I remember the exact moment I realized I couldn’t stay in that small Portland studio apartment. It was a Sunday evening in November, it was raining and you refused to close the window even though our apartment was turning into an arctic freeze. I realized that moment was a metaphor for our entire relationship: Me wanting you to commit; and you leaving the window open in case I wanted to leave, because then it would have been your idea. I had turned down job opportunities before, heck you once paid a small fortune to bring me home from New York after you realized you couldn’t live without me. I was okay with the consolation prize that was your lifestyle and attitude because you not only were my best friend, but my sidekick, my most trusted companion and the most fun I had in my entire life.
I moved out a few Sundays later. It was 36 degrees outside and I took the train out to the airport to meet my Dad who picked me up and drove me an hour North to the middle of nowhere. Originally we were going to stay together and let the space between us remind us how much we love each other; instead it reminded me of how horrible a person he really was. I tried to be as nice as possible. He still expected me to do dishes and clean his laundry. He still got angry if I was unhappy sitting inside those four walls and watching TV night after night. Our goals and mindsets became more apparent; ultimately we wanted the same thing, but we wanted to take different ways to get there.
We both wanted to get married, we both wanted children, we both wanted those things with each other the only problem was our timelines were about ten years apart. We both changed a lot in the year and a half we were inseparable. I moved forward in my career and he went to jail.
I lived in the country and I went running every single morning because I was living with seven other people and had to get out of the house. I didn’t have an address, I didn’t have a bed, and my job was an hour away and I didn’t have a car. December was spent on public transportation and although he had a car, rarely was it used to pick me up somewhere or to save me from a three-hour commute.
Nothing was going to change until I completely separated myself from his life. I couldn’t do that in Portland, I wasn’t ever going to make more money or get a promotion. New York kept whispering sweet nothings to me through photos and articles. I needed to get back, eventually I would but I needed to save money. I talked to him about it and he responded with the eight worst words anyone has ever said to me:
“You will never make it in New York “
I began selling every material thing I owned. I stopped buying food and lost two dress sizes. I stayed in for New Year’s Eve and slept. I bummed up and down the West Coast for a few weeks. Seattle. San Francisco. Sacramento. Portland. I started saying goodbyes. I put in my two week notice and put every last penny I had in my bank account into an apartment in Harlem I’ve still never seen. I have things here and there in that old apartment. Decorations, books, a few clothes and a toothbrush but tomorrow they will be gone. Little does he know I will be in New York in 48 hours; an apartment, a job, a new phone number and a life without him.
Despite all the horrors and the hurtful words, I know he will never try to make his life better unless he has lost everything, and unfortunately I am that last thing. I love you, almost more than anything; but I love myself more.