We were still in a quiet part of town, but when our sexy horse art car came home at five or six in the morning blasting Nirvana, I had to laugh.
Welcome to sleeping in the city, Jay! We don't sleep much here, and we like us our noise.
Or, rather more honestly, we sleep here because we've been out in the air and elements all day and biking or walking for hours every day and all it takes to sleep is being tired and putting in earplugs. Because, yes, I slept very well at Burning Man, and woke up each morning feeling rested and restored. Awesome.
Jay and I biked out to his setup and had breakfast, and then I took off to have the heat of the day to myself. I knew I couldn't stay in our camp, and I forget what Jay was up to for the day but we split ways with plans to meet after dinner/sunset to go to the regional burns together. (On Thursday night, they burn some of the art. Not the main pieces, but some of the pieces made by various cities around the world. Like, the Victoria Burning Man community built a piece and the Reno community, etc. etc.)
I went to center camp, a large, circular area that's partially closed off, and with some shade. There are two stages within center camp with activities going on all day, art all around the space, dancers and partner yoga going on in the center area, and one of the only two places you can spend money (ice sales being the other) in the entire city. Center camp sells coffee and iced drinks and I was happy to lie on the cushions and bolsters that are scattered throughout the space, drinking an iced lemonade and just watching everything going on. I napped for a while, but eventually had to pee so I headed out again.
My bike lock had been acting up (I figured it was the dust) and so after I got help from information to find the closest portapotties (and had to do the birdie dance in exchange for a new map) I went to the bike repair camp and they helped me fix my lock (it wasn't the dust, but a super easy fix, and the guys there were awesome and helpful) I headed out and not half a block away, one of my front brake wires popped off. I was walking my bike back when I ran into a girl in a super mario mushroom costume who worked there and we chatted on our way back to the camp. She and another fellow helped me put my cable back in (I think I could probably do it myself again now) and when I thanked her, I started to cry.
I'm an emotional person, we know this, but something about being helped, just because I was there and needed it kept striking me as the nicest thing. No one wanted anything in return, they were just there to help. Me. And anyone else who needed help. It's kind of an astoundingly awesome thing.
I biked around for a while, mentally shaking my head at myself because there I was out and about in the middle of the day, had I gone crazy? and then I made my way to the clothing boutique camp where they were set up like a store and you could go and find outfits that suited you. I'd felt really out of place (another post another day) and so I found a scarf and a simple long black dress and a cute white shirt and then I headed back to my camp for more down time in shade.
I'd noticed my toe starting to hurt. Not my big toe, but my second toe. When I went to look at it, it was red, but I couldn't see what the problem was. My skin in general was pretty unhappy. Mainly my fingers and hangnail type areas. My fingers were pretty destroyed and that toe in particular was unhappy. My boot was just making it hurt more and when I investigated, my boots felt like rock. (Pretty great hiking boots I got last Spring) My best guess is that while I sweated in them, it turned the dust in them into a sort of hardened rock-like owie making thing, so I switched into my runners and that felt better.
That evening, after another non-meal of beef jerky and almonds, I sat around waiting for Jay. I was feeling pretty anxious. I didn't want to go out with my camp mates, I'm not sure I can explain why other than I ... just didn't want to go with them, but I also didn't exactly want to go with myself. But I didn't want to just sit and wait for Jay if he wasn't going to show.
I had made a last minute decision to just go to the regional burns with my camp mates when Jay showed up. He was annoyed at having to wait for my camp mates to get ready, and I was annoyed that he was annoyed after he showed up much later than he'd said he would.
We took off on our bikes and headed to the burns which were already under way. We made our way to the front of the crowd and sat watching. I leaned over to Jay and told him that I'd like to go to a burn with him.
He replied with "this one."
And I, in that moment, gave up.
It was the final straw for me with him. He'd showed up late, had been frustrated to have to wait for us to leave and now he wasn't even going to consider spending any more time with me, wasn't going to go to another burn with me even as I sat there telling him it's what I'd like. How many more times did I have to let this guy show me how very little I meant to him. This was my ending point.
"This one," he said.
"Okay," I said. "Okay." And I got up and I left.
I stood by our bikes until they came back (Connor had locked his to mine and I didn't want to leave his bike unlocked as it might have been taken) but man oh man did I ever just want to take off into the desert and never see Jay again.
I left them and went to the Temple. I wrote out a bit how I felt about our relationship and I sat and cried. As I was leaving, I turned back and wrote the following...
Loving you showed me how little I think of myself.
And you never even said thank you.
And I cried.
I was dizzy, that's how emotional it all was for me. Seeing him being him, and seeing me wanting more, and how it wasn't really about him, but about how being with him just highlighted how I treat myself and think of myself. And that's where the hurt comes from. Not that he's who he is, that's his life. I hurt because I don't seem to think I'm worth more than this. Or the guy before. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It hurt me that I'm like this to myself.
I was pretty shaky, so I walked my bike around. I found a sculpture piece that broke me down again. It was all questions about YOU. What do you want for your life? How do YOU express yourself? And things like that. I wish I'd had my camera so I could have captured the questions so that I could sit here now and figure them out, but it was just the right thing at the right moment to make me think... about me.
I kept walking around, shaking until I eventually found myself back in center camp. I found a spot and I put in my earphones, threw on some of my music and slept for a while.
I woke up an hour or so later, I don't know what time it was, maybe midnight? But I was a little bit chilly and I knew I should get home.
It was a dark ride home, literally and figuratively and when I got back, Connor showed up but I didn't feel like talking and I told him so.
I remember cleaning my backpack a little, something had spilled and the dust had turned the spill into mud which had hardened and then I went to bed.
It was colder, enough that I was able to use my sleeping bag.
I remember thinking that I would likely not see Jay again. That I was certainly not going to go looking for him and I believed, at that point, with all of me, that he would not bother coming to try to find me.
I was done with him and while I wouldn't say I was happy with it, it was a calm feeling. If one still with some anger.
I remember lying there thinking that the playa was pulsating. The beat of music vibrating, quite literally through the desert floor. I remember thinking that I like the quiet.
I'm not sure that I made any choices with regards to Jay that night but I wrote down that I'm still hooked to him sexually... physically, but that something had changed for me in a major way.
I also wrote down that I was finding it hard to eat. That I wish we had actual meals (which perhaps we would have had if our fridge or stove had been working.) That I felt like I was forcing protein on myself, which was hard, and not because I'm hungry, but because I think I must need it.
(Now, before you jump in with any pitchforks or Jay bashing protest signs*, just know that the week wasn't over yet, and just because I thought I'd never see him again doesn't mean that's what the universe had planned for me.)
* I mean, not that you'd do that you delicious bunch of lovelies, you!