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Borgette’s first “post “from February 11, 2003. She was seven or eight at the time

I was walking
down a road
But what I saw
I can’t repeat
(Can’t repeat)

For what I saw
You could see
But what I saw
I can’t repeat
(Can’t repeat)

Down by the river
Where the flowers run free
The roses and the marigolds
Speak to me
But what they say
I can’t repeat
(Can’t repeat)
(Can’t repeat)

Tomorrow, she’s graduating from college.

Where in the hell did the time go?

Today I am in an exceptionally good mood. I knew going back to PT would boost my mood, but I had forgotten what that exercise endorphin rush was like. Instead of the main guy I had this summer I got his partner. He and I had a few moments when we first met each other, I was apprehensive when I heard he was going to be working with me, but fortunately my lovely sister had sent me the hilarious minimalism video so I was still laughing when I walked through the door. I showed it to him, he didn't think it was as funny as I did, probably because he wasn't aware of the movement (how can you be 23 and unfamiliar with minimalism?) I think that set the tone for the rest of the appointment. I was willing to give him a second chance and since he tries to impress his boss and knows that I am a more fun patient than the one his boss had assigned for himself, he made the best of what could have been a very awkward situation. There's something about those guys that just appeals to me. We had so much fun ragging on each other, my name came up again. We were talking about football, I should say they were talking about it and I named the four or five football players whose names I could remember. JJ Watt is a local guy, I didn't know that previously. We were talking about Marshawn Lynch, that was another funny moment. My guy asked if I knew him and I was like, yeah, of course, we're total bros. Then they asked what he called me, the discussion was about my initials, and I said I didn't call him anything, I just said 'hey' when he called. The first guy asked if it was okay to call me JJ, I told him my name was Jessica and we had covered that this summer. Then he said that he had heard me talking to the second guy and I was like - that was a private conversation between me and him to which you were not invited.

The woman sitting next to him laughed at that. At some point in time he burst out laughing and told me that he had missed me. Since I was also laughing I told him I had missed him. He tried telling me these really bad dad jokes and then his feelings were hurt when I got his white teenage girl jokes as if I don't have two white teenaged girls at home. He isn't my favorite therapist from a patient point of view, but I made allowances for that because I think what I needed more than someone to work with my ankle was people to laugh with and joke around while getting the work done. When the second guy told me he couldn't remember my name I told him he could just call me Beautiful. I saw him blush and that made my guy laugh. We had been talking about the whole food allergy thing and the conversation had gotten too serious so I thought that would be a fun way to lighten things up a bit. When I first got there we were discussing the music. I told him I was old enough to remember when the song that was playing had first been a hit. He kind of rolled his eyes at that, but then later on I mentioned something about the artist who was currently playing and he tried to pretend that he knew who it was which was super funny. The guy who runs the clinic picks the music, I didn't know that before. I'm a big environment person, music is a huge part of that, I get him in so many ways. He sets things up so he can work hard, he has a lot of endurance and stamina, those qualities are very appealing to me. He gets things done, he paces himself to a certain extent, there's always a danger when I connect with people who I understand that make me feel understood. 

Because we do pair well together I can sometimes mistake familiarity or excitement for something it isn't. Initially my feelings were hurt when I found out I wasn't going to be working with him because I really did go back to him for healing. I want the kind of encouragement he gives me and I wasn't able to get it from the two other guys. He was nice to me, he said hi and gave me a really big smile on my way out, but I could see something deeper in his eyes and I knew I had been very smart to keep it cool, casual, and to respect his need for time, space, and emotional distance. He no longer trusts me and that hurts. It cuts very deeply. I know a part of me was very wounded when I was working with those other two guys. I could keep up the superficial chatter and playful remarks because I didn't want him to see how the rejection stung. I know it isn't personal, my friend put it a good way, I was tarred by association. My friend with the crush wanted me to call her so I did. Then I was thankful I hadn't worked with him or had much contact other than his intial greeting which he would give any patient since he is a professional and it is his clinic. One thing that really grinds my gears is people who come to me for advice when they have a problem and then argue with me when I've gotten the results they want. This is a large part of why I left footwear. Go ahead and fuck shit up on your own, I'm not wasting my time and energy creating a dynamic footwear solution that I think will improve your health and the quality of your life if you're going to walk out the door and ignore everything I just said. You don't have to like it or agree, that's part of working with an expert, but please respect the knowledge and ideas I have or they will be lost to you for good. /doorslam 

