the down side of disney world

I’ve blogged before about how Ashley and I haven’t spent a great deal of time apart since we got together. Yes, we’re that couple. Annoying close. Remarkably paired. Pathologically joined-at-the-hip. Other couples either want to be like us or they vomit in their mouths a little bit when they see us. We try not to notice.

Not shown: me. Because I'm not there.

So it stands to reason that I would miss her terribly this week while she’s at Disney World with her family. Yet I severely underestimated the degree to which everything would be and feel so different. Instead of thinking, “I’m going to spend a week without my fiancée,” or, “I’m going to spend a week without my best friend,” I should have thought, “I’m going to spend a week without my right hand.” She’s such a part of me and my life it’s exactly like that.

Going to the grocery store yesterday was easily the strangest experience of the last six months. Not only did I navigate the store in a wholly linear fashion – my preferred method as opposed to Ashley’s back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth – and not only did I not talk to a single person, but when I was done the grocery cart had neither chocolate nor milk, two Ashley-staples. This realization, this simple, basic thing, brought home to me how different things were going to be this week. I almost cried right there at check-out-lane seven, which would have been awkward because everyone knows that if you want to cry you go down to check-out-lane nineteen.

I spent yesterday just lost in my own projects: cleaning the house and recording music. I only emerged around 7PM because I was hungry and to run out to her parents’ house to check on their dogs. This is what my life before her was like: me endlessly flitting about, tinkering on this project and that project, wrapped up entirely in my own stuff, only recognizing the outside world when it intruded.

So yes. I miss her. Terribly. Intensely. Perhaps even pathologically. It’s going to be a long, sleepless week.

Oh yeah. Did I mention that? Here’s the most perverse part: I have a huge bed all to myself and I cannot – cannot – get comfortable. Even when I try keeping to my own side I miss the weight of her. The cats’ Occupy Her Side movement is going strong but their collective weight doesn’t equal that of Ashley, even though one could use a bit of a diet and another one is like the Michael Clark Duncan of cats. I’m encouraging them to set up tents and a library, not because I don’t want to be the man here, but also because I’m hoping the weight will be more like Ashley’s. Their #occupy movement, unlike some others, will be fairly successful I think, because it seems all they want is freedom to sleep without being accidentally kicked or squished. If they keep to her side – and I’ve officially designated it as theirs – they’ll be as comfortable as can be. But me…I just can’t find a space I’m comfortable with.

Because the only thing that really comforts me is in Florida.

She took one of my shirts with her, so she could have something near her that smells like me. From this I assume not only that I don’t reek of boiled cabbage and that no one’s ever told me, but that the scent of a loved one can be comforting. Nature – fickle wench that she is – has removed this option from me. For me the sense most closely tied to memory is my hearing, and one of the things Ashley took with her when she left was her voice. And yes she can call…but it’s far different from the almost constant auditory input of Ashley’s prattling on and on and on and on. This makes it sound like a bad thing, but I knew even before she left that I would miss it. Imagine the world without music, especially now, during the holidays. Everything is cold, quiet, still and without memory.

If the Happiest Place on Earth is in Orlando, its polar opposite is right here, without her. I’m glad it’s only for a week.

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