Monday, August 9, 2010

Hold, Part 4

Spring Break

Spring Break had arrived, but neither of those words really described that week away from school.  In Utah, “Spring” doesn’t tend to arrive until well after the so-named term has ended.  Due to a furlough, I wasn’t allowed to work; however, my advisor shattered any notion of a “break” with an announcement: “This week would be the perfect time for me to complete the first complete draft of my thesis.  It would also be a good time to work on that application you were telling me about.”

I suppose in terms of work involving research this move was somewhat preemptive on her part.  If I was working on a new draft, she didn’t have anything to review during her Spring Break.  Filing that move away for later and giving up any notions of road trips to Cali or Mexican cruises, I made plans for my week away.

Spring Break

A month or so prior, a case of serious flirtation quickly devolved into “let’s be friends” when he realized I’d dated his ex.  We’d hung out a handful of times and got along fairly well.

“Why don’t you come over and help me housesit for the break,” Clark suggested after I mentioned my Spring Break situation responding to a friendly “how are you?” text—the type he tended to send when things were really slow at work and he wasn’t in a relationship.  “It’ll be nice to have someone to talk to for a few days.”

“As long as I get a good ten hours of alone time for a couple days, I think everything will work out,” I responded.

The time arrived and everything was going according to plan.  Clark and I were both in a place we could enjoy each other’s company and have deep conversations as I attempted to continue my relationship fast.  He’d leave early in the morning to go to the call center and make it back in the early evening after teaching modern dance classes at the community center.  I spent my day writing, reading, and revising in the den, occasionally venturing out for rehearsals for the upcoming show.

It was like playing house in very practical terms.  We created for ourselves a routine before spending time together talking about our day over a home-cooked meal or takeout.  Perhaps the joy that this routine inspired was some sort of nostalgia for being a missionary again or anticipation of a glorified relationship end-point.  Whatever the case, it felt good in that moment.  No matter how hot a guy might be, if conversation and companionship were not part of the equation, it almost certainly spelled out doom for any possible future.

As the break wrapped up, Clark cornered me in conversation as we were having tea in the kitchen before calling it a night, “So why are you on this dating fast you mentioned?”

“I guess the simple answer is I needed change,” I said looking at him from across the counter.  “I wasn’t sure if what I wanted is really what I want,” I said.  “Or maybe I’m not sure if how I live is how I want to keep living.”

He grasped the counter with his lanky arms in order to steady himself as he leaned back a bit.  Looking me straight in the eye, he countered, “I get needing me time, but putting life on hold indefinitely?  Sure, I needed that after things didn’t work out with Evan, but I think you’ll never know until you try something different.”

“That’s why I’ve decided I need time away from here.”

“Here as in?”

“As in Logan.  I feel like I’m trapped in my hometown.”


He leaned forward with the expression of “I see” written across his face.  “Hence that application you’ve been working on?” he coyly posited.

“Teaching English overseas seems to be a great opportunity to re-center myself.  It’s volunteer work, so it would be an opportunity to do something selfless after a year puzzling over myself.”

“In the meantime, you need to live.  Experiment and live in the moment.”

It made sense coming from his modern dance background.  There certainly was something to listening to one’s self in the moment and expressing it openly, though my calculated, austere exterior seldom permitted it.

“Okay,” I said, my head tilting slightly.  “And how would you suggest I do that?”

The left side of his face lifted to form a not-so-subtle smirk.  “Actually, I’d like to set you up with a friend of mine….”

End, Part 4.


Stella said...

I have filled out so many "overseas" applications in the midst of life's difficulties--and most of them I followed through on. Which is one of the main reasons I know how to be alone, just like the video you posted below suggests.

The hard part, for me, is learning how to be with someone :)

Glad to have found your blog :)

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

Thanks, Stella for the kind words (which have left me very curious). Having been taught to see the world in binaries and then the grays in between, I tend to think we often find one thing in another.

Going overseas to be alone, I did find someone, and that turned into a wonderful lesson.

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