I don't get to see a lot of people very often. There are friends like Patrick who live close and others like Will who move around a lot. But other people, even ones I've known for years (ugh, up to decades, now that I think about it...) live here and I never really get much interaction. Hell, my own sister has been moving back and forth between here and North Jackson off and on for months now with the trade caravans, and I rarely see her.
So it was kind of weird to suddenly have old friends knocking on my door yesterday. Elizabeth came by with her husband and kid (!) to see how I was doing. They stayed for a bit, catching up on things, and it was nice. Shortly after they went on their way, Jamie showed up. It has been so long since I've seen him that I almost forgot about him completely. And he was walking around on his false leg and everything. So strange to see so many changes. Jamie has apparently been working exclusively as a sharpshooter for most of this year, perched up in a watchtower. Though we were never best friends, he and I have seen some serious shit together, and it was nice to know he was thinking about me.
Then he started mentioning this blog and how he reads it. Which made me wonder: why would he need to catch up with me? For better or for worse, my life is out here for all of you to peruse at your ledger. I can buy that Jamie was genuinely worried given my last few posts, but I've publicly been through a hell of a lot worse without prompting old friends to come by.
I started wandering around, trying to figure out who was suggesting to old friends that they come see me. I cornered Will first, but he denied it. Will would tell me if I asked him outright, even if he'd never volunteer the truth. I knew Patrick didn't do it; he has been working his ass off at the forge for a few weeks. At night, too, which DOESN'T KEEP ME UP AT ALL, MOTHERFUCKER!
...Sorry. I have these moments where I want to sleep and some people wake me up and I get grumpy about it.
I grilled everyone. Gabby, Phil, Courtney and Steve, anyone I could find who might try to lighten my mood by sending people to visit me. It's not a bad tactic, after all. It worked before. But try as I might, there was no joy. I couldn't figure out who did it. After several hours of hoofing it all over New Haven, from the very far wall of West past the gates of East and the hospital, I ended up at the Box. Jess was working there, and has been for the last few days. She's setting up the first pieces of the greenhouses over in the buildings next to the Box.
I spent a few minutes telling her about my day and how irritating it was for people--however good their intent--to spring visits on me by telling people I might not be quite right. I bitched and moaned that I wasn't an invalid, that I didn't need the attention, that I can deal with my own problems without being a burden to other people.
Then Jess told me she had asked folks to stop by, spread out over a few days. Jess has always been painfully shy, and while she has grown and changed tremendously over the last few years, one consequence of years spent avoiding other people is a unique ability to do without them. It sounds strange, but being pathologically unable to deal with people made my wife's view of the world alter to fit that urge to hide. I wouldn't have thought she would even consider asking people to come see me while she was away. That it occurred to her at all that I might enjoy that is frankly amazing.
It's not that she isn't thoughtful, you understand. She is. She's very caring, but she would be more comfortable around just me and a few others. Uninvited guests are not her ideal way of relaxing. She told me that I've been acting strange around the house. Sad, less accessible. Discouraged. She felt responsible, so she didn't think it would be best for her to try to fix me. So she asked friends. Her line of reasoning was simple; seeing people for the first time in a long while might remind me of better days. Jess wanted to help.
And she's right, of course. If my wife, who sees me every day, thinks there's a problem then there probably is. I trust her judgment above nearly anyone else, and when it comes to me and denial I can always count on her to set me straight. I don't know what it says about me that I apparently didn't think any other person was capable of the same insight when I didn't know it was her that sent Elizabeth and Jamie. That's probably not a good thing.
Questioning yourself in crisis can be fatal. But in peaceful times, for people like me, it becomes a vital diagnostic tool. The Fall and the years since have made inner reflection absolutely necessary. It's easy to be sure of your actions when you're fighting the dead, but those habits and ways of thinking need to be evaluated constantly.
Because we don't just deal with the dead, do we?