The other night it occurred to me that I had just let this story go unfinished. I had stopped writing for a while because I had nothing interesting to say. I had fallen into a decent routine in Montana and was becoming rather content with my life there. I didn’t quite know how long I’d stay but the adventure part was mostly concluded and regular part had begun. Though all things that begin have an ending, this adventure included.
Quickly glossing over the major points since the last update. My dog had gotten better as suddenly as he had started showing issues. One day he just suddenly was fine. I don’t really know what the issue there was, perhaps he ate something bad, or had a spell of doggie depression, or something scared him bad. I really don’t know. Regardless I was thankful that he recovered and seemed to be back to his old weird self.
The job situation has been getting better as well. I’ve been tasked with some challenging projects and have managed to deliver rather well on all of them. I’ve released several new reusable software packages for our company, began learning a new technology that few people are versed with which will become increasingly useful, and in general have just been doing better. I’m hoping that others will see the same and that the fog of my previous lackluster performance may eventually evaporate. I’m always a tad nervous about such things, but the stress levels are at an acceptable minimum for the time being.
So then, that brings us to what happened since that post. I joined a gym in town and found that it was home to a couple of other martial artists, literally two. I had my gym bag on the floor and the instructor happened to notice my gloves and shin pads while I was lifting. It was a small place and me being the only other male of fighting age in the room he asked if I was a fighter. I stumbled for a moment because I really didn’t know how to answer. Sure I’ve trained, and am interested but I’ve never competed, and I certainly don’t think of myself as being terribly competent. Still a managed to choke out
‘I like to think I used to be. It’s been a while though’.
‘Ah well Lance and myself train here a couple nights of week if you’d be interesting in practicing with us.’
It was both a shock and a blessing to find two other people in this tiny town both training a style of martial arts I was familiar with. I couldn’t believe my luck. He gave me the details and I started with them the next day. Of course after my year of slacking my cardio was lacking badly, but thankfully my form remain in decent shape and I didn’t make a total fool of myself, well until sparing that is.
Lance, the other fella who was training there was basically a direct student of the main trainer. Lance is working toward actually becoming a professional fighter and has put in quite a bit of time toward this goal. The fact that he had a fight coming up in two days certainly bolstered his energy levels as well. Now I having been out of the game for a while obviously am a bit rusty, but I was still more than happy to move around again when our trainer asked if I’d be comfortable doing some sparring. The round began smoothly enough, trading some leg kicks, moderate speed punch combinations and blocks. I was able to defend against and attempted take down and turn it into a guillotine choke (one of my favorites) which to Lance’s credit he was able to undo rapidly. This continued for a little longer until as these kinds of things have a habit of doing, started moving a little faster. I was able to keep up mostly on the defensive as he upped his offense and kept him at bay where I could with teap and sidekicks. Eventually he found an opening after I dropped my left hand guard a little too low after throwing a right cross and I paid for it. If you’ve never been punched in the face, especially by a glove it’s an interesting feeling. The world kind of just, ceases for a moment as your brain recalibrates. It’s almost like hitting the degauss button on an old TV or monitor. I stumbled back put my hands up until I was sure the onslaught was over and took a moment to assess the damage. Thankfully nothing major just a black eye with a slight cut around the eye. Still it was enough to decide to be done for the evening. No hard feelings of course, he’s an energetic young fighter who had a bout coming up and full of nervous energy. It wasn’t malicious so all’s forgiven. This kind of training kept up for the next couple weeks (with less black eyes). We started all lifting together as well as training and had a nice little dynamic going. I could have seen myself with that group for a long while to come. Alas it was not to be.
It’s hard to say exactly how things came crumbling down. I really to this day do not know exactly what happened, only a rough outline of the shape of the events that unfolded and ultimately drove me away. As I had written about previously I had become good friends with the gal living in the cabin next to mine. We hung out frequently, went to bars together and had movie nights in my cabin. We both knew were damaged goods and would not be long term compatible due to differences in direction we wanted our lives to take. Still we enjoyed each other’s company and made the best of the little chunk of time the universe had decided to grant us. Then, she turned from me in a most spectacular fashion. I don’t recall exactly what transpired but one evening she asked me if I had told anyone the things she had told me. Her family life and past were littered with deeply scaring stories, obviously things told in confidence. We also spoke of many things which one would consider public knowledge. I think in the end my inability to tell the two apart for some of the grey area matters are what became my undoing.
You see, when you live in a remote area, have very few people to talk with, gossip is the entertainment de jour and the bar is the primary convention center for the town, well people tend to talk. The next part here is pure speculation of me attempting to piece together what I think may have happened. I do not remember for sure, honestly my memory of the night in question is foggy at best but it seems likely that I may have shared some details about her life that I should not have with a person at the bar. The person I beleive I was talking to was a mutual aquaintance and he had asked a couple questions, which I must have thought were harmless enough. Apparantly I was mistaken.
A few days after, she confronted me. Obviously upset she asked if I had told anyone about the things she had told me. I scanned my memory and couldn’t find anything that seemed noteworthy. I said I had not and asked what had happened. She spoke on vaugly about someone knowing something they shouldn’t. Since I was the only one she seemed to confide in obviously the blame rested on me for this leak. I apologized for my supposed transgression and queried for further details which were not forthcoming. She left the conversation still quite angry. I stood dumbfounded not entirly sure what had just happened, only that I was up shit creek, and she wasn’t going to be calmed.
