A good send-off to September was meeting the gang in the city. Though, because I was the furthest and couldn’t take the car, I basically had to do four hours of commuting back and forth only to spend a little over an hour with them. It was a pain, and when I did the calculation at home it didn’t seem worth it, but I wanted to see them. They picked out a Japanese place with a menu that doesn’t quite agree with my palate, but because of the time restraint getting a simple and familiar type of salad seemed ideal. S basically stole the show, telling us the story of how her now fiancé proposed. It was lovely and romantic, admittedly. There was banter back and forth which, I must say, I got really better at. I mean, something is said and I let out a response to make a joke and hear genuine laughter in return. It feels really nice, I won’t lie. No wonder my brother is hooked on it. It sucked that I basically sat there half attentive because my eyes were constantly on my watch. I wonder if I should have taken N’s offer to crash at her place. At any case, the next hangout is on me. They’ll have to make the trip here and have a nice BBQ on the roof before the weather fully turns.
There was a slight dip in the mood after I said goodbye and walked out though. As fun as that was, seeing them, hugging each one, laughing together, catching up briefly, it still wasn’t my ideal definition of fun. What I mean is there wasn’t any real, deep conversation, and not just speaking for myself, I think E also needs that from time to time. It wasn’t just because it was brief, but in part because it was a group setting, and from now on S’s fiancé is going to join us and though I like him, he’s not close enough for me to open comfortably. Though, to be honest, it’s not that I need to so much anymore. That’s been an interesting change lately, that I’m just happily and naturally keeping most things to myself unless asked about them. So, maybe if it were E and me alone, or N and me alone, or just the three of us even, then the conversation would go to more personal directions. This isn’t to say anything against S. In fact, it’s quite predictable and endearing that she’s so excited. She finally has her life together; quitting the toxic environment at the university, pursuing a job she actually likes, and getting married to a wonderful guy who seems to suit her so well. And I believe she mentioned she’d been feeling so well and healthy that she’s able to stop taking some of her medications.
Then, beneath the chatter and the noise from other tables, I was able to hear a weird remix of “Policy of Truth” and my mind completely changed direction for a moment. It was one of those moments that a trigger of some kind sucks me back into my own mind, imagination or memory, and I phase out for a little bit. They were fractions, really; the song, Depeche Mode, reading The Time Traveller’s Wife, J, and then N asked me if I was okay and I was back in reality.
Riding the bus back and forth, I kept the music on. Certain memories resurfaced, about J, C, this website… but I didn’t let them linger too long. In part, I was happy to move around again, finding my way through the city, remembering how the routes worked and such. Last time I went out with the gang we did some walking and I remember pacing the street in my now baggier clothes, with my hands in my pockets feeling absolutely free. In that moment, not being able to tell C about my plans didn’t feel like something to be sad about. It was what it was, freedom. And last night, as I sat in the familiar main station waiting for the last bus home, I realised that not telling him now is a choice. He’s been back but nothing is the same. And that’s fine. Choosing to keep him out is just fine.
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