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It's been a year now. I should write about it.

If you look back at my journal for 2004, if you're reading between the entries, you can almost see the black title card, stark white letters, that reads "SCENE MISSING." I used to talk all the time about [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf, since she was the most important thing in my life. And then one day I stopped.

Obviously, we're not together any more. I've never really acknowledged that here, said anything about it. I've meant to, time and again, felt I should say something. Today would have been our eighth anniversary. I still haven't figured out what to say, but I thought I'd say it now.

Things between us had already become really strained by the beginning of last year, to the point where practically every time we were alone would end in arguments, frustrations, missed signals, tears. I tried at one point to break up with her, but she couldn't let me go, so I stayed. But she kept not wanting to see me, kept avoiding straight answers about whether she really still wanted to be with me or not. When our anniversary came around, and she didn't want to do anything to celebrate -- straight answers or no, that was when I gave up hoping.

It wasn't that we didn't love each other enough. Never think that. We loved each other fiercely, as only monsters can. But like I said to her so many times, I was sharp in places she was soft; she was sharp in places I was soft. We were both monsters, but we weren't the same. We just kept getting drawn into each other's fire.

With a whimper, not a bang, our ending was drawn out and uncertain. By the time I finally got my plain answer, I mainly felt -- relieved. I hate to say that, but there it is. I got over it surprisingly quickly, and moved on -- to the extent that I ever got over it at all.

I go for days, sometimes, without once thinking of her. When I do remember, it all seems so distant and unreal, sometimes. Like a story I used to tell myself. Or a story we told each other. There are other nights, in dreams unguarded, when it's all suddenly real and present again, and I wake up shipwrecked and lost in the huge and terrible vacuum of everything we unmade. The trips we'll never take, the books we'll never write. Years and decades of unlived future days.

It feels strange that she should find her Elric, and I my Ahna, when we did, when things between us were falling apart. Ahna suits me right down to the bone. Things seem much the same between tree and Elric. I am genuinely happy for her, and I want her life to be a good one. That we each found someone new, someone as right for us as we were wrong for each other, feels like a cosmic joke. Or maybe a cosmic mercy -- some gentle reward for finally being able to let go.

The time I had with her feels like borrowed time, time we stole from the world. Maybe being together was a mistake, but if it was, of all the mistakes I've made, this was my favorite. I still have her mark on me, her symbol in ink under my skin, as it should be. Je ne regrette rien.
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She remembered.

Mind you, she didn't want to do anything to mark the day.

But still. It was nice to know I hadn't been forgotten.

Loony.

Jan. 19th, 2004 09:28 pm
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So [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf and I are in Third Place Books, and she needs to sit down for a moment. Not far from the top of the escalators are two reasonably comfortable wicker chairs with cushions. One is taken, so I guide her around behind them and then seat her in the empty one. I kneel down next to her and we start talking -- I don't remember about what -- and I note that the middle-aged woman sitting in the other chair looks over at me, all startled and offended that someone has dared move into her personal space, but I don't pay it any mind until she interrupts me and says:

"What's your name?"
" -- Six."
"Are you Judas?"
"Ahh -- no."
"`Six?' Are you sick?"
"No."
"Are you the Devil?"
" ... Not to my knowledge, no."

And she gets up and storms off --

"You both look like devils."

treebyleaf was more than a little startled and unhappy after this whole exchange. For my part, I was obscurely pleased.

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(Hard to believe I've never used that as a subject line before.)

Yesterday was the eight-week mark after [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf's surgery. Eight weeks was how long her doctor told her to take to recover fully, so yesterday marked a great amount of freedom for her; the last of her dietary restrictions, exercise restrictions, and other physical limitations gone at last.

I spent a perfectly lovely morning with her. Yesterday was also [livejournal.com profile] retcon's homecoming, from his jaunt off to Mozilla Firebird, Arizona. As a double celebration, he took us and [livejournal.com profile] hetaera15 out to dinner for Lombardi's garlic festival, which was most excellent.

Today, treebyleaf was able to return to work at JoAnn Fabrics, where she's been much missed.

Here's a picture. This is outside our hotel room in Bend, Oregon. She's surrounded by all of the myriad flowers her friends and family showered on her while she was recovering there.

Since I'm the one with a scanner, she wanted me to post this, with much love to you all.

Home.

Sep. 2nd, 2003 09:02 pm
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Safe. Dead tired. All's well. More later.

Hospital.

