I never saw my living room in such clear detail as the night I picked my heart up off its floor.
“I came down by train because I wanted to talk to you in person.”
Our welcome mat is black.
“When we got together, I promised you I would try to make a long-distance relationship work.”
The hallway stand has 6 compartments.
We had known each other for about seven months and been testing out long-distance for two. I was still trying to navigate the unspoken assumption that we were doing this because we hoped there was an “after”: after he moved, after I applied to graduate school, after we stopped being in transition, perhaps our paths would converge. Perhaps the distance would be necessary for us to realize what we wanted out of our own lives, so we could figure out what we wanted together.
“It’s been difficult, and realistically, it’s about three more years before we can think about living in the same city.”
The coffee table has two drawers in the middle.
I had always made my professional and personal goals clear. Three years was the truth, if not more. Three years of Skyping, weekend bus rides, phone calls, intentional and clear check-ins. I hold things too heavy within me, and it has been hard to trust technology, our primary medium of communication, to catch that heaviness when his hands and lips did it so much better.
“Also, I just don’t think we’re compatible long-term. I’m never going to be the big activist, progressive person you want. I need someone who has the same interests in technology development and marketing.”
There are five light switches next to the front door.
Our interests were varied and far-ranging. I hadn’t thought that was enough to get us to this point. Weren’t there more important things, like would you get up at 5 am to calm the screaming baby? Would you drive for an hour at midnight to find a 24-hour pharmacy for your sick partner? Weren’t these the things that predicted a lifetime?
“I don’t see us getting married, or having kids, or growing old together.”
The shelf screwed to the wall holds two candles.
Yes, thank you for articulating that so directly. I had mistaken “I want to break up” for “let’s separate and try again in a few years.” I understand it much more clearly now.
“I thought you would have more to say, more questions to ask. That’s why I took a three hour train ride to do this in person.”
There is a white radiator under that shelf.
I have a myriad of things to say, but you are no longer the person to say them to. The recovery process will be without you, rediscovering my self-worth will be a long journey, and loving someone again will see you already moved on to the next. This much, I know.
I asked my roommate to lock the door behind you. I didn’t have the strength to watch you physically walk away. In my room, I looked at the bed. It was too big for my sadness, and loneliness, and nightmares.
The couch will be safer for the next few weeks.