I think I started this journal to have something tangible, something I could hold when everything was collapsing around us. That's why I use the plantable pencil you got me years ago. Now, obviously, even that has changed.
Do you remember today the same way I do? The plumber was coming to fix our pipe issue in the basement, and I was secretly glad because it meant we wouldn't fight about how my woodworking obsession had--I am now willing to admit this--led to said pipe issue.
<center>[[~|January 19]]</center>January 19
For our anniversary, we dug out old Steven Universe DVDs and watched them on generator power. We found a frozen lasagna in the freezer from before the flood and told ourselves it was our cake, and posted selfies on a YouPixel instance.
You said it was the best day of your life, and I never told you I didn’t immediately agree because I was too busy realizing it was true for me, too.
<center>[[~|February 25]]</center>February 25
Last night, we cuddled for warmth and only warmth. I yelled at you for losing my tiny Buddha figurine, when actually he vanished through a wormhole in the basement, along with my sunglasses, my worry beads, all our Excedrin.
I’m bad at apologizing. I want to explain how I found these things later (minus Buddha) and realized they’d been vanishing into that void, which the plumber charged me like four hundred dollars to seal up, and obviously he did a crappy job if Buddha got lost in there. But none of that matters. You’re more important than any lost material thing.
You’re the Sapphire to my Ruby. Any day I wake up to you makes the bad stuff worth it.
<center>[[~|Sep2-3]]</center>September 2, maybe 3
I finished the shelf you wanted to put above the kitchen table and it is <i>perfectly</i> level, so I stacked our spices and rare teas on it and still had room for the small ceramic houses that I said would be good for napkins.
I remember how you said, They aren’t for napkins, they hold wishes. I said, Too bad they’re empty! Which I recognize now was an asshole response, and I’m sorry.
<font face="verdana">I miss you.</font face>
<center>[[~|March 11]]</center>March 11
So the plumber screwed me over on the repair. I used the basement washing machine and the water in the pipe still went to the attic, the backyard, and last month. This flooded my workplace, so Mom referred me to an old girlfriend, a carpenter/plumber who is turning down work ever since the flood.
She is highly confident the hole is actually one of those ruptures in space-time cropping up everywhere, which, fucking fantastic. I’m not saying it’s the first plumber’s fault, but like, how many houses has the man been to? Surely he’s seen a void before?
Mom’s friend (Sandy) sealed it, but she said if the “originating factor” of the void is still there, the thing will just come back. Whatever that means.
<center>[[~|April 8]]</center>April 8
Fired from the dayjob today. No severance. Chapter Eleven. Too many fires means too many layoffs means no customers, yada yada, no supply, no demand. My now-former manager asked about you after showing me the door, which was nice, I guess.
He said I looked different, and I didn’t say why. I couldn’t find the words to tell him my better half had disappeared into a wormhole in the basement.
<center>[[~|March 25]]</center>March 25
We were both tired of the cold and sick from worrying if the sweeping layoffs would hit us next. We bickered over why I never followed my dream of being a real carpenter, and when I said the timing wasn't right, I meant I’m actually scared out of my mind of out there. Of the world. Of spending my life patching rooftops and fixing solar panels and finishing basements, only to realize, none of it fucking matters.
So, I’m sorry it was all money woes and bitching about late stage capitalism, and all these floods and fires. I’m sorry I cut you down when you told me to live for myself, because I don’t know what that means. Fuck.
<font face="verdana">I love you so much. I’m sorry. For me, for what’s coming. If you read this one first, please don’t listen to me next weekend.</font face>
<center>[[~|April 1]]</center>April 1
Today’s the day you disappeared, while we were fighting over the utility bill. Happy Easter/April Fool’s Day, right? I think by “originating factor,” Sandy meant us. She meant me. I wonder how much of the fight you actually heard. I was on this incredible tirade about money, and I realized you hadn’t interrupted me yet, and when I looked back, you were gone. I’ve never felt so afraid and cold and alone than in that moment.
I looked around the house, including some rooms I’d never been in without you before, and finally checked the basement. Sure enough, the wormhole was you-sized. Babe, if you read this first, I’m looking for you. Say hi to Buddha for me.
I’ve finished the anchor. Okay, it’s not really an anchor, it’s a new support pillar in the basement for spelunking into the wormhole, but I like calling it an anchor. The wood is solid, and if sci-fi movies are any guide, it’ll keep my body tethered to the basement while I go in to find you.
We’ve got a lot of Steven Universe to watch, so if you read this first, I’m headed back to Easter.
