I’m glad you’re here. I really, really am. I feel like I have to fess up a little: I didn’t write today because I went to a pity party instead, and it ran a little late. Six individual-sized ramekins came over, and it actually turned out to be a better time than I had been expecting.
For the last four weeks, my studio has been decorated with cover letters, resumes, and writing samples — all over every available surface. There has been a list of references tacked up on a wall. Contacts I could use, underneath those. A lot of crumpled up post-it notes, over by the door. And, if you want to know the truth: a lot of mostly-pajamas, slump-sitting in a laundry basket that needs to be lugged around. Soon.
Earlier this evening, I swept everything aside, in favor of something that wouldn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth. You see, up until today — save for the occasional ding of the kitchen timer — it had been radio silence. No news. No rejections, even. (At least there would have been some closure, then.)
And then it was like I’d finally found the right channel, just by fiddling around with the dial. Because there they were, loud and clear: the rejections. Six of them, delivered without pause. (Six ramekins, too — are you catching on?)
Tomorrow I will have to keep going. But tonight? Tonight, I just want to call him. I don’t, because I know it would disappoint you. And because we’re past that. And because there’s someone new I’m sort of interested in, even though I’m gathering that he’s not interested back. But mostly? Mostly I don’t pick up the phone because I don’t think I could stomach a seventh rejection, and that’s surely what this would have been.
Six months ago I needed him, and he wasn’t there. I still can’t decide if I love or hate him for it.
It stung like a slap in the face — that much I know. The shock of it more than the actual pain, I think. What a terrible realization though, to realize that he’d become a stranger to me. I guess I’d been harboring a secret hope that our love would wind up kicking life in the pants. Somehow, despite everything, and even after all this time. But that night, the phrase you know I’m always just a phone call away became nothing more than a string of words. Strung together just to sound nice.
That night I remember getting down a bowl and pulling out a spoon. Getting into bed. Curling up into a ball and starting to cry. Not wildly and dramatically, not for an audience, but silently and steadily, with my hands between my knees. Sticky-hot. I remember washing out the bowl and drying off the spoon, the next morning, and vowing to move on.
Tonight…tonight I painted my toes and put a pot of water on to boil and called a still-new friend. I shredded Brussels sprouts, minced garlic, sliced avocado, and toasted almonds. I juiced half of a lemon and cooked some chicken. Steamed some squash. Thought about washing the spinach/kale/chard/arugula mix. (Didn’t.) I laid out a single place setting, with a real napkin, and I grabbed a good book. Felt a lot better with some real food.
I also felt pretty happy about my plant, sitting across the table from me.
I’m beginning to feel like a crazy cat lady, only about this plant. I’m so proud of it — it started out as a bulb! And look at it now.
It makes me think about spring. And I know there will be more rejections — maybe all the way into the spring.
But for now, for tomorrow, I’m going to think about going outside, even when it looks like it might be even more miserable out there.
And I’m going to try to remember that there’s a reason why we should bundle ourselves up, and go for a walk, and just see where we end up.