Monday, 26 December 2011

Xmas Cheer

Hi all,

My family surprised me with a fun trip to somewhere nice and warm! So, minor hiatus until the 31st.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Boozy in Budapest

Reading week quickly came up during first semester. I didn't have any plans - just figured I would get caught up in my school work or try to get ahead. I was also looking forward to touring London and I had started to make some good friends and was occupying myself with them. 

I still thought about M alllllll the time, but I forced myself not to message him and I'm proud to say I didn't. I think it's pretty important to respect what he had asked of me. 

On the Tuesday night of reading week I got a message from a friend of mine, Greg. Greg and I were best friends during most of university, but the summer before I went travelling and ultimately met M, Greg told me he was in love with me. I told him he was in love with the idea of being in love with his best friend, but that he wasn't really in love with me. Greg had only ever had relationships that started in a club with a hook up and were kind of messy the whole way through. He's cheated on every girlfriend he's ever had and he has told me on occasions he intends to get married at least twice... Boyfriend material? I think not. But best friend material? Absolutely. Greg is super fun. We like the same things. He always makes me laugh. I indulge him in conversations that no one else will because they think he's nuts, which he is of course, but it's all part of his charm. It works for him. And he takes good care of friends; he would move mountains for them without even being asked to.

We met because we were neighbors in first year university. There was a brief flirtation, but it never amounted to anything. I started dating someone else (the neighbor on the other side - oh boy!) and he started his recurring weird club hook up patterns. But we still hung out, watched movies, talked for hours, studied together, and just had fun! Throughout the first three years of university it pretty much went on like this. Then we drifted a bit, he moved further, we had opposite schedules... but any time we saw each other it was always like we'd never been apart. 

Once I started dating M things got difficult. Greg really didn't like M. M didn't like the drama that Greg could cause, and eventually I was forced to pick who I wanted to spend my time with. Obviously, M won  - it was never even a contest in my mind. 

Back to the Tuesday night, Greg said that he was sitting in the airport on his way to Budapest for the week by himself to deal with some family stuff and he thought I should get on a plane and come meet him. Greg's mom had lived in Budapest for the majority of his life. His parents were divorced and his mother had passed away about a year ago. She left everything to him and he needed to go and deal with final bank transfers and land titles and what not. 

At first I thought he was nuts, and then I thought a little more. The more I thought about it, the better of an idea it seemed to be. I was off school for a week. I wanted to travel around Europe while I was in London. It was a free place to stay in Hungary, which was not a place I probably would have thought to go to. It was a new experience. I could work from there... What was the point of living in Europe if I didn't have some fun with it?

Now, I won't pretend I am entirely naive and innocent in this situation. I clearly knew that if I went something would happen. If you want the honest truth, which is massively embarrassing to put down in writing, I was terrified at the idea of being with someone other than M. It had been 3 and a half years. I was used to M, it was amazing with M, M knew my body and I knew his, and it was comfortable in a not-lazy-sort-of-way. But, at some point I was going to hook up with someone else and Greg seemed like a really good place to start. I knew how Greg felt about me and I also knew that some of those feelings were still lingering - he would be very honest about that whenever he saw me. So, as nervous as I was, I bought a ticket for Thursday departure and Sunday return. 

Greg was adorable. He sent me an itinerary of what we should do, and instructions about what taxis to take and which not to take, exchange rates, languages, weather, and everything else under the sun. He messaged me to make sure I wouldn't miss my flight on Thursday. He was just really thoughtful. 

I was still nervous. I had two glasses of wine on the airplane. 

Once I landed I exchanged some money and hoped into a cab. Greg was waiting for me at his place. He gave me a quick tour and, to my large relief, showed me my room with my own bed. I dropped my stuff and we decided to head out for dinner. 

We went to a local restaurant. The food was amazing, like really amazing!!! And of course there was wine. We talked about everything. We started with a big catch up about our lives in general. He was telling me about his grad school that he's almost done, and I told him all about London and my old job. Things snapped back to exactly how they were 5 years ago when we were closest. We laughed a lot. We talked about his mom a bit. We talked about my family too. By the end of dinner the bottle of wine was gone. 

We headed back to his place, where we continued to drink. At the end of next bottle of wine the topic of M finally came up. 

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Freaking over Facebook

I messaged M anyways.

I poured my heart out. Told him how much I missed him and how I felt so bad telling him. That it was a million times harder than I ever thought it would be to be away from him. I told him everything I felt and I apologized for leaving and for doing this to us. I apologized a million times over. For leaving, for messaging him, for being a mess.. 

The messages were devastating. I reread them now and I can feel how sad I was then. 

He read the messages and responded "It's ok. I'm at work."

And that was it. I didn't hear another word out of him. That only broke my heart more. 

I don't know what I was expecting or thinking that he would say. I don't know why I thought it would make me feel better. It really only made me feel worse. And to have him say so little back exacerbated the pain further for me. S was right - it was a REALLY bad idea to message him. 

The next day, I messaged him and just apologized for the messages and assured him it wouldn't happen again. He said one slip up in 2 weeks wasn't so bad and that it was ok. He was kinder than he was the night prior. But, really there was nothing either of us could say or do to make everything feel better. According to everyone else, it would just take time. 

I tried to stop looking for excuses to message him. I tried to keep myself occupied and not think about him. But a few days later I found an excuse to message him...

According to Facebook - M and I were still in a relationship.

See, I had agonized over this point. Do I ask to Facebook break up? Do I wait for him to do it? Should I just take it down? What if he just took it down? Maybe I should give it another week or so? How does one tactfully initiate the Facebook break up? Why did I ever even put our status on Facebook? What am I, nuts?!  It seems like it should be simple, but in reality it is anything but!

More questions abound as I thought about it further. Would he think I wanted to Facebook break up so other people could see I was single? Do I need to explain why I want to Facebook break up (even though it seems self-explanatory)? Will he be offended by the Facebook break up? Maybe he had just forgotten? I swear, even I got bored of my own thoughts. And really, what did a Facebook break up represent that a real life one didn't? How come it seemed more complicated to get M off my computer screen than moving my whole life to London?! What can I say; we live in a digital world. 

