Friday, November 9, 2012
adventures of the paper heart (3)
If you must know, I rank pretty low on modesty, humility, caution, prudence, discretion, spirituality, faith and sense of purpose.
Unnecessary sadness, I think. I really commit to it, the first to dive down the rabbit hole, conjuring bad omens out of thin air, swirling consciously downward. I throw back a handful of the blue pills when all I really needed was one or two. I fill my whole self up with sadness and then tip over and pour it into the world around me. And then it takes a really long time to crawl out.
Which is why Ryan, who knows me very well, ripped me from that sad place just as I was beginning to wrap my knuckles around its handlebars and get a good grip. I was crying when he picked me up from my house and during that sleepless night in his guest room I was crying and when he hauled me into his car and drove East on 1-90 I was still crying. Seattle was being hosed by this incredible rainstorm with standing water on the highway and the white lights of cars all blurred and I saw my misery reflected in the rain and oh, what a lonely, achingly sad place!
As one might imagine, this type of gratuitous, head over heals emotion is exhausting and I eventually fell asleep, to the great relief of the driver, and when I woke up we were somewhere in Idaho.
We continued to roll east, hour after hour, past larches flaming in gold and patches of mountains actually flaming in wildfire, churning heavy grey smoke into the atmosphere. The air was thin and brittle and chilly and burned a little in my lungs. The landscape was arid and open and so very different than the glassy, wet city we'd left behind us.
We stopped at a gas station, a building in shambles, Ryan bought a grape soda as a breakfast drink and the attendant had no teeth. It was there that I unlocked the door, fell out of the car and started to feel better.
I love the practical problem solving strategies of men, which differs so greatly from the nurturing instincts of women. They approached me as something broken, but like anything broken I could very well be glued back together by following a simple set of instructions. "Fix it, fuck it, or punch it," is a term I've heard them use before. There was no sitting around wrapped in blankets talking it out, no agonizing hours debating the meaning and merits hiding behind every word in every conversation.
Part of this is due to the fact that Andrew and I broke up very cleanly. But amicable or not, my paper heart still repulses at the idea of he didn't want me. And thank God, the boys left me no room to wallow. They talked entirely in movie quotes and refused to indulge me in the circle-talking of the recently heartbroken. "What do I do now?" I'd ask from where I sat, sunk into the booth at dinner, suddenly overcome by a fog of sadness.
"Shoot the hostage, take him out of the equation!" they'd say, and laugh, and go on talking about whatever they'd been talking about.
The self-pitying observations and pointlessly nostalgic comments did not interest them and after a few days they stopped interesting me, too.
In the evenings the two boys collected me from town and brought me to their luxurious gym. They taught me their grueling core workouts and their weight workouts. We swam in the pool and sat in the sauna. They took me out to dinner and forced me to order something other than soup. One evening I ate half of a hamburger and Ryan said, "Oh, hey, welcome back to life!"
At night we made bonfires and kept a fire in the wood stove and soaked in the hot tub under a bright white spray of stars and blowing snow squalls. We cooked food and watched movies and played board games.
The only time that big ball of sadness lodged in my throat threatened to rear up and choke me was when I thought about returning to Seattle. The new house, shabby and unfamiliar, the wet weather, the dark afternoons and terrible traffic. I knew when I went home I'd have to cope with missing Andrew, and it would be my job to grind through that sadness and face the winter without him.
A week went by, and when Ryan was getting ready to drive home I told him to leave without me. I packed up most of my things into his car and said goodbye to my dog. They drove away early in the morning, and I bought a bus ticket to Missoula to go see Nici, my old friend whom I've never met.
I still have not gone back to Washington.