I went to the greek festival in town tonight, with my little five year old friend and his family. Years ago, working in a terrible job, I promised myself a trip to Greece if I stuck with it for a year. I went to the Greek festival that year too, hoping to find someone who would teach me to speak Greek. Right. Anyway.
I put on a dress, because I have become such a slouch and a slob. I put on a dress because I needed to be pretty again, to at least feel like I'd made an attempt. It was nice - playing the super-hero-chase-me-tag that is the new obsession of five year olds, shouting over the loud music, deciding which version of baklava to eat, wondering whether spider-man would be a good cook or not. An aside: I'm thankful I spent so many years with my love and his son, in whose company I learned the ways and names of various super-heroes. Tonight, we discussed the relative merits of each of the X-Men. Earlier, we went through the ranks of the Avengers. R's choice of character: the super ninja the Black Window. I tried to correct him, but he insisted.
So. Standing in line, a few older Greek men told me I was beautiful. That was nice. I don't know. I guess it was just good to be out among people, music blasting, grills going. This town has been so small for me, even in the Before. After eating as much baklava as possible, R and I went out to play in the street, and scope out the line to see if any of his friends were there. I spotted an old friend of mine, old as in, over 15 years ago. We stopped to say hello. Ever since we've known each other, E has known I wanted to move out of here. So he says, "you're still here! Every time I see you, I'm surprised."
I paused. Restless five year old tugging at me. This is not a large town and E and I still know some of the same people. I keep pausing. I start to say, well, we were actually all set to move (I stop and look at him) and (pause) and then (pause)
So I am expecting E to say, "right, didn't your partner die? But wasn't that kind of a long time ago now?" I was pausing and waiting for it. And then it occured to me that maybe he didn't know. So I blurted - 'well, we were all ready to move and then my partner died so here I am still here.' And then I realized, by the look on E's face, that blurting out such news in the middle of a street festival with a hyper little boy doing dance moves with my arms is sort of a strange thing to do. While E and his friend are recovering, apologizing, stammering, standing there stunned, my five year old friend has had quite enough, and is running off into traffic. Clearly needing to follow him, I say quickly - "so mostly I have been here, stunned and reeling. That is what I am still doing here." And then I turn to go. What incongruence. I delivered this news from a full party stance - hopped up on sugar, fully in the throes of Black Window moves, playing chase in a sea of people eating gyros and dancing in circles.
I wonder what it was like after I left. Did E and his companion stand there confused? Was my odd bombshell, well, odd? Welcome to my world people. I am in the last two weeks of year three since this all began, and in a lot of ways, I am also still standing in line thinking I was getting baklava, and suddenly finding I have no idea what the heck is going on.