It had been about 2.5 weeks now, my friends kept telling me to bite the bullet and do it already. I think part of me was procrastinating because it was comforting for me to have the internet still think we were dating - and yes, I am aware the internet can not actually think on its own, but you know what I mean!!! It was comforting to have M still be in my extended world in some way. 

Finally, I messaged him; I asked him when he had a moment if we could chat. A little while later he answered and I just went for it and said 'I think we need to Facebook break up.' The sentence in and of itself is entirely ridiculous. But, he agreed and said he had thought about it and was sorry he hadn't brought it up before. I felt silly, but like I also needed to justify why I was asking. I explained it wasn't that I had met someone new, or was even looking for that, but that it was more that I needed to begin to let go of him and since I was going on Facebook quite a bit (when I couldn't sleep especially) it was too hard for me. He said he entirely understood. 

We chatted a bit more after that. He told me about his plans to move, and his friends and his family. I told him a bit about my life in London. Part way through he apologized to me. He acknowledged that he had been short but that it was difficult to talk to me. He knew for me that talking made me feel better, but for him it made him feel worse. I was crushed. But, I told him I understood what he was saying - and what he was saying was that he didn't want to talk to me anymore. M tried to take it back and say that wasn't what he really meant. But it was. And I should have seen it coming. 

All through our relationship, M had always been the one to give me what I needed: support, love, comfort, pep talks, packing help, more support, respect, an undying amount of belief in me, and amazing friendship. I'd like to think that I gave him what he needed as well, but M always pushed to put me and my needs first. It was my turn now to put M's needs ahead of my own - even though what he wanted was the exact opposite of what I needed. I told him that it was my turn to put him first, he protested for half a second and then agreed. 

We haven't spoken since. That was 3 months ago. 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Living In Limbo

The next few days flew by. It was a mix of spending time at his apartment or spending time at home. My dad had some surgery so I fit in going to the hospital as well. I never wanted the day to end, I just wanted to be with M and in his arms. I was a masochist - I felt so sad when I was with him but also at my best. In the end we had 3 extra days together. Towards the end, I could feel him begin to pull away from me. He was preparing for what was coming. I didn't want to, or know how.

When we first got together M told me: First loves are hard. It wasn't the love part that was hard. It was the goodbye. 

On the day that my visa came through I was at his house. He walked me to my car, he kissed me, and he turned around and left. I had no idea, couldn't conceive, of what I was losing and that as he walked out of the parking lot he was really walking out of my life. 

He told me we would talk the first few weeks that I was there - help me to get settled and hear about my adjustment. But things were different the second that car door closed. I could tell that the part of him that was slowly pulling away was now closed off entirely. He asked me to message when I boarded and when I landed so he could know I was safe. I did. He was nice - but he wasn't my M anymore. He wasn't mine. 

My mom headed down to London the day before I did, with her best friend. I got off the plane and took the tube to meet them. I put my bags down and immediately we started looking at apartments. By the end of the day I had signed a lease and bought linens and other household items. We didn't waste any time. I was tired and exhilarated and super excited to be in London and start school. 

The first night we went for dinner and I slept in the hotel with my mom. She fell asleep quickly and in the quiet that finally surrounded me in my lonely cot I realized for the first time in 3 years I wouldn't be calling or messaging M to say goodnight. The tears came quickly and quietly. Eventually I fell asleep. 

I spent the next day with my mom trying to get my life in order. At the end of the night I wanted to sleep in my apartment, be alone and allow myself sometime to breathe but she insisted I stay at the hotel again. I was overwhelmed. I couldn't bear to be surrounded by people and noise any more. I needed to find my own quiet. My mom fell asleep early again. I went and sat in the bathroom. I took a shower. I sat in the bathroom some more. More tears came. I messaged M - he answered briefly. He was busy, but glad I found an apartment and hoped I'd have a good week. Read: didn't want to talk or have much to say...

The next day we spent some time shopping. My mom was leaving that afternoon. We sat down and had some lunch before she left. She got a bit sentimental about leaving me in Europe. She had gotten used to the idea that I might be home for the year. Having that idea torn away so quickly was a lot to adjust to in such a short amount of time. But she was incredibly proud. Sounded so much like what M had told me just a few days before... 

She left and I went back to my apartment. I found the quiet and solitude I needed for a few hours. I took another shower and a nap. I was a pretty big mess for the next 4 or 5 days. A zombie. I don't remember many of the classes, I don't remember meeting people, I don't remember smiling. I was tired. I couldn't sleep. Being in bed alone felt so foreign - especially because I didn't have a count down in mind. When I lived in Boston or Montreal we always had a count down - knew when we would see each other next. It was never much longer than 4 weeks. But this... this wasn't like before. This was lonely and I didn't have a calendar to tick off  dates, because there was no particular date to count down too.

The second Friday rolled around quickly and S had decided I'd been sulking for too long. I think I was just so shell shocked at how alone I felt. She decided we were going out and I was going to have a good time! She came over, made me get all dressed up, and out we went. I put on a happy face and half way through the night I actually began to believe it. The drinking helped - I had a few drinks, and then I drank some more. I felt more like myself than I had since I got to London. But at the end of the night - when I would usually be heading back to M's apartment to crawl into bed with him - I headed home alone. 

When I finally got home I sent S a message telling her I missed M. She knew where the conversation was headed. She begged me not to message him while I was drunk. Told me to sleep on it and if I wanted to message him in the morning I should do it then. I wasn't in a state to be reasoned with. 

I messaged him anyways. 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dastardly Delays and Delaying Departure

I caved. I wanted to be with M on his birthday, I wanted to see him again. I didn’t care how much it hurt. I submitted my visa papers on the Wednesday and I knew by my calculations I wouldn’t get them back before October 1st. It meant I would miss orientation week – but from what I had heard that wasn’t really a big deal. I didn't tell M I purposefully delayed my departure, because I knew he would tell me I was being silly (though secretly appreciating it). 

