Sunday, December 1, 2013

Every new beginning is some other beginning's end.

My buddy Nate and I have been living parallel lives in reverse ever since July 2011. We've both noted this phenomenon, and with my move, the chapter has finally closed.

July 2011: I arrive in Fort Collins, Colorado on a Greyhound. After hanging out with a friend for the night, he picks me up and we hang out with his brother for a few days at a Rennfaire, and then go to Chadron, where I have a job offer with Wreckers as security for Fur Trade Days.

I'm functionally homeless for two weeks as I take out loans to get a house that I'll share with Nate. I'm crashing on his couch, or when he's got family visiting, in his backyard. His parents are nice and I do a lot of cooking to sort of earn my keep until the stuff I mailed from Portland to myself arrives and we can get a house.

In short order, we do get a house. Technically one-bedroom, the basement can easily serve as a second bedroom. We'll eventually make the mud room (think a garage that you can't park a car in) into a third bedroom. I get the actual bedroom, Nate takes the basement. We don't know this yet, but it will be infested with wasps in short order. We will have a "Bug Board" keeping a running tally of bugs slain by each of us; at last count he was leading 127 to 6.

Nate gets a car. The first time I moved to Chadron, it was for a girl. Her parents still like me, and her dad works at one of the dealerships, and he hooks Nate up with an excellent 2001 Buick with all the stuff for $1800. We have a house, we have wheels. I need a job. He's got a job cooking at the nursing home.

August 2011: I get a job also cooking at the nursing home. While waiting for the paperwork to go through, I make myself useful by creating a footstool out of Nate's empty coffee cans and old cardboard. It takes me a week to hand-sew the slip for it, which in my typical overeager manner is intended to be fully reversible between a paisley maroon and a bright red. I give up once I'm done with all the visible areas.

Our friend Ted has a birthday party at the Old Main Street Inn, our favorite bar in town. He invites all his friends: Nate, myself, some semi-crazy guy named David, some guys named Trevor, Kyle and Brandon that he plays D&D with, and Brandon's girlfriend Kristi. Kristi's running late. When she arrives, she knocks on the window. I'm the only one that notices her, and I turn around and see her for the first time. It's a love-at-first sight moment and I will spend a year and a half wishing it wasn't. I write a poem about the occasion and read it at an open mic several months later.

We spend the evening hanging out. I give Brandon my phone number so he can tell me that he hates Toni, Ted's girlfriend. Kristi will steal that number out of his phone and wake me up the next morning texting me. We take the party back to my house since we're the only people living on our own at that point, and Kristi admires the pictures I drew hanging in my house, going into my bedroom at one point to look at a map of the world I made. She eats a bit of cherry pie I made from my fingers after jumping into the kitchen to help me serve it. She dresses like a catgirl, calls me "baka" and I reply in Japanese to find out she speaks Anime Geek, not Japanese. Brandon becomes immediately interested in my doings. Kyle is bisexual when he's drunk and I get a massage from him, whether I want to or not, on the way to dropping everyone off where they go.

I get on the air at The Alleycat 93.7 KVAR as one of Nate's cohosts for "The Escape," the Friday afternoon drive-home program. Other than Nate, I cohost with Trevor, who is best described by Nate as "everyone's little brother that you love to hate." He plays a lot of bands like Slipknot and Nickelback and Linkin Park that will eventually form the basis of the Do Not Play List in a year. I refer to them as "butt rock" and refer to Trevor's reaction as "butt hurt."

Nate goes back for another year of college. I exult that I will never have to "deal with that bullshit again now that I have my Bachelor's Degree." He glares at me.

September 2011: Nate and I are driving back from selling ads in Crawford when he talks to me about this girl that invited him to go dancing at NOCS, the Night Of Country Swing. He says she's this really cute girl from Russia and her name is Vera. He's wondering whether that invitation means she wants to date him. I was invited to NOCS once for a date, so I advise him yes. Discussing this with Vera right now, I find out this was in fact not the case. He's somewhat smitten with her, in a manner similar to my as-yet-unspoken but likely-very-apparent smittenness for Her Kittenness.

