Enter Jennifer, Stage Left

There is a box containing Healthy things. It used to be a box labeled “Only In Dreams,” but then I met Jennifer.

I’ve spent much of my life navigating among messed up relationships of one sort or another. Jennifer is my bestie. (Yes, I call him my bestie. Don’t judge me.) He was the first person to show me that I was navigating among a host of unhealthy relationships, by showing me what healthy interaction looked like.

I told you that I apologize too much. Well. Tonight, I was apologizing to Jennifer. He has been sick, lately. He told me to stop apologizing. I apologized for apologizing, and told him that it is just me. If I knew how or who else to be, so as to not aggravate him, I would change accordingly.

Do you have a person who, theoretically, loves you unconditionally? When said individual is about to call you out for being an idiot, does s/he give you a particular look? My mother has a look.

Jennifer has a different look, but the meaning is the same. He shot me that look. “I’m not asking you to change. I’m not asking you to not be you.”

I love Jennifer for a multitude of reasons. But, this is one of them. Jennifer is the first person in my life to accept me, in all my glory and all my folly. At this time last year, I was trying to figure out how to be the person my then-partner wanted me to be. I’d done it before, and I assumed I would find myself doing it again, at some point. It didn’t compute that I was in an unhealthy situation.

I thought that only in dreams and novels and Nora Ephron movies did people love one another and accept each other in all their imperfections. So, when Jennifer showed me what healthy interaction looks like, I had to relabel my box.


I’ve been fairly sick, recently. My body has decided to join my mind in plotting my early demise. I’m floating somewhere between We Don’t Know What’s Wrong With You and Let’s Wait And See If Things Fix Themselves. As my box of Healthy things rids itself of my body and sends it over to Wish We Were Canadian things, I find myself spending a lot of time thinking about what has found its way into that Healthy box.

Like Jennifer — who does have a box all his own, but likes to travel.


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