M wouldn’t be back until that Sunday night. I told him I would get him at the airport and we could do whatever he wanted on his birthday. He thought that was an excellent birthday gift. In the interim, I had to think of a really birthday present. I initially had wanted to get him a digital picture frame, but after some thought I decided it wouldn’t be wise to get him something that was so sentimental. What do you get for the boy you are madly in love with but breaking up with?! Not really an easy feat!

I struggled with it for a few days, and then finally found the perfect gift. M had lost his wallet so I got him a black leather one with his initials on it. I had also noticed in Mexico that M’s toiletries were scattered everywhere! So I got him a toiletry case as well with his initials. M was practical and preferred practical gifts, so I figured this would do the trick.

M was meant to land around midnight on the Sunday. That same night my family had one of our twice-yearly big family dinner with the entire extended family (we’re talking close to 45 people) – I was actually really pleased to still be home for it. I left my cell phone in my purse throughout dinner. I figured I would check it around 9pm when M was going to take off from his layover. When I finally did check the phone there were 6 missed calls and some voice messages that were entirely incomprehensible about Corpus Christi. I had no idea what M was going on about. His text messages weren’t any easier to decipher. He kept sending the words Corpus Christi and angry words about his flight… finally I found a text with the words rerouted and delayed. I figured he had probably been trying to message me while he was making his way through the airport and that’s why the texts were still so incomprehensible. It wasn’t until his sister called me and said that M had been rerouted to the Corpus Christi airport that I finally understood what the poor man was talking about!!

I called him a few times and got his voicemail – I had hoped that was a good sign and it meant that he was in the air. No such luck. About 20 minutes later he called me back. His voice sounded deflated – he would have to stay in Corpus Christi overnight. No flights home until 10.30 am the next day (his birthday), and to top it off the airline refused to pay for the hotel. He was not a happy camper. He was going to have to spend half his birthday on an airplane.

The next morning he sent me a message as he boarded. I was trying to finish all my packing before he landed so that we could do other things with our time instead of getting me ready to leave. Again. I swear M spent half our relationship helping me pack and unpack. He moved me home from Montreal, to Boston, through 2 moves in Boston, home from Boston, helped me deal with all my packing for China, and helped me deal with lost luggage various times. I figured I should cut the boy some slack and manage London on my own! I got most everything into suitcases and was just trying to zip them up when he messaged that he was landing.

I hurried off to the airport. I desperately wanted to pick him up inside. It’s always such a letdown when you walk out of the baggage terminal and no one is there to greet you – even though you know no one will be.

Traffic was bad, but I finally arrived. I parked the car and ran. I knew I would be cutting it close. Just as I stepped into the airport my phone rang.

‘Hey babe, where are you?’ It was M.

I knew he was outside and I’d missed the chance to surprise him. I asked him where he was and went to find him. We walked back to the car and loaded in his bags. He looked exhausted.

I kissed him. ‘Happy Birthday M.’

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Passing through paradise

That night M's dad made us dinner. We all played cards afterwards. M's dad was fascinated by our decision to stay together until I left, by my decision to come to Mexico, and the most fascinated by the fact that I hid my little trip from my family. I suppose I understand how that can be confusing... I just didn't want to deal with their opinions about it. I needed to go to Mexico to see M for me. It was something I had to do for myself. For whatever semblance of an ‘us’ there was left... I needed to do it. 

The trip was short but it felt longer than I thought it would.  We had sex in the mornings before his dad woke up and at night after he was asleep. We played cards and took hot tubs. We were just together. No work, no distractions, nothing but an escape for us. 

We had decided that if I did come to Mexico we wouldn't have the same conversation a hundred times. We had decided on the terms of breaking up and knew what we needed to do with that time if we wanted to be in a position to be talking about potentially getting back together. We talked about our fears and we talked about how to help each other move forward. A few more tears ensued, but really it was just a beautiful romantic two days.

On the last night M's dad was ready to go to bed by 8pm, but somehow we got into a conversation that kept the three of us up together until 11.30pm. At first I felt frustrated that our last night together alone was shortened, but M was so glad to have had me share the time with his dad. He worries so much about his dad and he knows he won't be around forever. He was so happy to share it with me and I felt happy just for that.

It ended all too soon. M and Manny took me to the airport. M sat with me in the back and I held on to him as best as I could. They were silent tears, but they were there. The drive felt shorter on the way back to the airport but I never wanted it to end. Once we got to the airport we checked me in. Manny gave M and I some time alone. I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest all over again. I was sobbing. I didn't want him to leave me at the airport. We waited to the last second for me to go through security. I tried to breathe in as deeply as I could to remember his smell. I tried to remember his touch, the sound of his voice, the warmth of his body... I tried to commit it all to memory. I hoped it would somehow make it better, easier... 

I cried my way through security and through most of the way through the flight back to Dallas, my layover, until I finally fell asleep. 

I woke upon landing feeling groggy and oddly empty. Would I see M again? Was that it? Would we talk anymore? We said we would... but only for a few more days to try and adjust. What did that mean? My head hurt, my eyes were puffy, and it felt like I had been hit by a bus. 

I gathered my belongings and hobbled off the airplane to head to my next boarding gate. I had a few hours to kill and my stomach was starting to grumble...

There was a Mexican place and the food looked good. It was enough to momentarily distract me from my own thoughts and I sat myself down at a booth. It was noon - but I figured it had to be 5pm somewhere in the world! I ordered a shot of tequila and a blue margarita and told the waitress to surprise me in terms of food. She brought me some tacos and I mashed them up into a taco salad. The tequila shot made my brain quiet down and the margarita made my stomach feel warm. 

I messaged B and S to let them know I was alive and well and that the weekend in Mexico had been amazing and exactly what I needed. Then I called my sister, J, to ask for a huge favor. I had said that I would be back in time for family dinner but I was really cutting it close. I called her cell phone and it rang twice before she answered.

'J, I need a bit of a favor, but don't freak out and I can't talk for long.' 

'Ok...' she answered unsure of what was to come next.

