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Year of dreams
John Shepard (radiographite@gmail.com) - Thur Aug 5, 2010 14:26:05 GMT - 1116
''One year ago we got up, put some stuff in a truck, and went home. ''
One year ago today I woke up and listened through the wall. The oozing evil in the next room had established an impressive track record of only going to work often enough to appear to have a job, not to actually rack up any hours doing it - and this day of all days, we needed it gone for the day.

Even after it slithered away to work, and we cheered, it was still a day of some panic, because there remained the possibility of it coming home early and there being a scene.

It's hard to believe that was only a year ago. One year ago we turned off that machine. The things we had to do to function around him, we never had to do again.

I remember challenging myself to come up with better ways to move lots of boxes down the stairs fast.

I remember a lot of weird last-minute decisions about what to leave and what to bring.

I remember carefully categorizing the spice racks so they could be scooped into a box... and then forgetting to scoop them into a box. We forgot to bring them. They're probably still there, if the creature hasn't thrown them away believing they're poison.

The secret to our success was that we had rented one of the garages below the building for a month, and had been using that as a staging area. Even on the Day of the Move we brought everything into the garage first, and THEN into the pickup - exceptions being Francesca and several other need-today critical items that went in the first truckload of the morning, Francesca in her cage on my lap. We knew that our guy with the truck was going to need to call it an early night, so we very much planned that we would leave a lot of stuff in the garage and come get it when Guy With Truck was next available - in two weeks.

(Actually the secret to our success was that we were up against a deranged idiot. For all his paranoia, when we finally WERE out to get him, he didn't notice - or thought we weren't capable of actually making anything happen.)

Then we closed up shop at 3pm and went home.

What has gone wrong since has been elements of that lifestyle still shaking out of the system. Francesca is gone, because we weren't taking her in for yearly checkups - the swelling was there before we moved and we just didn't know what to look for, but without a car she was difficult to get to the vet (being too heavy and too destructive for Zowie's old carrier). My digestive problems continue to relapse, but at least now I can see a doctor for them and get prescriptions for Vicodin.

I remain slow on the drawing front, because now that I got the rest of the elements cleared up and can actually have a place to draw, the posture I sit in to draw is a Meteorite trigger.

We continue to live out of boxes and much of the furniture arrangement continues to be in flux. Ah but we lived out of boxes the whole time we were in the House of Pain. Half the problem is we own two of everything from the constant need to keep our lives hidden - if we needed something, it was probably disassembled with the parts in two boxes, so we'd have to buy another.

But if the question was, what do I intend to replace the otherworldly evil with, the answer appears to be a full-time job. Unsurprisingly I have about the same amount of truly free time now that I did then, hiding from that mutant or taking the long way around my life to avoid him really was a full-time job. Except this job actually pays. And rarely involves death threats or feces.

It's like some science-fiction nightmare that our lives could have gotten as bad as they were with that lamprey. I look back at 2007 and I don't even how how such a year is possible. Average person on the street: do they even realize there exist adults who wear diapers because they think it's fun? Do they realize there exist real psychopaths outside of the movies? You couldn't make up what we went through. Natural disasters, economic collapses, wars, there are precedents - but to create such a spectacular train wreck of a human being, as a character in a story, you'd have to be on serious hallucinogenics. Ours spontaneously self-generated. It's real. We endured it for years. Someone else may have to endure it now that we're out of the picture.

I never really have to think about him, except to crack jokes or be astonished it had ever been that bad.

I've had a life reboot I think very few people in a bad situation ever really get. I mean, if you see someone who was a drug addict for eight years, let's say, and they clean up, does it ever go back to how it was before? Rarely. And here I am, having disposed of the life-eater, I'm back in my old career right where I left off, partying like it's 1999. Stuff I wanted to do, I can do - vacations, an aquarium, the art table of my dreams. There remains a lot of shuffling, of unboxing and organizing, and things don't just happen by themselves - but that's how it works anyway for normal people having a normal life.

No wonder I was in such pain. I knew at every level what was happening to me was not normal. Those eight years under a dictator were not my life - they were an anvil dropped on top of my life, and once removed, I tend to spring back into my previous shape. Of what use are such years? What practical use can I ever find for all I know about hiding from creepy people or arguing with his delusions? Was it about building character? Shit, I got too good at enduring bad things - the doctors don't understand why I didn't go to the ER years ago for the Meteorites, and it's because I got used to suffering and waiting. Now I am mercifully impatient with bullshit.

To be where we are, a year after where we were - what will we be a year from now? Dare I guess? Dare I speculate?

Francesca's loss doesn't undo what we've accomplished. By itself none of the bunny deaths in the old apartment would have undone us, it's what that bastard did to us in the aftermath of each that kept us down, made a one-month grieving process take many months. We are aware that by not having a bunny around the house, something is missing, but we get by. (Corydoras habrosus helps a lot in this department.)

And of the rest? Summoning the suns at Vista House? Mount St. Helens in the fog? Sixty thousand lines of Perl? Tales not yet told on this world? It's more than I ever thought possible - and it's only the beginning.

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