February 16, 2014: I felt trapped. Suffocating in a relationship that no longer had a future; with a man I had long fallen out of love with. Two days after Valentine’s Day and the only thing I was looking forward to was my move out date in 6 days. There is nothing harder than having a one-sided relationship with a man who won’t meet you halfway; nothing more heartbreaking than kissing a man who won’t kiss back; nothing more pathetic than crying alone on my side of the bed when he was less than an arm’s length away.
April 26, 2014: I turned 29. One year away from the big 30 and even with all that I had accomplished, I still felt dissatisfied with my life. But that was nothing new. Growing up, I always wanted more for myself and more out of the life I was so blessed to have. But that weekend was more than about me feeling like I was stuck in a rut; it was also the weekend I found out my good friend passed away…the day after I saw him for my birthday dinner. Even now, replaying the moment I heard the news still brings tears to my eyes. I still remember for my 26th birthday, he got to work early to blow up balloons and decorate my desk area to surprise me.
That was the kind of friend he was. He sat next to me for almost 2 years and kept me laughing and my spirits high every day that we worked together. When I moved into my first apartment alone, he gave me a really nice glass set. Till this day, it is still the glass set I drink from. It is so hard to explain what it feels like to see someone arriving on their customary motorcycle, to eat and laugh, to hug them good-bye…like you two have done for the last 5 years, only to find out that they got into a fatal motorcycle accident the next morning. As much as his friendship affected my life; his death affected it even more. Now more than before, I understood the meaning of cherishing every moment, appreciating every friendship, and most importantly to truly love living. It was at that moment, I knew I had to worry less about the future, enjoy the present, and pursue my daydreams even harder.
July 10, 2014: For the first time in my life, I stepped onto European soil. After a year of planning, saving, and daydreaming about the moment; it passes by in a blink of an eye. My best friend and I spent the next 2 weeks exploring Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid and it was a life changing experience; as most international travels always are. There is no way I can put into words what it feels like to walk down a cobblestone street listening to beautiful Italian accents, while enjoying an authentic gelato with my best friend, under a beautiful sun, with the iconic Roman Colosseum in sight. There is nothing as refreshing as “summer wine” in Madrid after a long, hot day or as delicious as spicy potato fritters at Bar Nuria (http://http://www.nuria.com/en/#_=_) while people watching in Barcelona. It is every bit as amazing as I had imagined it would be and exactly the break from my real life that I needed. If you are ever presented with the opportunity to travel internationally, do it!! It will bring more value to your life than any designer purse, spa day, or luxury car that will only depreciate over time. Traveling opens your eyes to sights not seen on tv and enlightens your soul, like few other things in this world can.
July 26, 2014: I had fallen in love/in lust with a married man. In life you always say there are certain things you will never do, certain lines you will never cross but the older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that list gets shorter and shorter as I continue to break all the imaginary “rules” I laid out for myself. We spent all day at the beach and it was like a scene from a movie. A wonderful, sweet, sappy, and romantic movie. We laid out on the beach, frolicked among the waves, and kissed on the shoreline as the waves crashed against our laps.
Some people are in your life for a reason and he helped to remind me of what amazing chemistry felt like, what passion and love could be like…with the right person. He wasn’t the “right” person, but when he touched me, it felt like magic. When he kissed me and made love to me, I thought of nothing and no one else. We were both so deprived of intimacy, that we poured all of that need into each other. I had more orgasms in the few months I was with him, then I did in the year before I met him. He looked at me and I felt beautiful. When I had a bad day, he would make a point to send me funny videos. When I got discouraged, he would push and motivate me. He always believed that I would go on to do bigger and better things, sometimes more than I did. In the shortest time, he somehow colored my world more than he will ever know.
October 1, 2014: I found out I didn’t get the promotion at work. I was beyond insulted and thought I was more qualified than some of the others who got the promotion. I didn’t know it at the time, but this event was the main catalyst that would propel me to start looking outside my comfort zone. Looking back, I am so thankful that I didn’t get this promotion because if I did, I would have stayed in the same city I grew up in, surrounded by my family and friends, and my life would have completely taken another path than the journey I am on now.
October 27, 2014: The day that changed my life forever and I hated him. I wished he would get hit by a semi-truck and be forever paralyzed from the neck down. If my life were a reality show; this episode would be the season finale. I became every single crazy woman stereotype and continued breaking all of my “rules”. Catch him in multiple lies and stay with him – check. Catch him cheating and stay with him – check. Allow yourself to be in a love triangle and stay with him – check. Drive over to his house banging on the door and screaming at the top of your lungs at 2 in the morning – check. Try to get your roommate and 4 of his big friends to threaten the guy – check. Ask your pregnant sister if you could please have some of her urine so you can pretend to be pregnant – check. Out of every dark storm, there is a silver lining and my sanity was saved by the most unlikeliest person. “The other woman” made me a stronger person; she became my support group when I felt like I had no one else who could understand me. Despite all the hurt and anger, we became friends as he becomes a distant memory. Some days it is still a struggle to not think of him and as I feel that dark anger and sadness start to engulf me, she reminds me….everything will be ok, everything will get better, and I am beautiful and amazing and loved. We still talk on a regular basis and I know that, even though the bonds that tie us together are dark and ugly, we will be friends for the rest of our lives.
November 17, 2014: I got the job! Everything happened in a whirlwind. Things were so bad at my last job that one day I went home and applied to 6 open positions. My best friend kept talking about the DC area and out of desperation, I just happened to apply to 2 jobs in the DC area that I found through LinkedIn. I got a phone interview that Thursday and an in person interview the following Monday. I walked into the firm and it felt like home; like I belonged there. I came home after the interview and told my roommate that the job was made for me and I don’t know who could have been more of a better candidate. I logged into my email to write out a thank you letter and had an offer waiting for me…4 hours after I had left my interview. Three weeks later, I moved to an unfamiliar city where I barely knew anyone and just prayed that I had made a good decision and that this move was for the best. Two months later, and I am happy to proclaim that this was the best decision I have ever made for myself.