'So, I am in Dallas, I went to Mexico to see M and I need you to get me at the airport so I don't miss dinner and my-sort-of-goodbye family meal.'

I could feel the stunned silence through the phone, but she readily agreed after repeatedly saying 'you're where?!' I promised I would explain when I got back home. 

I gave her my flight number and she was waiting for me upon landing. I climbed into her car and was greeted with an expectant face. I told her about the weekend and how it was amazing and the proper goodbye that I needed. She was supportive albeit a bit shocked. She had a million questions. Questions I was too tired to answer and questions I didn't have real answers too. 

Before we pulled up to my grandma's she asked me 'So, when will you see him next?' I didn't have an answer. 

If my visa came in before he came back, I had no idea when I would see him next. And while I desperately wanted to get to London, M's birthday was on the 30th of September, which was just a few days after I expected the visa if all went well. I so desperately wanted to be with him on his birthday... leaving the day before it just seemed senseless! Maybe I would see him sooner than I had thought when I left him this morning... but then maybe I wouldn't...

Would a third goodbye feel even worse? How much torture was I ready to subject myself to? And which was more torture, not seeing him or seeing him and saying goodbye again? I really didn't know.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Meeting in Mexico

M was easy enough to spot. He's over 6 feet and has curly hair. You can't miss him really. My heart did a sommersault. I couldn't get to him fast enough... the distance between us was unbearable. I literally almost ran to him, but contained myself enough in the airport so as to not look like a completely crazy person. As the distance closed between us I could feel my whole body relax. Finally in his arms and kissing him, everything felt right again. I felt like I was home.

M was waiting for me with Manny. I hadn't even noticed him at first. Manny helped M's dad out while he was in Mexico and was picking me up from the airport because neither M nor I thought it wise to attempt to drive in the streets of Guadalajara. In my excitement to be reunited with M, I didn't even notice when we started walking towards the car, or when M took my bag, or that it was raining outside. All I noticed was his hand in mine and how good it felt to be with him again. I really hadn't thought we would get another chance to be together before I left.

I couldn't bear the thought that we didn't know the last time we slept in his bed would be the last time. Or the last time we'd had sex was the last time I would get to be with him and we didn't know. I'd felt cheated out of a proper goodbye and out of closure. Though, in case you couldn't tell, I certainly wasn't truly ready for it. I was still so in love with M, and I don't think I was even able to recognize just how much I was in love with him at the time. I knew we needed more time together. I needed more time with him. I needed him to know what he meant to me. 

We put my back in the car and headed off to the condo. M sat in the back seat with me during the car ride. I couldn't stop touching him. I think I made him hold my hand for the whole 45 minute car ride. Sometimes I used to be sitting right next to M and I could still feel like I wasn't close enough and that I needed to be even closer - three and half years later and I still felt the same way.

The drive to the condo was beautiful and Manny shared some of the local history. Work had taken me to Mexico and forced me to learn the politics and health system and so I was able to share some stories too. M, always my biggest supported egged me on. He was always so proud to let other people know what I did, he loved my accomplishments as if they were his own. It was also nice to share with M some of the places that I had seen for work. I felt like he was able to understand more about my life, my job, my passion for health and why I was leaving to keep pursuing it.

Upon arrival at the condo we went inside and I settled my stuff in M's room. He showed me the rest of the condo and the condo grounds. It was a happy little oasis. I felt my whole body relax. Part of it was being in the warmth of Mexico, but most of it was just being in the same room as M. His energy always made me feel better. I felt calm for the first time since finding out I had gotten into school. My brain quieted a little. 

M's dad came to say hi quickly and then left the condo to head to the supermarket and give us some privacy. About a minute after we were sure he was gone we were all over each other. Only problem was, about 2 minutes after that my emails started coming, and my Skype and cell phone stared ringing. Non-stop. It was my boss - freaking out!!!! I was 30 minutes late for a call that I actually hadn't even known about. We were trying to finish a project. I was the lead coordinator. She needed me. I tried to make the call go as quickly as possible... but the moment was lost. Here I was picking work over M, when I was trying so desperately to show him how much he mattered to me. He understood though, it was a work day. It was the last call. He always understood... 

By the time I was done M's dad was due back any minute. I stood there feeling lost all over again. 

Friday, 18 November 2011

Lying through layovers

*Whoops this was saved accidentally instead of posted. Bear with me!! I'm still learning. 

I landed in Dallas Fort Worth airport and turned on my phone. It was only a couple of hours to the Dallas from home so I figured if my dad realized I left before him there would be a message waiting when my phone finally booted up. The paranoia I felt before the flight had subsided a bit, at this point what could be done anyways? I was half way to Mexico.

The Blackberry finally turned on. Loads of emails from my boss came pouring in. One red message.  A pin on my blackberry from my dad...

'Have fun at the cottage. Message me before you leave.'

Excellent! No one else would question where I was. By now it was 9:30 am in the morning at home. Seemed like a reasonable hour to say I was headed off to a cottage. I fired off a message to my dad and my mom saying I was headed to the cottage but that it had limited cell service and so if they couldn't reach me not to worry and that I'd see them Sunday night. Big lie - but I would be turning off my cell service and only hook my phone up to the internet, so messages would only come through when I was near wifi. I figured since I had started a lie, I had better play it out properly... Not my finest hour. I know.

The layover was a long one. I had some work to do and a nifty little internet stick courtesy of my office, so I went to my next boarding gate with my carry-on bag and fired up my laptop. I started to get down to business when my cell rang. It was my boss. Technically, yes, it was a workday and I had not notified my office that I was going on a trip. Since my first flight was so early it didn't impact the start of my day much, and since the layover was quite long I figured I'd fit in a bunch of work and then work through the next flight and that would account for a day full of work. The only thing I forgot was my boss was a little intense if you will. 

