Battling the Wizard – Part IX
The following catalogs the turmoil that led
to my sudden move to Nederland at the end of January.
It’s extremely long, though each part is reasonable article length.
It pained me to talk to her, to tell her our date was cancelled, possibly for a week or more. It had been a month in coming, and still it couldn’t happen, and now it was my fault. It pained me to cancel plans for the foreseeable future. For the first time in years, I had found a girl I liked, a girl who seemed to like me too, and with whom I was willing to take a chance. And now this.
I left a note for her. It was the best I could do. I didn’t feel I could wait to get home and start packing.
The traffic felt like agony. The instructor who gave me a ride was a veteran with whom I had never chatted.
When I got home, I hopped on facebook. I stared at the screen, wondering if I could even ask for help. That morning, I had asked for a small favor for a friend and it had ruined one day, nearly ruined 10 others, and resulted in what felt like the most emotional fight of my entire life. To ask a large favor from many of my friends, I couldn’t know what the result might be.
“If anyone knows of a room available for the next few months starting February first or a little earlier,” I wrote, “leads would be much appreciated.”
The boxes came out of storage first. I figured I could get mostly packed before Monday, and then I would tell him I was moving out. My bookshelves were near empty in an hour, my clothes started to sort into bags soon thereafter.
And that was when I found the box.
The Wizard had collected some old home movies on reel to reel when he was last in New York. He had mentioned how much he wanted to digitize and preserve them. When I commented on this to my father, he had shipped me a USB dongle that allowed any classic plugs to connect to the computer, letting us turn analog into digital. I had immediately passed this along to the Wizard.
He had returned the box without the cables.
I wandered upstairs, aware of the growing tension anything might bring. The Wizard sat at his desk, staring at some spreadsheet. I knocked gently.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you happen to have the digital converter?”
He stood from his chair without looking at me and stalked across the room. Reaching into the dark recesses of his closet, he dug for a minute before launching the item at me, still without looking at me. I caught it as it struck my chest.
“Thank you,” I said, turning back to my task downstairs.
“Thanks for ruining my day!” he shouted after me.
“You’re welcome,” I said evenly from the top of the stairs. I knew as the words left my mouth that my kind tone didn’t matter. My anger had poked through and I had let slip what slim façade of calm I had left.
“OH!” he screamed as he stormed out at me. “YOU’RE going to SASS ME after what YOU did!?”
“You are the most SELFISH individual I’ve EVER known!” I yelled back, my rage boiling over into a screaming match.
It doesn’t matter what was said. I can’t remember the details anymore; only the anger. I told him I was moving out, that I’d be out by the first of the month. He called me names and swore at me. I’m sure I swore back. I was grateful he didn’t touch me because I would’ve broken him in response.
I was shaking when I got back to my room. The door frame where he had slammed the door as he stormed out was equally. I sat in shock in front of my computer, wondering if this was even possible, whether I could do this and move, whether the situation could be saved.
And then I noticed the date: I had six days to get myself out or I’d miss the deadline I had set myself.
I pecked away angrily for forty-five minutes as I tried to perfect the words I planned to say. But in that time, my anger waned. It always does. And slowly, as I read over those words, I realized they couldn’t be perfect; not all of them, at least.
The only tactic I felt might be successful would be appealing to his self-centeredness. I crafted the letter thusly, taking every opportunity to praise the Wizard and every opportunity to grovel and apologize.
And then I left.
I walked, crying the whole way, upset that I had lost a close friend. I mourned our relationship. I mourned the situation. And then I swallowed my pain and joined a friend for a glass of water and a careful retelling of the situation. I felt worse when they sided with me. I told them such.
I wanted to be the villain. I wanted to be the asshole. I wanted to be wrong.
I was hurt that the Wizard thought so little of me that I would wake him without good reason. I was hurt that the Wizard would choose to remain angry and seek revenge at the first opportunity. I was hurt that the Wizard could treat me like an animal, could question my humanity, could belittle another person so easily.
And I wanted, more than anything, for him to be right, because then I could believe that the Wizard was the good person I had thought he was.
Battling the Wizard – Part X