More days passed, probably half a week or so. She had decided to go on another adventure and wasn’t responding to my texts. I didn’t quite know what else to do, so I simply figured I’d again try to resolve the situation and figure out what had happened when she returned. Friday rolled around and it was time for my weekly D&D game where I’d use my webcam to remote into the game at the house back in Minnesota. Jim had been curiouis about how the game was played and I invited him over to come watch. After venturing into town for booze and supplies I returned and the game began. It went well, I beleive ending with us taking over a city of some kind. Finally at probably 2:00am her car’s headlights lights illuminated the side of my cabin. Shit, meet fan.
I had recently taken to practicing calligraphy (the art of pretty writting) and decided that perhaps a hand written apology letter for whatever misdeed I had done would perhaps have some effect. Jim offered to give it to her for me, since he knew her and myself were not on great terms and he was a neutral party. I agreed and he went to deliver the note. They talked for a few minutes, I sat inside half watching whatever the hell was coming out of the TV. After probably five minutes had passed Jim returned and said she was still rather upset and likely wouldn’t really want to have anything to do with my anymore. My heart sank but I realized the battle was over. I had lost a friend over an allegation of a nebelous crime. Saddened we continued to placate ourselves with drink and netflix. Maybe a half hour later came a knock on my door. I got up an answered. She stood in the doorway staring daggers and thrust her own written note into my chest and left. Now, again we had been drinking some at this point and I didn’t have any desire to hang onto this note so obviously I’ll be paraphrasing here. The basic gist is that I am a vile human being with no respect for others. An alcoholic man-child, who never grew up. The insults and vitriolic hate spanned most of a page, I stood in shock reading her venomous rage. I still didn’t know what I had done, but whatever it was, apparently it was well beyond repair. I walked outside and stared at the sky. Suddenly something clicked.
‘Jim! Get your ass out here.’
I bellowed. He came out a moment later looking sheepish. Now I’m not proud of this next interaction, but it did happen and this is an honest of an account as I can give. I grabbed him his collar and threw him against the cabin wall. I showed him note and demanded to know what he knew about it. He stammered
‘Nothing, I don’t know anything! What’s wrong?!’
The words practically acid as they fell from my mouth. I let go of his collar and handed him the scrawled words. He read it and had little to say.
‘What did you tell her when you gave her my apology?’
‘Nothing really, just that you were sorry and didn’t mean to upset her.’
‘You were out there talking for a while for not saying much.’
‘I was asking her how her trip was, and such.’
‘You had better hope that I don’t find out that you double crossed me somehow.’
‘I didn’t I swear.’
I shot him one last menacing look and went back inside. To me it all made perfect sense. Here is Jim, a guy who here is here on probation for crimes caused by lack of impulse control. He also made it know when I had first arrived that he also fancied the girl in question. At one point her cabin seems to have been broken into as well while she was away, the intruder was not caught. Using information he found in her cabin he started a rumor or told someone something he shouldn’t have known about her. This comes full circle and Jim claims ignorance because how could he know something if she never told him right? Then when he gives her the apology on my behalf he says some further disparaging things about me. He thinks that if I’m no longer a viable options perhaps he could get closer to her. She responds with rage toward me and Jim looking like an innocent bystander. Today I don’t know if that’s how it went down and honestly I’m not sure if Jim has the mental faculties to devise such a plan but the pieces do seem to fit. Or perhaps it’s just as simple as I got drunk and said something I shouldn’t have. I don’t know, and I probably never will. Could be I’m just trying to subconciously shift blame. Hell if I know.
After a moment passed to calm down, I invited Jim back in. Obviously he was hesitant but feeling defeated and remorseful my anger had most vanished. I waved him in and we shared drink. I announced that I would be leaving the next day so we should probably have some fun before I take off. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and we partied until the late hours. The next morning I quickly packed my things. I decided to bite the bullet and knock on her door one more time before I left, I thought I heard to her stirring but she did not answer. I hung my head and let out a heavy sigh. With a heavy heart I departed, leaving Eureka in my rearview.
That day I left I managed to make it back to Jordan Montana, the same little town I had stopped in at the night before I arrived in Eureka. I even went to the same little bar. I ordered a beer and some nachos, and reflected on what had transpired. Thankfully an outgoing bartender and a few lively patrons proved to be an enjoyable distraction from my melancholy. A few hours in I received a text from the girl from Eureka. More anger, more insults. I calmly replied asking simply what she hoped to gain from this. I was already gone, out of her life forever. What more could she want? She replied saying she didn’t know but was angry and wanted to vent. I again queried what she was angry about, and yet again she ignored my question and continued on her rant. Her final message said she was blocking and that I should never try to contact her again, a request which at this point I am only too happy to oblige. I silence my phone and slide it back into my pocket returning to the conversation at hand. We shoot some pool and the guy who I’ve been chatting with says I can park in his driveway and sleep in my car there if I’m afraid of the cops hassling me about parking my car on the street overnight (though they said that was quite unlikely). I took the offer and at bar close, he, the bartender and myself all went to his place and had some drinks. I slept in my car and when I awoke everyone was already gone. I walked Hiei around for a bit and continued my journey. I spend much of the drive across the barrens processing what had happened, trying to make some sense of it. I glace over at Hiei sleeping peacfully in the passenger seat. I decide I could learn a lot from him and try to stop worrying about it. I arrived back home in Minnesota late evening on Sunday, friends and food waiting. It had been quite a journey and I’m still mulling over some of the lessons. Despite the less than ideal ending I’m glad I did it. If you should ever get the chance I’d recommend spending some time out in Montana, you never know what you might find.
Thanks for reading.