by isaac black

I went over budget again, this time because renewing my car registration cost $100 more than I expected and because I can’t stop buying records. 

After three months I’ve realized that sleeping enough (I feel despair creep in more readily if I get less than 6 hours), talking to friends, reading a bit, and making my own meals is a full day. I’ve realized that writing a novel and perfecting my hot sauce recipe is a full slate so I’ve put my website idea on hold. When people ask what I do I tell them “nothing,” but that’s partly because I am keeping my novel close to the chest and partly because it’s hard to explain how much time it takes to take care of oneself and one’s friends. 

I haven’t felt lonely the last couple months. (This is not to say I don’t miss my ex girlfriend. I think about her regularly.) But I’ve gone to bed wishing I had someone with me so many nights in my life I hadn’t considered I could feel otherwise without someone actually being there. I’ve learned that different people draw different things out of me, and I’ve been enjoying going on dates while also focusing on long term friendships with people I trust. 

Last week I hitched a ride with friends to the Oregon coast, via San Francisco, to spend some time with a friend having relationship trouble. In northern California I got high in a redwood grove. A mist-filled clearing glowed through the trees, reminding me of an old fantasy, a conflation of the creek behind my childhood home and a story I read without an ending about an enchanted forest. I had forgotten that part of myself. My hopes, memories, and fears were airing out within me. 

I recently sent an email to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requesting they remove me from their records. I talked to the bishop of the ward I am in before my trip, and he was supportive and understanding despite his loyalty to the organization. But my own superstition flared up in light of my existential unaffiliation. I was now unclaimed. I began to remember times I embarrassed myself by making careless mistakes toward people. I fretted that with the Holy Ghost no longer my companion I was headed for disaster. Life, existence is fearful and overwhelming. And much too soon it will be over. 

My friend and I drove north along the Oregon coast on the way back to Utah, a detour of four hours or so tacked onto a fourteen hour day. The rivers swelled with rain and the ullage flooded the roads. The tide was so high on Cannon Beach that we couldn’t walk on the sand. The Columbia River Gorge reminded me of the Norwegian fjords as clouds disguised the mountains and waterfalls poured spontaneously through the foliage. We made it home at 3 am, technically Christmas Eve. 

Lately I’ve heard several stories of the church superseding relationships, including my friend’s. But this morning I opened presents with my parents and consider myself very fortunate that even though they can no longer expect to be with me in the next life we’re together in this one.