I came out here to North Carolina from California to be with him a few months ago. I thought we would be getting married this summer, after a year and a half of blissful dating. Not because I am a silly romantic who rushes things, but because we were in love. We were perfect. We were best friends.
But then it all fell apart. And it was terrible. And I was embarrassed. And I wanted nothing more than for it to work. But it wouldn’t. And so…
I have made a decision. A decision has been made. I am leaving in March, headed back to California, rounding out seven mostly miserable but certainly enlightening months here in this semi-South, semi-East Coast nowhere land of a lot of promises that slipped through my fingers like clouds.
It has been a dam I’ve been leaning against to try and keep from bursting through sheer will and good intentions. But the forces were stronger than my once-dreams.
I came here terrified. Excited, but terrified. For the first time, I had signed my future on to another’s promises. And my safety net was woven by only one person, who, as I was to learn, was not able to catch me when I let myself fall fully.
In the beginning, when I let myself cry, it surprised me. It surprised me because I knew I was excited. I was in love, I was so happy and in love. Someone held my hand, someone knew me and finished my sentences. Someone’s chest pillowed my head, and his hands carded my hair, his steady breathing calmed me and I felt known. I felt pretty, and smart, and valued. And I felt loved.
And I thought I had found “it.” We had arrived. My path was clear. I was on it! We were going this way.
But then… But then…..
Then I realized we were going nowhere.
And even though things have changed between us, that love, that knowledge… that doesn’t go away. It would be easier if it did — if I could hate him, if we had fought more, if there were hateful words he had said that I could recall in perfect clarity — ugly words that I could throw at the mirror whenever I look at my reflection and wonder what was so wrong with me that I let it all fall apart. Then it might be easier.
But as it is, I will pack up all I have brought back into the car. I will drive back across America. I will have to rip out the stitches that a few new friendships have sewn in my time here — but their newness doesn’t make it easier to leave somewhere again.
BUT, how many of us can say we did something so wild and stupid for a love that didn’t work out? That we uprooted and drove across the country to start from scratch? I fell freely and horribly toward rock bottom. But I’m digging out. Digging if my eyes sting with tears, if my hands bleed, if my clothes tear away. And I’m trying really hard to not be embarrassed about failing.
It sometimes works.
But sometimes I want to crawl into bed and never get out. I analyze each part of me, wondering what didn’t fit into a part of him, how it could fit into a part of anyone else. I pickle in the bathtub; dissecting the last few years of my life, gagging at the bad choices. I wonder if I was wrong — maybe we weren’t so bad? Maybe that was as good as it gets? Maybe I’m too old and too idealistic and too crazy and I need to be more realistic and grab a hold of a man that will do.
Instead of waiting for the only man that will do for me.
I know I am made to love and be loved. I thought I was there. Turns out, no. But.
There is always tomorrow.
And we try again then.
We always try again.