I went to work for a bit, intending to put in a good effort, but as cold as the room was last night (we were stupid and didn’t turn the heat on in advance of what was as fast a warm-up as yesterday was a freeze) and I woke up without much feeling in my feet. Everything that follows after that was a bit half-hearted. I did turn up at work, but mostly ended up printing off a few things for my new little travel notebook, answering a few emails, a few unhelpful flicks of water out of the Dead Sea that is between me and finalizing my time there. Then, we had a memorial and dedication of a plaque for a long term volunteer and Old Boss was invited. Current Boss has left for a week’s vacation in the Caribbean. This creates an energy void that maybe everyone can feel, but as a self-described empath, it is visceral and choking. Old boss jokes at the memorial about how if the volunteer were alive, the faucet in the men’s room would be working. This annoys me because among the 10,000 other things we have going, the plumbers been in and out of there replacing batteries and trying to make it functional again. People gather around Old Boss, reigniting the usual cult of personality that erupts whenever he shows up on the scene, and tell him how we can’t do with him. Sigh. Sigh. They’re a big collection of know-nothing Jon Snows. Later, we all go down to the market and I finish up some last minute business and go and sit with my friends, my colleagues, the market authority.
And it’s just different now. They talk about business and more inane rumors that make them needlessly insecure as though we’re going to dump them after 12 years without so much as a how-do-you-do. I confirm 1000% it’s not true (though as firmly as I believe it’s not, there’s so many conversations happening that I can’t be sure I’m not missing something). There are hugs and hugs. They tell me they knew they could come to me to get it all cleared up.
It’s not that I suddenly don’t want to go – nothing at this point seems to do anything but run a sharper blade around the outline of my exodus – but geez, there are a lot of little needles that are strewn across my path, a lot of shrapnel that comes from detaching from something you care about. It’s this big unsaid thing, among others, and one of them tells me about the stress she’s dealing with in her life. Big stress regarding her daughter, someone I’ve watched grow up in some respects. I can feel the ache in her heart.
I sit quietly, taking in the atmosphere of the market. They tell me I seem so relaxed and ask if I’ve met someone. I laugh, because it’s funny before it’s anything else and I tell them no. It kills me not to just blurt it out that I’m leaving them, but now, not only because as soon as the words passed my lips some tramp would sidle up next to me and whisper my own rumor back to me – the rumor mill works that fast here, but because none of their lives will be made easier by my going. It will be a significant issue, a learning curve that’s practically vertical.
But not impossible.
After eight years of their belief that I am a tee-totaling good girl, I go so far to tell them that we need to have a party. A party with alcohol? I say a party with alcohol. I say I will bring the Jamesons’ and they oh ho ho and I feel for the first time like maybe they have a glimpse of me just being with them and not me trying to be better than I am for them.