December 10, 1998
December 10 Again


From my handwritten journal ... not originally intended for public consumption, but too lovely to pass over:

I dreamed that I had a secret hiding place, upstairs in an attic. It required climbing many flights of rickety stairs to reach, and I was always trying to find the time/opportunity to go there. I kept telling people about it, and describing it in glowing and loving words, and shopping for things  --  clocks, vases with dried flowers in them, shoes [?]  --  to decorate the place with. But I never seemed to actually made it upstairs to visit my special secret place. I woke up, feeling momentarily frustrated and antsy ...

... and there was David laying in the bed next to me, eyes wide open, smiling at me in the darkness. I smiled back.

I have lived in California for eight days now  ...  most of that time spent here in this tiny apartment filled with books and records and boxes. The occasional foray outside  --  to the bank and the Chinese place, last night; to the library and the fruit stand, on Sunday; to the grocery store once in awhile  --  but mostly right here, between the four walls of the most peculiar place I have ever lived in my almost-41 years.
I have odd moments, here and there, of longing for my Tree House. I miss the space, and the privacy, and the sweeping view ...  I miss how familiar everything was, and I miss having an order and a routine to my life (even if I HATED that "order and routine," sometimes).  I miss the idea that everything in that apartment was mine, even silly things like the coffeemaker and the toaster (both of which I gave away when I moved last week).  I miss walking down Beavercreek Road and having people I know honk their car horns and wave at me.  I miss the sound of the trains under my window at midnight, and the sound of church bells in the distance at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. I miss that feeling of knowing where everything WAS in my apartment: coffee filters, spare lightbulbs, Grandma's red plaid scarf, my second grade diary.  I miss having a place for everything.  Even as we speak, I'm sitting here trying to figure out where the hell we're going to fit my bin of cassette tapes ... my CD's ... my journals, 1981-1993 ... my electric fan and my framed White Center News front page and my big box of photos and my this and my that and my other thing ...

But here is what I don't miss about the Tree House, and about those six months I lived there alone. I don't miss waking up hungover. I don't miss feeling sick and exhausted all the time. I don't miss opening the refrigerator and seeing nothing there but a half-empty box of cheap wine and an unopened jar of pickles. I don't miss the embarrassing collection of "empties" under the sink, nor the humiliation of standing in the check-out line at Thriftway and knowing that the clerk is thinking, "God ... she's buying MORE wine?"

I don't miss waking up in the middle of the night with a dry throat and a searing headache, wondering what terrible thing I might have said online or on the phone a few hours earlier.

And I don't miss the feeling that everything I do  --  including my attempts to recover and start living a "real" life  --  must be done all alone.  It's true that the bulk of the work is something only *I* can do. No one can make me get healthy. But there is a huge difference between struggling to get through all this stuff all by yourself, and having a partner beside you to urge you toward success. (And even better: a partner who isn't 600 miles away and "urging you toward success" via a computer screen or a late-night phone call).

David is the best thing that has happened to me in a very long time. My occasional pangs of homesickness will subside, and eventually "home" will be any place that the two of us are together. I love him with all of my heart. 


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