Thinking Out Loud
I cried 3 times this week.
The 1st time, I was on my way to work, crossing 42nd Street, near the Vanderbilt entrance of Grand Central. Forever, by Chris Brown was playing on my iPod (I like him when he's not beating women or destroying property or generally being an ass). The 2nd time, I was sitting on my couch, watching the Big Love series finale. Bill Hendricks (spoiler alert!) was dying on the ground, and using his last breath to ask for a blessing from his first wife, Barb. The 3rd time, I was in my office, reviewing a video submitted by a groom-to-be for a contest we are running. The guy was talking about his first date, and how he “just knew.”
At first, I couldn’t understand why I’ve been so emotional lately. I haven’t cried in ages! Besides, I just got home from a super fun trip to Wilmington and Philly with my good friend. My parents were about to come into town to meet my new little nephew for the first time. Work’s been insane, but is going really well. I’m still totally loving my iPhone. And, of course, Dancing with the Stars is back.
What could possibly be wrong?
Then, I realized a year ago today, I moved in with my ex-fiance. And all those things -- that entrance, that song, that show, and that first date feeling when you think you “just know” -- reminded me of him.
During my last week in the city, he brought me flowers, like he did most every Tuesday. If I’d known that would be the last time he'd give me flowers, I would’ve paid more attention to what they looked like. But I do remember that I put them in a glass pitcher because all my vases were packed.
Piles of cardboard boxes, stacked 6 feet high, were scattered all over my apt. So rather than order in that night like we usually did, we went to dinner at the Italian restaurant up the street. We shared a square pizza with double pepperoni. Our usual order.
I remember so clearly sitting across the table from him. I was trying to soak in every minute of our last day in NYC. Of course we’d be back, but never again as 2 people on the verge of beginning their lives together. It was such a HUGE step for me, but I was absolutely certain it was the right one. Even though we didn’t have a wedding date yet, we DID have a moving date. And at the time, that was all I needed.
He insisted that I hire movers, which was a good idea in retrospect. So I spent my tax return on it. That was like free money anyway, right? When moving day came, we decided it was best to divide and conquer – I was with the movers in NYC, he was with my brother and a van up in CT, transporting all our extra stuff to a storage unit. About halfway through the day, we met up outside his condo. He and my brother were waiting for everything to arrive so they could make another trip to storage. I hopped out of the taxi I’d taken from the Stamford train station, and I was smiling from ear to ear.
My brother would later tell our mom that he’d never seen me happier.
It was around 5pm that night when my ex finally came through the door. I was in his condo, surrounded by my boxes. He went for the couch and I snuggled in right beside him. I wanted to kiss and pop champagne. I wanted to jump up and down and celebrate. I wanted to take a picture to remember that moment forever.
He did not.
He said moving stressed him out. So there was no kissing, no champagne, no jumping, no photos. Thinking about how crushed I felt that day still brings tears to my eyes. Obviously. And, as you know, it was all downhill from there.
Like I said earlier, I thought about not writing this post. In part, because I'm doing SO much better and dwelling in the past over a relationship that wasn't real is unhealthy. Plus, I haven't cried about this breakup since November when I was contacted by someone who was connected to him. Hearing from this person was totally shocking, but ultimately reaffirming and kind.
It provided me with some closure, for which I was grateful, but it stirred up a slew of old emotions too.
So to write about this relationship again now, all these months later, means admitting that it still gets to me. I guess the truth is, it does. But not in the way you might think.
What upsets me most, is that I’ll never get to experience that first time again. The moment I’d been waiting my whole life for: Two lives becoming one. To think something that carried such incredible meaning for me was treated so carelessly and dismissed so casually makes me upset. And it makes me angry.
I'd really love to stop remembering these painful milestones. Just wipe my memory clean. Because even when I don't think I'm thinking about it, clearly on some level I still am. Maybe it's inevitable, but I hope I just need to start making new memories in order to forget the old ones. And then I can close this chapter.
But for now... it helps to write about it. Thanks, as always, for listening.