Intentionally lonely holidays
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 - 4:02 pm.

This is shaping up to be a holiday season of isolation. Don't feel bad for me, that's what I'm going for, for the most part. 

My friend and former crush A. went back home this week, after finishing her PhD. It's weird and a bit sucky that she isn't around anymore, but she will be back for her PhD exam in February. In fact, she left a bunch of stuff in our house, most of which she'll get rid of when she returns. 

I was happy to be the one who helped her with last-minute arrangements for her trip. She was flying home yesterday, and I got her locks for her suitcase and I picked up the remainder of her stuff at her flat. We hugged goodbye then, but luckily I didn't cry. Maybe it was because we hadn't been so close in the last months, or maybe I'm just trying not to feel too much, or I'm permanently numb from having said goodbye to many friends across three countries. 

Another PhD friend is leaving this week, also after submitting his thesis. He's crashing at the office this weekend because he's moving back home on Tuesday and he will submit on Monday. I do not wish that kind of stress on anybody, except maybe the Human Flaming Bag of Dog Poo, but he lives in a nearby town with his mom, so no chance of that happening. Anyway, this friend won't be able to have a proper send-off, but he too will return next year for his exam. 

Our friend Eric, our academic half-sibling, is going home for the holidays. 

Andrew and I had two Christmas parties to attend this week and we attended neither. One was the Psych department's, and the other, happening as I write this entry, is the Chilean community's.

Andrew and I have the same reasons for skipping them. It's a lot of emotional investment with people we mostly don't know, in a crowded place where you're supposed to mingle and drink, and where you can't have a proper conversation with people you do know. The air indoors gets heavy, food takes forever to arrive, and the music and people get too loud. 

Instead of attending these parties, we have stayed home, all warm and cozy. Right now, it looks like it might snow. I'm feeling quite grateful for all I have, more than usual.  


Andrew got a little weird on Monday, though, when we had A. over for a farewell meal, the three of us plus Eric. I made dinner! Me! And it was OK! But when A. and Eric left, Andrew disappeared on me. Like, he went upstairs without a word and got into bed. Usually we both clean up after having people over, or at least one sticks around while the other takes care of the mess if it isn't that big. I was pissed. His sudden shifts in mood piss me off, though they are of no major consequence to me. 

I wondered if he got upset because, earlier, A. was sitting in the armchair and I was sprawled behind her, with half of my body surrounding her. This was intentional. She was not my crush anymore, but I have a perpetual weakness over physical closeness with women I'm deeply fond of. Ok, I'm moderately horny. I don't have chances for that kind of closeness, so I thought I might as well enjoy it one last time with her. 

Truly, though, I don't think it looked like anything but me not finding anywhere else to sit. Andrew and Eric were sitting on the couch. So anyway, I wondered if Andrew got mad or jealous because of my position with A. Such thing would have earned me a sad Bisexual Badge to sew on my Bisexual Vest, but then again, he isn't biphobic. 

It's taking me a while to get to the point, and the point is not about me. The anniversary of his brother's death is coming up. Duh. We were watching music videos on YouTube (not my idea, I hate doing that as a social activity), and a video with the most triggering image one could show Andrew came up. That made sense to explain his mood shift, much more than him getting annoyed because I subtly had my arm around my friend's back, with no chance in hell of me going beyond that. 

I was much less pissed at him after making the connection of the video, but we were still cold to one another the day after. Me, because I hate it when he shuts down like that (but I would never force him to act otherwise), and him, because...who knows. Then it passed, though, and we returned to our usual nice programming, which includes laughing about our cats. He's warned me that most of the times his mood swings have nothing to do with me, but usually that's my first assumption. 

Lastly: I'm so sorry I won't be with my family for the holidays. Andrew's my family, but I mean my parents and siblings and their kids. But I know it's a lot to ask of him to come with me; I know it would be a lot to ask of me if it was his family, even though mine is more laid-back and he knows it. It's expensive to travel, it is a hassle to do so during the holidays, and he'd have nowhere to hide when he got overwhelmed by the partying mood (my family's partying mood is the only one I can stand for long).

I won't travel on my own because I don't want to leave him alone. Last year, he was finally honest when he said he'd rather I stayed with him for Christmas. It's the one time he's asked me for support regarding his grief over his brother.

I'm happy to stay with him. I'm just heartbroken I won't be with my family. But if it was the other way, I'd be happy to be with my family, but horrendously sad and guilty. It all comes down to the fact that the last two weeks of the year are the ones in which I shall not leave him alone. 

We'll still have nice holidays! I for one I'm enjoying these days of solitude, shiny decorations, and finger food (and writing my thesis). It'll be just the two of us, it seems, but we're on the same page on how to party. Let us have a good meal and play Smash Bros. next to the Christmas tree, while the cats nap nearby. 

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