If I Could Turn Back Time
There will moments in our lives where we will utter questions like, “Should I take the job?” “Should I move to another city?” “When should I start my diet?” and “What will happen if I stay in my relationship?” Some people call them the, “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda’s” but I like to think of them as, “If I Could Turn Back Time.”
The New Year was already off to a rather bumpy start for me and as each day has gone on since January 1st, it wasn’t looking any brighter. My roommate was a month behind on rent and three months behind with utilities and I was covering all the expenses while he was looking for a job which in turn was hurting my bank account. I wasn’t sure what to do with the situation but every couple of days, I would ask my roommate how his job search was going and what his plans were for paying me back. Last week, he finally snapped and told me to stop asking him about his situation. After he snapped back at me; I finally decided that it was time for him to go and that I needed to seriously think about what I wanted to do next with my apartment. Do I keep my apartment that I’ve lived in for the past nine years or do I let it go and find a place of my very own? Given the timing and everything else that was going on with my life, the idea of trying to find a new apartment in two weeks was simply too much for me to tackle. So, in turn, I paid rent for February and will have my apartment to myself for a full month before I decide what my next plan of action will be.
Work has also been really terrible for me ever since I returned back from the holidays. Working fourteen hour days with no end in sight, which I know I’m not the only one that is plagued with the question of, “Do I start looking for a new job?” I will say, that the only good thing going on with my current job at the moment is the fact that Mr. D. is no longer here. For the past two weeks since he’s been gone, there has been a tremendous weight lifted from my shoulders without having to worry if he’s going to walk by my desk or try and find an excuse to talk to me at the office. There is my silver lining when it comes to this dead end job.
I would be lying to myself if I said that nothing was going right with my life at this time because it really isn’t. However, I’m doing my best every single day to get things back on track. They say that most people are looking for a great home, that fabulous career and of course…that perfect mate. It’s rare that everyone has it all but what happens when you really don’t have any of those things going for you? It really can send a person down a scary path but with each passing day and week; all I can do is keeping trying until all the stars align back up again.
So, work and my home life have been complete and utter shit and regarding my love life; I haven’t been ready to deal with it due to Mr. D. finally leaving once and for all. However, on New Year’s Day as I was leaving my apartment to go meet friends for brunch, I received a text message from a number that I didn’t recognize. All it said was, “Happy New Year!” I replied back with, “I’m sorry; I’m not sure who this is.” Two seconds later, I get a message back saying that it was my ex-boyfriend from ten years ago!! An ex-boyfriend that I used to live with, an ex-boyfriend that I loved so much and more importantly; an ex-boyfriend that broke my heart. We exchanged a few more messages and they were mainly messages where he informed me of where he was living at the moment and it was his last message that left me perplexed. He asked me if I wanted to come and see his new apartment. I didn’t answer right away because I really needed to think this one through. It was ten years ago and people do change. I had to laugh because back in May of last year when Mr. D. let me go to California all by myself (the trip that he was supposed to go on with me and instead went to a wedding with his ex-girlfriend) that my ex-boyfriend was at the same exact wedding that Mr. D. was at. Small world and at times I can only think that “this stuff only happens to me.” Over brunch, I talked to my friend about it and asked her what she thinks and she suggested I see him just to check things out because if I didn’t, I would ask myself a million questions. So, I told my ex-boyfriend when I was free and that I’d like to come and see his new apartment.
So, this past Friday was the evening that I would be going to see my ex-boyfriend after ten years of not seeing or speaking to each other. Of course, the entire day was a big mess for me. Work was insane and I could barely keep up not to mention that my roommate was harassing me via text messages because he wasn’t sure how he was going to pay me back the money and he was coming across rather aggressive and I finally told him that I would speak with him face to face once I got home from work before needing to get ready to see my ex.
The conversation with my roommate went better than I expected because I told him that he needed to be out by this Saturday, he gets no security deposit back and once he understood that I had hit my limit, he went quietly to his room. Finally it was time for me to get ready because I was already an hour late to meet my ex.
I hadn’t been to this part of Queens in at least six years but I was told by my ex to text him once I arrived at the Queensborough stop on the N train that was bound for Astoria. It was an area that I wasn’t familiar with at all but he told me that he would pick me up at the Astoria Boulevard stop and would be waiting for me where you purchase Metro cards. I arrived at the stop where he told me to get off and two minutes later, I was standing in front of him and it was only awkward for a second and then he said, “Come here and give me a hug.” We hugged and as we pulled away he said to me, “I remember you always smell so good. Now come on and let me show you the country.” He knows I always refer to anything outside of Manhattan as “the country.” He only lives a block away from the subway and so I didn’t get to see much of Astoria but all I could think about was, “Where the hell was I and what exactly was I doing with him?”
