Searching for the end of the road

It is so quiet here in the house. It's just after eleven. Jeff still isn't home. He called the apartment while I was over there, watching the second installment of Dune with Heather, Jess, and Kat. Something about a paper—or a test—or something. I don't know; he spoke to Heather and not to me.

I feel better than yesterday, but that's not saying much. The muscles in my stomach ache, and I'm still finding the idea of food more appealing than its actual counterpart.

Mostly, though, I'm a bit lonely today. I spent most of the day talking with friends online and playing with a new page that I'm designing. I talked to everyone within arm's reach of a keyboard today: Brad, Heather, Kat, Gareth, Andy, Jess, April. Today was one of those days that I wanted more contact, more interaction, than words on a screen or on a telephone. No matter how quickly messages are sent over the net, there's something about the composition and deliberate sending of messages that just isn't the same as a face-to-face discussion for me.

The truth of the matter is that listening to Jess, Heather, and Kat go on with their lives can sometimes make me bitter and a bit sad. Each of them seem to have managed to make themselves so independent; in comparison I look at myself and ask, "What have I done that points to me as an individual?" I count back the years and realize that by the time I was the age they are now, I was already married. I wonder what that says about me.

This morning, I told Gareth that I don't believe in predestination. Which I don't, despite my heartfelt wishes to the contrary. But wishing the grass blue does not make it so, and my wishing to believe that everything that happens to me, happens for a reason, doesn't give me much comfort when I know there is no strength of belief behind the thought.

I tell myself every single day that I have so very much to be thankful for. I have a home and a spouse and friends who sometimes don't even think I'm a screaming idiot (even when I am).

But there comes a day and a time that you would trade almost anything you own, possess, or are to have one thing that means more to you than anything else in the world.

I want Jeff home. Not as in home from work, or school, or wherever he is this time. It's not the physical location, or the activity or paper or project he's working on. It's that I want him home, here with me. I'd like to have him here for more than one random evening every now and then so that we could talk—and do things together. That I could fall asleep in bed and have him not be so tired that he didn't reach out and touch me at least once before he slept as well.

On the bottom shelf in the computer room organizer there is a set of board games. Some of which we've never played together in the entire time we've been married. There are vacation pictures of me on the wall of the living room—all trips this year, save one, that I have taken by myself.

In every room of this house there are reminders of the separate lives we're living right now; to banish them would require me to empty the house and clear the walls. I know that there are reminders of our time together as well. I know that with a good night's sleep I will look at them and manage to see them in a bit more balance with each other.

But there are some nights that the road to the end of graduate school is a very long and solitary road. Tonight is one of those.

"It's coming on Christmas / They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer / And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river / I could skate away on
"But it don't snow here / It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money / Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene
I wish I had a river / I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long / I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river / I could skate away on…"
       - Joni Mitchell

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December 4, 2000