And so Holly and I became constant companions. She stayed with me at the condo.We worked together, wandered the city together, and spent our evenings together. We cooked meals together, drank too much wine, laid on the floor holding hands and listening to Explosions in the Sky, and enjoyed a millionaire’s view from the 46th floor on the Gold Coast. I was so infatuated with her and simply drank in every moment we spent together. Barely ever facing the reality that I’d left my partner of 18 years to support a house, four cats, and herself on a single income. It simply didn’t even register. Holly was my world.
There were already issues though. Her depression would creep in here and there (bipolar, remember?) and she would frequently do things that made me feel insecure. One night after we’d had a lot of wine and some good sex, she looked me in the eye and simply said “I’d really hoped some sexy little candy raver girl would fall into my bed, but I got you instead.” in a sort of unpleasant voice. What??? Or constantly texting back and forth with her ex-boyfriend whom she was still obsessed with. I wanted us to be new couple in love but she seemed to want something more casual. My infatuation drowned out the voice of reason and I stuck with it and just didn’t think too much about it.
One morning Holly informed me that her roommate was selling her condo and that she (Holly) needed to find a place to live. She suggested that we move in together. Even infatuation couldn’t cover the fact that moving in with someone I barely know, with an imbalance of interest, and… well… I was married… would be one of the dumbest things anyone could do ever in any universe. I declined.
For Memorial Day 2015 Holly had something special to show me. We rented a cabin that she loved to go to in Michigan’s UP. We planned, we bought supplies, picked music, and had our first road trip together. The seven hour drive was packed with intimate “getting to know you/ask anything” discussion. We learned a lot more about each other on the drive and made it to this very remote cabin on the shore of Lake Superior around 2AM. It was pitch black, cold, and you could hear the ebb and flow of the waves on the shore. The cabin was very rustic and chilly. We fired up the heater as we unpacked the necessities and went to bed.
The next morning will be forever burned into my memory. It was chilly but bright and sunny. I opened the front door of the cabin and it was just breathtakingly beautiful. It aches just to think about that moment in time. It seems so far away now. The endless expanse of Lake Superior stretched out before me a stone’s throw from the cabin door. I walked up and down the beach as Holly slept. The air was crisp and fresh, the sun was warm, the beach was strewn with logs from some storm the previous year. So many trees surrounding the area. I wish so badly that I could go back to that moment, go back into the cabin, slip back into bed with Holly, and do everything right this time. For the next few days we hiked, cooked, drank, and enjoyed each other’s company.
It wasn’t prefect though. The first real episode of my problems with rejection reared it’s ugly head, as it would with increasing frequency throughout the course of our relationship. I was making a fire on the beach for us as Holly watched some Blackhawks. I waited over an hour for her to come out and join me, but she didn’t. When I went in to see what was up, she had drank too much and fallen asleep on the couch. I became irrationally upset, woke her up being shitty to her, and we argued pretty intensely. It was not pleasant and not deserved, but somehow she had shunned me and I was explosively angry. We made it past it and enjoyed the rest of the trip. She DJ’d Spotify on the way back and we had a fun trip. Except for the very end. As we got back into the city, she was very moody and withdrawn. When we got back to the condo, she was sullen and angry. She didn’t have a reason. It was her depression. Another thing that would rear it’s ugly head with increasing frequency as we went along.
All in all we had had a great time, and it was an experience that changed the way I saw the world. I still find it hard to think of that trip without wanting to cry because something so good had happened that can never be had again. I was completely smitten with her and felt close to her. She asked me again about living together and, in my starry-eyed complete and total infatuation, I agreed.