problem was, kurt and i had very different lifestyles. kurt was outgoing and i wasn’t, and so once i moved here, he had already collected friends while i had not. this changed after i went to grad school, but for the time being, i ended up becoming homesick and lonely a lot of the time. didn’t help that kurt’s friends were all incredibly beautiful, interesting people, all dressed well and physical fit. meanwhile i would order pizza for delivery from a pizza hut that was literally three blocks away. i moved into kurt’s apartment for about eight months and during that time i was fraught with frustration about my life and my progress.
couple that with the dearyness of portland, which is something i appreciate now but at the time, really sunk me into a depression. in boise, it was sunny and clear most of the time. occasionally we would get really bad inversions, where the fog would be thick as the westboro baptist church; now i spent nine out of twelve months in overcast rain and fog. it took a few years to get used to, and while i was glad to be away from home, i also loved being away and starting fresh. this cognitive dissonance stuck with me for years, and i found myself constantly warring in my head as to which was better: stay in portland and effectively be alone, or move back to boise where the rest of my friends were.
i also spent a lot of time on okcupid, trying to find a woman who could fill this hollow part of my life. didn’t realize that at the time, though. i ended up meeting this girl marie there, and she was perfect: smart, sassy, loved internet memes. she effectively wanted to “netflix and chill” before that became a thing. we met for drinks at beulahland and ended up talking for hours about dumb internet things, things i never talked to anyone in real life about. stuff you find nestled in reddit comment threads. funny youtube videos, and our meta-reaction to everyone’s reaction to them. we made out in her car. she said she liked me but that she had just gotten out of a long term relationship and wasn’t sure what she wanted. that was fine, i thought. but i was desperate for a connection and so i ended up texting her a lot. up until this point in my life i was a pretty chill guy. i had my depressive moments but i still was relatively cool about everything. so after hanging out with this girl a couple of times, making out in her car, telling her i like her and having her tell me she likes me, netflix-and-chilling with her–literally, we didn’t even have sex–after all that, i wanted to see more and more of her, and so i kept texting.
one day i was at work. i had texted her the night before, another unanswered text that read something like, “hey, are you okay?” in my younger years i felt i deserved answers, i felt like i deserved to be treated like a human being. i felt like i deserved to have my texts answered, and that the world was a fair place, and since this girl liked me if i expressed my genuine interest in her well-being she would respond with, well, anything. i know now that you never really get answers, only more questions, and likely since i don’t believe in god i’m aware that i may never get an answer as to why i even lived but in my mid twenties i thought there was a discernible end to everything, an answer. and i kept pestering marie because i wanted answers. i wanted to know why she hadn’t texted me back, why she seemingly wasn’t interested in me anymore. so that day at work i texted her all this, with the especially passive-aggressive intro of, “look, i know you’re probably not interested in me anymore, but…” etc etc etc. and then i worked. i was shaking from being angry and also from this liberating feeling, like i had finally gotten this thing off my chest, to this girl i’d known for like three weeks.
finally i got a reply. she texted me that she was being distant because a girl she used to babysit was found murdered in her hometown two nights ago, and she was mourning. i was floored. i didn’t know to respond. i felt like a complete asshole, sending her all of these texts while she was probably in some kind of despondent stupor. and yet, the first thing i did, the very first thing after getting her text, was i googled her hometown to see if it had actually happened. i didn’t believe her! after i found a story on a local news website that sounded very similar to what marie had told me, that’s when i sort of collapsed. i ended up having a panic attack, the only one i’ve ever had, really. i left work to go to lunch and walked around the doug fir cemetery, hyperventilating and trying desperately not to sob around all those dead people. i don’t know how to explain exactly what caused this panic attack, other than it being the straw that broke my lonely, sad, depressed back, forcing me into this introspective hellhole and eventually forcing me to seek out therapy to figure out what the fuck was wrong with me. this was all good stuff, but ultimately very surprising that a single women within a couple week span could totally change my life here in portland.
now, a few years later, i think it was right for me to make sure that woman she babysat was actually murdered.