I went to the holy site. I have a friend now.

I don’t really know who he is. He lives across the street and I think he is the husband of the woman who keeps the shop there. But I don’t recall seeing him before. He could be here on holiday.

It might be I don’t know him because I was at school and he was doing whatever he was doing, and now I am free and doing things like going to the holy site at 7:30 am when it is still around -3 degrees. Or colder.

Anyway, my friend complains when I don’t go. He saw me twice and evidently expects a habit to form.

So I went today, although the cold does give me pause. He wasn’t there. But Sports Sir was, so we had a chat and walked around a bit. Then he left and I walked alone.

It was different, letting a sense of her presence be with me. It was different, letting myself feel that Natashka is with me.

It was like the lights had come back on.

I looked at the river and I looked at the frost and I looked at the dogs and the head monk playing badminton with a little, tiny girl and everything was just sort of wonderful.

They are always wonderful, but I am usually trying to force myself to see their wonderfulness, or I see their wonderfulness and I don’t want to because it hurts that anything can go on being wonderful without her.

I looked at them and it didn’t hurt.

It looked at them and I didn’t feel I was forcing myself to look at them either. I just looked at them and felt happy. I missed her chatter and I missed her telling me in great detail about what I can already see. But it was just a kind of pleasant nostalgia. It was more a Do you remember when…?

It wasn’t a great, stabbing, weeping wound. It was a missing I could stand. I could stand it and there was something left of me to enjoy things also.

It was utterly, entirely different than the last time I came.

So that’s one thing.

Also, I feel like I have a future.

The other night, I was in bed preparing to sleep. The bed is difficult. I don’t really know why. I expect we slept a lot. We were exhausted. My memory of Natalya is probably littered with naps. I remember naps, but it is not always clear when I remember something that happened twice and when I am remembering something that happened all the time. So I don’t know if that’s it.

At any rate, at night and in the morning, the pain of missing her is always worse.

So I was lying in bed, and the pain of her absence was acute. I said I can’t live without her. How am I going to do this?

I just kept breathing, thinking if you go on breathing, then time passes. Eventually you die. Then, with any luck, the pain stops.

I have the sense that really I have been filling my life up with things that will make time pass. I have a career, I have friends, I have hobbies. I have a lot of things to keep myself occupied while I wait to die.

It’s not really any way to live.

Today, I feel I want to do things. I want to do them because I enjoy them.

And it’s different.

 

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