On the Kristi front, Brandon holds his first D&D game at my place, and his DMing style is "Kristi basically gets to do whatever she wants and you all have to obey her." I like her, but as the eldest son of a D&D archnerd I have too much respect for the institution to let it go unchallenged. He vows to hate me from then on and never play D&D there again.

In other respects, Kristi starts hanging out with me on her own. She decides to skip D&D one day and hang out with me at the Old Main. She asks me to show her how I make my comic, even though she couldn't give damn one about the comic. We start watching Outlaw Star together at my place occasionally. Every time she tells Brandon that she hung out with me, he gets pissier and pissier. I feel justified because I'm not actually trying to upset any apple carts at this point, and he did kinda flip out at me for no good reason earlier in the month.

On the Vera front, Nate decides to hang out with her more often. Sometime around here, he asks her out on a date, and she says yes. She refuses a kiss from him, but they hug. He offers to take her out driving, and she agrees to more dates.

Trevor makes a tasteless joke about "wanting a White Russian," in reference to Vera, because he's in love with every single woman under 30 in Chadron. He also quits the station in a rage, and the Do Not Play List becomes an unofficial thing.

On Nate's birthday, I throw him what starts off as the lamest surprise birthday party ever. Brandon, Kristi, Ted and David are all sitting with me at home when he walks in after work. We all lamely say/shout "Surprise?..." as he walks in, and then I ask for his phone. I was initially hoping to get Vera to sing "Happy Birthday" to him in a white, Marilyn Monroe-like dress, but she flatly refused so I did the next best thing: made him give me his phone so I could call this girl Michelle from our work that liked him and have her come over instead. I won't elaborate much, but the phrase "Stu's font got serifs, gotdamn" dates from this night, as does this strip and especially this strip. Nate goes on to use the phrase "His font got serifs, gotdamn" in a poem he reads at an open mic.

October 2011: Brandon decides to have me try to kiss Kristi one time, "to see if she'd stay faithful." Nate, the shittiest secret agent in the history of ever, tells me five minutes later that Brandon is having him spy on me to make sure we don't actually kiss. I tell Kristi about the bullshit he's pulling, don't even try to kiss her, we agree to make up a story where I did, and she finally breaks down and tells him the truth. James fucking Bond, muthafuckas.

Kristi discovers I own a guitar, and asks if I play. I do, and I sing too. I'm having a harder time repressing my feelings for her, so the first song I play her that night is "Stand By Me." She ruins the moment by telling me about some Disney version of that song with singing animals. We nonetheless decide to start a band upon finding out she plays drums. To fuck with Brandon, we decide to call it "The Scarlet Letters," but he's too dumb to get the reference until I explain it to him the day the band breaks up for the first time. Brandon insists on joining the band as lead guitar because Kristi and I are both in it, and he doesn't want to leave us alone.

Because Brandon is too beta to go dancing with her at some Halloween ball, she asks me. I pretend not to know how to dance, in order for her to "teach" me. We dance to half a song before she stops it, ostensibly to teach me a different sort of dance. Upon finding out I was about to take her to a dance, he takes her instead. She texts me a pic of her costume anyway.

In the middle of all this, my old crush from my undergrad days, Samatha, gets in touch with me. She wants me to come hang out with her in Scottsbluff the Thursday before Thanksgiving, and Nate is the wheelman. Samatha's married some guy that she now hates, and after making out with me a bit we agree that she'll come up and spend a few nights with me the day she gives him divorce papers to sign. I puke from alcohol for the first time in my life that night on the side of Highway 385, and Nate tells me I was praying in Coptic or something after that. After we get back, he wants to get as drunk as me, so we put on "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" and he drinks every single time anyone does anything. I end up writing a beat poem about the experience called "There She Goes, One Of God's Own Prototypes" and I perform it at an open mic. We end up referring to this night as "Samoween."

