Monday, June 6, 2011

Unsettling In

I would imagine some are curious as to how it's going a week into Greg and Marissa's arrival to their brave new world.  Hard to say really.  How's that for an answer?  As I write this (Sunday morning), Marissa is sleeping in on her birthday morning.  When she's up and ready, we will begin a new birthday tradition and take her to Pamela's (yum yum yum) for breakfast, but then - not knowing the city beyond the surface touristy stuff, it was hard for her to say how she would like to spend her day.  I feel for her, stuck her with her parents with no friends here yet.  At 12, that might be cool, to be doted on by the elders and taken to do whatever you want.  At 22, probably not so much.  Yet, she is the picture of grace and patience with her situation, and by this time next year, I presume her social circle will have widened past these tiny four walls, and we will all know the city on a deeper level.

As for Greg, it's hard to judge if the heaviness he carries is a result of his overwhelming grief or his discomfiture about finding himself in such unfamiliar territory, or both.  My money is on both.  But, it's just a guess because, like a lot of males, he's not exactly forthcoming.  I think that's in part because he really doesn't know.  He just feels out of place, or that's what I believe.  And, as it turns out, navigating for him isn't all that much easier than it is for me, and that has to add to his feeling of southern fish floundering outside northern waters.

I've worried that he feels lost even within his own home.  I set the house up and know where things are, he's had to constantly ask me where this or that is and how things work.  In four months here by myself certain routines developed that are new to him.  I developed a love for pierogies and potato pancakes, and he'd prefer southern barbecue.  He's worried how he'll do in the winter - both commuting and just surviving the cold.  And, lost in a confusing city, knowing only Marissa and me, he doesn't have the activity that he's had to keep his mind off the things that brought us here in the first place.  My worry is that he's dwelling on it more now than before even when the ghost of the Beast was so close.  Maybe it's just fated to follow us around always.  Maybe we'll never be rid of it.  But, I still think we have to try.

It doesn't help that he's met at least two people in passing who have told him flat out he'll absolutely hate it here (one Texas native and one Jersey boy).  Again, that Rust Belt bluntness (that the two men clearly adopted about Pittsburgh even if they rejected everything else).  Takes some getting used to.

I know it's only been a week, so these are all just initial impressions.  I also remember going through some of these same emotions myself.  I still have them really, as much as I completely love it here.  Oddly, the house still almost feels like a rental.  It's my residence, I have my things, but I feel like it doesn't belong to me.  At first, I tried to tell myself that's because I was so worried about not doing anything that would hurt the resale value, this being the way station to a - hopefully - larger place later on (even just a larger kitchen with a full size dishwasher - that would so be heaven).  But, I think it's because I spent so many years at our other house, and this house has spent so many years housing other people, that we're still feeling one another out.  It hasn't fully accepted me as its owner, and I haven't fully taken ownership.  If that makes any sense at all.  But, for Greg, I think these feelings are more pronounced.

And, finally, in our time apart, I think we began to take divergent paths to process our grief.  It took me a day or two to figure that out, but my evidence for it is a book he read recently by the author of Helter Skelter that, in short, states that no one can prove the existence of God.  He was very impressed by this book and wants me to read it.  My own reaction surprised me.  I look at it almost like it's coated in acid. I want nothing to do with it.  Finally, it occurred to me:  he's looking for answers to the question if there is a God why did He take our child from us.  I'm hanging onto the belief that she's in a better place somewhere and her suffering is not only at an end, but she has peace now.  If you take that from me, well...let me just say, I need that belief.  In the end analysis, that's why they call it faith.  I really don't need a book to tell me there's no proof.  If there was, then we'd all worship - or protest against in some cases - one God anyway, wouldn't we?

That doesn't make Greg wrong.  Doesn't make me wrong either.  We're just trying to find our way through this unbelievable mess we find ourselves in anyway we know how.  Grief is such an individualized thing, as I've said many times before, and we have not been around one another for a while to see what it has done to each of us respectively.  This is the journey of a lifetime, let me tell you.  No one who is on it remains unchanged.  We have to learn who we are again, I guess.  That's an additional challenge to learning where you are and how to find the good movie theatre (it's on the south side, by the way - I've been there, I just can't find it again).

He actually leaves at the end of the week to go back to Austin and pick up his car, still at the old house. I wonder if, in the back of his mind the idea, even just fleetingly, of just staying once he got back there entered his mind.  If it did, it's gone now, but this isn't home for him yet.  It's just a place that's new and strange.  I hope he gives Pittsburgh a fair shot.  It takes some time, when you've tossed your entire life up in the air, to have it settle back down into place again.  I think that is true no matter when, why or where you move to.  I think for our circumstances, it is just a little further of a toss so the landing is a bit more of a jolt.

1 comment:

  1. Vincent Bugliosi spent time writing a book that states you can't prove there is a god? Uh, yeah. Most religious people (and God, I think - "we walk by faith, not by sight") would tell you that is the point. Otherwise it wouldn't be faith, it would be fact and no one would have to question if their acts were moral or not, or what they should believe. Though, I do like Bugliosi. I like the way his mind works and he is a very good writer. Maybe I'll read it.
    -Oh, Happy Birthday, Marissa!