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.’