We also throw Creepy Dave a birthday party. We clean the house for it, and Michelle (who's in a friends-with-benefits dealio with Nate at this point) makes the guacamole as I make the rest of the food. Creepy Dave invites a shitload of people, and the party starts out with us playing a game where we have to answer questions in writing but we don't know the questions, and most of the answers are insulting Dave somehow. Nate and I come across those papers as I'm moving a few years later. But Nate and Michelle retire to the basement, and a guy named Caveman tells some awesome stories at that party as I yell down the heating grate "USE MORE TONGUE!" Nate and Michelle can be heard laughing downstairs.

December 2011-January 2012: Nate and Vera start dating sometime around Christmas. As I'm not either of them, I'm not privy to all the details, but I do remember Nate coming home and drinking with me a bunch around this time, either super depressed or super excited, and telling me about it a bunch. When he tells me they're finally going out, I bear hug him from behind because I'm super excited for him. Not long after that, I go downstairs to change the laundry to discover someone laying next to him on his bed. I grin and nod at Nate, and say "Air five, bro," and then Vera asks "What is this 'Air-five'?"

We break the news to Trevor the most insensitive way we know how: punning at the radio station. "I just started dating someone!" Nate declares. "Who is it?" Trevor asks. "Yeah, quit Stalin and tell us!" Ted demands. "Be sure you're not Russian into anything," I warn. "If the man doesn't want to tell us, then So vi et," Caveman says. "Stop piling on the poor bastard, he's just trying to turn Lenins into Leninade," I retort.

In January, Kristi flies back from Hawaii and Sevenwheel Night occurs. On this night, seven of us go out to the Old Main: Ted and Toni, Nate and Vera, Brandon and Kristi, and myself. While everyone else is doing some version of public outmaking, I'm offering to take on anyone in pool against all challengers. I'm the seventh wheel, but trying to make the best of it. Kristi feels bad for me and tries to talk to me later that night at my place, but Brandon keeps coming in and interrupting her. After everyone leaves, Nate asks me who I'm interested in pursuing. I at first do my normal thing, explaining that there's nobody on my radar but a couple candidates marginal because I'm not really into them or they live far away. However, then the drunkenness takes over and I speak my true mind. I tell Nate about someone I want, and I tell him it was love at first sight, and I'm describing the time I first saw Kristi through the window at the Old Main, and he immediately picks up who I'm referencing, and he says he supports my quixotic quest even though he's vaguely annoyed by Kristi herself.

I nut up and decide to tell her my true feelings later that month. I don't want her to cheat on Brandon with me; I want her to dump him honestly and be with me instead. I get Caveman to run interference on Brandon for me, and she comes over on a Sunday night and we talk about a lot of stuff. I end up confessing my full feelings for her, and she says she doesn't know how she feels, but doesn't like how Brandon tries to control her, and agrees to go on a series of "dates" with me. We listen to music, build a snowman, things of that nature. Vera says she's never seen me so happy.

On my Wednesday show, I play the song "Just Like Heaven" by the Cure, which the Scarlet Letters cover, and in which I (facing Kristi, because I use her drumset to hold my music notebook) sing "Oh why won't you ever know I'm in love with you?" and then right after it, I play the song "I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend" by Reel Big Fish. Unbeknownst to me, Nate and Vera are making out somewhere in his car at the time, and they hear me announcing the song titles and start laughing.

On Friday of that week, she comes over to draw with me and Brandon flips out. She swears to march over there and break up with him, but he guilttrips her into sending me a message saying she's staying with him instead. I'm heartbroken and, of course, write a poem about it, where some British dude's plane crashes in the Sahara Desert in the middle of World War I and he dies of thirst walking towards an imagined oasis. Point is, these are not happy times for me. After the band breaks up, Kristi tells me they need a cook at her job at the college cafeteria, so that she'll still be able to see me every day. The conflicting messages from her fuck with me for the rest of 2012.

