I do, however, need to replace my poor, rusting Sylvia with her broken tie rods and squishy tires. If either of the other, more valid things happen, well ... that's what loans are for. Everyone else has one; why not me? Kevin from S&E is looking for what I want as I'm not "gotta buy it now" desperate, and since he called me back, I really do believe he'll find me the car in the next few weeks.
This choice has been eating at me for a while. Cashing the bonds in yesterday was like finally coming to terms with what my life is going to be. It means that I know that I'm not holding on to either illusions or hope. Some close people have commented anxiously on my saying that I have given up all hope, but I'm not in a bad place. Despair being the greatest sin and all. I have to eliminate hope because it is simply too painful to live with it. I know someone who retains hers, even while the possibility is so far removed from reality as to be painfully pathetic, and it makes me sad just to see her, like Ralph Wiggum holding out his valentine heart. I definitely don't want to be her.
So I stomp out my hope like my last cigarette and try to go on. The nicotine craving faded because eventually there just weren't any cigarettes to be had. Seven years now, maybe? Eight? I can live without smoking and I can live without hope that my life was going to include the things I felt were necessary. I'm not planning on pulling an Emily Dickinson or a Miss Havisham and building a barricade or a monument to my loss of hope for a full life, but right now I'm in mourning for it. That will ease. As with the smoking, the breathing will get easier, and the knot in the chest will loosen. As for the other stuff, I'm not saying that I don't hold out some vague free-floating hope that there might be other "almosty" versions of the thing I wanted -- that I'll be an aunty, or a girlfriend of a weekend father, that there'll be attraction, affection, maybe even a relationship or two, preferably of the damned and passionate sort - wouldn't want to keep some young man from fatherhood, heaven forfend -- before I finally die. I can be functionally satisfied with almost as long as I don't start to believe that these might be the real thing. And I can be functional without the almost, with nothing. I spent years alone before, and I suppose I can do it again. It's freeing, in its way, to know that. Right now I'm just not relishing the vast expanse of that possibility. I had suggested that for a week, he try an ersatz version of that life, to know what I was condemned to (so, I was a little dramatic there, but it is a condemnation ... why else would the punishment be to lead apes in hell, like some sort of spinster schoolteacher from 1850?) ... know what it is to rise alone, to come home from work whenever, to go to the supermarket and ponder whether you can buy a whole pound of meat or if you'll get bored with it by day three, to hold onto wedding and baby shower invitations only long enough to write a negative rsvp and log into some registry site to send a gift, to take yourself on a trip to the Aquarium because there is no one, absolutely no one, not even your friends with children, to go with you, to spend the weekend watching monster movie marathons on the sci-fi channel, to come home and open the door to the fridge and shut it, then open to the door of the pantry, look at the can of soup, then back to the fridge for a soda and back to the pantry for the last half bag of crackers and call that a healthy dinner because you didn't entertain the possibility of getting a Happy Meal at McDonald's. It is what it is.
I'm past anger and grief. There will still be little moments of grief ahead, for what I've decided I could no longer wait in hope for, but I made a choice. And it was a good choice, because I am not wracked with regret or churn. I am at some sort of peace. That's something, I suppose.