from Tapestry, Carole King
There are threads in my life, things that seem to circle back...the first man I thought was a cutie pie when I moved back to Pittsburgh in 1993 was a Duquesne graduate student, studying philosophy. I met him at a table at the South Side Street Fair. Though I never saw him again, I had a crush, and I often thought of that man across the picnic table, as we ate our street festival food. Years later, I dated a Duquesne philosopher or two. I only remembered the cutie pie recently, and it gave me a start, to think.
The summer D and I were not dating was a hard time for me. I took walks every morning, praying. I didn't know if I wanted us to get back together or not. But I didn't have a lot of friends, work was hard, and so God was the one I poured my heart out to.
There was a dresser that his roommate had, that D had said I could have. I didn't get the dresser before I hastily broke up with him in April. So the dresser was a question mark.
At that time, I didn't own a car. I took the bus everywhere. A friend lent me her car for an afternoon, and I called D, said, I can come and get the dresser this afternoon. He said, um, today doesn't work for me. Oh.
So we figured a time that did work. And the night before, I couldn't sleep at all. I didn't know I was going through a change and that change would soon manifest itself in bipolar disorder. I had about one night of no sleep per month, so by this time, I was used to not being able to sleep and I just used the time to wash dishes and talk to God.
I remember thinking, why God? Why did I get no sleep before going to get the dresser? I took the bus to Kaufmann's, walked across the Tenth Street bridge. But the fact was, the lack of sleep softened me. (I do not recommend it.) But at that time, it helped me. D was not overly glad to help me, but he did. That gruff kindness, the willingness to help outside of the pain we'd caused each other, helped me heal years later when Max and I broke up and he still lived on the first floor and I lived on the third, with no one on the second for a while, so that the house echoed every time one of us came or left, slamming the front door open, closed. He took the trash Sunday nights, and he shovels the walk when it snows.
D and I did eventually get back together. He gave me a ride home after a Memorial Day party, and eventually we were tentatively talking, and we were back together by the Fourth of July. We had a good rest of the summer, and an autumn of wrestling as I wanted to break up with him as he tried to get more serious. I got bronchitis. I was trying so hard to get ahead at work that when I had permission from my doctor to not work on Christmas Eve (I worked retail!) I went in anyways, because I was feeling better. I sat on the floor in the gift area and sorted out the pretty journals our bookstore sold. It wasn't a busy Christmas Eve, but I felt, YES, I had proven something by showing up. I wore my green velvet Liz Claiborne dress to the Christmas Eve service. Eleven months prior, I had worn it in my friend Sally's wedding.
As I think back on that time, almost fifteen years ago, I think, I can do this. Whatever is next, I got this.
3 days ago