Caveman's birthday party is literally the day after, and I'm miserable. I try to put on a happy face but it doesn't really work. Brandon and Kristi don't come, obviously, but then Vera suggests I play guitar for everyone. Apparently, my vocal style is very emotion-driven, because I put on the best performance of my life that night. Especially on the song "Hallelujah," which honestly kills if you sing it while sad. When I go to sit down, Vera and Nate switch places because she feels a strong emotional connection to me in that moment and it scares her. For my part, I'm still miserable, but feel a bit better.

Caveman's party is further ruined when Kyle, after drinking a whole bottle of unholy chocolate vodka by himself, turns bisexual and starts hitting on everyone at the party. He hits on Toni and Nate and I defend her, with Ted nowhere to be found. He starts insisting on giving out massages, and I jump on that grenade so the womenfolk don't have to. After my back can't take any more, I get up and he starts swearing in broken German. He's clearly suffering from alcohol poisoning, so Caveman jumps on a grenade and gets his buddy Alec to drive him to the hospital, where Kyle decks an EMT. Caveman also talks to the cops, and manages to talk his way out of potential MIP charges. I joke on Facebook that Kyle decking an EMT is the "second-worst thing that happened this weekend."

February-March 2012: I get a call from Samatha cashing in that promise, and on the 9th we come up for a night of fun that I'd been looking forward to since I was a junior in college. She takes a raincheck the next day after it snows and she has to get back to Scottsbluff ahead of the storm. I see her again later that month and she changes, and that's the end of that, but it was a good time while it lasted.

My new job at the caf is full of politics and backbiting. Morning shift hates evening shift and deliberately fucks with them. I regularly don't have enough things to do. The front-of-house manager regularly slaps the back of house with her mammoth managerial dick. The second-in-command, Linda, is pretty cool, as is one of my coworkers, Mat the Pizza Guy. He stayed with me for a month in college, and we rekindle our friendship over the next year or so.

Someone else from my undergrad years meets me through my new job, a girl whose name I'll withhold. She's my type from a distance, and obviously into me, and we go on a date. We agree to have some fun, and when I go to kiss her the night of, my cheek is scratched by her stubble. She also is in possession of something I can only refer to as a "stank 'giney," and on top of that she literally believes that she's part-dragon and can speak a made-up dragon language. It ends rather quickly, whatever "it" was, and I make a new rule afterwards: "Never stick your dick in crazy."

In the middle of my romantic misadventures meant to distract me from Her Kittenness, Nate and Vera are exceedingly, gushingly cute in my presence. She comes along to the studio to dance to the music we play with Nate while we're on-air. I'm happy for them, and I'ma let them finish, but the pic of Draya and I when we start dating in about a year from now is the cutest pic of all time. Of all time!

Summer 2012: Having played a couple of shows with local folk-rock duo Alan & Travis, I headline my own night at the Old Main one day. Nate and Vera come, and while I'm playing "Just Like Heaven" they get really happy. Apparently since the radio show, it sorta became "their" song. They end up having a "break" of sorts over part of the summer, and Nate's heartbroken, but they get back together before the end of it.

In Kristi news, she tells me that we'll date after she comes back from Hawaii in the fall. I believe her, but then proceed with my summer more or less uninvolved with her in any way, shape or form.

Caveman moves into the mud room in May. He'd been a regular guest for months already, and the three of us regularly, uh, rocked beyond reality together. I got him on the air as our Monday afternoon DJ, and he brought his friend and crush Fish in with that too. Fish ended up being a Wednesday afternoon DJ with me, when I played the Cure and Reel Big Fish songs together. Caveman loses his job and is unable to pay rent, but in my goodness of heart I let him stay anyway. He's $1400 in debt to me before he starts paying it back, and I end up waiving the last thousand or so right before I move out.

