On Monday morning, Yuri and I will board a plane and sail through freezing cold air above New York into the freezing cold air above Chicago. We’ll hold hands. It will be our last plane ride together for a while. When we land, he will make a connection and get on a second plane; I will go down an escalator, pull my luggage off the carousel, get into a taxi, and head into the city to meet with my sister so we can drive up to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.
When my ex-husband and I separated, I remember not crying for awhile. I was intensely sad, of course, but I was also numb. Marriage counseling had not helped. Hours and hours and hours of conversation, fights, reconciliations, fights, and more conversation had not helped. We were both drained and angry; a bad combo on its own, made worse when doubled. The one-bedroom apartment I had secured across town was sparse, but I set up shop as best I could. My bed was an air mattress for awhile, but it was peaceful there. I could have my tea in the morning and think, which is what I needed to do.
It was when I went to the grocery store for the first time by myself that the new pain, the “this is really happening now” pain hit me in the chest. I went with my basket to the shelves and suddenly felt disoriented. I didn’t need grape Gatorade anymore; it was my husband’s favorite. I didn’t need to get a loaf of bread, now; only he ate bread in our house. I could buy soy milk without anyone making a face because the soy milk would be living in my refrigerator. My refrigerator, not our refrigerator. Though I was in a building that held anything a person could possibly want to eat or cook, my appetite vanished. I couldn’t actually make food for a long time. It was too painful to cook for just myself. So I ate cheese. I ate stuff someone else cooked. Anytime I saw grape Gatorade, I had to literally turn my head away so it wasn’t in my field of vision. The power of purple water.
The momentum of the upcoming adventure in Washington, the confession of disliking New York — while true and relevant, they are distractions. It’s impossible for me, right now, especially while Yuri and I are still under the same roof this last week, to understand love. I have been trying every day as I walk through New York City or travel for a gig or put my head on a pillow. I know how to express love. I know love when I feel it or see it.
After that, I got nothin’.