Mementos and Apartments

J came over this evening for maybe 45 minutes. Little man — who I now mentally refer to as ‘the minion’ after watching the Minions movie, because he’s about the right size, talks just like one, and is perhaps more on the side of chaos than good — was already in bed. J stopped by on her way home from meeting another friend just because she felt like it. It was a nice gesture.

Talking to J these days feels strange — It is simultaneously like talking to a stranger, like talking to a coworker, and, well, like talking to a best friend/life partner. We have this 10 year history together, and for much of those 10 years we were really close and shared the same enthusiasms. But J’s hobbies have changed, and when she talks about her activities now, I don’t see the same person I used to know. Also, because we see one another much more infrequently, my brain immediately starts sending urgent signals to my mouth and voice box to start talking about all the to-do items I have been saving up to ask J about.

This evening my brain was, thankfully, taking a break from reciting urgent tasks, so J and I just talked. At first it was nice, but at some point J pulled out her phone and started texting during our conversation. I know a lot of people do it, but it is a major pet peeve of mine. I think texting when hanging out with people is okay in a lot of circumstances, but there is something about the person I’m talking to across a table pulling out a phone and becoming absorbed in it that really bothers me. J was always doing this when we were still together, and it always added to the feeling I had that she would rather be somewhere else. I am not quite as bothered by her texting now that we are not a couple, but it seems to underline the separation somehow, and that makes me sad. That, and J’s words today, which were, “You used to be my best friend.” Somehow that “used to” hurts more than the fact that we are not a couple anymore. The words felt like a betrayal. I tried so hard for so long to keep our relationship strong, but I have known for a long time that I have been becoming less important to her. The only difference, really, is that she used to insist that I was one of her best friends, back when she was still wanting us to stay together. Back then she would say encouraging things like that, then be distant or miserably grumpy until she was getting ready to go hang out with S and other friends. At which point she would be happy again. So… The “used to” may be a new admission, but it is not really a new circumstance.

On to good news: I have a new apartment! J is still helping support me while I finish up my current work contract (I have the kind of job right now that provides great experience but pays little). She has been sweetly supportive about all the financial difficulties of my/our situation. The new apartment is smaller — a 1 bedroom — and does not have a large, difficult yard to take care of. I will miss this townhouse in some ways, but really I am very excited to move. The new apartment is clean, cheerful, and in a quiet pocket in a convenient part of town. More than that, it will be (even with the financial assistance) my space. Our townhouse still feels like an “ours” place, and it would feel like an “ours” place even if I changed the decorations and furniture arrangement. I am ready to move on. This weekend I will start moving small items over, and I think I will set up an air mattress over there as well so the minion and I can sleep there until the big items get moved over. J will be helping me move the big stuff two weekends from now.

One of the things I am excited about is the decorating. I don’t have time to do much, but I am clearing out some pictures I have had on the walls for years, some of which I kept out of habit. There is one picture, a large (maybe 3ft x 3ft) acrylic painting I did once of an evening primrose, that J is taking, and I am glad she wants it. It makes me feel happy and reassured to know that she wants this thing that is a reminder of me. I am keeping a black and white nature photo of hers, come to that. Not as a memento of a relationship I want to enter into again, but as a piece of art I really like that was done by somebody I will always care about. It has a lot of sentimental value, because it was also the first gift J gave me. To me it is a reminder to appreciate all the good times we had.

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