One month after being surprised by my boyfriend with a trip to the jewelers to look at engagement rings I received a phone call from him “I just can’t do this anymore.”
In my head I was livid, confused, filled with questions like, “who is she?” “Is she thinner than me?” “are you sure you don’t just need some time to think this through?”
Instead I went with, “ok.”
I’m not sure if it was because of my women’s intuition or just my pride that forced out such an immediate acceptance, but that’s all I said, and for some reason it felt appropriate. Why ask questions that wouldn’t change the outcome? Why beg him for answers? That wouldn’t bring me peace, and that wouldn’t bring me closure. All of those resolutions would be hard fought battles that I’d go through alone.
We talked for a few more minutes and then that was it. We haven’t talked since. That conversation happened over a year ago.
The night after that phone call (I still can’t believe he did it over the phone. Who does that?) I went to stay with my mom, fully aware of the impending emotional storm that would soon rage. When I got there I just went to bed without putting much more thought into it. But then, I woke up and for a split moment it all felt like a dream. I forgot that I was now single. Then it all came rushing back. Every memory ever. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the phone call that I obsessed over. It was every great moment we ever shared together that swarmed my mind. Then of course came the realization of how different my life was about to be. I was no longer planning my imaginary wedding that didn’t seem so imaginary. I would never see him again. I’d never kiss him again. I’d never hear his laugh. I wouldn’t be able to call him and tell him about my day. I felt empty. My heart hurt so badly. I pulled the covers over my head and cried into my sheets. When I started crying, the tears didn’t stop until a few days later. I also didn’t move from that spot in bed, or change my clothes until a few days later, either. I know it sounds pathetic, but I knew how cathartic true mourning would be. My mom brought me soups that I put to the side, only sipping the necessary amount for her to not lecture me about starvation. About 3 days after that phone call, I finally got up. I made myself a cup of water. And I got dressed for work. As soon as I walked in I started crying again. I guess I overestimated my readiness for the real world. I feared that because my first attempt at doing anything other than crying was so unsuccessful I would never be a normal contributing member of society ever again. But of course, it always seems that way when we’re devastated. That weekend I went to visit my brother. That’s mostly how I kept myself busy and distracted. I helped him with his physical therapy. We talked about him and his healing. Spending time with him was my version of physical therapy.
My dad and stepmom called me one morning, just days after the breakup. They were fully aware of how distraught I was. How hard the aching loneliness hit. So they called me often. Checked on me several times a day, but this conversation was different. They asked me, “If you could go anywhere in the United States, where would you go?”
I’d dreamed of going to New York and seeing a real Broadway show my whole life. I fantasized a thousand times over of sitting in Central Park, reading a classic novel. I’ve always wanted to go to New York. I didn’t skip a beat,
“New York City”
“And who would you go with?”
I thought for a moment. If he’d asked me 5 days ago I’d have said my boyfriend. Now there was no one else. There was no one else I could see myself traveling with. So I answered back, “No one. I’d just go alone.”
“Well I’m buying your ticket right now. When can you go?”
I thought our entire conversation was rhetorical. A distraction. A subject other than my breakup. What???? My dad was sending me to New York. Now knowing that this was actually happening my dad asked me again who I wanted to go with me, but I was invigorated with the idea of traveling to my dream city, all by myself, conquering this fast paced world that’s so far removed from my Texas upbringing. So I stood by my original answer, but not out of pity for myself, or because I was pouting about not being able to take my boyfriend. I chose to go alone because that’s what I needed, and I knew that on a deep intuitive level.
I was in New York for 8 days and they were legitimately the best 8 days I have ever lived. I found myself there. I found my joy again. I found a love and thirst for life- be it single or married or whatever! None of it mattered. I knew who I was and that’s what made all the difference. I found myself and I learned to love her. And for that reason I am incredibly grateful for the good memories I have of that relationship, but more than that I’m grateful for its end, because amongst the rubble of myself that was left from it I built a new me. I found my true self.