Aug. 30th, 2003 06:22 pm
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A lot of people hate hospitals. I can understand that. I'm indifferent to them at best. They are filled with strange and unidentifiable smells, arcane equipment, many people on unspoken errands. There is a scale and sense of purpose to them that makes me feel like an animal -- a cat or dog, something little and domestic, that will never quite understand the workings of its masters' world.

I am only ever in hospitals at the worst of times, of course. This surgery, my father's stroke. Watching Uncle Jack dying in his cancer bed. But they are places of hope, and of help, as many miracles and stories here as doors.

This hospital feels very far away from everything I know and love; the view out the window, with its buttes and scrublands, might as well be the surface of Mars.

There are many small joys here. There's free coffee -- one of the best courtesies in life. And this computer, which has been free every time I've wanted to use it. (I think you're only supposed to be able to use it to surf the web, but since I can telnet out, I'm taking that as permission.)

[livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf is doing so much better than I had any right to expect. She is growing stronger and healthier, and is happy, genuinely happy, to have [livejournal.com profile] retcon and I by her side. Each smile is a gift.

She's going to be fine. They estimate her body has been dealing with this since she was eight years old. And now its gone. And her doctor, a world class expert, doesn't think it's ever going to come back. She's going to be stronger and healthier and happier than I've ever known her. I look forward to getting to know her all over again.

I miss everyone. I can't wait to see your faces again, hear your laughter, touch your hands, breathe your scent.

Bend.

Aug. 26th, 2003 09:45 am
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Okay. Bags packed, route planned, hotel reservation numbers secured, housesitter found -- we're out the door in a few minutes to head down to Bend, Oregon, for [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf's surgery.

We'll be staying at the Bend Riverside Suites. (If you want to try to reach us, call the hotel and ask for Tree McCurdy.)

By the kind of bizarre coincidence that my life seems to be ruled by, my sister and brother-in-law will be vacationing in Bend. Guess which hotel they're staying in? .... Right. I need better writers. So anyway, their stay overlaps ours slightly, so we'll get to have lunch with them in Oregon before we come home.

We'll try to get to Bend's only Internet cafe at some point and post status updates.

Light a candle for us.

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I want to write "I love you" on a thousand bricks and break down all your windows -- Love you like a car bomb in the street, finger twitch and delicate on the key in the ignition, sky high and shining, every last piece of safety glass raining like sidewalk diamonds, gasoline fumes spinning dizzy in my head like a drug.

Heartbeating firework loud under my skin, pulling it everydirection tight, if I move I know I'll tear right open. Want to write "I love you" in tight spiral stitches along every breaking seam, turn my love inside out and wear it open as new skin.

Want to write it all down a million times and use it up, wear it out, burn it all down like a million cathedrals all in your name and swear it's all true: I recant because I believe too much. Find every page in every dictionary that reads "I" or "love" or "you" and tear them out, burn them all, and replace them all with Else:

With dandelion seeds that wisp in wind, with sunset sand and firewood embers, with soap bubble promises and midnight medicine-sharp bottles shared in secret, drinks burning like kisses all the way down your throat. With birdsong and sandalwood, whispers and falling leaves.

With anything that speaks in silence, and speaks more truth than words. I will write you sonnets without ink on every blank page, and we will smile and smile and know.

Birthday.

May. 1st, 2003 09:58 am
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Heh. That's my [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf:

Looking forward to this -- it should be fun. If you want to post a banner for it yourself, she has several more to choose from in this post.

Lyrics.

Mar. 13th, 2003 09:46 pm
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I don't usually go in for this sort of thing -- posting lyrics, answering quizzes, or taking part in any LJ meme-spreading, really -- but after [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf posted this game ("Resurrected from alt.gothic-- answers must be in the form of quotes, song lyrics preferred"), I found out that she was disappointed I'd never answered it, and disappointing treebyleaf just Won't Do. So, by command performance, here are my answers.

Read more... )

Rose.

Dec. 17th, 2002 07:31 pm
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If you don't have my love [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf on your LJ friends list, you might not have seen this, so I want to make sure you do:

http://www.treebyleaf.com/rose.html

It's a really excellent story that she wrote for me as a birthday present. She's only going to be leaving it up for a few more days, so read it while you can.

When I first met treebyleaf, her writing was, well, nothing special, to be honest. But this is brilliant and beautiful and True -- better, I'd have to say, than anything I've done, frankly.

Airport.