I clicked ignore on my cell - no long distance plan for chatting - and Skyped her back. We chatted for a good 30 minutes. Finally she said 'Are you in an airport?!' Pesky little loud speaker almost gave me away - or did give me away and my boss was just gracious. I continued on my hot streak of lies and told her the internet at my house was down due to construction on my street so I had gone to a coffee shop; perhaps she was hearing background noise?  Brutal lie and totally unbelievable. What coffee shop has a loud speaker? I turned on my mute button for the remainder of the time I wasn't talking so at the very least she would hear minimal boarding calls. We chatted for about another 45 minutes and then I was left to my own devices to continue working. I advised her that I would be out of reach for a few hours later in the day. 

Before I knew it my layover time was up and I was boarding the flight to Guadalajara. I couldn't wait to get there. I sat on the plane. Waited for lift off and once we were safely in the sky continued to work. Before I knew it I was touching down. I was there! I would see M again, smell him again, touch him again... be with him again. The anticipation was too much!

I got off the plane with my minimal luggage - very handy when you are too excited to wait to disembark, never mind a baggage terminal. I moved as quickly as I could to get to customs. The Spanish I learned in high school and then had to attempt to use at my job came in quite handy. 

The customs officer asked me how long I would be in Mexico. I responded 'Dos días.' He looks at me curiously and said 'Doce or dos? Twelve or two, miss?' I reaffirmed 'Dos. Two.' He stamped my passport, a lovely green stamp, and off I went. 

There was another line when you exited customs - didn't these people know I was in a rush!!!! You had to have your bags scanned, walk through a machine, and then push a button. If you pushed the button and the light turned green you could go through, if the light was red you would be stopped and searched. 

Green, green, green, green, and then it was my turn. Wouldn't you have guessed it!? RED. Good heavens! I thanked myself for packing light once again. I was thoroughly searched. They asked a few questions. I answered all of them. The last one they asked in Spanish 'Are you carrying more than $10,000.' My smartass response? 'Solo en mi sueños...' The guard looked at me curiously, laughed and waved me through.

I was steps away. The doors opened. Where was he...? 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sneaking Away

M finally got my email a few hours later. He Skyped me immediately. 

"Tell me you are at the airport and you are coming?!"

I stared into the computer screen, tears again...

Then M got upset. I begged him not to be upset with me. Turns out he wasn't! He was upset with his mom. He was so sad she had managed to talk me out of being on an airplane that second. He wanted me there. He missed me. He still loved me. I felt like I could breathe again. We sat on Skype and he booked me a ticket for the next morning - Friday at 6:15 am connecting through somewhere in Texas. It would be a short trip but well worth it. We talked on Skype for a bit longer. He showed me the condo and the gardens over the computer. He told me reading my email was the saddest thing he'd ever had to do. He had actually arrived at the place and was supposed to go to Wal-Mart with his dad to go get some stuff for the place, but when he saw the title of my email he knew he needed to stay in and read it and resolve it.

That night my sister came over with her husband. They tried to make me dinner. I wasn't hungry. I was too busy thinking about how I was going to tell my family I was disappearing for the weekend. They wouldn't understand it if I told them I was going to Mexico for the weekend. They'd say I was nuts to travel so far for such a short time, they'd say it was too expensive, they'd say I was prolonging the hurt, maybe they'd even say it wasn't safe. It didn't matter because I wasn't telling them. I knew they would try to stop me. 

I told everyone that I was going to B's cottage for the weekend. That I wanted to be out of the city for the next few days. Everyone seemed ok with it. No one wanted to be around the sad A. The only condition: I had to be back for Sunday night dinner - the last one before I left. 

Sunday night dinners were tradition with my family: the entire extended family on my dad's side would get together at my grandmas and she would cook for us. Over the years with the boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives and babies that were added dinner frequently hit 20-25 people. If you were in the city or even near the city and didn't go, you could expect a severe tongue lashing from my grandma - so severe, in fact, that it was never worth missing dinner. We all knew it. And to be honest, none of us liked to miss dinner. We loved to see each other. Catch up once a week and stay in each other’s lives. Having lived out of the country and away from home for so long, I especially loved Sunday night dinners and knew my presence was not optional - especially since I was leaving yet again. 

I had anticipated this - my ticket had me leaving early Sunday morning so I would be back in time. That's right... I arrived Friday at 2 pm and left Sunday at 9 am. 

Some might begin to reconsider going. I was resolute. 

A 6:15 am flight meant leaving my house by 4 am. The question was how to get out of the house... My mom was out of town, so she was easy enough to evade. My dad had an appointment downtown at 7, so I'd have to be out long before he woke up to get ready and somehow make sure he didn't come in to say goodbye. My brother slept like a bear in the dead of winter so I wasn't too worried about him.

I spent the night hanging out with my dad in his room and after he fell asleep I made sure the alarm was off for the night. Setting off the alarm was a sure fire way to wake my dad. Press one button and he was up. EXCEPT - for the first 20 minutes he was asleep - it's literally the weirdest thing ever. But I took advantage. Turned it off. 

I went to my room. Packed my bag and carried it down to the side door that I would leave out of. I went back upstairs. Packed my purse. Set my alarm from 3:15 am. I was up by 3. I wrote a note "Sleeping in, don't wake me" and left it outside my bedroom door. I called a cab. Snuck out the side door and was waiting for the cab by 3:45 am. Just as I was about to get into the cab I realized - car key in my pocket! GAH!!! I couldn't take the car key to Mexico. That was not reasonable. I went and slipped it into the mailbox. I figured the cleaning lady would find it. She was there on Friday's and she always took in the mail. 

I got to the airport and made it through security by 4:30 am. It was so fast! I was convinced I would be found out. What reason would I have for not being home at this hour? It would be clear I was lying about something. There's no way B would have come to get me at 5 am to go to the cottage. That's insane. I got totally paranoid. I tried to distract myself with work from my job. I fired off a bunch of emails. Got through a ton. It was now 6 am - my dad would be up. How come he hadn't messaged? He knew - for sure - I was going to be caught... oh crap. But nothing came. No one knew. I got s crazy at one point I even messaged myself to make sure my phone was working and borrowed someone’s cell to call my own. 