February 14, 2015: I had a great Valentine’s Day. To think that just a year ago, I was dreading Valentine’s Day. I was getting over a cold at the same time that I was getting over my relationship. I woke up to a card, chocolates, and cough drops. Fast forward a year and I am enjoying Spanish tapas and refreshing sangrias, with one of the sweetest and most understanding guys I’ve ever met. We are laughing, he’s speaking Spanish to me, I am watching the snow falling outside, and he’s rubbing my bare feet that fit so comfortably on his lap. He knows parts of me that are dark, sees the tension that these secrets bring to me, and accepts me and my baggage wholeheartedly. He kisses me, touches me, and all the anger of the last 5 months slips away. I am still learning what his purpose in my life is, but he is giving me something to believe in again.
February 16, 2015: I am free. I love my new job. I love my new city. I am starting to love my body again. I have two international trips planned. My writer’s block has finally been lifted and I’m writing again. At this moment, all seems right in my life and I could not ask for anything more. I am happier than I have been in a long time.
NOTE TO ANY MAN I DATE IN THE FUTURE: You must be willing to leave your uneaten food at the table, walk to the car parked a few blocks away, to go get your phone charger, so that you can take pictures of me, if that is my desire. Yes…my pedestal for what I expect out of my future man has risen even higher! But don’t blame me…blame him.
The him that causes me to smile that comfortable, easy smile, shared between friends and past lovers. The him that can pull off a hot pink dress shirt, brown slacks, and brown and pink matching socks to complete the outfit. He looked good.
We argued on the way to the restaurant because he was late, had no idea where he was going, and I was hungry. After 7 years, some things never change. We talked, we laughed, we took pictures and teased each other about who was the more conceited one out of the two of us. After looking through the pics on his phone, the evidence was clear that it was him.
We don’t always get along and barely agree on anything, but for some reason we have remained in each other’s lives, despite a short-lived romance that was more down than up. We don’t have much in common, don’t share the same circle of friends, and haven’t even made time to see each other, yet for some reason I know his number will never be deleted from my phone. My friends sometimes wonder why I put up with his snarky remarks and uncensored comments. It’s for the same reason I still am close with my high school friends, still keep in touch with folks from college…I like having someone in my life who can appreciate the woman I have become, because they once knew the girl I was. He is one of the few guys out there, who knows how I voted during the presidential election of 2004, who knows what I looked like in pictures that I have long since deleted from Facebook, and who will proudly acknowledge my success because he once helped me complete homework assignments.
He has a good head on his shoulder and a good heart. Someday he will learn to love a woman who will put up with his weird disdain for water, Michael Jackson obsession, and conceited mirror loving ways. If they are blessed enough to have children, he will be the most devoted and loving father. That wife and mother won’t be me…but it was nice to know, that at one time it could have been.
We haven’t spoken since that dinner and he is moving to Atlanta, Georgia…this time for the right reasons. If our history is any indication, it will be months, maybe years before we speak or ever see each other again. But the last text he sent me said, “If my wife doesn’t mind, you will be invited to my wedding.” I will take that, as an early invitation. Until then, good-bye for now and take care.
Damn it, he saw me. I’ve been avoiding his gaze for at least 2 weeks now…and I think he knows it. He somehow senses that my absence from his evening cigarette reveries… is not by accident. He invites me over and I decline and he does not push it, like he usually would. My conversation is less revealing and my body language steers me towards my own front door…instead of his. There has been a change and he wants to say something…to justify it…to correct it, but he has not done anything wrong to begin with. And I know this…and he knows this. He will not be able to bring me back to a state of openness, late night laughter, and secret whispers…and this permanence slightly dents my heart.
There are things he wants to tell me but there are questions that I refuse to ask…so for the first time in our short acquaintance, there is that awkward silence. My eyes gaze into his and I choke on my own thoughts of wondering who she was. All it took was a glance, to see that the skinny, pale, blond girl, was everything I am not…and that secretly makes me glad. As she shakes my hand, I glance down at her barely there breasts and I wonder if she knows how his eyes water and mouth begs for a glimpse of mine. I see how her pale skin has not been kissed by the sun and I wonder if she knows how he marvels at my golden tone, whether it’s under the night sky…by candlelight…or being lit by television sitcom rays. And her hair…her thin, stringy, blonde hair…it will never do, for he likes to entwine his hands in my thick, dark locks and bury his face in its scent until it lulls him to sleep.
I haven’t seen her again…but I know she will be one of many. Just like he has seen male visitors, though they are few and far between, and noted that their skin was darker than his, their girth twice his size, and their voice missing that country twang that distinguishes his. Sometimes the line between what we want right now and what we usually prefer, is as different as night and day.
He misses me, I can tell because his words give him away. He notices my early mornings, my late nights, my flowers blooming and even my wind chime, that does not chime. Its silence reflects my heart when I decided that we can no longer cross that thin line between mine and his. No more sunburn ointments, no more stormy night reassurances, no more grocery bag favors, no more bottle opener borrowings…no more going that extra mile for no other reason except for the pleasure of seeing the other pleased. The fact that I have reduced us to two pleasant strangers passing within an arm’s length away…saddens me. But this is how it must be.
Tonight, he asked if I had any more groceries and if I needed help carrying them up. Some lies have a purpose, so I lied and said no. He somehow senses that my absence from his evening cigarette reveries… is not by accident…and I just confirmed it.