After Joe left last night, I looked around my new apartment, and it almost felt like home. I paused the TiVo. I curled up in the warm blanket of quiet, wrote a letter, looked long and hard at a photo, and all I could do was smile. It’s been an odd shake-up, this move. The challenges are familiar and sad. I’ve done it often enough in the past year or so that it’s become routine.
I handed in my second, and last, essay for my workshop on Wednesday evening. I wanted, no, I needed to write about The Big Subject, about Billy, and I accomplished it with varying success. First, we evaluated a woman’s journey to an Indian alternative medicine retreat. Next up was the jovial take from a lesbian about her girly-girl niece. When it was my turn at bat, a collective sigh blew through the room, and the silk scarf of the woman sitting next to me made a little leap from her neck.
There were parts they liked but it was too sentimental, too disjointed, and one strident woman wondered if Billy was mentally challenged. I clenched when I heard that comment but the truth is I didn’t give him many different colors in this piece. I painted Billy as the sweet innocent that he was, most of the time. I wrote myself as the hero who was there at his rescue, time after time. While the events were true, I wrote them, I realized, as a defense to the crippling and routine guilt that mocks me through my every waking moment.
The stress level at work hasn’t changed much except my comfort level has increased. I own the job in a way that impresses those around me. I’ve closed many difficult deals with some high-profile talent, and I received a basket of cookies as a thank you gift from the president of one of the networks. It made my boss both proud and jealous.
Joe has been amazingly supportive during this transition. Without his help and understanding, I would still be sitting in a big pile of mess, paralyzed by the enormity of the task. This weekend, I’m going to shop for a bookshelf, put up some pictures, and find the missing pieces to complete my routine.