: : : LYDIA TAKES FRIDAY AND MONDAY off so that she can take the train over to Ann Arbor and spend a long weekend with Gary. It's her second time out there visiting him since the wedding.
And how many times has he been out here to visit you? Anita asks Lydia, on Tuesday, while they're having their normal lunch-and-coffee session.
Two times, Lydia says. So that's four visits total; five if you count the wedding.
Four visits inwhat?four months?
Basically, Lydia says.
Is it weird? Anita asks. The wholelong-distance thing?
A little, says Lydia. At first I thought it was going to be really hard. But it's actually beenwell, let me put it this wayit's been a long time since I've been in a relationship that's made it to the four-month mark. So something must be working right.
You think the long-distance aspect is actually helping?
Sometimes I think it is, Lydia says. I meanit's easierfor me, anywayto be on like good behavior when it's infrequent like that? If we'd been getting together every weekend through this whole time there'd inevitably have been some day by now where he'd have seen me at my worstall PMS-y, or blood-sugar crashy, or depressedI don't know what. So he could have a totally different perspective on meprobably thinking why the fuck did I get involved with this girl again?
But one weekend a month? Lydia continues. I can manage to be pretty charming for one weekend a month, as long as I've got the whole rest of the month to be all shitty and wrecked.
He's probably doing the same thing, Anita says. Like when he knows you're coming he probably neatens up his apartment and all that
Hides the porn
Yeah, totally, Anita says. But if you were coming over every week eventually he'd start to slip and you'd see the way he really lives.
His apartment hasn't actually been neat at all the two times I've been out visiting, Lydia says, slightly abashed.
You should have seen it before you got there.
Ugh, Lydia says, you're probably right. She guides her straw into her mouth and sips, rolls iced coffee around in her mouth thoughtfully for a second, and swallows. But I don't know. I don't think it's just the long-distance factor that's making it work. He's a really sweet guy and he really seems to care about me; he's funny; he's good in bed; he does this awesome woodworking stuffso yeah, I mean, long-distance or no, I can tell you right off the bat that he's better than the lastwhat?she starts to count them on her fingers but then abandons this projectten guys I've dated.
OK, says Anita. Sounds great. But I can tell that there's something bugging you.
Lydia frowns, takes another sip of coffee, thinks. Yeah, she says, I guess. I meanmaybe it's too early for me to be thinking about this, but this past time I just really started wondering whether this relationship has a future.
Hm, Anita says.
I mean, I like him, Lydia says. I like him a lot. And like I said, he seems to like me a lot. But it doesn't seem like he wants to leave Ann Arborhe grew up there, and he's got this big network of friends, and he shares this studio space with another woodworkerit seems like it'd be hard for him to find a good space like that here in Chicago. Alsohe moved out to Chicago once before for a girlthis is years back nowbut, anyway, it didn't go well, and I think that led him to sort of make up his mind that he wasn't going to do that kind of thing again.
So what about you? Anita asks. Would you move to Ann Arbor to be with him?
I don't know, Lydia says. I mean, I guess it'd be easier for me to go there than it would be for him to come hereI've been in Chicago for five years, which is kind of a long time, but I don't really have roots here, exactlyif anything my roots are more in Detroit, where Maria is, and my dadbeing in Ann Arbor would put me closer to them; that'd be nice. And, you know, my job here is OKI like working for Georgebut, I don't know, it's basically an office job, I could probably find one in Ann Arbor that would be no better or worse than this one.
That's true, Anita says.
But at the same time it seems stupid to think about tearing up my whole life to move to be with someone I've only been involved with for four months. And I've never wanted to be a woman who like moves somewhere to be with a guy. That seems like bad newscause if something happens, the relationship goes sour, whatever
Then you're basically fucked, Anita says. You gave up everything and now you're stuck in some weird city with nothing.
Yeah, Lydia says.
That was how it happened with Dave and I, you know, Anita says. That was why I came to Chicago in the first place. I was living in Iowa City. So that whole going sour thing can happen. And, I mean, you can survive it, butthere was definitely a period in there where I felt like a real idiot.
Great, Lydia thinks.
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