We got to his building and he showed me his new truck that he purchased and showed me around his building. I could tell that he was trying to impress me but he knows that those kinds of things never did impress me. I don’t care about vehicles or the latest gadgets but he knew I did care about how clean he kept his apartment and whether or not he was eating healthy (his diet in the past consisted of buffalo wings and beer).
When we got inside his apartment, it smelled good which I thought was very odd for him because he could care less about candles. The first thing he said to me was, “Look, I bought candles just for your visit.” It was sweet, we hugged again and with that one hug, I suddenly felt all those old fond memories of him again. We continued the tour and before we actually sat down to catch-up, I asked for a drink, not because I was nervous or anxious but because of the rough week I had. He made our drinks and we sat down on his brand new couch. Everything in his new apartment was brand new from the television to his coasters, I could tell that he was really proud of himself and I congratulated him on all his success. Time had been good to him as far as his career and finances had gone.
During our first and second drink we covered the topics of our friends, family and careers. His life from a social aspect had remained pretty much the same, some friends had gotten married and had children and he became a first time uncle. By the time our third drink had presented itself, it was there that we decided to cover the subject of our love lives.
He asked me if I had been on any dates in the past ten years or had been serious about someone. I actually laughed at the question because I figured we both had been on dates in the past decade and so I told him that I had dated and been in relationships since we ended. When it was his turn to answer the question, he said, “I haven’t been on one single date since you left me. I’m happy with my life for the most part but I didn’t want to date anyone else. I’ve hooked up with random people but there was never anyone like you and so I’ve left things the way they are.”
We both agreed that we were too young when we moved in together but that we did have a strong love for each other and that since we’ve been apart there really hasn’t been any person that could match with what we had. I only thought about it for a brief second that what if we could turn back time and would we even have pushed through our rough patch in the past and ended up still being together. I knew the answer and the answer would still be no. We wouldn’t be together because we both had a lot of growing up to do. In many regards, he was still the same exact person that I loved and that was also a bad thing because the red flags that were there in the past are still there. So, I knew that this first “meeting” that we were having was also probably going to be our last.
I was now four drinks in and I told myself that I needed to eat something or else I was running the risk of getting sloppy, so I asked him to order us a pizza. While we waited for the pizza to be delivered he said that he wanted to show me something. We walked over to his bedroom and he opened his closet and what was inside was something I wasn’t prepared for at all. Inside his closet was everything we had ever bought together while we lived together. There was a blender, framed art, a very expensive blanket and when I asked him why he kept all of this stuff for ten years he said, “Because I just couldn’t part with this stuff. Those were very happy times for me and I figured that maybe one day that everything would work itself out again.” I didn’t say anything just stared at all of those memories and remembered all the good and bad times. He gave me a look that I knew what was going to happen next…he kissed me.
When we pulled away, I don’t know if it was a combination of the drinks, him, me or the fact that everything felt familiar and wonderful but I wanted more. We kissed until the pizza arrived and as we ate our dinner, we began to laugh at how comfortable everything felt. It was getting late now and I wasn’t sure if I was going to go home after dinner or more importantly; did I even want to go home.
Turns out that I didn’t even have to think for myself because he said, “I hope you stay the night because I have no intentions of letting you go tonight.” He left me in his living room and went to his bedroom and when he came out, he brought me a pair of his boxers and a t-shirt to wear and said, “Go change and come to bed.” Inside his bathroom, I splashed cold water on my face, changed my clothes and went into his bedroom where he was already waiting for me in bed. I fell asleep in his arms just like I always had done all those years ago.
We woke up the next morning bright and early for he had to drive upstate to a friend’s house and I wanted to leave as quickly as possible to avoid any awkwardness. He offered to make me coffee but I declined, got dressed and he hugged me one more time before I left and said how nice it was to see me and if I ever wanted to see the “country” again to give him a call. It was the perfect way to part and I was grateful that he was there for me to make me feel a lot of positive things. There was no point in dwelling on the past because it was ten years ago and I knew I wasn’t the same person any longer. I surprised myself when I didn’t want to turn back time and think of all the wonderful times to make me think that we had a future together. He served his purpose and that was to make me feel like someone wanted to be with me.
We will always reflect, look back and ponder that “what ifs” in our lives and we usually tend to do this when our lives are turned upside down. It’s when our lives are good, when everything falls into place that we never tend to look back at our past. We can never turn back time, nor should we want to, we should all do our best to stay in the present and look forward to our futures.
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