I'm officially unemployed. This isn't news, really. Anyone who knows me already knows this.

I'm in a small town, with few friends, few opportunities to acquire same. Again, not exactly "stop the press" time.

The same small town which makes seeking friends difficult, also make seeking employment difficult. I've got four local newspapers here (where "local" is "anything within about fifty miles") and still effectively zero job prospects. I can't even wait tables.

And then Saturday came along.

I've been writing letters to (and, less frequently, even receiving letters back from) the lovely Christine, my favorite ex. I never had quite gotten over her (even though, at least the most recent time we broke up, it was my fault, er, my decision), and I realize now that I never shall.

On Saturday, I pulled myself out of bed entirely too early, and drove down to Cape Girardeau to see her. It's been three years, and she's every bit as beautiful as I remember. (If she were reading this right now, of course, she'd be laughing hysterically at the notion that she's beautiful. The fact that she's wrong would do nothing to change this.)

The subsequent thirteen hours were a lot of catching up, and more than a little bit of (re)discovery.

Some people laugh at the notion of a "spark" -- the notion that, just by touching someone, you can actually feel the connection, and know, on some very deep, very ancient level, that THIS is meant to be. It can happen, and it has happened. It happened between her and I in 1995, and again in 1998, and again on Saturday.

And after those thirteen hours, simultaneously the shortest and longest in my life, the only thing that was resolved -- and I think "resolved" is a somewhat specious word to use here -- is that neither of us seems to know what's going on.

She's there, with her decent paying job and at least two other men to deal with, and I'm here, with nothing but faint dreams and impossibly empty hopes of her.

Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic. I prefer to think I'm a hopeful one, but I don't know whether I can say that without lying.

maybe I'm just hopeless.