The Ted molestation thing also happens. This Native chick, name withheld, is a friend of a friend of mine, and starts talking to me on Facebook. She goes to school in Santa Fe, is attracted to me, is plenty cute herself, and we make plans for her to see me for a week in May. It's a fun week, except for Thursday, when Ted follows her to the bathroom after she's super drunk and molests her. She doesn't press charges, and Ted tries to blame me for his actions somehow. Fortunately for him, Toni is stupid enough to buy it, and everyone sorta takes his side because they knew him longer. This is about the halfway point between the start and finish, oddly enough. Ted acts like a dick to me, and afraid that I'll lose my job at the nursing home because of it, I quit. (It was a plan I had anyway, but it moved the timetable up by a month or two.)

Feeling friendless, I head off to Seattle in August for a visit with an internet friend. I don't tell anyone, but after the Ted bullshit I'm considering moving there. Seattle's pretty cool, but ye gods the rent. I come back in August and the landlady, unhappy with three of us living there and a fourth staying there for a month, threatens to kick us all out. Nate gets upset and moves out, and Alec (who moved in while I was away) goes home to Seattle.

September 2012: Kristi, naturally, reneges on her promise made in the spring, so I tell her off. She's mad at me for a week and we are strictly professional at work and avoid each other besides that. Brandon ends up breaking up with her, and she wanders into the Old Main for Nate's birthday. We end up making up, and after a long night of talking decide to go out on a couple dates. She also tells me that the crazy woman I had relations with in March is shit-talking me to anyone in hearing distance, which is why I don't feel too bad including that episode in this recap.

November 2012: I've started hanging out at Mat's place a bunch. He's a functioning alcoholic and a chronic stoner, but he's got a shitload of friends. I end up sleeping with most of the female ones - not sex (because I'm semi-platonically "going out" with Kristi, but we're not properly in a "relationship" yet - her terms, not mine) but sleeping. The Wednesday/Thursday before Thanksgiving, I end up sleeping with two girls at once, and Kristi finds out, but is just amused. I later find out she's been sleeping, unplatonically, with one of our coworkers while we've been "dating."

While hanging out at Mat's, I get to know his roommate Draya. He warns me the day before I meet her that she's trouble, et cetera. She's the older sister of his girlfriend Vicki. When I meet her, she's beautiful as Heaven itself, but shyer than a flower in January. Mat regularly has crap television like Family Guy playing at his place, but I pretend to want to be able to have a "better view of the TV so I can watch Family Guy" in order to have an excuse to sit next to her.

Draya's being pursued by this brony at work named Brian, and he's pretty annoying. He's also beta as beta can be, and literally asks Mat at work one day if he can take her on a date. After that, I jokingly ask Mat for her hand in marriage, and everyone laughs.

Also, Caveman ghosts. As in, he moves out and doesn't tell me. So I have to pay $600 a month in rent and utilities and have nobody to help share the cost. I rapidly go into debt.

December 2012-January 2013: I decide to throw a Christmas party. I ask Kristi for her help, and she puts up decorations. She wants to try some godawful sort of fruit punch vodka, so I buy it for her. At this point, we have progressed to holding hands, and she hasn't stopped sexing the dude at work. I'm rapidly getting sick of her shit, and am thinking about calling the whole thing off. I'm not the only one with those thoughts at my Christmas party; it's the last time anyone sees Nate and Vera together as a couple, and they break up shortly after leaving that night.

But Draya comes, and my friend Tom Swiftbird comes. I'll find out in a few months that Draya had Vicki do her hair for four hours, and deliberately wore something that'd show off her figure, all for that night - she had a crush on me and I was unaware. But after everyone else leaves, it's just the three of us. We declare a jihad against the continued existence of shitty fruit punch vodka, and between the three of us kill off that bottle that night. Tom plays music, and Draya cuddles with me for the first time. She also sleeps with me - platonically - that night, and I find out later that it's the first time she's done that with a guy she likes.

I end up giving Kristi an ultimatum of sorts - she has until the end of Christmas break to tell me whether she wants to be in a relationship or not. I already know the answer will be "no" when I make the ultimatum.