Finally it was time to board. If I were going to get caught now it would be too late. I'd be in the air. 

I boarded the plane. Turned off the phone and hoped for the best!!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Flights of Fancy

I finally calmed down enough to drive home. All I wanted to do was get into bed and close my eyes and never wake up again. Everything felt heavy. Everything hurt too much.

My mom was leaving to go to the airport for a business trip - I saw her round the corner of the street as I was driving towards the house. She called to ask what I was doing driving home at 5:45 in the morning. I told her I had just dropped off M. I didn't want to talk. She tried to comfort me, but it only manage to annoy me. I cut the conversation short and pulled into the driveway. I hated living at home. It had been 7 years since I'd lived with my parents, but because I had had M's apartment to stay in and my parents house was so close to the school I had initially been going to, York, it didn't make sense to move out.

I walked into the house and up the stairs. My dad was home. He hollered a hello, wondering if my mom had forgotten something.  I told him it was me and I was going back to bed and not to come wake me before he left. There is nothing MORE awkward than my dad when it comes to me and boys. M and I had been together for 3 and a half years, and I visited home infrequently, so occasionally M would sleep at my parents house with me so I could see my parents and see M - to this day, my dad still pretends that M would just show up for breakfast. I'm not even kidding. Its kind of adorable and kind of uncomfortable at the same time. 

I dropped everything when I got to my room. Closed the door. Closed the drapes. Closed the blinds. Left the lights off. I crawled under the blankets of my bed and sobbed hysterically into the pillows so my dad wouldn't hear. Everything hurt - I swear I could even feel pain in the follicles of my hair. I would try to calm myself down and manage a moment or two of silence before sobs would wrack my body all over again. I'd never felt anything like it. I'd felt worse pain, I'd experienced loss before, but not a loss like this  - not one that was self-inflicted.

I sent my friend B a message. B wasn't my best friend in the world, but she had recently been through some tough stuff with her bf and I was there for her and I knew she'd do the same for me. And B was the perfect person to talk to because I didn't want to talk to my best friends. It made it too real. B knew me, she knew M, she knew us. She didn't judge. She just listened and did what every girl does - offer to distract me with movies and ice cream.

I also messaged S, my best friend in the whole world. She lived in London. She couldn't have been more happy I was coming - but she knew leaving M would be tough.

Somewhere along the lines of talking to them I decided I needed to go to Mexico. I had to follow M. If he could have stayed and given us more time he would have. He would do anything for me. But he was in a situation where his dad needed him and he couldn't put me first. I had to show him I could put him first, if for no other reason than I needed him to understand how important he was to me. B was a bit skeptical, but supportive nonetheless and S was totally on board. She even offered to book my ticket for me.

I went back and forth on subject a bit. Was I really about to get on a plane to Mexico? Was this making it better? Was it making it worse? What did I think I was doing? Last night, M said he wanted me there - we had decided that we would be together until I left the country, so we could still have time to say goodbye while he was in Mexico. But maybe now that he was on the plane he wasn't into it anymore. Maybe he just needed to cut me off cold turkey. I tried to message him on his phone. He was in the air. I  called again on his layover - his phone was still off. I called Chicago airport on his layover and tried to have them page him. They wouldn't. I tried to call again when I thought he would have landed in Mexico. Still his phone was off.

I was resolute in my head, I was going to Mexico. I found a flight. I almost booked it - and then it hit me: I had no idea where M was in Mexico exactly. I knew what city - but I didn't have an address.

I called his mom to ask if she knew the address. And to my shock - and yet also not shock at all, because this is so typical of his family  - she did not have a clue as to what his address was. She didn't know the name of the real estate agent, or the car company they prearranged. She didn't even know that they had flown into Guadalajara. Like I said before, the woman is sweeter than sweet but heads in the clouds!

Soon the conversation shifted from where I was supposed to go when I got there to if I should go at all. I hadn't asked for her opinion; she gave it to me anyways. I was prolonging the hurt, I was taking M away from his dad, it wasn't fair to either of us to drag this out, it wasn't fair to make this time about M and I when it should be about making sure M's dad got settled in Mexico,  I wasn't going to accomplish anything if I went, we would see where we were in a year, it wasn't so long... and on she went for about 20 minutes. It came from a place of true love, the woman doesn't have a mean bone in her body and she truly thought she was being helpful and saying what M would say - but it was the worst thing I'd ever heard anyone say. I sat on the phone with tears streaming down my face trying my best not to cry out loud - trying my best not to make her feel bad for making me cry... She broke my heart all over again.

I began to doubt myself, doubt that he wanted me to come, doubt that he wanted me at all. I got so wrapped up in my head and what M's mom had said that I began to think she was right. What was I trying to accomplish anyways?

I sat down at my computer and wrote to M - I lay everything on the table. How I wanted to come, how his mom said not to, how I didn't want to be selfish with him if his dad needed him, how I loved him, how I'd never hurt so much in my life, how I wasn't sure he'd still want to be with me now that he'd left, how I couldn't make the decision with him in the air without hearing his thoughts, how I needed him to know I'd do it in heart beat, how he was coming first for me now and that I hoped it wasn't too late... everything that I thought that day I put into an email - crying the entire time I wrote it - and finally clicking send.

I couldn't get on an airplane without him knowing I was coming...

Could I?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tear streaked kisses

I know it all sounds dramatic in retrospect, but it wasn't. We never yelled, we were hardly ever unhappy; the time we did have together made me happier than I ever even thought possible, and the time apart made me realize why I loved him so much. Watching other couples together and listening to my friends talk about their boyfriends only made me realize that M was the best person I'd ever known. 

M made me the best version of myself, and I tried to do the same for him. His support was and is always unwavering. I hope he felt the same in return. 

I reflect on some of what is on here and I wonder if I am not the most atrocious, hideous person - selfish and mean. I won't make excuses for our faults as a couple or individuals, I'll only say that we were real and honest, and we dealt with everything as upfront and honestly as possible. M always knew that I wanted a career that would mean love came second for awhile, which sounds just as bad written out here as I thought it would. But I was always I honest, I was always upfront, and I never misled him. And he showed me the same respect. There were never lies, not intentional ones. There was always trust. I never for a second worried he would be unfaithful and I know he never worried about that either. There is no one either of us wanted to be with more than each other...

