Ok, so here’s what’s happened this summer:
Took a temp job, liked temp job, looked like temp job might become a real thing. This changes rapidly, but with some forewarning. Spend two days without job, watching Netflix with the cats and worrying about money. Job rises from the ashes when person I’d been temping for suddenly resigned. Applied for job. Waited.
The same week, I applied for an academic job. On a whim, sort of. As an act of ego, definitely. As a chance to get out of PhD land, for certain.
Offered academic job. Took academic job 24 hours later. Began plans for moving, finding new housing etc. Tell temp job I am leaving.
Get contract. Contract states I would not be paid until the end of September, despite the 1st day of school begin August 15. Realized I had neither the financial nor emotional resources to go without a paycheck that long. Changed mind and rejected said job.
It’s the right decision. Felt sad about it, but more sad about disappointing my advisor yet again, about failing to follow the aca path I was so sure that I’d wanted. Albeit a path paved in sharp stones, uncertainty, and a distinct lack of money.
It’s the right decision. I know this.
Ask if I can reapply for temp job. My temp bosses are kind and overtly overjoyed.
It’s nice to be wanted.
In the midst of this, my love life helpfully collapses, a dark star that becomes a gravity well.
Fell in love with boy. Boy is not unattached. I know this from before the outset. I don’t care.
Spend excellent if brief time with boy in my own house, in my own bed. The cats love him and claim him for their own as soon as it’ strike for sleep. I think, messy. I think, this might work. I think, he is coming back again. He says this, too, from almost the moment he arrives: I’m coming back here. The next time that I’m here. Crap like that.
Started to think boy was lying more often than not. Tried to talk self out of thinking that, because love is like Tinkerbell, surely: if we don’t both believe, especially given the distance, the cheating, it won’t work. Can’t survive. Still. I’m pretty damn sure.
Noticed boy becoming more and more spectral, like the titular ghost in that play he’s so fond of. I love him but I don’t believe him. Or trust him.
I said something to address said spectrality. I said: you said you’d be here again. Tell me when. He says: Yes, I’ll tell you. Tomorrow.
I say something again. He sort of addresses. We talk text while I am drinking wine and watching Will Graham avoid people’s gazes on TV.
He says: October
I say: …ok
He says: Maybe earlier? If I cancel other stuff that’s more important
[he doesn’t say it quite that way, but that’s what I hear]
I say: Yes.
He says: I love you
Next day: he ghosts me. The spectrality becomes complete.
I write two emails–the first, hurt but trying to be too understanding. This is how I’ve spoken to him too often during our whatever–with the wrong kind of care. Like if I say the wrong thing I’ll spook him and he’ll vanish back into the ether from when he came.
Not sustainable. Also, I suck at having to beat around the bush.
The second email, later, is much more direct and specific. But still too kind.
I want to yell at him. I want to get in a good “fuck you” to his face. I want him to take some sort of responsibility, maybe? Or perhaps to take me seriously in a way that he hasn’t before–as a real person. I don’t know.
It surprises me, though, that I don’t fall apart. I give myself a few days to be sad. Really sad. A robot at work, an early-to-bed wreck at home. But that passes.
Yeah. I’m ok.
It’s been two weeks.
Then yesterday, I read something and before I could stop it, my brain said: Ah ha! Ask him. He will have opinions about this thing. He’ll get agitated about it in an interesting way.
And that made me sad, made me miss him in a very particular way. Yes, I miss having someone to love. Yes, I miss (choosing to believe) that someone loved me. But more than all of that: I miss him. The person.
I think that will take more getting used to than his absence as a paramour.