I met my boyfriend for dinner at the Spaghetti Factory thinking it was dinner as usual. I’d never pick this restaurant but that’s not the point. It was a strange setting because people were dressed up for some type of murder mystery party. I think I made a few of my normal snarky remarks, sensing something seemed off or distant about him but not giving much thought to it. Toward the end of dinner he didn’t finish his ice cream which was definitely odd because this guy could eat. I asked what was wrong, pointing out that he seemed like he wasn’t present or seemed sad. Then he said “I need to tell you something,” or “I have something I need to tell you,” or some shit along those lines.
The blood drained from my face and my throat immediately started to sting. I asked if it was something that could please not be discussed in public- knowing my own thin skin and tears always waiting in the ready. It was very clear it wasn’t a happy “tell ya something,” like potentially moving in together or a promotion. My first thoughts were maybe work was moving him or he had applied or been offered a job elsewhere. He said “No, it’s not a bad thing, but I have to tell you, I want to know what you think.” I think I tried to reach for a sip of my wine at this point, trying to slow time down, but my hands were too shaky to take a sip without sucking in air so I set it back down. “Okayyyy…” waiting for the landmine to explode at any second. “I saw something on Facebook…” That’s when the tears started. I have no idea why. Nothing good could come from Facebook is what I figured, and he kept going on to tell me he had seen an advertisement for this program called Remote Year. I remember laughing darkly because I thought this was ridiculous. Facebook. Fucking Facebook. I am pitched shoes and used cars because of the cookies that have attached to me from all across the inter-web and here I am having my life investments meddled with because Facebook decided to use its algorithms to pitch this “travel loving hiker and adventure seeker” to go on a “trip with 70 other interesting people.” Come on. The ad is corny and self-loving. Anyyywayyyy.
The rest of what was said in our exchange is very buzzed because my mind scrambled to make sense of everything -so there’s a voice talking over the entire exchange. So, to pretend I know what was said accurately wouldn’t be fair. I do remember him saying “Well now you can go to law school,” as though that was a consolation prize. As though I was now free to do what I had for several months played with the idea of pursuing after having been accepted and deferring acceptance for over a year. I also remember him saying, “I don’t want to throw what we have away, I think we have something special… You can come visit as often as you can, I can help pay for flights.” If I were a crashing plane at this point, sirens going off inside and smoke pouring out of the engines, this was the strong updraft that lifted me by the belly and helped me land safely back at the table. I asked to leave. I got up. Left. Walked, stunned to my car. It was winter, somewhere in the teens and I remember him hugging me goodbye with my arms at my side. I was supposed to go to his house that evening, and I just wanted to go home. I don’t remember blinking. I walked across the street. Got in my car and drove to the nearest gas station and bought the first pack of cigarettes I’d had in over four years. I turned right to go home to St. Paul and started sobbing. Like gross cough crying. Then moments of complete calm would wash over me. Then I’d cry again saying “What the fuck?” to no one, repeatedly. I kept pressing ignore on my phone as he attempted to call three times. Just go home. That’s all I wanted to do.
Who fucking does this? What did I do wrong? It’s all over. I have no recourse. I’m not enough. I’m not enough. I’m not enough. He’s leaving me. I wasn’t enough- I’m not enough. Stunned. Immediate death. Like wanting to ask the vet to wait wait wait! Please don’t kill this, yet.
I remember my first response back to him being “I don’t know who you are anymore.”