Monday nights are typically quite late nights for Steve. He usually gets home around 8:30 or 9pm. I've been feeling under the weather (two of my coworkers are out with walking pneumonia-- uh oh!), so I was kind of looking forward to lounging alone on the couch and crashing early last night.
I got into bed at 10, after the live town hall meeting with Hillary Clinton was cut off, and before Steve got home. Because Steve definitely doesn't teach until 10pm, I texted him. I read for half an hour, and still no Steve, no text, no call. I called him and left a message then tried to sleep.
There was no way I was getting a second of rest not knowing where he was, and I got to thinking. I was so scared and so worried that something happened to him, and I couldn't convince myself not to let my mind wander to all of the horrible reasons he wasn't home or able to return my call. It went so far that the main reason I called him after texting was because the people in the hospital might not have heard the text notification sound, but would definitely hear it if it rang. After lingering on thoughts of a horrific accident and trying to convince myself that I just watch too much Six Feet Under, I thought about what I would do if my fears were actually realized.
If, supreme-power forbid, something were to happen to Steve to compromise his permanence in my life, I would be lost. I thought about our living situation, and how I'd be living all alone in a house with his best friends, Rob and (soon) Dan. I thought about the people around me and how they're all so new. I bet some of them still picture the Nina they drew up in their minds when Steve would tell them about me instead of the actual me, and the ones that I met on my own are still learning so many little things that my nearest and dearest have known about forever, like my fear of robots, or love of limes, or elephant-like memory. Who would support me, who COULD support me, in such a situation?
Would I move back to California? I'd have my parents and a few close friends from high school (and earlier) to help me along. But then I thought about my newly-engaged friend Christine and saw myself crashing her future perfect marriage as the broken friend that needs help (You, Me, and Nina B. anyone?). I also thought about the reasons I wanted to leave Fresno so badly in the first place, and knew that moving back would definitely not be a step in the right direction. Maybe I would just put my life in reverse and head back to Boston where I entered adulthood with grace and enthusiasm, thanks to an amazing group of friends and a mission of education to keep me busy. But then I remembered reasons for leaving Boston too, and also the depressing cost of living.
One thing is certain: I would not stay here. What does that mean? That I'm dependent? Maybe in some ways, but none that would make me (or any psychotherapeutic professional) worry. Maybe it just means that after 5ish months, I'm just not stable enough in this new life to feel comfortable and confident enough to handle such a loss alone.
This is what went through my head, as I lay awake waiting for that phone call that did eventually come (though I don't know if 5 minutes or 60 passed before it did). After hearing from Steve (who was fine), I thought about when I was out late in high school and my mom would insist that I wake her up whenever I came home. I always thought that she wouldn't know the difference, but I get it now. I fell asleep just seconds after I hung up.