Oct. 26th, 2002 06:56 am
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Gosh, I must really love [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf. I can't imagine what else would get me out of bed at 4:50AM. But I couldn't countenance the idea of her taking a bus all the way out to the airport, what with how cold and foggy it's been lately.

I'm still startled at how time-efficient my thinking was when I first woke up. Turn on the oven for tree's breakfast, set up your coffee press, then shower .... I kind of wondered where in my mind these logical directives were coming from.

We'd had a good night the night before. I hadn't really been expecting that. I'd taken her to work yesterday morning, and got to see her "work-inappropriate" costume. "Adorable" isn't exactly how I would have described my reaction to it; my reaction would be, well, unprintable in a family publication, really. Wow.

I was expecting her to be tired and unhappy last night, but we had a nice dinner together, and I showed her how I made my comic and she helped me design even more characters; later we had a great conversation about the distinction between thrillers and horror, and I wish I had a transcript of it.

It was a good night; sheltered safe in the harbor of sheer denial, really. After a pleasant drive to the airport (always nice to drive on the freeway with no traffic), I dropped her at the entrance and watched her denial crack and fall away, as she headed off for the funeral.

Familiar.

Aug. 20th, 2002 12:05 am
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Got off the phone with [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf a little while ago.

Took a moment to notice how I was feeling after talking to her. A little strange, energized, kind of light-headed, a little edgy ....

My God, I realized. I love this girl because she makes me feel the same way coffee does.

Cleaning.

Apr. 13th, 2002 11:04 pm
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I'm having a good day cleaning my condo. And the very fact that I'm capable of formulating the phrase "having a good day cleaning" means that I've managed a significant paradigm shift.

This is largely thanks to [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf, who came over and did my dishes, cleaned my kitchen, helped me sort and put away clothes, and just generally get my head above water as far as the state of this place is concerned. And now I can breathe again -- and actually give a damn about my home instead of just trying to hold mere anarchy at bay.

Somewhere along the line today, I crossed the line from merely cleaning into decorating. Which is good -- tomorrow is the Merchants of Deva Staff Appreciation Potluck, and it's going to be held at my place, and I'd like to live up to my position as Minister of Décor.

I live in a wonderful home filled with fabulous things. It's nice to look around and see that, and not just see clutter.

This is the first time my home has been something to me other than just a place to sleep and shower since -- well, since before treebyleaf went into the hospital.

I can't wait for her to see some of the things I've done to the place. I think it'll rock her socks off.

I've been listening to SomaFM today while I've been working, and it's helped calm me down and keep me going. I've mainly been listening to the Secret Agent stream -- "the soundtrack for your stylish, mysterious, dangerous life. For Spies and P.I.'s too!" Fun stuff. Soma House Party is surprisingly good, too. Check them out.

Normal.

Apr. 10th, 2002 11:03 pm
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"His father had made it clear that the money for college wasn't there -- so after he went to the City and starved, he could come home and get a job down at the factory and get down to the business of being an adult. But not now. He was a City guy now, part of the world; he was involved with a vampire, and the danger of living a normal, boring life had passed completely."

-- Christopher Moore, Bloodsucking Fiends

That little piece of text caught my attention and held it, earlier tonight, leaving me unable to turn the page. I understood it.

All too often, I forget that normal isn't something I ever wanted my life to be. All too often, I forget that the simple, straightforward life I threw away to be with [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf isn't a life I really wanted. I think about the life I think I'm supposed to have and I forget to look at the life I actually do have, and see how filled it is with love and light and possibility.

I forget. And I forget to thank her. For rescuing me from the danger of living a normal, boring life.

Shoes.

Mar. 23rd, 2002 09:23 pm
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Yesterday I took [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf to Shoreline Wide Shoes, so she could get the new shoes she'd been needing. She had strongly suggested that maybe I could look for new shoes, there, too, since I'd been having problems with my feet.

Yeah. I have. Nothing I've really wanted to mention here because I've been too scared to think about it -- mysterious pain and tension and numbness.

I wasn't too sure about finding shoes here, though; I didn't need wide shoes, did I? And looking for new shoes to try to deal with the pain in my feet sounded kind of, err, traumatic, really. And I thought I'd rather do it sometime when I was alone.

But while she was trying on shoes, one of the salesmen noticed I was looking at arch support inserts, and started talking to me about what I needed, and he talked me into trying some shoes -- no pressure, just good salesmanship. (He's been doing this for 22 years, I later learned.)

