Musings of an Insomniac
Apparently New York is not only the state in which resides the city that never sleeps but is the second home to the amazing twenty five year old girl who never sleeps. I haven't slept since I landed three days ago. I watch reruns and read old newspapers and do anything but sleep. Some of this may have to do with the fact that when I am here I sleep in my dead brother's bed staring at the wrapped christmas presents I bought him and he never got to open. Some of this could have to do with continually hearing the front door open and someone walk up the stairs in the middle of the night, each time thinking it's that first night and he's come home. Some of this could have to do with the fact that the only thing that makes me feel like I'm doing right by him, running, has been seemingly forestalled three short weeks before my race. It looks like I have a broken metatarsal in my foot. I've been limping and icing for four days now. Four days that I was supposed to be logging in a cool nine miles. Some of this has to do with the fact that when I'm home my parents are so overjoyed by the fact that one of their children is home and the house in no longer empty that they start to believe in their heads that we're both here. Today my father set the table for four and my mother upon noticing quietly went over and put the unnecessary plate away, which precipitated realization on my fathers part and him bursting into tears. Today my mom asked me to change her cellphone wallpaper to a picture of Andy only to discover that there were only two in there, neither of which she particularly liked and said, "Oh it's okay I'll just take another of him later."
Today I stood in front of a group of people who had also just lost a twenty something loved one at my brother's college and told them that the hardest thing is not the grief over the life our loved ones lived but the grief over the loss of possibility. The loss of possible weddings and children and memories and....time. That now we're out of time and we had so much left to do. That it's become so apparent how precious and fleeting this time on earth is and how much possibility there is in each day for us. Each day is a gift and to tell the people we love how much we love them and how much we appreciate them because we don't know when it will be our turn. To do something each day that betters our lives and makes the pain merely a testament to our strength and resilience. That each morning I wake up and say this is the first day of the rest of my life, what am I going to do to make this day different. That I've run every day since Andy died because he told everyone he met how proud he was his older sister was going to attempt the chicago marathon. The first two weeks in NY I'd run to his grave. I'd sit under the tree next to his grave and talk to him, and cry, and after a time run home. Once in Chicago I just kept pushing myself to better myself and turn my life into something I could be proud of. I feel that way for the majority of time. That Andy would be so proud of the person I was making myself into, in spite of this gaping hole in my heart.
And then there are the nights at four in the morning after three days of no sleep that I just don't have the stamina to be the strong one anymore. Recalling today's conversation with my mother over coffee of her telling me she so desperately hopes that my happiness continues to grow into a relationship that makes me happy with a man that would make my brother proud. Before it even enters my consciousness the words, "I doubt it." spill out of my mouth. I used to always say, and Whitney can attest to this, that if there was one good guy in the world in the form of my brother, I had faith that there was another out there somewhere for me eventually. That last shred of available hope died with him. I've spent 90% of my life single. The remaining 10% may as well just have been single too. And the single times have always been less complicated than the non-single. I find dating antiquated and predictable. I haven't met a guy who after fifteen minutes of interaction I haven't had my fill. I like my independence. I like some space. I like some Friday nights to myself and some Friday nights with someone and I don't like feeling like I'm hurting someone's feelings by needing that. I don't want to report to someone. I want a life apart and a life together. A partnership with a certain amount of freedom built in. It just doesn't seem that that's how most relationships are built. I meet someone at salsa every week. Every week one of them asks for my number and I do my part to at least oblige and give a few exchanges worth of a shot. But within a few exchanges I've reached my threshold for tolerance. Take for instance the most recent. I haven't even known him for two weeks, haven't even been on a first official date with him. However, after meeting out once, when I didn't respond to a text message within twenty four hours and called 48 hours later I got in sincerity "I told myself I was never going to talk to you again because you didn't call me back." He got over it and we subsequently made plans to meet the next day for dinner...which he blew off. And then when he texted me to find a different day I'd be available this week I told him I was busy this week and then leaving for NY for a long weekend. The guy had the nerve to show up to the place I frequent on Tuesday nights and start off with, "I thought you were in NY." To which I replied, "No not until Thursday I merely said I was busy this week." To which he responded, "You're the most impossible woman I've ever met." He's apparently read the top 100 things to say to a woman to gain entry into her heart. This is a big part of why I remain single. I don't need this frustration. I don't want to have to explain to you that busy isn't personal that in two weeks this just isn't that deep. I don't meet someone and fawn all over them and rearrange my whole life to make time for them. There are other more important things that have been around longer and I will fit you in in the places I'm free until you earn more. I don't think I'm asking a lot. Someone to go to dinner with, and watch movies, and cubs games and vacations and still maintain a certain amount of an independent lifestyle. Wow it makes it sound like I'm looking for friends with benefits. But I do really want to love someone and be loved but without all the intensity and double entendres. I'm not the type to define myself by the relationship I am in. But I'm in the process of re-appreciating my life and my blessings and all the possibilities I have. I would love someone to share that with, I just don't believe it's out there. So instead I've just lived this life for me. I stay up and wish that my brother were here to fill his own bed. I wish he were here now. I wonder if I sit quietly enough if I can hear his voice to sort out all these frustrations in my head. But all I've got is this one conversation over a beer in Chicago on a cold November night, when he told me how much he loved me and how he knew without a doubt that it would all work out for me. "You're plenty cute Keek, you just need to get out of your own way." he said. He always did that for me, broke it down and made something so complex seem so simple. Who knew that a month to the day later he'd be dead.