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Friday, May 11, 2012

my life: the breakup


Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:
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So there I was, back in Minnesota after a brief two-week whirlwind road trip to and from Portland, back into the arms of the 'love of my life.'

October 2002
Supposedly.  Keep in mind, we had only just said "I love you" one month before, and had only known each other a total of three months.

If this was a fairy tale we would now 'live happily ever after.'   The end.

But this is not a fairy tale by any means...or the end of the story.

Nor did I think it was, even then.  I had to be practical, even in the frenzy of new love.   I called up my manager at the shoe store and asked for my job back.  Done.  I contacted the college I had been taking classes at the year before and enrolled in only two classes.  After all the moving and emotional drama, I felt like I needed a little break from a full-time class load.

moving into our tiny apt - kitchen view
Next, I needed a place to live.  So I did something I had never, ever imagined I'd do: moved in with my boyfriend.  Or rather, we found and rented a tiny little apartment together.   The top of a house - a teeny, tiny house.   Tiny kitchen, tiny office, tiny bedroom, reeeeally tiny bathroom.   No living room.  Paul's ginormous TV was situated next to my really crappy futon.  We are both fairly short people...so we managed to make it work for the four months before he moved back to Kentucky.  We split the rent and all costs down the middle.  I would never have let a guy support me financially that I was only dating.  Nor did he offer, being very practical about finances...and women.

I never thought I would live with anyone before marriage.  Neither of us had before, and neither of us did after.   My parents weren't thrilled.  {remember, my dad=pastor.} But I was an adult, and at the time it just seemed logical:  we spent nearly all our time together anyway...so why pay for two apartments?  Especially for only a few months.

It was great.  We got closer and even more in love living shoulder-to-shoulder in the ramshackle apartment.  We didn't do a lot of going out, so as to save money.  We just enjoyed being together -- ordering pizza, renting movies, and watching TV.   Our landlord, who we referred to as Crazy Tim, lived downstairs and was a devout, passionate Christian, from a 'banner-waving' 'speaking in tongues' sect. He even had a horn {think Biblical-times type of horn} that he would blow when he was feeling particularly joyous.  {We woke up many a Sunday morning to that horn.}  Crazy, but loveable, Tim was skeptical at first about renting to us, given we were not married.  But "future hubby" was able to charm him, as he does everyone.
I remember September 11th, 2001, living in that apartment.  I am wrapped in a comforter on the futon.  TV is on.  I watch without really knowing what I am seeing.  Slowly things unfold and the first person I call is Paul.  Did he see? Did he hear?  Yes, yes...so terrible.  I cry, thinking of losing him so tragically and suddenly.  I pick him up from work at 4pm and we hold each other for a very long time.
Life was simple during those months.  We worked, I attended classes, and we spent time together.  I had never felt so in love and close to someone.

But December loomed on the horizon, like the end of a good book.

December was when he would move back to Kentucky, to finish school.  I looked into transferring to UK...but only half-heartedly.  I loved Paul, with all my heart...but for some reason I could not commit to moving.  Something nagged at me -- saying we were still too young.  I couldn't imagine getting married any time soon, and he couldn't either.  We never talked about marriage.

What would happen if I moved?  Honestly, given our age and the short time we'd known each other, I figured we would break up, and I would be stuck in Kentucky.  I mean, what would I do with all my shoes???
paul's company christmas party - days before he left
Christmas was bittersweet.  We had the most wonderful little celebration in our tiny apartment.  Paul got us a little snowy white tree, with white lights, and we spread out our carefully purchased and wrapped presents underneath.  I remember vaguely wondering if he would give me a 'promise ring.'  Instead, my main gift was a beautiful leather journal, engraved with a private message written in Latin.  Better than a promise ring - a sign of how close we had become.  He got me, as they say.

I remember watching him drive off.  Forever?  I knew we would break up, in my heart of hearts.  I knew we were too young and too passionate for a long distance relationship.

And we did break up.  About a month later.  I visited him in Kentucky, and we had an amazing time together.  I met some of his best friends, and attended a couple of his classes.  We even had a wild party in his condo.
my beloved tries his best to teach me 'the beer bong.' 
But, in the end,  I had to be honest with him...it was too hard.  I couldn't do it.  The feelings we had when we were with each other were so strong...and then to get ripped apart repeatedly would not be good for either of us.

Paul, as always, was much more optimistic about it working long-term.

So it all came down to me being firm -- I could not do it.  It would be too distracting.  It would be too heartbreaking, wondering when he would meet someone else.  Meeting other people myself.  I couldn't do it at that point in my life.    I wanted to focus on getting my degree.  Finally finishing school, as I was barely halfway done.  I could not do it.

Truth be told, neither of us could have.
So we ended it. 
Thus began my next chapter: College: Part 2
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