So then how did we end up here, oceans apart... 

I suppose life happened. For one, I suppose I wanted more than life at home and my family wanted that for me - allowed me to go without ever making me feel obligated to them. M has a different situation. I am lucky to have the family that I do, the family that can encourage and push me to achieve my most outrageous dreams. M's family needs him; in a way my family doesn't need me.

Back to the day of the letter of acceptance... 
I had dropped M off at his friends, headed back into the city to sort visa and packing issues. My family took me for an impromptu celebratory dinner - as I said before M didn't want to come. I'm sure there were a myriad of reasons - leaving the next day to Mexico, not wanting to field the 'what will happen questions', not being entirely ready to toast my departure... - but still it hurt. I wanted to spend my every waking (and sleeping) second with him, yet I knew I also had to give my family the appropriate amount of face time. Dinner consisted of my sister, her husband, my brother, both my parents and my grandmother and me. My sister, recently pregnant, gave us yet another reason to celebrate and it felt good to be able to simply be happy, but without M at the table with me something was just so clearly missing for me. 

After dinner I drove back out to M's parents house where we would spend the night. I had offered to drive him and his dad to the airport the next morning at 4 a.m. What a girl in love will do just to get a few more minutes! I arrived around 10 p.m. M was waiting up for me. It was finally time.  It was time to have the talk that I knew would shatter my heart into a million tiny pieces and leave me changed forever.  

We went out to his dad's car. It was more private. Just the two of us. As I try to relive this conversation to write it all down it hurts my heart all over again. It started along the lines of M saying 'So, we're breaking up...'  We hashed out the details of what it meant and what we each needed to do with the year if we were ever going to have a real chance of being together again. I needed to spend the year learning about myself and the type of person I wanted to be with, and M needed to spend the year learning about himself and deciding if the life he told me he wanted, really and truly is the life he wants. It seems so simple in writing, but in real life it’s complicated and messy. 

And while I wish I could share the whole conversation it's too hard to write. I think about it and my insides sear with pain all over again. I do remember wondering aloud to M how I ever could have been so callous to think that it would hurt less if I left because of school; regardless I was leaving. I remember sobbing and saying repeatedly 'It hurts too much.' It felt like the pain would never go away, and sometimes it still does. I remember apologizing repeatedly, as if somehow it might help. I remember the tears that fell on his shirt. My tears... his tears...our tears... they all mixed together. I remember how he smelled - a smell I know I'll never forget, a smell that was home for 3 and half years. But mostly I remember the look in his eyes. I hate myself for hurting him; I hate myself for it every day. 

That night we got into bed together and held each other. I wouldn't let him go. I hardly slept at all and the 3:45 a.m. alarm came all too soon. We both got out of bed and put on clothes. I'm pretty sure I was still crying and hadn't even realized it. We said goodbye to his mom and loaded the car. M had his dad sit in the front - I wanted to scream 'no,' I pleaded silently with my eyes... But M knew what he was doing. With M in the front seat I'd have been a wreck and we wouldn't have made it any where near the airport. So we all idly chatted on the ride to the airport, talking about Mexico and M's dad's business he was hoping to set up. We chatted about M's childhood memories from different places we passed. We chatted about wedding we had once gone to on the road we drove past. We chatted about speed limits. We chatted about the sunrise. We chatted...  Until we were finally there: The airport. 

We unloaded the bags. M's dad crossed the road to give us some privacy. I tried not to cry, but as M held me for what I was afraid was the final time something inside me broke all over again. We kissed, and then we kissed again. He started to leave and then we kissed once more, a tearful kiss. He crossed the street to the entrance of the airport. I got back into the car. 

I sat at the steering wheel sobbing for what felt like an eternity. 

It couldn't end this way. It couldn't end so abruptly. I wouldn't let it. 

Monday, 31 October 2011

Empty promises of change

But the conversation had happened, the fight had happened, the angry words were swirling in my head...

The amount of times I had wanted to give him an ultimatum, like get a job and quit the bar or else... had been innumerable. It was something he had said he wanted but could never make himself do. But in the end, I never wanted to be the person to make him do it. I was so aware of never wanting him to resent me. I was the one who moved away for a job, and had a job that made me travel all the time, how could I push him when I couldn't even be home to support him. 

Its hard to tell you the story of us without all the minor back stories too. But Ill try and where questions arise you can always ask. These little italic bits will endeavour to give you some further background. When M and I got together, he had already been in a few serious relationships. This was my first serious relationship. I lost my virginity to M, in every sense. At the beginning of our relationship - before the word relationship was ever even used - M had told me that if this got serious, to the point of forever serious, he knew that I would need to be without him for some period of time to go and explore dating other people. At the time I only half-heartedly agreed.

But back to the night where M came over. He came upstairs and sat on my bed. I was so angry and yet all I wanted to do was be in his arms. It was so confusing. He started: he apologized, he knew something was really wrong in his life and he's been taking it out on other people, he's trying to accept responsibility, he wants to move forward, he wants to leave the bar, and on the list went, finishing with he was sorry and he loves me.  A perfect apology - if we had never been here before. But we had.  A few times in the past year. He promised changed, promised wanting change... yet, I was constantly waiting for the promised change.

Here was the hardest part - I only want for M what he wants for himself. So if he wants to change and leave the bar and move forward and all these other things, he has to want them for himself. Even though more than anything thing I wanted all that for me. I know I have said that I am selfish with M, but this was one area I was always cautious with. If M left the bar solely for me and found a new job he hated - by extension M would wind up hating me. It was a tricky line to walk.  I tried to articulate this position to him, it wasn't one that he hadn't heard before. 