I used to think I could help the people at work since we stand on concrete all day, but I've since discovered that it's like my previous sports analogy. I am anything but casual about footwear and if you come to me for advice or I give it to you for free, you had better think twice about blowing me off or taking advantage of me if you want me to continue to respect you the way that I did. I am still furious with one of the women I work with for minimizing my contributions and trying to blame me for buying shoes that I told her were not designed with what she had in mind. One of the guys I work with gave me money for lunch. I'm less angry with him, but I was super annoyed when he told a woman who didn't like me that the shoes he bought didn't really help. He had knee surgery and I told him going into it that footwear wasn't going to undo anything he had previously damaged. I helped him and he knows it. To be denied that credit was a big fuck you moment. I want to take a moment to differentiate between talking to people about footwear and going shopping with them. If the topic comes up in conversation, that's a totally different thing than me going to the store with you. Sometimes people have the mistaken impression that I'm going to sell them expensive footwear that they can't afford. Footwear is an investment, but I start with socks and those are generally more affordable. I will absolutely work with what you have and compliment you on your choices when it's appropriate and deserved. I'm a fit fanatic, but your style is important to me and I will honor that, but the conversation has to start with your bare foot and what it does well and needs. There's a logical systematic progression and violating that goes against my nature since I understand the ramifications and others probably don't or they wouldn't have this issue.

The other day I got to talking to someone who was wearing footwear that I liked from a fit standpoint, but when he came in to shop he had on shoes that reflected his personality and it bothered me because they didn't fit. He's taller than he appears because he has posture issues. He told me someone told him he may have done something to his neck and that was really scary because he is way too young to be having those types of issues. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to take exceptionally good care of your spine. I know I'm just as guilty as the next person and I don't have ignorance as an excuse either. The PT I had this summer worked in a shoe store for eight years. He's an Ironman and I have a ton of mad respect for him because his feet are baby soft despite what he does with and to them. I don't love his shoes from a style standpoint, but they fit and they're kind of quirky like he is so maybe he knows better than me in this case. Hardly any of the women at work wear footwear that I like. The other day my boss came in and showed me how part of the sole of her brand new boots had come off the first day she wore them. We got into a short footwear conversation and she later on said she appreciated my advice on how to speak to the people at the shoe store. There's a woman up front who has interesting shoes. She told me she broke her ankle at the end of a hike and I felt so bad for her after hearing her story about having to start school without a car and getting around on crutches. One of the guys I work with has an interesting sense of style. He has a cool black and white checkered belt, his socks matched, that's the kind of attention to detail that I appreciate as a footwear fanatic. Socks are fun for me and I think everyone should have only the best, it kind of makes me wonder why I don't buy them for more people.

Sometimes I appreciate footwear from a more artistic standpoint. I notice when things are right and I get a sense of personal satisfaction from seeing anything done well. One of the guys at work has a pair of shoes that are ridiculously sexy. He somehow managed to pick the exact color and material that I would have chosen for him had I gone shopping with him and that's the kind of phenomenon that makes me wonder, how did he arrive at that choice? I'm sure it had to be mostly a style preference. His clothes always has a hit or miss feel to me, like he couldn't quite decide what he wants to wear when he wakes up and just grabs whatever is handy. I always have to resist the urge to chart what he wears and hand over a detailed analysis of what I think looks good on him. Somehow I have a feeling most people would not appreciate this feedback, maybe I will try it on myself and see what I think of the process. That's the kind of thing that makes people think I am very controlling, but it's really just me being a perfectionist and feeling like a system could be improved upon. I've had people criticize what I wear and sometimes I agree that what I've chosen isn't working the way that I had hoped. Being super short without being rail thin is a challenge so considering the limitations of what I have to work with, I think I do a pretty good job of choosing things that are appropriate for work given the dress code and my natural inclination to do away with rules that are there for the sake of imposing unnecessary conformity and surpress individuality. I'm fine with rules that make sense like covering your head if you work with food, but mandating that we wear solid colors reeks of authoritarianism and I rebel at that.  

