live and let live. I need to move forward with my life and not waste time thinking endlessly about past mistakes. There were many mistakes that I made, but in retrospect, I didn’t deserve what happened to me.
So much of what I’ve written on here was a lie. I need to eclipse it with truth. That’s my new goal for this blog, to override everything I wrote on here that was false or misleading, to take it all out and not erase it, necessarily, but to make it better.
This blog post is a continuation from the last three blog posts, which were about saying goodbye and farewell to certain things in my life that had previously been such a staple.
I know I’ve written about Angus considerably on this blog, and he’s become kind of a regular, recurring character here. Anyone who’s read this blog over time knows about his habits, what he’s like, and how much I love him dearly. Having the camera around helps but I still haven’t signed up for it yet. I can’t bring myself to have a continuous camera view of him, as I think I would just end up watching it all the time. It’s something I wouldn’t be able to give up.
It’s not the same, but also, it feels like she’s acting as if she’s the only one who takes care of him. We both love him equally; in fact, I saw him more often than she did because I got home earlier in the day. I spent more time with him, and now he spends more time alone and without regular interaction. It makes me sad to think about, because I know Angus craves interaction and intimacy and being around other people as much as possible. When he’s alone, he gets depressed.
When I visited the apartment the other day to grab more of my things, I could tell that Angus missed me. He jumped on me four times and wouldn’t let go. He started panting immediately as soon as I arrived and didn’t seem to stop throughout the entire time I was there packing stuff up. And when I had to leave again, when I sat down on the ground by myself and absorbed the surroundings in Stamford for the last time, he sat on my lap and allowed me to pet him over and over.
This blog post is a continuation from the previous one, which was about going through a breakup. I’m going to talk today about another part that stung and has continued to make me feel worse and worse about things. Not having a dog around has made me lonely, and it’s made things difficult to adjust to life by myself. Usually when I’m sitting on the futon playing Destiny 2 or Monster Hunter: World, I wonder what it would be like if I had Angus beside me, playing with me. He’s my companion in all of those games, and even in Final Fantasy XIV I named my Chocobo after him. In Monster Hunter, he’s my palico. It’s always the same no matter what happens. And the thing is, I can’t change his name in either game. He’s stuck as that, so no matter what I’m doing, I’ll always be reminded of the distance between us when I play those games. In some ways, it’s ruined those games for me, because I can’t bear to see them when I know that I don’t have the actual dog around me anymore. And even if I were to replace Angus with another pet sometime in the near future, which I’m thinking about doing, it wouldn’t let me switch the name.
Saying goodbye is so difficult, and I know that I can’t expect things to be easy but it’s still so hard. I wish I could go back in time and fix whatever it is I could fix, and I wish I didn’t leave my job back when I did two years ago. Maybe things would be different if things stayed the same all this time. I do sometimes wonder about that, and I think the chain of events really started with that decision. It sucks to think about.
It’s so hard to say goodbye after spending so much time with someone or something. You grow attached to certain places, certain people, and even just small changes in scenery trigger an emotional response from you. When I went into the apartment the other day and saw that the picture frames were adjusted, that made me realize how much was really changing in the apartment. It made me realize that I was no longer a part of it. I know I wasn’t really a part of it anyway, because I was being replaced and pushed aside, but to see everything I ever had be replaced with something else made me sad. The pillow with our faces on it is probably in the trash somewhere, never to be seen again. The mugs with our anniversaries on it, the mug with all of Alex’s nicknames, those are probably going to go away as soon as Alex realizes that they’re still there. It’s not easy enough just to replace things, you have to erase them entirely from existence first and foremost. You have to completely rid those things from your life.
I guess I shouldn’t really be talking, considering I archived a bunch of pictures of us from my Instagram, too. But I guess it feels different when you’re the person all of this is being done to, the receiver of all these actions, versus the person who instigated them in the first place. It feels different because I still feel like I’m being pushed away. This is what a goodbye feels like, and saying goodbye after three years of being best friends is so incredibly difficult. All I want is for that to return, even though I know how difficult it would be to go back in time. I guess some things are meant to be this way.
I told her she would keep it during our hypothetical divorce. I meant it as a joke, but I did in some ways take it seriously, even though I never really expected we would separate, even well until the end.
The blue sweatshirt has dark stripes on it, and even though it was expensive, Alex bought it anyway for the very first StitchFix box we ordered. She liked it and said that even though it didn’t fit her well, she wanted it around the apartment anyway, and it was sort of a present for me, so she bought it. It has a very specific feel and look to it that makes it wonderful to wear, and she wore it a few times, although not really that much. It was mostly the kind of thing I wore around the apartment on a weekend, or after work, or any time I was traveling to Northford to visit friends. I would usually wear this blue sweatshirt around even though it was hers.
