Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day By Day

On February 6th, I started a new job.  After fourteen years as an insurance broker, I powered down my old work computer, tucked personal possessions in a crumpled tote, and walked away from a long chapter in my life.  In the years leading up to that day, I learned how to navigate a male-dominated world.  I grew into a person who appreciated what she had gained but itched to experience more.  And I had the confidence to set out for new adventures.

On March 4th, I packed up my car and drove eight hundred miles south for Atlanta.  Art too big to ship leaned against the empty walls of my Philly condo, the paperwork pending for a potential tenant.  Twenty-five boxes filled with books, winter coats, and tattered journals from my adolescence sat stacked along the back wall of my cousin's office, their fate on hold until I figured out where I would be living.  Oh right, I had no idea where I was living.

On April 1st, I had my first date with E.  I couldn't deny concern about the age difference but his smile made me smile.  The conversation lasted far longer than our grande iced-teas.  When we parted ways, each setting off for other evening plans, I cursed the fact that he didn't look back over his shoulder.  Because I already knew that I wanted to learn more about this man with a slight accent, expressive brown eyes, and no-poker-face-grin.

On May 26th, with three friends visiting from Philly, I applied a swipe of lipstick and set out for a night on the town.  Along with E and Leslie, the six of us congregated at Blake's.  We were there for the cheap drinks in plastic cups and the sexy drag queens belting it out to Rihanna.  We raised our glasses, sang along to the tunes, and shook our hips to the rhythm pumping through the speakers. With one hand on my new boyfriend and my attention directed toward my old friends, two worlds melted into one.

On June 26th, I pulled the covers closer to my shoulders and rolled onto my side.  Even through the darkness, I could see E, his eyes open as he pressed his cheek into his pillow.  He said something. I said something.  Nothing was hurtful.  If anything, we were both being careful with our words, delicate with our sentiments.  But somehow we had landed at the same place, acknowledging for once that the best choice for both of us would be to end things.

"I think you should take me home," he eventually said, his car intentionally at his condo with a plan to run back there in the morning.

"Are you sure?"  I asked, realizing that, fair or not, I still wanted him by my side.

"I don't know."

A few more words were shared as I idled at a red light, as I pulled into a parking space at his complex, as we stood before each other beneath a half-lit moon.

"I love you," he said.

"I love you too, E."

He slowly backed away, settled his bag on hisshoulder, and disappeared down a hallway toward his condo.  I'd be lying if I didn't say I slowed up as I pulled away, squinting against the darkness to catch one last glimpse of his frame.  And I'd truly be lying if I didn't admit I cried.

PS: E is a gentle soul with a generous heart.  He did me better than any man who came before him. When I'm struggling, I write, and he has always supported that habit of mine.  Even now.  But I can't help but ask you to be sensitive with your comments where E is concerned.  He earned that.  Trust me.


Anonymous said...

PJ, Really sucks to read this because I was seriously rooting for you guys. BUT with a little time to sooth some pain, hopefully you'll be able to appreciate this. Of the relationships you've shared with us, this sounds like it was a great, healthy learning experience for you, something that can both reaffirm that there are some great guys out there, and also that you're a great girl who deserves the best. I don't want to use any variation of the word "settle" because that attaches a stigma that maybe E was less than a great guy, which you've said he wasn't. But you two weren't right for one another and the fact that you recognized that and ended it amicably is great. Sucky now, but...

Rebekah said...

Your honesty and restraint - both in living this and writing it - are, as always, so inspiring. It takes a lot more strength to walk away when you can still be sad and reflective rather than wait until everything goes sour and things end with sick pain and rage. It's aches when it happens either way, but they way you managed this gives you not only a clearer perspective of what happened, but also of what lies ahead.

Always hold on.

DL White said...

Oh, dear. I am sad to read this but happy that you found someone that gave you joy even for a brief time. You'll be okay. I am an email away.

Breeza said...

I am sorry to read it ended like this too. But I'm glad you had a few good months with him. x

Sarah said...

He taught you what a healthy relationship feels like, and we will always love him for that.

Brittany said...

Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. <3 I know breakups are NEVER easy, especially when you cared for someone so much. To me, it doesnt matter what the reason, whos idea, or what the circumstances are around a breakup, they are always so painful. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that you are a catch, and your prince is out there waiting for you. With this breakup, you're one move closer to meeting him.

Unknown said...

You shared a special love with great life and expressiveness in this post. I was saddened by the separation, and I am hoping for the best for you.

Lilly said...

This post really touched me, I think because you guys parted in love and that somehow makes it both more sad and more great.

KatieC said...

Well, damn. But man, what a beautiful thing--to love and admire someone so much, but to love and admire yourself enough to know what you truly need. Sending you one big-ass hug.