I hadn't been "home" in over a year, home being London Ontario - aka "the forest city". It was October - 31st - Halloween to be exact. I had flown from Vancouver , hesitantly. but necessarily , so that I could do some renovations on an investment property which had been neglected by a questionable tenant I was finally able to remove. Since the "pandemic" began in March I was lucky to be able to have some kind of social interaction with a handful of friends. BC had a bit more of a relaxed attitude towards covid than Ontario ( at least its residents ) as we had had much fewer cases. I was already prepared for the fact that when I got to London my family had very different expectations from me than the protocol I had been following . Once I landed I was to taxi to my sisters home, where I would spend 10 days on my own until I could be tested. Based on hopefully negative results, i could then rejoin the family.
Like a lot of people during the "challenging " hurdles of 2020, I have increased my consumption of alcohol. I have always been a "social drinker". Being in sales, and working with other young people, there were always opportunities. "Thirsty Thursday ", "Thank god its Friday. "I've had a great day in sales - lets celebrate." "I've had a lousy day , I need a drink." And the oh so common " supplier/social/ schmoozing events. Being a part of this culture , drinking on the almost daily was very socially acceptable. When I found out in April 2020 that I was officially laid off, I made sure to stock up on some boxes of wine (its a pandemic ! What if they RUN OUT?!). This began the beginning of the "downslope." Zooms calls with friends over a glass of wine at 12pm were acceptable. "Who cares , its wine o clock somewhere ?" Memes were circulating the internet making jokes and making it even more acceptable that majority of the population was rushing to the liquor store and numbing the fear with booze. My drinking continued.
I have been isolating at my sisters house for seven days now - until I know that my covid test has come back negative, and I am almost certain that I am living with a ghost.
It's never easy. Those first few nights, days , weeks and even months at times. You are so used to falling asleep in that warm bubble of protective comfort called a "cuddle" or the ever so popular "spoon." Its the kind of natural soothing that brings you back to being a baby and being swaddled. In some weird way , now that I think about it, that's probably the root of why we are so drawn to this intimate act. For me, the art of cuddling was more intimate than sex. Sex can be wild, sweaty, distant and meaningless. When you really allow someone into your bubble with no expectation and guaranteed warmth and safety, that is the true feeling of love. It had been 5 sleepless nights, which I had tried to dampen down with my favourite "fruit drink" often referred to as wine. I had paired that with the "soothing sounds of rain " app and one of those pillows long enough to be a human, but without any gratifying return of affection. "This is why people get pets" I would think as I would toss and turn , laying in my bed , staring at the ceiling, willing my "should have , should have , should have " thoughts to leave my body for good. I am told this is a girl thing . Maybe its a "Scorpio " thing - us girls LOVE to blame our Zodiac sign for all of our bad behaviours don't we?
It was one of those days where it was only 9 am and I couldn't be in my apartment. I had learned during these weird jobless times that when I was trapped inside my own mind , getting out, breathing fresh air , was always the best remedy. I walked the 4 easy blocks to my local coffee shop , where it was generally me and a slew of retired older men. They had lived, and had more stories in one afternoon than I could manage to carry in my own lifetime. Their stories always reminded me, now matter where my heart sat, that you really should not take the world for granted, and that its all about the little things . The stories would vary from childhood shenanigans to the afternoon they had just spent with their precious grand daughter. In a time where my generation is locked into their phones, alternating scrolls between Facebook, Instagram and Reddit, I really appreciated the genuine human stories and connection of my little coffee shop, and the owner would sometimes give me a free refill. Like I said - the little things.
I sat on the steps to his apartment . I had my back turned to the door. Some weird fengshui in my mind told me that having my back turned towards it gave me some kind of power. The power I felt I'd lost when he took the keys from me and told me to leave just days earlier. For the last four days my mind had been steaming with the heat of regret. Why do things always happen like this? The more we love each other in this world, the more cruel we become. I suppose it was because we were getting comfortable. When you fall into that place its all too easy to forget that someone could still choose to walk away at any time. I don’t know if its healthy , or anything to be remotely proud of, but I was no quitter when it came to love. Little did I know that that would be my downfall. Each time we spoke to each other from this place of accidental cruelty, coming back just wasn’t the same. It was a small chip of my confidence. A brittle chunk of my soul falling away from me. It was the memories which kept me overly optimistic. Most people would advise “think of all of the bad things and it will be so much easier to move on." I was a sucker who you could flip a coin towards optimism every time. Was it not worth it though ? To me those beautiful , fragile and unique moments of intimacy and trust far outweighed an argument here and there. I guess in a world of humans stuck on survive, control and ego often win over love and vulnerability. Its how we tend to survive.