Thursday, January 04, 2007

What moving feels like

Late this afternoon, I finally started packing. I've been sorting, organizing, until now.

I packed a lot of books. I have that sharp back pain already, the one that's so familiar from the many, many moves I've done in my life. I hate this familiarity. When will I stop moving? I'm so, so tired of it. I'm tired of doing it alone. If this were packing to move with GF, it would feel different. Now, doing it by myself, packing just feels like a return to my essential aloneness. It feels like a confrontation with the failure of my relationship.

Packing away books. Most of them will go into rented storage, along with most of the things I own. All I'm bringing to A's are clothes, a half-bookcase of books, CDs, a few files and office stuff and a few pieces of art, including the new one. What I like least is putting away my many books. I guess that, as an academic, books are my identity. Putting them away reminds me that I barely know who I am right now, really. And I have no clear picture of the future.

The worst of it was finding, between the pages of a book I was leaving for GF, a copy of a letter I wrote to her. It's not dated, but I think that it is from 2003. When we were having intense problems. It is a detailing of pain, and a cataloguing of the ways I felt about her. As I put it, I needed to express, even in the face of the walls she was putting up. Ha - as if that would help. We ended up in counseling. We tried so hard. And it didn't work.

But sometimes it feels as if it could. It has felt that way this week. I must be crazy, letting us be this close this week. Making her a real dinner last night, dessert and all. Curling up three nights in a row with her to re-watch Season 1 of The L Word. Continuing to share a bed with her. Cuddling. She has even been calling me from work, in the afternoons. Just to say hi. We haven't done this for ages, had this call every day. Not since last spring.

And you know why I think it is that she's calling me? Because she's lonely and terrified. Because the date I stupidly, forgettingly picked to move out is an anniversary date for her. The date that makes January difficult for her. The 31st anniversary of the tragedy that defined her, that made her her the enigmatic, soft-hard person that she is. The trauma I've never been able to really understand. That lack of understanding has, I think, been part of the tragedy of us. How could I be so stupid, to pick this week, this very day, to move?


medieval woman said...

Oh gosh, Hilaire - so many things in this post. First, I wanted to say that I thought the identification of yourself with your books was very resonant. Storing them away for a while does seem to be storing away a part of yourself or your identity. The symbolism that can surround such moves is poignant. But you know that there will be a time very soon that you'll be taking all of that out of storage and putting up your gorgeous new picture on your own walls. But I know that it doesn't feel like that now and I'm sorry you're having to wrestle with emotional pain as well as the practical hassle of a move.

I'm also sorry that it's coinciding with a horrible day for GF. I know you didn't mean to, and so does she. You've been trying so hard to be *in sync* with her feelings for so long that maybe this last thing feels like a failure. But it's not, it's just you doing what you need to do to take care of yourself and make the transition as easy as possible. It was just a coincidence that this bad anniversary fell on a weekend.

I know these words don't make a lick of difference right now, but I'm thinking of you this weekend!

Pantagruelle said...

Oh, Hilaire, I'm so very sorry. This must be such an agonizing time for you right now. Moving, and especially packing up one's books, which do indeed define our identity, is hard in the best of times, but in these circumstances it must be so much more difficult. I think it's good though that you and GF have been having a smooth week, cuddling, watching the L-word (what I'm watching right now too), having dinner together, calling. Perhaps this will allow you to focus on the good times, to part as friends, rather than in bitterness. I hope that makes it a bit easier. And whatever it is that makes this such a awful anniversary for GF, I sure she must know deep down that you didn't pick this weekend on purpose. It's just logical to do it now before you get too entangled in the beginning of term. When else could you do it except now or else four months from now? Sending you hugs to get through this weekend. xoxo

Hilaire said...

Thanks, MW and P. YOu are right - what else could i have done? It sure feels like a stupid blunder, though...One that just brings everything into relief. Sigh. But you are right.

Oso Raro said...

Endings are so icky. I don't have much to say, other than listen to sad music and cry, because in the end, why the hell not? Here's a favourite little ditty of mine that has gotten me through some sad moves (covered by many, but I prefer the Julie London version; you can't hear her version on iTunes but you can hear Judy's sad boozy versy):

A Cottage For Sale

Our little dream castle
With every dream gone
Is lonely and silent
The shades are all drawn
And my heart is heavy
As I gaze upon
A cottage for sale

The lawn we were proud of
Is waving in hay
Our beautiful garden
Has withered away
Where you planted roses
The weeds seem to say
A cottage for sale

From every single window
I see your face
But when I reach the window
There's empty space
The key's in the mailbox
The same as before
But no one is waiting
For me anymore

The end of our story
Is written on the door
A cottage for sale

Hilaire said...

Hey, Oso - you're so right. So right. Listening to sad songs and crying has been my M.O. for the last month. I actually don't know A Cottage for Sale, but you can bet that I'm going to go listen to it ASAP.

The song that has been killing me is kd lang's version of Joni Mitchell's A Case of You. Oh, god. *Killing* me. It starts like this:

Just before our love got lost you said
I am as constant as a northern star
And I said, constant in the darkness
Wheres that at?
If you want me Ill be in the bar