"Update" NYC

Breathe

It all began three Sunday’s ago. I received a text message at 9 a.m. from Mr. D. asking me to meet him at his apartment at noon. I was hesitant to agree to meeting him because I was dreading telling him all that I had planned to say. I had been rehearsing it over and over in my head for weeks. And as we all know, whenever we try to say to someone that we’ve been rehearsing, it never goes out according to plan.

I got off the subway and began the quick walk to his apartment. When I arrived at his building he was already standing outside waiting for me. He looked like he had just been to war. His hair was a mess and his eyes were blood shot. He didn’t say a word but hugged me for a long time. When he pulled away he began telling me, how much he loves me, how he respects me and never wants to disappointment me and that he doesn’t know what to do. He had talked to me like this many times before but there was something about this time that didn’t allow me to look into his eyes because I knew that once I did I would begin to cry. I was looking down at the sidewalk and cars passing by and he continued on with his speech. When he was done, he said, “Will you please look at me?” When I did, all I said to him was, “I’m cold.” We went inside his apartment and for the first time, instead of him sitting next to me like he always has in the past, he sat on his bed and I sat in his chair.

He looked at me, took a deep breath and said, “Do you still love me the way I think you do?” I was very honest with him and told him that I was still in love with him and how could I not be when everything that we’ve gone through has been like a relationship minus the sexual act. We fight, we make-up, we travel, we communicate and we do all the things that couples do, including supporting each other. He didn’t say a word for a few minutes and just sat there. He said, “I guess I shouldn’t have asked that question just now because I bought us tickets to see a movie that is starting in fifteen minutes.” We grabbed our coats and once the movie started, he would whisper things into my ears and acted like we were dating and all I could say was, “This is why I think we are in a relationship because we act like this.”

After the movie, we went back to his place and that is where everything I had been rehearsing for weeks finally came out. You see, for the past month or so, I’ve kept it under wraps from most people in my life that he was offered a position in our Boston office. It would require him to move from the city and it would also require him leaving my life once and for all. He and I had been discussing it for weeks. I have even gotten him to start seeing my therapist because there are things that I simply can’t help him with.

After telling him how I feel and him confirming to me that he feels the same way, I said, “This is going to be hard for me to say and hard for you to hear but I want you to move to Boston.” He looked surprised and asked me why I’m telling him that and I said, “Because I want to move on. I need to move on and I cannot go another year with what I fear is going to be like the previous two years.” He said, “I don’t understand why we can’t be friends?” It’s a simple response to a difficult question and that is, “Because we are not just friends and we never were and never will be.” We sat in silence and the silence was so loud that I asked him to turn his television on so we can just breathe for awhile. After a couple more hours of back and forth, I said that I should be going. I didn’t want him to walk me to the subway like he always does. He said, “I want to walk you because I want to make sure you are safe.” We walked to the subway with having solved his next chapter in life and me being left with figuring out what to do with mine. I couldn’t breathe for the rest of the evening but I knew that for the both us that we are doing the right thing.

Over Thanksgiving break, I was in Arizona visiting family for the first time in twenty years and he was visiting his dad in Seattle. We messaged every single day and he sent me pictures of him as a baby, showed me what his dad looks like and shared images of the house he grew up in. It was yet another layer of how much he wants to share with me and yet we are heading toward one of our biggest obstacles yet.

When I returned back to New York, something in me had shifted. I continued to ask myself why I hadn’t cried or showed any sort of emotion over the fact that Mr. D. is going to be leaving permanently. Was I over him? Was I finally able to accept this ending or will it hit me when I least expect it?

Last Thursday, I was at work and Mr. D. was at another office working on a presentation when I got a text message from him. He was asking me if I’d be willing to meet him at my favorite bookstore at 7:15 because he wanted me to take him to therapy and to talk before his session. I met him at the bookstore, bought a book and he suggested we grab some tea across the street. Once again, he appeared to have a look of stress written all over his face. I told him that he now needs to get behind his choice regarding Boston. I told him that he doesn’t have much time to find a new place given all that is happening with work and other obligations. He looked at me and said, “Do you want to go to Boston this weekend with me?” Interestingly enough, my best friend that lives there, it was her sisters’ wedding and I was already invited to the reception but I had originally turned it down because I wasn’t sure what was going on with our situation. Mr. D. said he would get us a hotel and that we would leave the next day. He then said, “I really could use your help with finding a place and we can make it a fun weekend.” I nodded and I walked him to his therapy session.