Draya's getting kicked out of Mat's place, so I offer to let her move in. She'll start owing me rent once she gets a job, but I'm friends with her and don't want her freezing to death on the streets. I'll be just as broke regardless, so one more person there doesn't really matter. She agrees, and the day she comes over to start cleaning out the mud room for her to live in, I admit to her that I like her, but that the offer of letting her stay there is completely unconnected to any romantic stuff, and she's welcome there regardless. She plays it off pretty well, and only says she could possibly see us going somewhere someday, but a few months later admits that she was trying to stop her heart fluttering.

We hang out all Christmas break, and even spend Christmas together. It's a weird Christmas - I spend the morning with my boss Richard at the radio station, and the evening with Vera, Nate's mom and Draya. Draya and I end up watching Firefly, and after we finish that, we watch The Room. While watching that movie, which she found hilarious from the beginning, I realize that I love her. When I showed it to Kristi, she got bored halfway through, but Draya was laughing along with me. During the next movie, Bram Stoker's Dracula, she lays her head against my shoulder.

We end up going out on January 6th, 2013, a few hours after Kristi gives me that long-expected "no" and the only kiss I have ever or will ever get from her. I'm okay with it though. When we all went out to the Old Main for New Year's Eve, and I had to leave for a few minutes to get Draya, Kristi jokingly said "Go get your girlfriend" but she was right. Draya was expecting me to kiss her that night, but in my foolishness I didn't want to presume.

Vera and I end up having this brother-sister dynamic going on over the break as well. We get drunk one night and talk about a bunch of stuff, and decide to hang out for Orthodox Christmas, as I'm semi-Orthodox and that's when they celebrate in Russia. The night of Orthodox Christmas, Draya tells me she loves me for the first time before she goes to sleep. Vera and I end up watching The White Sun of the Desert without English subtitles and I feel no small amount of pride when I explain parts of the movie to her.

Spring 2013: Nate is completely miserable at this point. He's living back at home, is taking the breakup really hard, and ends up entering into a sort of on-again off-again relationship with a girl named Briana related to Kristi. We conclude that our relationships with Vera and Kristi, respectively, were the same: he and Vera were as in love as me and Kristi, but they chose to call it a relationship and Kristi and I didn't.

Mat's brother Chris and my former friend-with-cuddle-benefits Sara decide to move in with me over the summer, and possibly stay later. Chris ends up being all creepy with her one night when we're all drinking at my place, and she changes her mind. After Chris attempts to do this with pretty much every girl in town, including his brother's girlfriend and even Draya, he only ends up living with me for a month before we're mutually sick of each other.

Fun fact: Chris did this all while being engaged to some chick in Alliance. He also ended up dating Briana after she and Nate broke up the first time, and then had the nerve to threaten Nate when he kissed her. This hastened his moving out, and honestly he wasn't missed. The phrase "babybirding" also can be traced to him; some friends tell me that whenever he saw people drinking or getting high, he'd join the circle without contributing, like a chirping baby bird expecting its mother to regurgitate worms into his waiting mouth. Finally one of my friends put a stop to it, and he stopped partying with them.

Kristi and I also develop this weird platonic relationship. After I decide I was through with her shit, she decides we could then be the bestest of best friends. She cuddles with me, and I frantically text Draya to let her know and make sure she's okay with it. (Draya's friend tells her she's either the dumbest or the luckiest woman alive. I hope it's the latter, but in any case nothing untoward happens.) We restart the Scarlet Letters. She asks me if she could move in in Sara's place, and Draya and I agree. I drive her to a concert in Denver, and we sleep the night in the shittiest motel on God's green earth.

Summer 2013: Kristi moves in, and throws a Hawaiian-themed party in May. Vicki yells at Mat for going, and then goes herself, starts a fight with me, and then storms out, causing a scene. I get the party back on track, and it goes smoothly after that. She spends like $300 on the booze for the party.