I told Alex it was hers, regardless. As a way of distinguishing it from the others, I would clarify that it was hers during the divorce. But then, after I visited the apartment the other day, and after Alex knew I was coming to pick stuff up, she put the blue sweatshirt on my side of the closet, signalling that it was now mine to keep. Unable to hold it back, I started to feel incredibly sad again. Even though we had joked about her keeping it, she wanted me to keep it anyway.
It’s the little things that get me going, to be completely honest. This blue sweater brings back memories. Lots of little artifacts have this effect. I need to start creating new memories with them, so as not to override the old ones, but to distinguish them in their own light.
Even looking back at this blog makes me nostalgic. I mention her everywhere. It’s impossible not to know who I’m talking about, or what this is about, if you have read this blog before. I used to think that love was impervious, invincible, that we were destined to be together. That there was nothing that could divide us or stand between what we had. I felt like our life was perfect, and that we had everything good going for us, but I guess that was wrong. I feel so cynical now, like I need to just give up on ever being that lucky again. I got so lucky with her. I feel like I didn’t deserve her or her kindness.
What’s going to happen to this blog? Where will things go from here?
I considered stopping this entirely, just giving up and saying that this was enough. That #436 is the last one, and from here on out I’m just reverting this blog back to a sporadic place for my various attempts at poetry and creative writing. I’ve thought about that a lot, and I guess I’m still considering it. So many of these blog entries are just memories of a forgotten time. I know I have to keep my head up, and I know I need to make an effort to make new memories with the things we used to do together, but this blog feels tainted, corrupted in a way. Like my attempts at making this work without her will always feel half-hearted at best.
Was this all just an accident that lasted too long? Was this all just a mistake? Do I really deserve this? I mean, I know I do, and I know it’s my fault, and I know I did wrong even though she won’t agree to that.
It feels like I hit a big reset button on things, like I went back in time to an era I felt was so far away by this point, like I had graduated from it. I felt mature enough to live on my own, capable enough to do this all by myself. But I guess I depended on her too much. I feel terrible about it, after all, because I know in retrospect that it’s true, that I made the mistake of putting my trust too strongly into something that could break so easily.
I feel somewhat betrayed, like we had agreed to this after all months and months before. To bring up money as something that divided us, to have that as a factor, it broke my heart. I know that my decision to leave my Milford job had a ripple effect on the rest of our lives, and I know it divided us in ways I wish it didn’t, but I never expected it would lead to this. If only I had stayed there, maybe we’d still be together. Maybe this wouldn’t fall on my shoulders as heavily. Maybe that’s how it would be, and maybe it wouldn’t be like this. I wonder if it would’ve been worth it just to stick it out, I wonder if I made the right choice at all; even after she encouraged me to do what’s right for myself, it feels now like I didn’t make the right choice for us. I wish I chose us over myself, and I wish I didn’t feel so selfish about it in response. I keep thinking whether things would’ve ended up differently.
Watch the shadows cross the floor, we don’t live here any more.
I dread going back to that empty room. I dread every second of physical memory.
Back in the day, when Alex and I first started dating, one of our best routines was hanging out on a Wednesday night and completing the Hamden newspaper’s weekly crossword puzzle together. I remember buying her a book of crossword puzzles back then, probably for a special occasion as one of our series of gifts, and we still have that book and plan on using it again tonight, hopefully. Being in touch with our former selves is a good way of rekindling past memories, and it brings character and nostalgia to our lives. I strongly support doing as many joint activities like that as you can with your partner as a way of building your relationship and making sure it has special attachments to certain things. Our mug collection, for example, has a lot attached to it and each individual mug could be its own blog post on this. Maybe one day I’ll do something like that… As a way of preserving their origins before we inevitably forget them.
Regardless, completing crosswords is romantic to us. I know that sounds super nerdy, and it is, but it’s the kind of activity we can do together that keeps our attention and uses our brains. It’s perfect for the two of us, and it allows us to collaborate and cooperate on an end goal: that is, completing the objective that is the crossword puzzle in front of us. Some puzzles are notoriously difficult and come down to the wire, where we end up having to look up a clue because we simply wouldn’t be able to figure it out with all the available hints and letters. In those moments, we don’t feel too much shame in completing the puzzle; it’s a matter of our knowledge being limited for the time being. That’s all.