Is this starting to sound like a bad soap opera? By the way this story turns out, you may think it was all made up.
That was a joke for you Busters out there.
“1. Expect to be Uncomfortable”
(Busting Loose from the Money Game, pg 129)
This is the beginning of Phase 2 crystallized in a single phrase. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, picture yourself sitting in a hot tub. It’s 102 degrees. Perfect temperature. Yet now and again, the temperature rises up just a little and you get a slight feeling of discomfort. “Who’s controlling this thing?” you ask and your expanded self giggles behind the scenes as they slowly bring your body to a boil.
Be aware of this if you make the commitment to Phase 2, for discomfort can come in oh so many ways. Why, just last post I talked of being cold, having unrequited love, and working my body to exhaustion. What makes it all so worth it, however, is just how supported I really feel. More on that later…
“2. Expect Weird Things to Happen“
You may ask yourself, “weird like how?” Well, if having an angelic boss who convinces you of the joys of commitment isn’t weird enough, then how about…
Thursday, December 10th
Ash and I talk on the phone like we do every day. In the middle of our shit shooting, she casually remarks, “my parents says we should move out.” I jokingly reply, “well you don’t really live there anyway.”
No big deal. I do however think it’s pretty bizarre (read: weird) that her parents would actively discourage her from living in a sweet house in the woods with her best friend. Sure we haven’t gotten everything together just yet, but I have faith.
Sunday, December 13th
I log 70 hours of work this week, including one stretch of 23 hours. I’m stoked because I now have enough money to pay Ash back the money I owe her. Sure I’ll be broke again, but no big deal. This house is worth it, because…well because…Conviction and stubbornness are my two only good reasons, but for now they are good enough.
Saturday, December 19th
Ash and I go see Avatar. Another date like scenario is par for the course for us. I slowly realize I’m hanging out with her out of obligation. It’s the weekend, and who am I going to spend it with? If we don’t spend it together, it would be silly. After all we’re housemates. Yet I feel a growing discord between our “friendship” and what a real relationship could be.
Sunday, December 20th
We clean our mostly empty house. There seems to be a lot of tension. This whole thing is starting to feel like a chore.
Thursday, December 24th
I realize I haven’t talked to Ash in a week. This is the longest we’ve gone without talking in over a year (including when I lived in New Jersey) To make it up to her, I show up at her house with a Christmas card. The new year is coming and I can’t wait to start keeping some of the money I’m earning.
Friday, December 25th
Ash calls me. I don’t pick up or return her call. In her voice mail she thanks me for the card. She doesn’t sound normal, but I shrug it off. I don’t feel like talking to her because I’m starting to have second thoughts about our house together and I don’t want to ruin her day or upset her.
Saturday, December 26th
I haven’t been “home” in a week. I go there to spend the night and I see that owe over three hundred dollars for propane service. This is the last straw. This house is a money drain. Yet I know if I tell Ash, it could hurt our friendship. I decide to avoid the issue and resolve to tell her at a more opportune time.
It’s close to new years and I think she’s making plans. If I call her it will definitely come up. I’m not good at hiding things.
Thursday, December 31st
I spend the night at Tabitha’s house and feel so at peace. I feel like this is the way things should be. I ache and heal from all the wasted years of not feeling this way. Of not letting this part of the hologram in. Something new stirs inside me, and I feel compelled to be here.
I text Ash, “if I don’t talk to you, Happy New Year.” I know I’m not going to talk to her.
The next two days are a blur of walks on the cliffs near Tabitha’s house, hours wrapped in blankets and limbs, and the growing understanding of what I must do. This is a new year, a new decade, a new life. It’s time to say good bye to old dreams and outdated fantasies.
But, I can’t call her on the first, since it’s frickin New Years day!
I can’t call her on the second, because it’s the day after frickin New Years day!
I had the perfect plan. I’ll call her on the third.
Saturday, January 2nd
She calls me. I don’t answer. I’m not ready. Her voicemail says, “We need to talk.”
Sunday, January 3rd
I’m still not ready, but I call anyway. This is the part where my expanded self brings my body to a slow boil.
She’s upset, but composed. She tells me her side of the story. How she waited to talk to me. That many opportunities in her life had come to her. That she might be leaving Santa Cruz. That every day I didn’t call she became more convinced she knew what was going on. How at first she believed I was working too much to call, yet she knew that wasn’t true. I listen intently. I’m glad to hear her voice. I’m glad that we’re resolving things.
It’s obvious to her that the house isn’t working. We decide to give our thirty days notice. Whew, that is finally out of the way.
We hang out for seven hours talking. She talks about feeling replaced by Tabitha. I listen closely and try to console her. She doesn’t know how this is going to turn out. But we’ve weathered worse than this. We’ve lived together (now 3 times), worked together, and smuggled LSD to Puerto Rico together.
We’ve been best friends for six years. Nothing could shake an iron clad relationship like that. Certainly not something like not calling for few days. We end our talk (at the bar) optimistic. I give her a hug and she walks away. I’m so glad it’s going to work out. I finally know that I can be free of her, free to live a life of real romance. And in this new glorious life, we can really be friends.
I experience a pattern collapse.
She texts me. “I never knew someone you’re not in love with could break your heart. Thanks for nothing.”
Maybe this is the real pattern collapse. The unthinkable happens – we are no longer friends.
So did I break the bottle or kill the goose? I shattered the goose on a thousand tiny shards of glass, leaving a stain no winter could wash, no summer could dry.
Yep. This was true, unstoppable, change. As sure as the sun rises, the promise of Phase 2 was delivered.
That was the space I wish I had afterwards. But in my story, I had to move on. I had a promising job, a blossoming relationship, and loving friends to host my exodus from the coldest house ever. My hologram shifted, landing me on a strange soft blanket. Yet still a terrible hole burned inside. The life I lived before now felt like a dream.
I don’t know what happens next. I know I’m not in control, because if I was I would never have written such a beautiful tragedy.
Today (Monday, January 18th)
As I sit here writing this, all I can say is,
I love you.
More than you will ever know.
But I have to let you go now.”
And in one blinding insight I realize that she is me – as is everyone in the hologram – and when I read that passage and replace her name with mine, I cast off my shackles of the past and say goodbye to a dear old friend.
Then I turn to face the inevitable, infinite, unknown.