What I look for in men differs from how I assess women. I like it when color, style, personality, and what makes a person themselves come together. A couple of the guys in produce do this well. We had a woman who worked in back who had a very plain and simple style that was severe and perfect for her. I wouldn't have changed a thing about what she wore. She was very quiet and I really miss her. She was the kind of person who didn't say much, but just having her around made the store a better place because she showed up on time with a good attitude and worked hard to contribute what she could. Drama free people like that are the salt of the earth, it infuriates me that we lost her if it was due to poor management, I suspect she was destined for greater things anyways, but also realize she was not loved the way she could have been and that makes me very sad. One of the things that I find visually appealing is when guys look like they could very slowly remove their clothes when you're standing in front of them and now that I wrote that I'm finding it hard to describe what this looks like in real life. There's a fine line between sloppy, and sexy. I know it when I see it. Sloppy looks like you slept in your clothes which isn't a judgment since I do this all the time. It's an 'I don't give a fuck' attitude that makes it sloppy. Wrinkles are sloppy, clean clothes that naturally follow the line of the wearer are sexy. I like oral sex and I'm a navel gazer in the literal sense of the expression. I like skin and shirts that make me think I might get a peek at what's beneath, but they aren't too short if that makes sense. I like guys who make me think I've got all the time in the world to make both of us really happy for as long as it lasts. This is really hard to do and I appreciate it when it's done well even though it messes with my mind.

I like games and body language is a game to me. Everything is a game to me. Ever since my friend and I had the personality typing conversation I've been using that to assist my other thought processes and it's been a game changer. Today we had a conversation about the four of us who used to be a family. I think their dad is actually ISTP and knowing that allowed me to get some closure and perspective. My hunch is that my oldest is ESTP and I'm pretty sure my youngest is either INTP or INTJ, possibly the dymanic between J and P is fluid like it is for me. The first time I took the test I got ENTJ, but now that I'm older I think I am much more INTJ even though I may dearly wish otherwise. We never understood each other. I've known the guy for more than twenty years and today I finally read something that showed me why we find the other person so frustrating. Systems make sense to me. Taking things apart and seeing how they fit together intrigues him. I like order and structure, he feels this is controlling and rigid. I'm a morning person, he's a night owl. I like calculated risk, not paying your bills on time or at all is irresponsible and infuriating to me. I'm not a big fan of rules in general, but I think some are good and even if they aren't, they are necessary. I stop at stop signs because I trust that the Department of Transportation knew what they were doing when they installed that sign. This morning my friend and I had a sports car discussion. The way he drove scared me and people didn't understand that because I love to drive and I'm not afraid of speed as a death mechanism although I do fear getting pulled over which is why I try to obey the limits. It's much easier now that I have the car that I do. Previously my car was fun to drive and it wasn't practical in some sense, but it was powerful and I loved it.

The entire time I was involved with him I was beyond scared. Terrified is probably the best word for it. I lived this growing up, it was familiar and I'm sure a lot of why I married him was that sense even though it was completely dysfunctional. I couldn't meet his needs and he didn't understand mine because I had no idea how to communicate them. I never want to feel like that again. There's a brand of toxic masculinity that is completely abhorrent to me and he had components although I'm pretty sure he would deny that because in a really weird way, he's actually more of a feminist than I am, not that I usually feel that this label fits me well. He complained that I shut him out of my life, that was a valid accusation. I learned how to do that as a child, and I would argue that he did his best to isolate and push me away when I was critical of how much time and money he spent on his hobbies. He had hobbies and I had interests. I have the same bike he bought me and I badly want an upgrade. Since then I don't even know how many bikes he's gone through. Whatever his current hobby was, and they never lasted, he had to go out and buy what he thought was the best of everything before he could get into it. We had rock climbing gear that sat in the corner getting dusty. He was going to get back into weight lifting and bought a bunch of weights he didn't use. He loved power tools and now has a job where he can justify some of them, woodworking was another idea he had, he wanted to make his own beer, he's a DIY person and I trust that the experts have made the most common mistakes. He couldn't throw things away and one of my favorite games is what can I toss today?