On Friday, I left my apartment with a packed bag and head full of uncertainty. I got to work and for some strange reason, Mr. D. was rather excited about the weekend. We left on the 5:30 bus that was heading to Boston and for the next four and a half hours, we would be forced to talk about the elephant in the room. In the beginning of the bus ride, I could tell that his mind was all over the place and he kept looking at his phone and texting. I asked, “Who the hell are you texting and why is it making you so uneasy.” I knew exactly who was texting him but I wanted him to say it because I at least deserve that much. He said, “You know who it is.” It was his ex-girlfriend texting him and was rather upset with him because yet again, he was pissing her off.

The bus was silent except for Mr. D. and I speaking and so that meant the entire bus heard our conversation. It wasn’t a pleasant conversation either because I told him that this weekend was hard enough as it is and if he doesn’t put an end to the texting that I’m turning right around and going back to the city. Enough was enough and I don’t want to see that phone again with her name appearing on the screen. He didn’t look at me and instead he looked out the window. I wasn’t sure why he wasn’t looking at me and I said, “Will you look at me?” He turned to me and his face was covered in tears. His tears were out of anger because he said he feels like all he does is apologize to everyone that he upsets including me. I told him that the way to solve this problem is to make sure that your words match your actions. He’s done it to me a million times and clearly he does this to other people in his life. You can’t tell me what I want to hear and then turn around and act the opposite. He cried a few more minutes before I knew I had to take control and change the subject. I told him that we need to focus on setting up appointments with apartment buildings and figure out our game plan. I also asked him to tell me where we are staying but he said it’s a surprise. The rest of the ride was spent being productive and trying to make the most of our delicate situation.

We got to Boston around 9:30 and when we got into the cab all he told the driver was the cross streets of where the hotel was located. In the cab ride, I kept hounding him to tell me the name of the hotel and he wouldn’t. Finally, we arrived on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and on the corner was a gorgeous hotel. It is the, Eliot Hotel. We walked in and as we were checking in, the hotel staff informed us that they are upgrading us to their suite! Mr. D. just looked at me and said, “We always have the best of luck!” We got into the suite and it was gorgeous and I began to fill my bag with the hotel toiletries.

Even though it was semi-late in the evening, Mr. D. suggested we take a walk around the area to see the holiday lights. We walked around, went to a wine bar and began to get really excited about the next day. We went back to the hotel, ordered a pizza, watched a movie and talked till 2:30 a.m.

Saturday morning, we got up bright and early for our first appointment to see an apartment was 9:30. The first apartment we looked at was a disappointment, the second one I actually liked but he wasn’t in love with. After the second apartment we looked at, I could tell that Mr. D. was getting frustrated but I calmed him down and he suggested we walk through this beautiful park. Along the walk, he put his arm around me and says, “I love you. Thank you.” I didn’t respond but just let the sun hit my face and smiled back at him.

We arrived at our next appointment and the minute he and I walked into the building, the staff somehow fell in love with both of us. They assumed we were a couple and we didn’t correct them. We spent 45 minutes with the leasing agent and as we were debating on the five apartments that was shown to us, the leasing agent said in my direction, “I have one more apartment to show you if you want to take a look…it’s on the top floor.” I knew what he meant, he meant the penthouse. I looked at Mr. D. who didn’t really want to look for fear that it will be out of his budget but I put on puppy dog eyes and said, “We are here. We might as well take a look.” He smiled, agreed and before I know it, we were hitting the elevator button that read, “PH”.

We both walked inside the apartment and instantly I knew that this was the one. I did my best to hide my excitement for this beautiful apartment but there was no stopping me. I loved it and I wanted Mr. D. to take it. As painful as I knew that I would not be the one living with him; I also knew that he deserves to have a home that he gets excited to go to. We shook everyone’s hand as we left, the leasing agent, the doorman, the gym attendant and everyone kept asking if “we” were going to take the apartment. Mr. D. said to everyone, “It’s looking like this building will be our new home, we now just need to pick which one.” When we exited the building, we both smiled and said at the same time, “This is the one!”