He hauled out one of the little slide measures for my feet, and staring down at it I realized: I hadn't had a professional actually measure my feet and find shoes for me in my entire adult life. I'd just gone in to shoe stores with a vague idea of my size -- 10½ -- and grabbed whatever felt to me like they fit.

He measured my feet. Apparently, I take a 9½ shoe -- but I need the arch support of an 11. "You're not going to find a shoe like that," he told me. "No one makes them."

My heart sank until he brought over something he called an "orthotic," an insert for the shoe that gives it the correct arch support for my non-standard feet. He slid them into a nice simple pair of black shoes he'd brought out and said, "Try that."

I did.

First off, it was a weird feeling to have a shoe that really fit. I hadn't realized just how badly my shoes had fit before I felt these slide snugly around the shape of my feet.

Secondly, as I stood and walked around the store, I could feel not just my feet, but my entire body start to -- realign itself. I was standing up straighter, but was more relaxed. The muscles in my legs were shifting, changing position, re-learning how to walk. Not to sound too mystical or anything here, but I could feel the flow of energy through my body opening back up and flowing smoothly again for the first time in -- I don't know how long. I felt better; a glance at my reflection in the mirror told me I looked better. I was sharper, more awake, more present. I hope all this makes some kind of sense -- I can't explain any better than this, can't overemphasize the difference this simple change made.

I can't afford new shoes right now, let alone the orthotics -- nearly as expensive as the shoes themselves, but I'm told that they'll probably outlast the shoes -- so treebyleaf bought them for me. I can't even begin to say how grateful I am, how lucky I feel to have a friend like her.

Hopeful.

Feb. 7th, 2002 07:52 am
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Off to the hospital for [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf's laparoscopy. Wish her luck, everyone.

Overdue.

Feb. 2nd, 2002 03:14 pm
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Long time, again, since I last posted here. Even though I have the time to sit down and write, I'm having a hard time finding the energy to scrape together the events of the last week or so and wrap them in pretty words like gifts. I probably should go set some coffee brewing while I work on this.

.... Okay, I'm back. I'm slowly coming to grips with the fact that caffeine alone doesn't seem to do anything for me; I can drink can after can of caffeinated sodas and still feel like a zombie. It's coffee specifically that sets my mind in motion. I don't know why that's so, but it's so. Anyway:

[livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf and I went to Ursulmas last Saturday. It's the first SCA event she and I have attended alone together. (I already started to write about this a few days ago, late at night, and I thought I'd saved what I'd written so far, but it apparently didn't work. Oh, well.)

I have to confess that I'm not deeply into the SCA, but treebyleaf is. I'm interested largely because she's interested, and partly because I do like to have the opportunity to roleplay, even if I'm not particularly enamored of the medieval setting. But treebyleaf is interested enough for the both of us; she's put together a character for me, complete with a name, a background, a complete set of medieval garb for me to wear, and she's even written some fiction with our characters. She seems to me to sometimes feel a little apologetically weird and obsessive over all this, but it makes me happy. It's another outlet for creativity, another expression of our relationship.

Our visit to Ursulmas was a short one; treebyleaf was badly disappointed that a particular vendor we'd been planning on purchasing books from wasn't there, and on top of that, it started snowing, so we needed to head back to Seattle while we still could. I was sorry not to see more of the event and spend more time with our friends, but it was still worth going. It was neat to take a little daytrip somewhere together, even if it was a short one.

Driving in snow was kind of fun, if a little scary; I'd never done it before and we had quite a way to go. treebyleaf wanted to be taken straight home, and I wanted to go to my place first to get some actual non-medieval clothing if there was any chance I was going to be stranded away from home, but the snow starting coming down hard enough that we did end up skipping the stop at my place.

I went home to get real clothes the next day, and feed the cat, and came back to spend the night again at [livejournal.com profile] retcon and treebyleaf's apartment so the three of us could go down together in the morning to treebyleaf's pre-operation counseling.

She's going in on Thursday, February 7th, to have an eight-centimeter cyst removed from her abdomen. They should be able to do it with three small incisions and have her out of there in a day, if all goes well. If the cyst has grown much larger and it doesn't go well -- well, it'll be a more complicated procedure and she'll be there for days. The counseling was to answer any questions or concerns we might have. The doctors seemed kind and competent, and if they thought it at all unusual for both Riff and I to be there for her, they didn't seem at all disapproving.

We went to see the new anime Metropolis that night -- we'd managed to run out and score free passes for us and a couple friends. It was really visually stunning. Worth seeing.

Hmmm. Computer's acting weird. I'm going to cut this short before it crashes.

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