August 22, 1980
The last month has been a total slog. I’ve been covering extra shifts, and using almost all of my non-work time studying for SAT’s. I’m gonna take them tomorrow. Then, tomorrow night, I’m going to fly down to Tallahassee. I haven’t seen Melanie in a month, but our phone calls have become more frequent in the last week or so.
In the little bit of time that I’ve had in which my brain wouldn’t operate any longer, I have taken the opportunity to start fixing up the house. The landlord left some tools in the garage, and I’ve mowed the lawn, and washed down the porch, and made everything look much more inhabited than it had previously. I only ever mowed the lawn once as a child, and I had been too young to appreciate the wait it allows your brain to recuperate while your body exerts itself.
In addition to the lawn mowing, I’ve begun some other projects around the house. I successfully built a bookshelf, although it’s not a shining example of craftsmanship, it doesn’t look too shabby, and it does it’s job fine. Melanie teased me two nights ago, when I was telling her that while we spoke I was alphabetizing my book collection. She said I had too much time on my hands.
“I really miss you,” she said after a long silence. Her voice was barely above a whisper and slow and measured. I think that she was trying not to cry. All of these nights away from each other, and talking on the phone, and I hadn’t heard her cry. I couldn’t determine if it was the result of exhaustion, hormones, or genuine sadness brought on by affection. There was also the possibility it was guilt. I had seen enough Grey’s Anatomy to know that all of those long hours in a hospital bred emotions, and sexual feelings.
Has she been with someone else? Of course I’d be hurt if I found it out, but I don’t think I would be mad. It would only be natural, and I cannot imagine that some doctor, or nurse, or patient, or really anyone she might encounter has to be a better lover than me. Not that I’m bad in the moment, but long-term, how can I ever make her happy?
I didn’t know if my own wandering brain was the result of my own mental exhaustion, feeling true solitude again, or genuine sadness due to my overwhelming love for her.
“I miss you too. But I’m going to see you Saturday night.”
“What do you miss most?” She asked and I could hear the teasing in her voice, which I knew accompanied a crinkle in her nose.
“Probably your stunning breasts.” I smiled and tried to remain silent.
“You’re an ass!” she let burst out of her mouth, followed by her own laugh. “I suppose that’s only fair given what I miss about you.”
“My massive… intellect?”
“Massive? I mean I think you’re… smart… enough. I just haven’t had any real—erm—intellectual… stimulat…” The last bit of her sentence was cut off by a wild laughter that made my heart ache hollowly.
“Well, I’m going to go. I have to focus if I’m gonna finish this alphabetization.” We lingered in silence for a moment and I added, “I love you.”
“I love you too, I’ll see you on Saturday night.”
I finished organizing my shelf, and pulled off a copy of Slaughterhouse Five, to read in bed before I fell asleep. It didn’t take long.
I’ve thought a lot about telling Melanie what I am. I’ve been thinking about some significant amount of time, we haven’t even known each other six months, and I don’t want to tell her too early. But then I have moments, when I don’t want to tell her at all, because I like how normal it feels with her, without knowing her future, without knowing how she’ll live, or how she’ll die. Learning about her as I see her, as I talk to her, as I experience her.
Plus, once the summer is over, I’ll be able to go see my grandmother again. She’s fulfilled the role of confidant for me, being able to tell her things, being able to explain how out of place I feel sometimes. I can tell her how much I miss the immediacy of information, or how surreal boredom from lack of stimulus is, and how it is both freeing and bizarre. She doesn’t fully understand, but she finds it interesting, and I get to vent.
The truth is, that my brain has had very few moments of quiet since I arrived in January, and as I work it harder preparing for the SATs the more difficult it seems to shut off at night, in silence and dark. Instead of being able to scroll through Facebook, I either read, or I go for walks, but the walks tend to not be vigorous enough to truly distract me. After spraining my ankle, I’ve been working back up to regular strength on it.
Luckily, I’ve lost fifteen pounds, and I’m the leanest I’ve been since those first days in Vegas. But I don’t look emaciated, or feel weak, I just feel physically unencumbered. I’m the most muscular I’ve ever been. When I brush my teeth, I look at myself in the mirror, and wonder what Melanie will say when she sees me.
Time to read again, hopefully it will help me to fall asleep again tonight.