Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy “Liberation Day” to me

A year ago the Cambridge partnership dissolved. A certain young man told me that while he loved me very much he had been miserable for a long time (as had I). It may be morbid to be commenting on such an anniversary but I don’t plan on doing it every year-just this year. As it was one of the most unpleasant things that has happened to me, it’s worth checking in a year later to note that not only did it not kill me, I’m doing better than I was at the time.

That I got better is largely due to friends. I went to work the next morning still in shock and not really wanting to talk about it. Ted Kennedy had died that morning which added to surrealism of the moment. But I had one friend who always stuck her head in my cubicle and asked “And how are *you*?” in such a way that it always sounded like she meant it. I was pretty sure that the minute she did that I’d fall apart. Luckily for me, I happened to encounter her in the ladies’ room (instead of in my cubicle in front of all the support staff) so that when I did fall apart-crying and wiping my nose with the paper towels from the dispenser-I was at least in a semi-private location. This friend of mine had been divorced before-so she had an idea of what I was going through-and suggested that I take the next day off-she said she’d break my sad news to my employers (in case I needed more time.)

And then I was a mess for a while. My parents had always attributed any inclination toward melodrama in our family to “Lituanian genes” (I think this is because a great aunt of mine-who happened to be pure Lithuanian was likely to be melodramatic.) I have myself been inclined to be melodramatic (when a friend of mine disappeared for a year and I said I was sure something ‘orrible had happened to him he told me that I needed to stop reading so many 19th century novels.) In the language of those 18th and 19th century novels of which I am so fond, I believe you could say I suffer from an excess of sensibility. Also, while we’re at it I’m high-strung and have a tendency to panic (although that may be due to many years in a small business environment as much as innate nature.)

However I don’t think my behavior in between August 24, 2009 and mid-October 2009 was melodramatic per se-I was just miserable and didn’t know how to deal with it. So I wrote about how unhappy I was and shared it on facebook-bleeding all over the Internet.

I cried in front of people. They handed me tissues and hugged me. I tried to explain how miserable I was to my parents-in the end I just sent them excerpts from my blog. I'm not sure they got quite how miserable I was, but they took care of me. They sent me money for a deposit on my new apartment and my mom happened to be in town for the weekend I moved, so she helped me out a great deal. My parents are practical if not overly sentimental.

I did not panic over small things-in fact I turned down the first apartment I saw (something I still can’t believe I was cold blooded enough to do) because it didn’t feel like it would be home.

I had been afraid of people for a long time-in fact that was part of what was scary about having to move out. I would have to deal with people again (instead of letting the now-ex-boyfriend do that.) And, to be fair, I hold the bar for humanity awfully low, so that when coworkers expressed their condolences and listened to me talk for a bit about it I was pleasantly shocked.

But wait-even more fun. The summer of 2009 would have been an unpleasant one even if my partner hadn’t told me to move out. For one thing it rained an awful lot and for another I had to take the GMAT. Also, a friend of ours was arrested. But I think I can say that the worst thing that happened in the summer of 2009 was that Irving Liss fell collapsed one night and was taken into Mass General where they decided that he had a tumor in his head and he’d better have it out. I talked about that while it was happening so I won’t give the full story here. Still, the night that my suddenly ex boyfriend asked me to move out he also told me that when Irving died he wanted me to come with him to the funeral. Through a mess of snot and tears and beer I told him something like “of course-duh” thinking that the Alter Kocher had a few months left in him at least-maybe even enough time to go home for a bit-he was made of some pretty stern stuff. Even after they opened his head three times he could still joke with the nurse about her reputation.

I went home to New York for Labor Day weekend. I was due to come back on the Tuesday after Labor Day. I was standing in Battery Park about to go look at the little Dutch village when I got the call. I was looking out at the harbor on a sunny day in September when my ex boyfriend told me that Irving had passed that morning. He cried. I don’t think I did-I was still a bit shocked.

I got to use all the 3G capabilities of my new iPhone as I wrote to my employers (while on the Accela back to Boston to explain why I’d be out the next day.) When I got back to the apartment in Cambridge one of the newer tenants said “get out your best clothes for tomorrow.” I went out and bought lipstick (because I’d thrown out all of my cosmetics-I wasn’t likely to need to look pretty in my new single life) and tissues. And the suckage of being dumped was consumed by the greater suckage of losing a good man and we all did what we could to comfort each other. After the funeral (which was hard) this mostly involved drinking a lot and telling stories-so the Jewish man got an Irish man’s wake.

So, yeah, I was a bundle of raw nerves at the end of last summer.

This was not what I intended to write. I intended to say how much more fun life is now that I’m not going home to hide every day. I meant to say how nice it is to have a life full of Business School and nephews and friends and Sugar Mags, which I never would have had if I was still hiding in my cave in Cambridge. But maybe you’ve gathered that already from the rest of my blog.

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