Change came this weekend. I wondered when it would. I’ve been staring down the black chasm of my lonely, static life and thinking that I must be on the wrong end of a great curse. Sure, the MCE curse lifted a few months before I finally walked away from that place. But, then I found myself living with an ex-MCE roommate for another two years, and kind of dating a MCE employee’s friend for several months. I found myself at a new workplace that was gradually beginning to morph into what MCE had become during those last bad months, and then watched it get even worse.
I found myself with no true friends—sure, lots of people on Facebook labeled as such, and people at UW offering friendship when they needed something from me. But, outside of God, Dad and dog—there just wasn’t anyone I could have a conversation with about non-work-related stuff without feeling like some kind of intruder on their time. Some outside, someone not cool enough, fast enough, hip enough or handsome enough.
Mama always said I should just go to church, and I’ll meet a nice church girl there. Well, I did.
I’d been flirting around with going to CP since I’d read about it in a blog—it’s embracing of diversity and desire to serve the community (rather than merely being an isolate community unto itself that served itself with the occasional missionary vacation somewhere) made me interested in attending. I wanted a traditional service after growing up in a wild, holy roller church that scared me many times. I wanted something consistent, short, but beautiful in the service. A sermon that came as a small portion every bit as nourishing (and maybe more so) as those long-winded rants Pastor Wayne would give.
I decided to go, finally, when it was just about me and God and the church. No hidden agendas around dating church girls or expecting my perfect little dream of two or three male friends, wife and kids to suddenly magically appear. I didn’t care if everyone there detested me—if they did, then the church wasn’t for me, right?
It’s not easy being a heavy sinner most of your adult life, steeped in the ways of the world and sympathetic to agnostics while holding a thin thread of Faith attached to God—it’s not easy being this way and swallowing your pride to sing simple hymns and mouth the words in the audience participation section.
But, you know what? I’m growing again for the first time in forever. I don’t walk around all crumpled up in a ball of vengance, chafing at every slight recently committed or remembered. I don’t care about the workplace situation as much, or worry about how I’m going to pay for everything. Something deep and rich and meaningful is informing me, and I don’t believe I could mature anymore without this.
And, then, there’s A. The first single lady I met at the church—on the second Sunday I was there, she walked around to the other side of the pew to sit next to me. She was immediately agreeable to the suggestion of coffee, and accepted an invite to look at cadavers-as-art at a sports medicine exhibit. She turned out to be a runner. She’s an English major. She has a rich and varied inner life, deep intellectual curiosity, has a cool job and is getting a Master’s and fascinating subject. She’s gorgeous, she smells good but isn’t heavy of perfume. She dresses nice. She has a sharp eye for taking great photos. She’s a brilliant conversationalist. She’s single, without too many friends or obligations that get in the way of spending time with me (none of that “circle the wagons with my friends and try to penetrate that circle if you dare” bs).
She has an animal-friendly license plate. She likes Taffy, and Taffy likes her. She’s not a neat freak, but has a cozy, inviting place.
She kisses very well.
I am having a hard time right now seeing myself with anyone else, ever. I mean, it doesn’t even make sense—thinking of anyone from the past, or any of the ladies at UW who ended up being not even marginally a good fit.
A is a Democrat, but not one of those rabid lefties. She’s a Christian, but not overly zealous. Her mom’s a nurse, her dad’s an investment banker. She is a Texan. She’s just about the perfect height and shape for me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, in every way I can imagine, she just fits. And, I know way too well what it’s like when someone doesn’t.
I just pray to God that I can maintain self control, and not allow any of the old boyishly immature douchebaggery come out. I want A to fall madly in love with me, accept my marriage proposal in about seven to eight months, marry me in about a year, move in with me and live without children for a year or two while we see the world, then deliver two-three children who we will raise in a nice Austin or Round Rock neighborhood while we become actively involved in our church and community, and grow old and happy together, dying at perfectly ripe old ages then ascending to the heavens where we can spend eternity walking with Christ among the mansions he built and all of those who’ve gone before us.
The other change that came was me leaving behind the old Skyway place. I will be renting it for another month and three weeks, but already, I can’t imagine needing to go back there and spend a night on the queen-sized blow-up air mattress for any reason. It’s a place that has long run its course of being able to provide something akin to a home for me. The third-longest lived-at place in my life, clocking it at just under five years. Memories of angry fights with D over petty things, and anger at R for being so insensitive with his video game noise, and anger at the countless neighbors who came and went with their heavy bass, stomping, shouting, woodworking, etc.
Just a place where all of the wrong intruders came into my thoughts and sleep and peace.
This place, this new place, was built two years ago, and nobody’s lived here. Cars are whizzing by constantly, and a panorama of the city skyline is outside my window. I am in the heart of East Austin, a territory once off-limits due to dire warnings from relatives and my own hyperdrive imagination. Thoughts of getting knifed or ending up in a crack motel full of needles in my arm filled my head when I had to drive over here. Gangs would be insistent upon making short work of my tiny white ass once I dared linger too long east of I-35 and west of Bastrop. It was like the worst prison movie scene, but set inside a run-down gutted neighborhood.
Now, I’m here, alone with pup, inside a condo building that screams gentrification, surrounded by a neighborhood that is seeing nothing but change, and a flux of faces—both gangster, hipster and everyone else. And, I’m not missing the old days and the old ways anymore.