If you can store anxiety in your body without really knowing you've done it, I wonder if you can do that same with sadness. I know I get these big knots in my shoulders all the time, and I know they're from stress. There are things I can do to relieve it: take epsom salt baths, rub on Tiger Balm, stretch. It comes back from time to time, but at least I know what causes it. This helps me deal with it and get through all the things I need to do in any given day.

So this is what I've done so far to help me deal with my sadness, the loneliness brought on by having broken up with my boyfriend last night. A good friend.

Last night when I got home from exchanging keys and whatnot, I called Mike but he was out for the night. Then I called Ken. He came over and we went for a walk to the Quarter because, well, I had to get out of the apartment. We walked over to where Suzy and Bryan work and we talked for a bit. Like many, they were very sorry about the news but offered their support as friends. Ken and I went to Popey's and he helped me finish the fries that came with a very good hot dog. Sadness, it seemed, had shaken my body; I felt like I was in shock or something. My stomach was fluttery and my heart kept jumping like all of a sudden I'm some scared animal. It made it hard to eat, but I had to. I wanted to know if it was just low blood sugar.

We stopped by Reverend Zombie's (which is right next door to Popey's) in hopes of meeting a noder we were hoping to meet at the gathering a few weeks before, shannonhubbell. He was working and we talked a bit, ogling all the Voodoo wares strung up in the ceiling. I was getting tired, finally, and Ken walked me home. Mike had called while I was out to check on me, so I returned his call, catching him on his cell while on his way back home. He convinced me to keep talking to him until he got home, as he had slipped into the mode where he just wanted to keep driving around. I could barely stay awake for the end of the conversation. Mike is my friend. He knew this would work.

I awoke at 5am, then again at 6. I made breakfast, watched some morning news, and waited for Ken to show up around 9. He went with me to the office of the man who owns The Quilt Shop, Richard, to help him get started on making changes to the store's website, while I caught up on a month's work of bookeeping. We were there until 3 or so, and then Ken wanted to show me this Vietnamese bakery way out in New Orleans East. On our way there, we had to cross a drawbridge. The boat had passed and the bridge was down again, but they hadn't raised the barricades. The boat seemed to be stuck between leaving from under our bridge and passing under the next bridge over, I-10, which at the time was blocked because of a passing train underneath. 20 minutes passed. People started getting out of their cars, hoping their impatience would motivate those in the tower. Still the barricades stayed down. They would rise, one, then down, then the second, then down, until some people behind us, coming up a ramp, began orchestrating their cars to go back down the one way ramp. Some car in front of us got brave and went under the barricade and successfully crossed. Then a black man on a cell phone went over to the striped bar and lifted it with one hand, slowly raising it so the rest of us could pass. Ken screamed at the people on the other side who were also impatiently waiting, "Blast through the barricades!" I was laughing, and the twittering in my heart and stomach went away. Laughter, I am discovering, helps in moments of this kind of sadness, the helpless kind.

This bakery was way out in the sticks. Before we got there, Ken showed me the place where he was first hired when he moved here, Royce Instruments. I don't know what they make; all I know is that their funding has run out and everyone is laid off by now. I learned that the Royce buildings were near the NASA facility and a Folger's coffee plant. Ken rolled down the windows while asking himself, "I wonder if they're roasting now." Indeed they were and the steam outside smelled delicious. He told me one of the warehouses at Royce was owned by Folgers and Royce employees had access to it by way of their ID badge. He said it looked like the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, only with Folgers cans.

The bakery had lots of green things, green like cheap jade green, and made of something called mung beans. I bought some coconut macaroons and an Orange Crush, and Ken bought a few custard dumplings and some of these pastries made with mung. He tried to get me to taste one, but one smell of it reminded me precisely of vitamins. I nibbled very small piece and was promptly revolted. It had sucked all the moisture from my mouth. From there we headed back to Richard's where my car was parked, Ken pointing out all the restaurants he went to for lunch while he worked at Royce.

I came home to a few messages. Mike and jethro_bodine both called to check in on me, which made me smile. I had made plans with Mike and Terri (different Mike) to rent a movie tonight, and they in addition invited me over for dinner. Mike and I walked to Tower Records. I bought a new pack of smokes and Mike smoked his pipe; we talked about this table he's made to put on commission in a store in the Quarter. I wanted to rent Something Wicked This Way Comes, but they didn't have it, so we rented Shrek instead. Something funny. I learned that while I thought it was hilarious, that it is likely just as hard for a fasting person to deal with the outside world and its constant association with food as it is to watch any Disney or otherwise animated film without romance. I borrowed Aladdin and The Addams Family from them anyway.

On the drive back to my place, again I was overcome with shaking, as though my silence had brought on hypoglycemia. My teeth were chattering. Suzy called and left a message for me, and again I smiled. I am now looking around the apartment and see no traces of my ex, no sign that he was ever here in my life. Just all my things and the rest of my life to get on with.

This is just one evening and one full day of coping with sadness. So far, I guess, things are going pretty well. Of course, it may just be that all I need to do to dispel the butterflies inside me is to cry. I sobbed uncontrollably on the way to and from his house last night, and I am not ready to cry again just yet.

I wanted to thank all of you who have reached out to me to comfort me. The gathering I had here couldn't have been better planned, as it is the most current memory of one of my happier moments. This is where making friends pays me back with double kindness, for in my pride it is so hard to reach out in need, but I can't do it alone, completely.