After my sister returned home, I immediately started looking for a decent two-bedroom apartment that I could afford for the two of us. I wanted to get close to the beach or to have a nice view that would set the mood for great things. I am really into esthetics. I have always felt that beautiful places and things inspire the beauty inside of each of us. I really wanted to inspire her. I wanted her to see that even though she had been through some tough times that life still had so much beauty to offer. I hoped that beauty would inspire her to do something awesome with her life. I wanted her to shine, actually to outshine me. I have always wanted to help others but not, so they could reach my level or a little below I wanted the help I gave to generate a life better than mine for those I helped. This was my wish for my sister and so I looked for a place we could call home and be inspired by the beauty of California.
A few weeks into my apartment search my sister called to let me know that she was pregnant and really didn’t know what she was going to do. In that moment all the air was pushed out of my lungs. I had gotten too comfortable in the possibility of happiness and let my guard down. This was like a gut punch that knocked the wind out of me. My initial response came across kind of cold; “are you going to keep it?” At that time in my life I was anti-kids, I had decided before I joined the military that I would not be having any AT ALL! I have always been prochoice for others, but I would never have an abortion myself, so I always made sure that I was cautious and protected. I assumed that my sister would do the same especially now when we were on the cusp of greatness! Of course, she was going to keep the baby and so I immediately shifted gears and transitioned into supportive mode. I said what I was supposed to say and did what I was supposed to do as a supportive sister, but my heart was not in it at all.
My sister had decided to stay and make it work with the soon to be father of her child. I understood but that meant that I had to find a place for just me now and I didn’t have much time. I still wanted something ecstatically pleasing close to the beach or with a view. I eventually found this cute little one-bedroom place with vaulted ceilings, skylights, fire place (my first ever!), open floor plan, that over looked a beautiful little garden with a pond. This was my official first apartment all by myself! It felt freeing! I felt like Pac “Out on bail, fresh out of jail, California dreamin’ Soon as I step on the scene, I’m hearin’ hoochies screamin.” I felt free! Free from my past, from Linda, and surprisingly I felt free from worrying about my sister’s fate. My life was my own! I didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything for anyone other than myself. For the first time I was 100% alone with myself and my thoughts in my empty apartment. I had let Linda keep everything I wanted a fresh start.
I wish I could tell you I had some profound thoughts and came to some new levels of understandings about life. I did not. The only thing I did was to reduce the number of people in my life. I was awful with breaking up with people and this was a great way to do it. when I moved I just didn’t tell folks where I lived, and I had a new number that no one knew. I had a clean slate! I was happy with myself for a few days. Then I realized that I was alone alone! I had not been religious since forever I had no knowledge of meditation, so my mind just raced from one topic to the next. It always settled on some negative memory from my past and I didn’t want to get stuck in that space. I had to go hang out or have people over! First, I would need furniture! I went to one of the shops in my neighborhood and designed a beautiful sofa and loveseat I also found some curtains and a coffee table. I went shopping and got all the stuff that I needed. Shopping helped me and not just to fill my apartment it filled my mind and kept it focused on finding this or that. I had no time to spend wallowing in my thoughts. Yup shopping would be my therapy for years and years and years. I was hooked! I was budget-conscious, so I had limits to what I could spend but that just made the shopping more exciting. It was a challenge to find things that fit in my budget. Shopping became my mental sport.
Outside of shopping, I would still go hang with Ron who had practically moved into “the penthouse” with his friends Boo B, Ben, and Gary. I did not see or talk to Linda at all. Well I take that back I think I saw her two more times after I moved out but that was it. After that, she didn’t even cross my mind. Memories of her remained but the pathway to them had been erased. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s not like when things go to the singularity, but it is kind of. Things that are sent to the singularity are completely erased and I have no memory of them. The situation with Linda (and many others) is like them being stored in the black box. While they are in the box I do not have memories of them and I don’t think of them. For me, they do not exist until I see them, or someone asks about them. Even in those moments, it will be difficult for me to recall their name, but all the memories will rush back for the length of time needed and when that conversation is over they will be back in the box. My sister has always said that I had a switch that I could flip. That she could see it in my eyes the moment I flipped it. The box is the mechanism of how the switch works. I know all this talk of black holes and black boxes sounds a tad crazy, but this is how I coped. I made it through a lot of tough situations that many I know could not. It wasn’t because I was stronger, smarter, or better than them. It was because I got rid of shit. Some may think it’s repressing my feelings but it sooooo is not. What it is, is a complete understanding that I can’t fix or change something and me deciding to let it go! The negative side of this was the overall attenuation of my emotions. Like I said before, you can’t just get rid of your emotions selectively. It sucks that the tool I employed to help me avoid negative emotions basically made me emotionally awkward.
The way life works are when you let things go that weigh you down you open up the path to new things. One Friday I stopped by Adrian’s shop to complain that we never hung out anymore. He agreed, and we went to play miniature golf, had drinks, and he came by to check out my new place. My amazing sofas had yet to arrive, so we sat on blankets talking and laughing in front of the fireplace all night. We fell asleep and at some point, in the middle of the night, Adrian moved close and put his arm around me. My eyes opened instantly! I remained awake for the rest of the night. I just laid there with my swirling emotions. I felt that something was changing between us, but I was too afraid of being hurt to let my mind go there. So, I convinced myself that him putting his arm around me meant nothing and I was reading too much into things. I also told myself not to be in situations such as this with him again. Remembering this night makes me laugh because that night was the beginning of my Cali love.