there is a way in which the freest i felt in my twenties was those nights when donovan was driving from denver to jackson in late 2009.
(and i imagine the fact that i've referenced this period soooooo fucking many times on this blog means this will someday by the climactic scene in the tv movie of my life.)
i wasn't eating. every night, i drank a bottle of andré and watched bright star amid the fairy lights of my chicago apartment. and then he called and we talked on the phone.
this after what... three years of not speaking? (oh, i just checked the emails. it was actually maybe barely two.)
i always say we were friends for three years, dated for three years, didn't speak for three years, then were friends again for three more years. but that's twelve years and we only knew each other eleven, so already it's a lie.
at the time though we'd both recently been dumped and were both running head-first into new lives we did not yet know.
in retrospect this period of my life has assumed an importance that has somehow also made it seem much longer than it was.
in my head, there were many phone calls. in reality, it doesn't take more than a few days to make that drive, so i've probably made them more than they were with time.
but the thing i remember about those phone calls is that it felt like we were going to be ok.
this is maybe my main argument for the value of staying friends with exes. or at least cultivating relationships with exes when the dust has settled. you already know each other's mess. you don't have to pretend to be pretty.
we were both clearly, deeply messy at that point in time, but it was terribly clear, in a way it's maybe never been since-- and maybe this is just because i was drunk most of the time then-- but it was clear then that we were going to be ok.
i'm not sure whether that held true long-term. the fact that donovan died at 31 would suggest it didn't. but for a time there, we were ok.
maybe all i mean by that, upon reflection, is that we were friends again. and being friends again-- rather than being his girlfriend or his ex-- was freeing. it meant i was me with him, rather than his.