Serenading Sera 5: Intermission

We find ourselves at an intermission with a cliffhanger.

Sera and I had a huge fight Wednesday night. Seven days is probably the longest we’ve co-habited and there were an impressive number of extenuating circumstances.

  1. I had the worst PMS I’ve had in recent memory
  2. Sera’s recovering from bilateral orchiectomy
  3. … which means she’s also adjusting to a whole new hormone situation
  4. It was my dad’s 69th birthday. He’s surviving his third year with terminal stage IV pancreatic cancer (go dad!)
  5. As an introvert, I need a lot of me-time. I get overwhelmed more easily than a lot of people, and exhausted from things that might seem wildly pedestrian, like buying toilet paper at the store or doing a load of laundry. I haven’t been getting the me-time I’ve needed for the last few months and it’s taking its toll. It’s hard to recognize sometimes.

The fight was awful. We called each other unspeakable names. I called her insensitive. She called me insensitive. She broke up with me several times, though I didn’t take it too seriously since she was so off the charts mad. We yelled at each other, which is not something either of us do.

We’re not angry people. We’re not yellers.

She was so angry that she started packing up her stuff to drive herself home even though she’s not quite done recovering from surgery. I was still super angry, but I had to calm down because it was clear that she wasn’t going to look out for her well-being, which left me to step up. I convinced her to stay the night: we would sleep separately, and we could come up with a sane plan in the morning that didn’t involve her driving home on pain medication while sitting on an area that it’d be better to avoid sitting on for the hour long drive.

I was able to get an appointment with a new therapist we saw a few weeks ago for our first couples’ counseling session when the cracks first started to show. He was able to help me gain some perspective and identify the immediate things I could do to start trying to manage my own sense of crisis. It’s not even that I’m experiencing a crisis, but my body is absolutely certain that I am, and when that happens, it can become ridiculously hard to think straight. Survival mode is not a rational mode.

Sera and I had communicated throughout the day, and the last I’d heard, she planned to be home when I got home. I was prepared to calmly ask for a break from any serious discussions until I could get into a better head space.

On my way to the bus, I texted her to see if she needed me to pick anything up.

Sera: “i have already left. i am driving right now. sitting on Mercer, rather.”

me: “… What does that mean?”

Sera: “it means Mercer is moving at Mercer like speeds”

me: “I mean what does it mean that you already left? Does it mean something?”

All the calm I’d mustered from the therapy session was gone. I was back in survival mode again. I wish my body wouldn’t react that way to stress, but it does. Clock alarms with anything but the most benign sounds give me an adrenaline rush equal to nearly being hit by a car. It’s like my body can’t differentiate. It doesn’t understand that a stressful situation with Sera isn’t the same as me in immediate danger from the proverbial woolly mammoth.

This particular exchange also demonstrates the frustration of communication fail that we experience. Everyone who lives where I do knows what “sitting on Mercer” means, but if something I say can be misinterpreted, it’s amazing how often Sera will misinterpret it. Sometimes it becomes weirdly, almost unbearably exhausting to have to reword something so she can’t misinterpret it. And even then, we might still have another round of bewildering misinterpretation. This is part of why we sought therapy in the first place.

She didn’t text me back, so now I was stressed and deeply confused.

When I got home, the wrong lock on the door was locked, and my stomach plummeted into my toes. Denial is a strong and mighty thing, though, so I held out some hope that I was misunderstanding the situation.

I got inside, and all of her stuff was gone. Her clothes from my closet. Her food from my cabinet. And there they were: her keys to my place on my laptop in my bedroom.

I didn’t cry. I just stood there in a state of complete dismay. I did a weird thing, I took a photo of it. Like if I photographed it, it might become real, or maybe I could make it into a story I didn’t have to believe. I don’t know.

Sera is a compulsive Facebook poster, so I looked at her personal page. Nothing. I looked at her public page, and there it was. The irrefutable confirmation:

Sometimes it’s sitting in my ex-girlfriend’s apartment […]

I couldn’t even finish reading after that.

I shared some words with both Sera and her best friend, who’s staying up at her house right now. They’re all blur. The only thing I know is that I asked for a break. I meant a break as in “break, not break up”, but I don’t know if it’s my call anymore, I don’t know if she understood.

I have so many things to sort through right now.

I don’t know if I’m going to stay or leave during the intermission.