I felt like we always had money for what he wanted to do and there wasn't ever anything left over for things I loved. Organic food was a constant uphill fight. I never should have married him. I didn't love him, I cared about him and I thought I could change him. Every day I pray that God will prevent me from thinking that I can change anyone other than myself as this is a trap I fall into at times. Even when it seemed like a topic where we could get along I managed to figure out a way to annoy him. One year he gave me a gift certificate to a store I used to shop at, I never did figure out what kind of lingerie he liked, my inability to please him that way made me feel unsexy and ugly. I quit caring about trying to look and feel my best, got very depressed, and wore a lot of things that hurt my pride today. When my therapist told me she thought I was ready to start dating I listened to her. I think that was a mistake, but it was really nice to go buy things and have someone appreciate them. I know my figure flaws and personality defects, I also know I bring a lot to the bedroom, the boardroom, and any other room we may happen to be in together. I can lose weight, but I can't change the fundamental shape of my body. I understand why men like women who are stacked on top, my sisters are and they tell me I wouldn't want to be, but I think a part of me wants what I can't have and experience. I've learned that no matter how attractive a guy may be physically, if his personality is one that clashes with mine, then I need to be prepared to walk away, and run if I have to get there fast. This is hard because I want to have someone in my life, but I'd rather be single for eternity than make the same mistake twice.

I read an article that said while opposites may attract, when it comes to personality I'm more likely to be happier with another intuitive because apparently I can only understand those people. The S types just don't make sense to me even though some of my best and closest friends are S types. I want safety first. Physical safety means he will keep his hands to himself when he gets mad. Emotional safety means I can cry in front of him and don't feel like I have to hide it because he's angry that I'm expressing how I feel when I can't control it. Verbal safety means he will refrain from calling me names when we're fighting. Psychological safety means he won't be passive aggressive or try to manipulate me. Saying one thing and doing another is the best way to destroy any trust I had in you. I give trust slowly, it can be rebuilt, but if you are inconsistent in words and deeds then I am scared of you. This is what got me into so much trouble with that guy this summer. I'm fine with him calling me out on wanting to be more than friends. That was his take on the situation and I felt like it was very mature of him to address it proactively. I can see why he was confused. I paid a lot of attention to him, I did nice things for him, I gave him a pretty card, and I wrote a very emotionally charged poem for him. Typically those things mean that someone likes you in that way and is trying to see if the relationship can go to the next level. When you're trying to friend zone someone all you have to do is call them a friend or talk about your actual romantic interest in front of them. They will get the hint unless they are extraordinarily obtuse. Spell it out for them if you have to, say, I want to be your friend, do you want to be mine?

One of the mistakes he made was telling me he valued the friendship when I didn't feel like we were friends or that he valued me more than anyone else he knew at work. Leading with that set me off right away. Friendship is a two way street and I felt like he had done very little giving so that was supremely annoying to me. I liked how he gave supporting evidence for his claim that I wanted to be more than friends. That was logical and made sense to me. I had done those things. Guilty as charged. It's pointless to speculate about what would have happened had I proceeded with more caution, it's funny to me now, but at the time I was so enraged I couldn't think straight. I gave myself some time to compose a response. I didn't deny anything, I really didn't want to go out with him, I did find him very attractive and I hated that I did because work based relationships scare me for the very idea that what could happen, did. I was mad at him and I can't even really describe the depth of hatred I had for myself. I didn't want that to come back at him since I felt it was out of line, I felt like he was doing two of the things that I fear most: combining an ability to read my feelings with a veiled threat. I have a lot of professional pride and he undermined it by making me feel like he could jeopardize my job. That was not sexy, it was not cute, it felt like he was saying, yeah, I know I'm pretty, you're not, and by the way, that job you like, I'm going to let management know what I think of your performance on the sales floor and I'm going to use your weaknesses against you because you dared to reach out to someone who is as beautifully tormented as I am. More than me getting fired I feared what would happen to my manager who I dearly love if he said anything to anyone about me. I cried buckets when I thought about him being cruel to her that way.

Looking back I don't think those were his thought processes at all. The words 'I feel' are so scary to me and now that I know him slightly better I don't think he usually makes feeling based statements. The words 'I think' make me feel much better. Thinking is okay, even if the subject matter is painful and complex, I know how to deal with thoughts. I do not know how to deal with feelings. I didn't really care that he was rejecting me personally, that was his right. My mind immediately envisioned me getting fired and having to explain to people I love and care about that I had written a suicide poem to a guy at work instead of going to his immediate supervisor and voicing my concerns. I can't defend my actions, all I can do is try and explain them. There's a certain look you see in people's eyes when you're at the psych ward. It's hopelessness. The idea that life is no longer worth living, you're just going through the motions, you're not really alive. I thought I saw that look in his eyes and his life didn't make sense to me. I try to be super careful about discussing this type of thing with others, I wrote the poem, ran it past people whose opinions I value and trust, and gave it to him because I really thought he was the type of person who had these thoughts and, it's probably arrogant to think that I could have done anything with someone who was actively suicidal, people have talked me out of it on two occasions so I have personal experience with this, but I don't know how I would be with someone whose life was on the line if I didn't know them well. I thought he was more depressed than anything and those people can and do kill themselves, but I remember several people in my group telling me that they just didn't have the energy to go through with it.

