old times

Overextended as I was by Saturday morning, I managed not to break down completely until I was on the phone with Chad. We had tentatively planned to get together on Saturday sometime, but his level of flexibility (“whenever you want to, really”) and my wrung-out state combined into tears. We decided not to meet up until that evening, and while I did some things around the apartment that afternoon, nothing really made me feel better. I left for Chad’s new house, still stressed.

When I got there – 40 minutes later, but on time – he gave me the grand tour. It’s a really nice townhouse, filled with his (our?) furniture, so of course I like the way it looks. He just moved in this week but it looks like home already. Chad saved the second upstairs bathroom for last, and when he opened it, I saw a drawn bubble bath with candles around it.

“You sounded really stressed this morning, so I thought you could use this. Go in there and don’t come out for 30 minutes,” he said.

I completely broke down in tears. The gesture was more than I could have expected from another human being, and it was so needed at that point.

As Chad was giving me a startled, supportive hug, the smoke alarms started going off. We both laughed as he started reaching up and popping batteries out of the various smoke detectors, but couldn’t stop them. It was a pretty funny moment, and I got over my tears quickly because of it. As he went to deal with the security system, I locked myself in the bathroom, undressed, and sank into the hot water.

I had forgotten how much I missed taking baths. My current apartment consists of a big room and a bathroom; the bathroom only has a sink, a shower, a toilet, and the litterbox. It’s enough for me, most of the time, but taking baths was something I loved to do to relax, and I just can’t anymore. Within minutes, knots in my back released and I found myself focusing on nothing but the safe feeling of being enveloped in steaming water.

After I had turned into a prune, I got out, dried myself off, dressed and headed downstairs. Chad had been working on arranging things in his kitchen, and he started making dinner. We had a glass of wine each and chatted; it was very relaxed and different enough from “old times” that I didn’t feel awkward. Dinner consisted of barbecue bakers, which are baked potatoes filled with shredded barbecue chicken and topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions. This became one of my favorite meals after we discovered them together in Birmingham. On the phone earlier, I had mentioned a taste for them, and Chad obliged. We ate and talked and joked around. After dinner, we watched “The Big Lebowski”, which everyone in my family had seen and recommended to me as a movie I would like. I did, of course.

Everything was really … nice. I didn’t really want to go home, but I knew I was going to fall asleep if I stayed, and that would have been too much like old times. As I left, a profound sadness washed over me. I wondered how long we can stay significant in each other’s lives, how many nice evenings like this we have left. If only marriage was about being good company, we would have had it made. I miss him so much sometimes, but I don’t miss what we became to each other.

Today I am taking a “me” day. I went shopping and bought Zen a new litterbox, which I had been meaning to do for a while. I am switching her to Swheat Scoop natural litter, with success thus far. I talked to my mom for a while on the phone. I also watched “Secretary” and bought groceries, and now I am making bread, which I will have with spaghetti for dinner, if I can wait that long. Otherwise it will be a late-night snack. I finished Dead Air already, so I’m pondering my next book choice. Zen is napping in her cat-tree, and I am relaxed, feeling quiet inside, too quiet to play “The Sims” or watch another movie, so perhaps I will sit and think for a while, of old times, and the new ones.

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