The sad fact is that I was hooked like a largemouth bass, and no amount of distance, common sense, or shouting is going to easily change that.
You learn not to expect much, to avoid thinking about all of the things that should go without saying but somehow have just gone, shaking your head ruefully in your more exhausted moments about all the work of navigating what would be better were it just open road. I have never been good at being coy or mysterious, and I generally want to skip all of the nerves, all of the counting days and calculating hours, and head right to the high fives and open communication. (My way has its own faults, though, since along that path things quickly overwhelm and explode and burn down acres and acres of forest.) My instincts are terrible and without a map my sense of direction worse. And yet this time there were maps and signposts and declarative statements and when that happens, you know, you start to think that this is a path that is new and different and leads to somewhere interesting and worthwhile.
But it wasn't and it didn't. Maybe the maps were wrong or maybe they got left behind. I don't know, exactly, since the declarative statements dried up like a shallow pond and the path up and completely disappeared. Turns out, nothing is different.
You like to think, after all of this work, that you at least have changed. But all you are is that same china figure in that same bull shop, a little more cracked than before, still waiting.