2003-05-10 - 9:42 a.m.

After a series of things that would normally really throw me into a tizzy of desperate stress, I have arrived home with nary a panicked thud of my heart.

There was the plane ride from Paris to Toronto when my fear of flying is at its highest level ever and of course I had to get on a flight that happened to be strangely plagued with bumpy air roads. We were not allowed out of our seats for four hours. The fasten seat belt sign didnít get switched off until about three hours into the flight which meant that we not only didnít get any meal service or much needed drinks, but the entertainment also wasnít turned on and we werenít allowed to use our computers or CD players. Basically we all just sat there in terrified silence as the plane shook, bobbed and swung mercilessly along the pitted air road.

Then I had to deal with the Toronto airport. When I arrived there on my way to Paris I had thought that maybe I was just a little tense and impatient and thatís what made my attempt to get from one gate to the other seem unusually difficult. But I now know that that airport is just really quite a pain in the ass. I had to take my computer out of its case an obscene amount of times and fill out an obscene amount of landing cards. Even when I land in the states from another country I donít have to do as much, I have to fill out the card, recheck my baggage, go through customs and then meander along some carnival like concourse to my next flight. But not in Toronto, in Toronto every five feet you have to go through securityÖand, you have to not only go through Canadian customs, but then you have to go through US customs. Which means having to retrieve your luggage twice from lonely conveyer belts and then send them back through on yet another lonely conveyer belt. And I just wanted to get home or at least get a cup of coffee. I took strange delight in my puddle jumper flight from Toronto to Detroit. After my experience in the jet I was glad to be in a small plane where I could actually justify the bouncing through the air.

And then there was my friend Kathy. Not having seen her in two months she looked utterly different to me and it threw me off. I felt as though I had just missed two years, not two months. We drove the two hours home and I walked in my front door to find my cats fat and happy. And best of all, my cat Smudge who has suffered with an allergy for five years which makes him lose his hair and riddles him with crusty scabs, has hair and is scab free! I had finally given in to an allergy test last fall and when the test came back listing some ridiculous number (something like 43) of things he was allergic to, the vet told me to pick out a few of the things I could deal with the delete from his environment to try to ease his discomfort a little until the allergy shots he would have to have daily came in. So I picked the fish allergy and the flea allergy. (if he eats one little bite of fish or something where fish has even touched it he gets itchy, same with fleas, he gets one flea on him and the itchy comes back full force and he soon has no hair) So I bought new, expensive (really stupidly expensive)dry food and have to scan all the labels on the wet food for any fish products and I got Frontline for the fleas. And in the course of three months he has been cured and I donít even think he will need the allergy shots.

Anyway, I was happy to sleep in my bed again that night. I woke really early as my body thought it was six hours later than what it was, and started unpacking things. Started going through my mail, starting unpacking things from boxes that I had boxed up to avoid dust (another thing my cat is allergic to). So by 8 oíclock my house looked like a tornado had gone through. Clothes, books, shoes, mail and other odds and ends strewn all over the place. And that was when I decided I just couldnít deal right then and went off to visit work and go to the bookstore for a new book and some coffee. I was happily driving back down my road with my delicious caramel mocha tipped to my lips when I noticed the cop cars in my driveway. I wasnít overly concerned at first because I am totally guilt free of anything and figured they were just using my drive as a place to park; perhaps they were at the neighborís house for something. So I took my time getting out of my car, slowly walked up my sidewalk still sipping my coffee when a cop and my mother come bursting out of my house. OUT OF MY HOUSE, THEY WERE IN MY HOUSE! Turns out that someone noticed a window that had broken in my bedroom. I hadnít felt like dealing with that either that morning so I had just left it like that, with the window broken and the screen pushed in. That someone had decided that my house must have been broken into and called the cops. The cops, having come into my house, decided that my house had indeed been broken into and had been ransacked! RANSACKED! But then they had noticed that my computers, TVís, stereos, money and credit cards were still here so they decided that I had been kidnapped. KIDNAPPED! So they tracked my mother down, in the meantime I was happily and quietly browsing shelves at the bookstore. What I find really funny about the whole thing is that I was gone for two months and hadnít told any of my neighbors that I was leaving. And the day I get back is the day they decide I have been kidnapped. Never mind that for two months I was actually GONE. No, they pick the day that I have actually been outside, wandering my yard, driving my car to realize that I am missing.

And yesterday I returned to work. Thatís pretty much all I need to say about that. I returned to work with absolutely no desire to be there. The first couple hours were quite rough but I soon remembered the waitress dance and things were pretty much back to normal. I hate work. And I am still, even with a two month break, sick of the majority of our regulars. I need a new job, a new town and a new life.

And those things were on my mind last night when I decided that enough is enough. I will get this house into shape and I will sell it and get the hell out of here. Itís really quite irrational for me to think like that because E. will be back in a year and a half and assuming he and I are still together (there is no question in my mind) I will be having to move to wherever it is that he ends up. But I really donít think I can stay here any more. I really, really donít. I liked the anonymity I had in France. I liked that no one knew me from the past, that everyone was meeting me for the first time. I liked that there werenít people who could recite the list of every restaurant that I have worked in, I liked that no one knew anything about me. So I would like to find that again. Go someplace where I can walk down the street and be pretty certain no one is going to know me.

And I desperately miss my boyfriend and desperately miss my walk and the way the wind blows in St. Germain.

But something strange has happened to me. Normally these things would have sent me into a deep depression; I would normally be lackluster about life. I would just carry on, resume old patterns. But I am now renewed almost; the desperation I feel has become functional. Instead of missing, wanting, needing I am turning it into progress. Yesterday I wandered around my village trying to find a route I could walk, trying to find some vein of wind that felt good and refreshing. I started projects in my house last night. I went for lunch with a friend, I wrote, I put things in envelopes to submit for publicationÖI moved forward.

It occurred to me a few weeks ago when I sat back in my chair and exhaled deeply, that something was different. It occurred to me that I was actually sitting back in my chair. For most of my life I have said, ďI just feel like I am always living on the edge of my seat.Ē Nothing ever seemed to fit in my life, I could never find that one thing that just made everything start clicking. So I lived life just waiting for that click. When I was with my ex boyfriend I always thought that once we got a house together things could settle down and I could sit back on my seat and let life take over. But I know that never would have happened, after we got the house it would be the same thing, nothing would have clicked. But now, with E., I feel things clicking. I have found the one piece that was missing and now things can progress smoothly. He was the important piece missing from the mechanism of my life that makes things run smoothly. I can finally sit back and know that things are going exactly as they should.


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