I arrived on Thursday morning. I'm here in Home City until Tuesday afternoon. I'm staying at R's. She's not here. She's in Chicago because she's running the marathon tomorrow. That was a trip we were supposed to take together; I had it booked. But, of course, we're not doing that. Because we're not together. I saw her for a few hours on Thursday when I arrived here - so strange. It made me sad, and I've been haunted by that sadness ever since. I feel as if I missed out on my one chance at happiness. That she's all set to move on, in this city that she loves. That I'm far away from it and, in letting her go, have lost my chance.
So on one hand it's great to be staying here - it cushions me from the blow that inevitably will occur because I no longer have a Home in Home City. I get to be in this place I lived in for years, and not be confronted with the feeling that I don't know where to go in my very own city. But it has been underscoring, more than I expected, the fact that R and I are over and I'm in a place - literally and metaphorically - that gives me no hope.
It's been beautiful weather here in Home City, and I've walked a lot, feeling the sense of deeply embodied comfort that is the most striking thing about this place. Yesterday, because I need weight and other equipment to do my physiotherapy regime, I went and used the gym at the university - a gym I used for six years, but stopped three years ago. The guys at the front desk recognized me, and were excited to see me. They see thousands and thousands of people a year and they recognized me? It touched me. It made me long to be back in that part of the community, to be able to walk there, to work out there. And then I thought of something: If my job in Scary City continues to feel unbearable, I do need to think about leaving. If nothing changes next year, and yet I'm unsuccessful on the job market (or, as with this year, there are no jobs to apply for), then I might very well need to just walk away from the profession, lest I end up up sacrificing my happiness and health to it. And maybe I could see about working at the university here in a non-professorial capacity. Finding a job that draws on some of my skills - working as a Research Officer, for example.
Everyone tells me that I am the person they know who is best suited to being a professor. I sort of know what they're talking about...it does fit me. It hadn't occurred to me (duh) to think about other ways to continue working in the university. I couldn't think of anything else I'd like to do. This seems a bit hopeful as a back-up. I know that what I'd rather do is find a professorial job at a place that doesn't break me. But it's helpful to begin to recognize another option. And one that could take me back to Home City.