The story of Dave and I lasted 6 months until he got his orders to be stationed in Bahrain for a year. He decided that he needed to be unattached for this assignment. It's a new job, and it's halfway around the world, and he couldn't be bothered with a relationship while all of these things were happening in his life. I get it. I mean, I try to. We knew from the beginning that this situation wasn't ideal, and that it likely had an expiration date on it; but there was still a small part of me that wanted to believe that he was going to whisk me away across the ocean with him. Or at least that he would think our relationship was so great that it was something worth maintaining for a year while he was gone. From a sensible perspective, this is for the best. We ended on good terms, before the missed phone calls, and the resentment of him accepting this position, and the stress that not seeing each other for months and months was able to seep in and spoil something great. Ending things this way means that I can see other people while he is gone, and if I should meet someone remarkable, I don't have to feel guilty about wanting to see where that leads. It leaves a door open for unknown possibilities upon his return in February of 2015. It is, well, it is what it is. Even though it was the best way for it to end, it doesn't suck any less.
My best friend and her husband have separated. She moved in with me Thanksgiving weekend while she sorted out her feelings. After a series of ups and downs that are not at all unexpected in the course of a decision of this magnitude, she decided after Christmas to sever the ties and tell him she wasn't coming back. Divorce. The couple that I went to Epcot with mere months ago, who most would consider "the perfect couple" is no longer happy. I get it though, from an inside perspective, nothing and no one is perfect. We always assume a relationship is perfect because we only see what is on the surface, and often, only what they want us to see. Everyone has problems. Everyone feels things differently. One thing she told me that really resonates with me still today, was that she was afraid that when people found out they were splitting up, that their illusions of a perfectly happy married couple would be shattered, and she didn't want to do that to people who looked toward them as inspiration and a model of a perfect relationship. I understand why she feels that way, and perhaps if I was in that situation I would feel the same. But I can't help but think of how that could help people, not hurt them. I think that people need to be reminded that even the most perfect relationships are not infallible. Relationships are hard. They take work, and sometimes, even the best ones can't be fixed or saved. It reminds you that love is something that takes a lot of work, and attention, and tending to, yet at the same time is absolutely out of your control. But anyway, I just thought that it was worth mentioning, that even when everything is perfect, happiness isn't guaranteed.
The holidays were particularly hard this year. The break up with Dave happened mid-December, and then I was overwhelmed with finals; I didn't really have time to process it before he came to see me on his way to NY. The verdict is still out on whether that was a smart idea or not, but it's over and done with now. He spent the night in Virginia a few days before Christmas, and it was difficult. Knowing that someone is pushing you away with their actions and their words is one thing, but seeing it in their eyes is another. They have to push you away because it's easier for them to deal with things that way. I saw in his eyes that he didn't look at me the same way that he used to. He didn't hold me the same way, or kiss me the same way. Most of the time he was there was difficult for me, but I knew it was over and it was probably for the best that I experienced that first hand, it would help me move on. Until the morning. I woke up to the sun shining in the window, and him looking at me with lovers eyes. Maybe he was too tired to fight it anymore, and his walls were down. But we laid in bed that morning and I could tell he still cared about me, which made it worse. He left that morning and we said goodbye, and it just felt so abrupt. It didn't feel like a good enough goodbye. There was really no time to think much about it though. That was my last day of work for the year, and I had packing and cleaning, and Christmas to prepare for. A few days later Mandy and I embarked on our journey north and spent 11 days in Syracuse with my family and friends.
I have mixed feelings about Syracuse. There is a feeling that comes over me when I get to the 481 exit on 81 north, driving into the city. When you come over the hill from the valley and see the city for the first time. Usually I am arriving at night, and the lights of the skyline welcome me home. The empty lanes of 81 usher me into the heart of downtown, and I get this overwhelming sense of familiarity, that is so calming. This feeling of relief. I am home, finally. I'm so excited to see my family, and my friends, and my city. I visit my favorite bar, and walk the streets of Armory Square. Even at night, in the subzero temperatures, it's refreshing. I have to be careful sometimes not to get frostbite, because I could stand out there for hours. And then a week goes by, and something changes. I notice a building is gone, or a new one has appeared. A business has moved, a house I played in as a kid has been sold... The city has changed, as they often do. Suddenly I don't feel calm anymore. It hits me, and I am reminded that life goes on without me. This isn't my city anymore, it belongs to a generation younger than me. In that moment, I no longer feel at home, and I begin to panic and scratch at the walls until I can get out. I load the car and rush back to Virginia. The gas is cheaper, the weather is warmer, the sun is shining, and I think yes, this is where I belong. This is my home now. I am calm.
But it doesn't last. And I tell myself that everything will be OK when I get back into my routine. So I get up and I go to work, and to class, and to the gym, and home. Everyday waiting for the calm to come back. Everyday waiting for the next Dave, or the next trip, or adventure, or the next...anything to make me feel content again.