He always seemed tired, more than tired, he seemed exhausted, drained, overwhelmed, unable to cope or care about anything. I was seriously worried and I didn't want to cut ties with him totally, I saw the information as healthy. He thought I wanted to be more than friends and he was sharing his boundary with me. I liked and respected that aspect of the communication. I was a mess and I probably projected things he may not have been thinking or feeling onto him. I don't always know people as well as I want to or think I do, but every once in a while I know them better than they know themselves, and I wanted to be wrong about end of life thoughts, but I didn't think I was. I told my friend that he had mastered the art of invisibility. I'd still like to know how a guy who is that tall and that good looking manages to blend in as well as he does. My youngest daughter can do that. I'm biased, but others have told me she is beautiful. She can sit very still, she's very quiet, it's almost like she becomes part of her surroundings instead of standing apart from them and that's how he is too. I actually think on some level they like that they can observe things, I'm envious of this talent because I want to be able to do this, and can't. My daughter calls it Stealth Mode, I told my friend that she could be a spy, but since she has very little interest in intrigue I doubt this is a future career path for her. I want to understand people I care about better. I have issues of my own that make it hard for me to have casual friends. I typically either love or hate people. I can't seem to stop seeing the world as full of heroes and villains even though I realize that everyone is much more complicated than that.

Normally this is the part where I would get a plan together. But I think for once that I already have a plan in place and I'm trying hard to stick with it. Even though this guy, my former PT, and my daughter are all very different people in some respects, they have commonality in the sense that these are relationships that have been damaged that I want to try and repair. I think they all want space and I want to honor that. I think I am trying too hard with all three of them. When someone makes the decision to walk out of my life, I have to let them go. This is obviously more difficult with my daughter, it really hurts to be her parent, I wonder if this is how others feel about me since unfortunately, she and I are very much alike when it comes to personality except I think she is even more some of these things than I am. I can't believe I thought she was so much like her father when she is really a lot like me. It hurts to know that someone who is so icy, disdainful, sarcastic, and disinterested in the feelings of others got that from me. My mom is practical, my dad was logical. She is often logical and practical. I am logical and not practical and her dad isn't very logical or practical, and her sister doesn't seem to have a practical bone in her body. Parenting is not for wimps. But thanks to my friend I have more knowledge and insight than I did. I'm so grateful to him for investing in me. I feel like I hardly ever write about the good things in my life, they aren't problems to me and writing is problem solving (at least this is how I approach it).

Last night I got some cleaning and organizing done thanks to my unicorn friend. I do need a game plan as far as she is concerned. I got into a fight with another friend of mine when I asked her to stop talking about the new guy at work. Even though someone else actually went to management to complain about me, I'm not nearly as scared of him as I am of this other guy. He makes sense to me. I was out of line and he took a step to implement corrective action. That's totally logical even if I feel like the punishment and the crime were incongruent. I wasn't there for the conversation so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm not afraid to be alone with him, I don't fear sharing space with him, I'm obviously very wary about approaching him given the fact that I don't know what he's thinking and feeling. I used to have a fifty foot rule, I didn't want to be within fifty feet of him because I still have a very healthy fear of management and that's where I felt like I was going to be safe as far as he was concerned. He did hurt me very deeply, but I forgive him because I can see his side of things and hopefully he feels fortunate and blessed that I can because I could easily have gone the other way and incriminated him because he did come up behind me and tried to talk to me at work. I don't feel the need to clarify unspoken agreements/communications except in rare circumstances. The night he came over and picked up the tangerines I had bought told me that I had been forgiven. He didn't have to do that, there was no effort on my part, that was a gift from him and it told me that while he may not want to be more than friends, he's no longer as scared as he was. 