However, we make sense as best friends, but not as roommates. She's a clean freak, and I'm sure she thinks I'm filthy. She moves out, and steals the lightbulbs on her way. The people that help her move also take Draya's video games and some of mine too. I tell her she can get her drums when she gives the stuff back, but she can't find one of my video games, so she calls the cops. The cops take my side, and after giving me five bucks she takes her drums. Shitty way for a friendship to end, and a worse note than Nate and Vera's friendship ends on, but it's similar in character.

Chris moves out the same month she does. I'm glad to see them go, but am rapidly running out of funds. After Caveman realizes having to sleep in the same bed as his best friend in a mother-in-law shack in someone's backyard and eating McDonalds every day because his roomie doesn't cook sucks, he asks to move back. Desperate for cash, I let him.

After finding out that I won't have my cooking job available to me in the fall, I cast about for ideas to make money. I discover that Chadron State has an open position for a History graduate assistant, and I apply for it figuring I won't stand a chance in hell. To my surprise, I get an interview, ace it, and get told I have the job the same day. I make frantic arrangements to get a full load of classes, and I start work in mid-August.

Fall 2013: Some deep shit happens. I can't really elaborate, but suffice it to say that I survived an attempt on my life without even realizing it. But it bonds Draya and I together closer than ever.

Nate gets sick of school and drops out, moving out to Oregon for a month to see if he likes it. He doesn't, and ends up moving back a month later. He crashes on my couch for a week until he moves back to his parents'. He's steadily dating Briana by this point, and I have about as much tolerance for her as Nate had for Kristi.

After he comes back from Oregon, he cooks at the nursing home again. He ends up having a falling-out with Ted for basically the same reasons I did, and when Brandon comes back from Kearney for a visit ends up having the same impression of him that I did. This is about the time we realize that our lives are going in reverse.

I realize that things cannot continue the way they are. Caveman's living habits clash with mine heavily; he's a good friend but we are clearly not supposed to be roomies. I end up figuring out a way to use some loans to get a business going here in town, and will need to be able to make quick decisions on a month timeframe. That means no roommates but Draya. So I make the decision to move out of the house in late October, notifying my landlady the day after Halloween. I make the necessary arrangements to move into West Court, the crumbling family apartments offered by the college. (I've lived there before, they're okay.) I spend Thanksgiving moving. I buy a car with some loans, it gives me trouble at first but after getting a tune-up it runs pretty well and I should be able to drive it to Omaha for Christmas. Nate brings over old coffee cans and I make a second footstool with them, leftover cardboard and duct tape. I skip the slip this time and just throw a three-dollar Walmart blanket over it.

Nate helps me move out of the house, and as we move out we realize that our lives have mostly tracked in reverse. He pursued a semi-serious relationship for the first year living at the house; I pursued one the last year I lived there. We were both head-over-heels with a girl around the same time, and it didn't work out. He bought a car when he moved in; I bought a car when I moved out. He came back from Oregon towards the end; I came back from Oregon in the beginning. He went to college in the beginning; I went to college in the end.

We lived in symmetry, and our footstools were bookends.

We drank a shot to the ending of this chapter the day after Thanksgiving, and I gave the toast: "In the words of Semisonic, every new beginning is some other beginning's end." As this chapter closes, we have our dancing partners picked for the next one. He's got Bri, and I've got Draya. We won't be dancing with each other, as we have been for this chapter; I won't be dancing with myself like I was in Portland.

Hopefully the next chapter will be happier than this one, and hopefully it'll be just as interesting, if not moreso.

EDIT: Found a pic of the place on Google Maps, after they Street View'd Chadron. Nate's car is there, the decorations we had in the window is there. Either it's from when he was still living there, or one of his many visits afterwards.


  1. wow. this is beautiful. all of it.

  2. I like to think so. It was all worth it, even the bad parts.

  3. So when it comes time to write my autobiography ill just skip that chapter and paste in yours.

  4. You should write this chapter from your point of view. I'd love to read it.