But then the conversation changed, in a way it never had before. I told him I didn't believe him anymore.  I told him his words felt empty and like he was only saying what he thought I wanted to hear (And he was doing an excellent job too!) I needed him to be honest with me. Truly honest. Because if the life he had now, was the life he really wanted, then I wouldn't stand in his way. I also probably would not be in it in the same capacity. 

There was silence. For a long time. Followed by more silence. And some silent tears on my side...

M said that to him this was the most serious relationship he's ever been in and the only one that he wants. He saw forever. 

I wasn't sure what I thought. I was terrified of being without him, yet terrified of the thought of never finding out what else was out there - not because I thought it was better - but because I just felt like I needed to know, and wondered if finding someone with aligned dreams was really this difficult. 

I meekly asked him if he remembered saying at the beginning of our relationship if it got serious he thought that we would need to break up for a little? He did. M said that every time he thinks about the fact that he said it he kicks himself a little, but still he knew he was right. I asked him when he thought I should take the time. And he said while he never wanted me to do it, and while it seemed impossible for me to do in my own mind, he said the moment that I questioned if I needed it and part of me, even the smallest part of me said yes, then it was time.  It would be terrible for us both if 6 years down the line I turned around and felt I had made a mistake. He didn't want that for either of us.

Sometime later in the conversation, without even meaning to, I had the stupid naivete to tell him that part of me wish I had gotten into London because then we wouldn't have to have the conversation - because it would be the easiest way to take time apart without hurting one another. The second it came out of my mouth I regretted it. I look back now and wonder how I could have been so stupid to have the audacity to think somehow it would hurt less. I am in awe of my heartlessness and lack of compassion. I can NOT imagine sitting where M sat and hearing me say that. I hate myself a lot for that part of the conversation. M deserves better than someone who could be so callous. And yet the thought of him with anyone else churns my stomach.  

The conversation exhausted us both. I knew that what he had said earlier in the night about the ultimatum was out of anger, and I was still hurt he had said it, but it was late in the night. There was nothing else to be done. We were all talked out. All I wanted was for him to hold me and tell me things were going to be ok. Make me feel safe again like he always did. So we put on a movie, got in to bed, and that's what he did. He held me, all night long. And fight or no fight it was the best place in the whole world to be. In M's arms, I was home. And it was the best home I'd ever known.

Saturday, 29 October 2011


I spent the rest of the day running around figuring out how I was going to move so quickly ! I had to drop out of the program at York, pack up my life, get a visa, tell friends and family... It was a whirlwind. I drove home from M's friends house and thought. And as I drove back to my house all I could think was - how did we not discuss the elephant in the room? Maybe he already felt like he knew the answer?

A few weeks back we had gotten into a really big fight - only there were no raised voices, because we never fought like that, rather it was two adults sitting and talking about why they were upset. I had been on a family vacation in Arizona - we talked a bunch while I was gone, but recently something had felt a bit off in our relationship. I think I felt like he wasn't trying enough to be productive and find work, whereas he felt that he came 2nd to work, and sometimes 3rd to work as well.

When I got home from the airport I called him. He was in a foul mood. He was being short and curt and it was making me upset. "What's wrong I asked?" I asked. M responded by telling me he got into a huge fight with his dad (which was not too uncomment because M's dad had really high expectations for him), and his dad had said that he either needs to get it together or stop coming home to see him.

You have to understand - that every other conversation with his dad is always about how M doesn't visit ENOUGH. And the trip for M, if I can't drive him, is at least an hour. So its always a production for M to go home. 

M was obviously upset so I let him rant and unload on me over the phone and then he said "Maybe if you told me to get my act together or you wouldn't speak to me again, then I would do it." I totally froze. For the past 3 years, the wonderful M had made it clear just how much he HATED ultimatums, and here he was saying that if I had given him one, maybe his life would be more in order... I could feel my cheeks getting hot, and then my whole face, and this pit in my stomach started to burn. I decided before I started to say something I would really regret later it was time for me to get off the phone. I said "I can NOT believe you just said that to me, and I understand that you are upset, but you just took one our biggest issues and poured some acid on it." He knew immediately what he had done. I hung up the phone. 

I sent him a text a few minutes later that said: "I understand that you were upset and were just saying things, but you just rubbed salt on one of our deepest wounds. You spent three years telling me not to give you an ultimatum, that would leave me if I ever did, and then say if I had your life would be better somehow? I am so upset right now. I don't want to talk to you until I am calmer. So please don't call me. Ill call you." Maybe a tad dramatic in retrospect! But I felt like everything I ever fought for with him, every effort I put forth to helping him achieve what he said he wanted was nullified. And I felt like everything he ever said about leave his job at the bar, working regular hours, wanting a stable income in life... I felt like that was all nullified too. 

M had been saying for years all the things that I wanted to hear: he didn't want to work at the bar forever, he wanted to a real job with a stable income, he wanted the type of life where he could send kids to university as oppose to having them take out loans, he wanted to own a house one day, he wanted children in the future, he would stop smoking cigarettes one day... and on the list goes. And I had been feeling like it was a list of empty promises, and that night I finally knew they were. I didn't trust anything he said any more about his future or about what he wanted. 

If he wanted to stay in the bar industry forever that would be fine - it just would not be fine for me. I think part of him was afraid to say what he really wanted because it meant that there was the option of not having me. Try to understand though, its not the income of working in a bar that bothers me - what bothers me is that M is brilliant - and he would never be fully happy working 3 nights a week. He sleeps away his days and then plays some video games and then goes to work - rinse and repeat.... Its hard to watch someone you know is capable of so much more bury their head in the sand, and I had been for far too long. 

A few hours later I finally messaged M, he apologized and asked if he could come over. I was hesitant and told him I couldn't pick him up. He said he was already in the car with his dad. Given that we never fight ever, I suppose he knew immediately just how real and serious this was to me. 

His dad dropped him off a half hour later and we went up stairs to my room. It was so hard to be mad at him and near him. All I wanted to do was jump into his arms and force him to hold me. He smelled so good. I didn't want to fight, I hadn't seen him in a week. I just wanted to kiss him and hold him and get into bed with him. I wanted to forget the whole conversation had ever happened...