I seem to have trouble recognizing when I am depressed. Going back to PT revitalized me and made me feel like my old more energetic self. I haven't done any rearranging of things in a while, the changes may not last, but the feeling is good. I hung up my clothes in outfits, moved my snack shelves to where the small bookcase had been and put that by the landing when you first enter. I had a conversation with my oldest about what I had done, I love talking to her because she is dramatic and has such a good sense of humor. I had a very positive conversation with her dad about her job. I intended to write something about him, I guess this was a higher priority. I'm so sorry I put him through what I did. Yes he put me through things too, but today I'm owning the fact that apparently I'm much harder to read than I think that I am, and I'm not the easiest person to get along with either. I guess that's why when I find people who make me feel safe and understood I want to hold onto them more tightly than is healthy for me or them. I always want people to be free. That is so important to me. I don't want to give you a gift if I feel like you're going to feel obligated to get me one in return. I don't do things so others will return the favor. I try to do what I think is the best thing at the right time and I'm human, so I get that wrong more than I would like. I'm hard on myself, but I also love myself more than I did. I can love people without being in love with them and that's probably confusing too. I feel for anyone who tries to understand me and doesn't have the cheat codes, I don't even understand myself the way that I would like and that's frustrating too. 

Until next time,

Jess

P.S. This was very therapeutic even if it was hard to write. Any time I wanted to shy away from a topic I made myself go back and get curious about why I was avoiding it. That was a good strategy, I'll have to remember that for future posts.

jj

***

Conversation snippets from my point of view because this is my new thing:

Her: "But you're an adult and stuff."

Me (feeling puzzled): "You are too, I'm irresponsible and a slob at home. I forgot to pay my electric bill because I stuck it on top of a stack of papers instead of dealing with it right away."

Her: "That just makes you human."

Me (feeling like I was missing some major point, but determined to try to keep the conversation going): "I get dressed and come to work on time, but that doesn't mean I'm actually a responsible person. I'm super organized, but that's not the same as being very responsible."

She said some more things after that, I don't remember them exactly, the conversation still seems important and I want to understand what was behind it because I don't feel like I do. I have this frequently and I'm going to see if writing down the fragments I remember is helpful in some way. Maybe it won't be, but I feel like it's worth the experiment. 

***

Her: "Thank goodness I'm not a smoker. I'd be chain smoking if I was." She holds up an imaginary cigarette and I laugh at her.

Me: "I would pay money to see that. Organic food and cigarettes. I'm going to call your husband up and tell him what you do when you're left alone on a Wednesday night."

Her: "I left work early because I knew I would have to drive into the city. I had to drive all the way to <place> to drop off my blinds."

Him: "I could never live in the city..." He said more after that, but all of a sudden my feelings were really hurt and I wanted to leave the conversation, I think they had been talking before I got there, but maybe I went up and started a new conversation when I saw her. These details are fuzzy now. She said something else about driving in the city that was a response to the comment he had made. 

Me (in a very harsh dismissive voice that I hoped wasn't revealing how hurt I was): "We both used to work in downtown Milwaukee. You get used to it. One time there was a dog on the freeway... (I go on and tell the anecdote feeling like I had hijacked the conversation with a pointless story).

This is another conversation that I want to make sense of, I want to understand why I felt the way that I did and why I felt like I had to interrupt instead of letting two people who may have already been conversing talk. This is one for my therapist. I know she'll be able to help me.

***

Him: "Fire engine red Ford Focus says style, sophistication, and most of all, sex."

Me: (Responds with appropriate GIF)

Him: "Hahaha -- that escalated quickly."

Me: "Your last three letters were the tipping point."

Him: "Nothing says sex like a Ford Focus."

Me: "No comment."

Him: "It is fire engine red though."

Me: "I prefer black." <insert baseball emoji>

Him: "I know. I read your red/black analysis."

The original conversation was with him so that was interesting. Also, sometimes the friend zone is a fun place to play. It isn't going anywhere which is fine with both of us. I need friends more than I need a romantic interest no matter how badly I would like sex, affection, and intimacy on a more routine basis. 

***

Him (laughing): "I missed you."

Me (smiling at him and feeling like our respect and admiration was mutual): "I missed you too."

***

Him (giving me a bright white smile that didn't match the inscrutable expression in his eyes): "Bye Jess."

Me (feeling like a door just slammed in my face, but trying to keep walking at the pace I had been on my wobbly ankle): "Take care..."

***

This was exhausting, but worth the effort I think. 

j

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