<center>[[~|May 20]]</center>May 20
It’s gone straight past warm and into way too hot. I remember you don’t like the heat. The void’s growing, and I’m not really sure what that means? Sandy said it’s because the cause of loss is still in the house.
No shit? You’re still gone? Thanks for nothing, Sandy.
(set: $month to (a: "March", "May", "September", "April", "December", "January"))
You're not in (link-repeat: "[(print: $month's 1st)]<month|")[(replace: ?month)[(set: $month to (rotated: -1, ...$month))(print: $month's 1st)]]. Did you find somewhen better? I guess it’s quieter, without me. If you don’t want me to follow, then send me a (link-reveal: "sign")[(show: ?sign)]|sign)[<font face="verdana"><strike>
come back and tell me
just don’t leave me here</strike>
I guess I’ll figure it out eventually.</font face>
It sucks that your best friend got laid off on my birthday, and I wish I hadn’t gotten so mad about it. That’s it, I guess? Whatever. It feels like just last week, we were (link-reveal: "perfect.")[(show: ?perfect)]|perfect)[<font face="verdana"><strike> We had us figured out. If we could go back and be that, forever, I’d be fine.</strike>
adding this part post-wormhole, so, if you read this: I’m sorry. It’s easy to say it, now that you’re gone, and there’s a lot it needs saying about. I’m sorry I lose it so easily. I’m sorry I take so long to find the right words. I’m sorry I’m both the one who starts the fights and the one who resists the reconciliation. Really, I’m just scared. Scared that if I say the wrong thing, it’ll drive you away. And now I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve been able to say anything to you. But I remember the last thing you said to me. Fighting about the utilities, you were like, Would you just listen to me?
I promise: I’m listening.
If you come to September and find the house a mess, it’s not because I don’t love you and have just let the whole place go to shit without you. It’s because I went downstairs and saw the wormhole was gone and I completely flipped out. I thought you'd come back.
But it’s not gone. It’s just grown to encapsulate the property. I'll step out of one room and find myself in last week, or go to sleep and wake up two months from now. But never with you.
<center>[[~|September 23]]</center>September 23 (found the calendar again)
Today I put napkins in the empty houses. They keep wishing you’d come back.
<center>[[~|September 24]]</center>September 24
I’ve paid the bills by being the local handyperson. I thought it would get my mind off you, taking every odd job and getting to know the town even though we’ve been here for two years and don't know our next door neighbors' names (the husband is Sadith, he's very nice, we are invited to their fourth of July, don't ask me which July).
I thought our situation, like the wormhole situation, was unique. I was wrong. I’ve found more mostly-empty houses than I ever expected. Folks are exiting stage void all over. I've found more work than I expected, not just from referrals thanks to Sandy, but people whose partners, childrens, friends have gone elsewhere.
Usually (they tell me) it's someone they relied on, but didn’t appreciate, a spouse or kid they feel they’ve let down. Apparently this is one of those things that’s been going on for a while but we don’t want to talk about yet. Because you don’t come back.
Maybe we all have benign wormholes. It’s just, most people don’t know what it is that drives their person away. Oh, and so far everyone else's void is smaller than ours, so. That’s fun.
I’m not going to stop looking, and I won’t stop thinking of us as an us just because you’re the rift around the house that used to be an empty space.
<center>[[~|February 18]]</center>February 18
You switched shifts with another manager so your lunch break would be the same time as mine. We went to the deli across the street and couldn’t stop smiling at each other. I’ve always felt suboptimal compared to you (if natural) in business casual, but you’re (link-reveal: "incredibly")[(show: ?incredibly)]|incredibly)[<strike> sexy in your work clothes</strike>
<font face="verdana">At first I thought you went back to the bright happy times, like I did, to relive them. That you stayed there, when things were good and it was easier to ignore the small warning signs as eccentricities of character. But if we don’t fight, there’s no wormhole, and without that, you can’t go back.
Today, or then, or whenever you saw me and we were happy: was that you, now? You had a knowing look, a worn and weary smile. Has that always been your face?
I think we’ve both started going back, replaying those old days to make them good, to build a better place to start from. That’s why I can’t chance upon you. Why it's the idea you I remember most.
I’ve tried, but I can’t relive past me. I can’t be that guy again. But I can’t go too long without seeing you. So I’ll do what I never could, and I’ll change, for me and you and for us.</font face>
<font face="verdana">If you’re reading these, I’m going to plant the pencil in the yard, where you always wanted your garden. I don’t know gardening from manners, but I’ve built a solid wood foundation. Something I think will last us. That pencil is set up to succeed. So I'm here, and I'm sorry. I love you more than I've ever felt anything. If you're looking for a later, for a better, I'll be here.</font face>