I was so tired I almost thought I was pregnant. How on earth are we going to tell our parents we are having a baby? I yelled into the phone. We are not having a baby, said the always calm voice at the other end. I will have to quit my job and move back. Where will we live? We can’t stay in your apartment, or we can but we will really have to redecorate. Shhhhhhhhhh…he said back.
My feet hurt. At the end of each day all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. I had no energy to make or even order food. Every last ounce of energy went to walking Mia. I lost six pounds. My skin felt constantly dirty. I am like a day laborer, I thought. Every morning, I slept through my alarm and woke up anxious about missing the train. Is it going to be like this forever? I asked my coworker. No mama, she said in her lively Latina accent. You are adjusting. It takes me like two maybe three months of adjusting when I move here. You will be fine because you are spicy.
The first time I moved to New York it wasn’t like this. Well, I was twenty one. My internship was part-time. I lived with my boyfriend. For a whole year, he led me everywhere I needed to go. By the time we broke up, I was a confident and adjusted New Yorker. It was the only adult life I knew. Can being away for four short years really take the New Yorker away from you? Maybe because I was still edgier, quicker and more efficient than everyone else in Washington, I hadn’t noticed. Unbeknownst to me, something had happened: I slowed down.
Winding back up was harder than I expected. What’s your favorite yoga class? coworkers asked me. Have you been on any dates? friends wondered. Who has energy for yoga or dating? It’s an effort to fucking shower. All of my energy was left at work. At night, I was too tired to do anything else, so I talked with my ex boyfriend. Some nights we would FaceTime. Some nights we were serious. Others were short and sweet. It wasn’t every night, but it was enough to keep me in a purgatorial transition. Why are you doing this? my friends asked. You partly moved back to New York to get away from him. Do you really want his dark cloud following you? His perpetual unhappiness?
One night we were supposed to have a “talk.” He was out of town that day and would be home in the evening. A few hours after he should have landed, I hadn’t heard from him. I sent him a text asking him if he was home and ready to FaceTime. He responded that he was at happy hour and then going to dinner. Could we talk tomorrow? I don’t know why that was the straw. But that was the straw the broke me. The choices we had both made in the two months since we had run into each other at the bar were questionable. He had done a heap of stupid shit. I had accepted the stupid shit. Asking me to marry him while we were drinking martinis was just one of them. Showering me with the ways I elevated his life, how inspiring I am, and how much he loves and misses me were about ten more. I know better than to listen to words in absence of actions. His promise that he would never make me feel bad again was dead before it had legs. Still, I listened to his baseless words. In my tired transition, I needed something familiar to fulfill me. Unhappy people can’t fulfill other people. I know this! As long as he is unhappy, I will be disappointed. I looked down at the text – Can we talk tomorrow? No we cannot talk tomorrow, I thought. I deleted the communication. I never replied back.
The sky would have parted and the angels would have sung on high, but I am the boy who cried wolf with this guy. No alleluia celebration was had. I didn’t phone a friend. I just made the call.
I anticipated feeling anxiety and a need to talk to him in the upcoming days. After all, my entire transition had involved him. I prepared myself for the longing, sad feeling reminiscent of a break up. That first day was fine. Then day two was fine. On day three, I told a friend, I am fine! I put a star on my phone calendar for all of those days. There will likely be an hour or two in the morning or before bed that I feel bad. It’s never a full day, but it’s a few dark hours. Those dark hours make us do things we regret. Text something cuckoo. Call four times. Go back through pictures of our trip to Spain. In those hours, I am going to look at these stars, so I remember that the dopeness outweighs the darkness. Those bad hours are no match for these stars! I showed my friend. You loca, she replied. But today my calendar is filled with star-studded days.
And tomorrow night, I am going on a hot date.
Eternal gratitude for The Classy Issue.