Summer, 2008: depression, prehistory, first contact
I had been single for about six very alone months previous to this summer, until I signed up for Lovelab, The Stranger‘s dating website. I met a few girls from this website, none of which worked out, really, except for one, which couldn’t even be said to ‘work out’ — she was more like ‘acceptable.’ I slept with her for about a month in what was really sort of a depressing, unsatisfied and ultimately unsustainable period of my life where I was in reality just flexing whatever sexual prowess I might have. We stopped seeing each other after it naturally couldn’t go on and I started dating my next door neighbor, who had a really nice body but was extremely questionable with regards to her worldview; one time I came out to the sidewalk in all my hipster colors and long hair to find her dressed like someone on Jersey Shore at a club where they grind against each other to hip pop anthems and act like Girls Gone Wild. Despite this, I made out with her one night, just to do it, sort of, because I did want to sleep with her. I probably would have – as that was the point to which it was naturally leading (even though I imagined it to be an uncomfortable affair re: her questionable worldview/style and the fact that her personality wasn’t at all what I could deal with in some kind of sustained relationship) – but then my would-be girlfriend came into the picture. She had messaged me from Lovelab a short message that was just something like “hi, you’re interesting,” or something vague like that. Her dating profile seemed mostly innocuous and her picture looked alright, but was generally just difficult to discern. I didn’t care, either way. I had grown skeptical of dating profiles and of internet self-portraiture, and hardly gave any weight to profile pictures or what one wrote in their profile anymore.
We met at a bar called the Redwood, me having prepared for the night by drinking a 40 and taking a shower right before leaving because I thought my hair looked better after I showered; I thought that the way it dried made it look more interesting, or something. I had worn these black rimmed glasses and had my hair covering most of my face, and ridden this little black BMX with pegs to the bar, all of it an emphatic statement of how alternative and gritty I was. She had worn a white billowy very innocent-seeming down-to-earth sort-of summer dress. I was surprised by how ‘wholesome’ she looked, and about her face in general. I thought there was something good about her face. During the date I made the decision to pursue her.
Fall, 2008: frenetic vacation period, traditions, mutually reinforced philosophies on life
I don’t remember that fall too much. We had ‘fallen in love’ heavily and I was extremely compelled by her worldview and her ideas. I remember consciously thinking about the fact that she seemed such a perfect match for the things I wanted a girl to do for me. During that fall she became this person that maintained me, quite literally; who had immediately, upon us committing to each other, taken to carving out a space in her life for mine, or just decided to replace her single life for her idea of a life that she wanted to share with me. I was completely welcome; it seemed like it was the only thing that she wanted. She cooked three meals a day, we never took showers alone, she shaved me, etc. I remember that fall trying to recall cooking my own meals before the relationship and not having a clue. I was really absorbed. She was an extremely reasonable and innocent and smart sort of person who was apt to take beliefs to their logical ends, rather than be conspicuous about having a belief but fail to act in a corresponding manner. She took all my existential problems very seriously and liked me for being hurt and upset about how life could be depressing, and she told me this often, how she liked how I was disturbed sometimes, and even that she liked how I was fully conscious of the fact that I was disturbed and used it to enhance my own persona. She preferred to be completely honest about everything, even if it meant hurt emotions and being blunt, and it fit very nicely with my ideas about relationships: how if we just kept an open line of communication, secrets could not be formed and shame would not have any place to grow; if we just allowed complete and embarrassing honesty around each other then we would always work. How could it not work? She believed in these ideas with me. We were a team. We loved each other very much.
Winter 2008/2009: progression and a slight decline
During that winter I was working at a cafe downtown, and she would come in on her lunch break and eat with me because she was temping at an office nearby. We began having minor disagreements, I remember – but I don’t remember what about. I remember specifically being pissed at her, a number of times, when she came in to my cafe to see me, and sometimes longer, difficult talks after work, on her couch.
In late March we went to Florida together and stayed in a friend’s condo on a river for about a week. It was a very calm time. Every day we went out on a boat that our friend had there. We were completely alone with each other. During this little vacation we decided that we hated our jobs. We chalked up the first little downfall of our relationship to having shitty, never ending feeling jobs over which we had no real control. We decided that we wouldn’t work for anyone else anymore, that we would be satisfied if we could figure out how to make money together, as a team. There was lots of money in the world, we said, we just had to figure out how to get that money. We told each other that so many stupid people have made money. Why couldn’t we? We were smart enough.