I decided to see him today.
I believed that the odds were best to go to Graywhale first. Since I assumed he was still the manager at the store in Draper, it didn't seem plausible I'd have a good reason for being all the heck in Draper without good reason. So I'd pretend I was going to Graywhale, in pursuit of some vinyl record or something. Passing by his store, he'd see me, and then I'd go into Graywhale and text him, asking if it was okay to go say hello. It seemed like a desperate plan (to do what?) but ultimately feasible.
It was a bittersweet relief when I came to his store only to find it abandoned and empty. Void of form. It seemed as if it had gone out of business.
I thought about laughing it off and just moving on, go back to Orem and just spend the rest of the evening with my family. Ideally, that might be what I "should've" done. But I rarely do what I should do. I decided to go to the store in American Fork, and if I didn't find him there, then I'd call it a day and try some other time.
I tried talking myself out of it, of course. I was split in two and my two sides were arguing with one another. It has been seeming, more and more lately, that I am one of two people, and rarely at once. When I am those two people at once, all they do is bicker and fight like a seasoned couple about to divorce.
"You are not ready to see him again! And you know it!" You can't tell me what to do! "You want proof? Then here's one question: Would you feel okay if you didn't see him today?" Yes. "Be honest." ...Yes, I would. "You have to know you'd be okay if you didn't see him today." All right, I am! "You have to know you'd be okay if you didn't see him for another month or so." Well...yeah, sure. "You have to know you'd be okay if it took years. ...You have to know you'd be okay if you never, ever saw him again." ...I........ "...You're not ready."
Before long, I found myself in AF. I was nervous when I walked up to the store; I was even more nervous when I realized he wasn't there, but someone else was. Some almost freakishly tall guy walked up to me. "How can I help you?" By now, the other side was not just angry for me not giving up and going home, but was thrashing inside me in protest, begging me not to ask -
"I'm looking for Erik. Do you know where he is?"
He didn't know. Erik had left the company. What for? From guy's evasive tone, I surmised that Erik had been fired.
So I left the store. And I did one more irrational thing. I texted him, saying I'd been by the store and been told he'd left. He answered, and we had a short conversation that I'm still wondering if it was out of "friendship" or necessity.
I don't know what I want from him. At first I thought it was closure. Then, perhaps, it was to see him again...to know he actually exists. And then I wondered if I thought seeing him again would bestow some sort of enlightenment. Forgiveness. Atonement. And since I'm aware of the danger in depending on someone or something for all that, I have to ask myself if that's really what I'm looking for.
But I do not know what I am looking for. I don't know who I am anymore.