He took me to the Lenox Hotel lobby where I had wine and hot tea for him. Over our drinks, we discussed all the options for which apartment he wanted to go with. The table next to us interrupted us and said, “You guys are such a cute couple and I think you should get this sweet guy the penthouse. He deserves it.” They were referring to me because I kept begging Mr. D. to take the penthouse. Mr. D. laughed and also didn’t correct them over their assumption of us being a couple.

We had several hours to go before the wedding reception so we ended up going to his friend’s apartment where they offered us a place to stay for the night. We had their place to ourselves and in the drive to the apartment his phone rang and he didn’t pick it up but I noticed it was one of his admirers calling him. When we got inside and got situated, he said he was going outside to make a phone call and to also pick up some wine for his friends as a thank you for letting us stay the night. My attitude changed quickly because I knew exactly who he was going to call. I said, “I need you to leave for awhile and you make that phone call but before you do; I want you to take a look around and see who exactly is here with you. Not her but me. I am the one here. You are the one that asked me to be here and not her. Why am I the one here and not her?” I felt my tears start to build and he told me he wouldn’t make the phone call if I didn’t want him to. I told him he is going to do it anyway, so he might as well do it now. As soon as he left, I began to cry the hardest I had cried in a very long time. He wasn’t even gone three minutes before he was back inside and he didn’t even take his coat off but hugged me as I cried inside his coat. He held me for a long time and when he let go, it really hit me how hard it is that this man is no longer going to be in my life. Once again, it was hard to breathe.

Back in another car and we were heading to the wedding reception. As we got out of the car, he asked if he could have a cigarette before we were to go inside. He reached inside his coat pocket and pulled out his cigarettes and a piece of paper fell out of his coat pocket and landed face down on the sidewalk. He said, “Pick it up.” I wasn’t going to pick it up at first because he was fully capable of picking it up himself. Then he said to me again, “Go ahead and pick it up.” I picked up the piece of paper and flipped it over and on the other side was a picture of us from April of this year when we he took me to the Boston Aquarium. I stood there with our picture in my hand and just looked at him. He smiled and told me that he had been carrying it around since April. I didn’t know what to say. There were no words and I handed him back the picture and he put it back inside his coat pocket.

We got inside and everyone was excited to see us both at the reception. We laughed, we danced and for a couple of hours, I was able to put everything aside and breathe. Another night with us going to bed at 2:30 a.m. and we were so exhausted but before we went to bed all he could say was, “Thank you.”

Yesterday we woke up and we agreed to take a 3:30 bus back to the city. Since we got up early, we decided to see the apartments that we narrowed it down to (penthouse was off the list) one more time before we were to meet his friends that let us stay at their apartment for brunch. Once again, when we got to the building, the entire staff was excited to see us back and one of them even gave me a hug and begged me to move into the building.

Mr. D. spoke to the leasing agent and said, “Please show us the apartment that I spoke to you about this morning.” I had no idea that he even called the leasing agent and it must’ve been when I was in the shower. We got inside the elevator and the button that was hit was, “PH” for the penthouse. I got inside the apartment and Mr. D. looked at me and said, “I applied for this place!!” I was in shock because he kept telling me how he was against it and that it just didn’t seem right to be a single person living in such a big space but he said it just feels like his home.

His friends met us at a local bar called, Sevens, there we talked about the apartment and his friend looked at me and said, “You must be sad. I know you are going to miss him and I know he is going to miss you.” I just smiled and agreed with what he told me. On the bus back to the city, I saw Boston getting smaller and smaller and I began to cry. He held my leg and said it’s going to be ok. I’m not sure at this moment how it’s going to be ok but I know with time and distance that in the end, it will be ok and that it will all be over.

Over the past three days, I had to make sure that I took the time to “breathe.” Not literally but metaphorically. It was important because of the emotional roller coaster that I’ve been on. A roller coaster that is coming to an end finally and I only have three weeks left with him before he is gone forever.

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