Let It Rain

I’m not sure what is harder; watching someone you love walk out of your life, or watching that person you once loved walk back into your life with his new girlfriend in tow.

For almost a year now I have been working part time in the retail merchandise store of the football team here in Lakeview in the location that is right in the stadium. As anyone who has been following me for more than a minute will know that in every way this is my dream part time job. Sure, it’s still shitty retail work, but at least it’s shitty retail work that revolves around something I’m super passionate about. That, and I get a pretty bitchin’ discount.

The reason why the location itself is important to this story is that we had been in the old stadium up until the beginning of March. That stadium was very well loved, spending about 100 years as the foundation of football history in this province. But because of its lengthy run, it was showing its age. The seats were uncomfortable and wooden, when you were “sheltered” at the concessions when it was raining, the ceiling above you poured water like it was a spaghetti strainer, the concessions were few and very far between, as were the run down bathrooms that only had freezing cold water in the taps. If it was raining and your seats were on the east side you were fucked, and if it was hot and sunny you were sunburnt and partially blind by the end of the game. The store I worked at was no better. It was tiny. The store was essentially a shoebox. It was small, the ceilings were low, the lack of windows made the room dark and depressing, the carpet stank and you were either freezing your ass off or cooking like bacon – there was no in between – just like having seats on the east side of the stands.

So a few years ago, the powers that be decided to chip a HUGE chunk of change (huge relative to this province, it was in the ballpark of $300 million, which I think is small potatoes compared to stadiums in other places, but still) to build a shiny new stadium just down the street. This new stadium makes the old one look like an actual pile of shit. The seats are still uncomfortable (because sports seating always sucks), but the view to the field is spectacular. Everything is big and bright and beautiful. The jury is still out on the weather factor because we still don’t have a roof, but at least most of the seats seem relatively covered from a similar overhang that the west side of the old stadium had (where the only advantage to the nosebleeds was that you were pretty much guaranteed to be somewhat protected during adverse weather conditions). All in all, I am completely impressed by the new digs, to the point where I may have to quit my job if they don’t let me book time off to go to at least one game here this season.

The store is amazing. We upgraded from a shoebox to a mansion of a building, with high ceilings, a wall of floor to ceiling windows, where everything is white and bright with big open spaces, TVs in every corner of the store, and a big window filled entrance out into the stadium itself where you can see all the action. We moved over from the old store to the new one at the beginning of March, and every fan that has come in to the store has been in awe of the opulence that we as football fans have never been accustomed to in our province. We finally look like a professional football team (at least off the field anyways).

Because of this new location, we have had a lot of people come from far and wide to see the new digs. Most people don’t even come to buy anything, they just want a sneak peek of the new place. This past week was especially busy as the city hosted the CFL’s first ever CFL Week, which was comprised of various high profile players past and present from across the league, and events for fans of all kinds. So when I went into work on Sunday, as CFL Week was wrapping up, I was expecting it to be busy. I was anticipating a various number of people to walk into the store.

I did not however anticipate seeing Kevin walk through those doors.

You know those big windows I was gushing about a moment ago? Well I love them even more now, because while we as staff can see out of them just fine, there is just enough of a glare on them from the outside that you can’t actually see into the store until you are pretty much right up to the doors. So I saw Kevin long before he came inside. As I was unlocking the door to open, I noticed a familiar truck parked across the street. Huh, I thought. That looks a lot like Kevin’s truck. I see trucks like his all the time in town, so I didn’t think too much about it, but I felt this weird twinge in my stomach about it. I wandered around the store, talking to my coworkers, while periodically checking on that truck parked across the street.

After a few minutes I noticed that someone had gotten out of that truck. A girl. Then, a second later, Kevin emerged from what was indeed his truck. It didn’t even feel real. It felt like I had dreamt it all up. After all, I had thought about running into him out in public a million times. I’ve gone through a million different scenarios of when and where I would bump into him, and in my mind I always looked amazing, and would always say the best things, and present myself in such a way that he would leave and regret ever letting me go. I’ve imagined him coming into my work, but I never thought it would actually happen. A couple minutes after he got out of his truck, his grandparents pulled up and parked in front of him, got out of their vehicle and joined Kevin and the girlfriend on the sidewalk. They stood there chatting for quite some time, and I sat there like a damn idiot, watching them, and praying to whatever deity was listening that they wouldn’t come into the store.

Let me tell you guys, prayer doesn’t do shit, because sure enough, after a few minutes of chatting outside, the four of them started walking towards the store. This is actual footage of me realizing that I was seconds away from seeing Kevin for the first time in a year.

Luckily one of the girls I work with fairly regularly was close enough for me to call her over, and briefly explain what was happening before I basically ran into the stock room, and hid. I stayed in there for a good 10 minutes before it dawned on me that they could be in the store for awhile, and that I legitimately couldn’t hide in there all day without catching shit from the managers that were there that day. So after having a slight panic attack, and with a bucket full of butterflies in my stomach, I peeked into the store, saw that at least Kevin & Co weren’t anywhere right in front of the stock room door, and proceeded into the store with extreme caution.

I heard his voice, and saw the 4 of them looking at stuff across the store from me with my peripheral vision, but I wasn’t going to dare risk catching his gaze. So maybe he saw me at that point, I guess I’ll never know, but I found my coworkers, they gave me a bunch of shirts to go fold, and I spent the next 25 minutes in the change rooms folding shirts with my hair pulled down to cover as much of my face as possible until I heard the four of them leave, and my coworkers came to tell me they were gone.

I wanted to cry. And scream. And throw up. I hated that I ran away. I hated that after a year and a fucking half, the thought of seeing him still hurts. But more than anything I despise the fact that he was the one who fell out of love with me, he broke my god damned heart to a million fucking pieces but he gets to be the happy one, while I am miserable as fuck, wading through piles of shitty dating app messages and meeting a constant stream of assholes. How is that fair? It just makes me so fucking angry.

So now, I’m picking up the pieces – again. And I somehow have to try and convince myself that all this will work itself out in the end. I don’t know how to do that, because right now I’m feeling lower than I ever have. It’s so stupid that I still hold on to what I had, and what I won’t have, and I wish it would all just go away.

All I know is that for all this bullshit I’ve gone through, the least the universe could do for me is throw me a bone in the form of a beautiful football player. I mean honestly, at this point I deserve that for fuck’s sake.

Olivia

Locked Away

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on a beach near Lakeview, looking out at a bunch of little kids, making sand castles, splashing in the water and having fun as only children can in the summer. The weather isn’t even very nice. It was hot and mostly sunny out about an hour and a half ago when we first arrived, but then the clouds rolled up, covering the once nice bright shining day, turning it overcast and cool. This actually suits me quite well, because even though I enjoy a hot summer day as much as the next person, a cool day at the beach means I can relax and read a really great book without sweat pooling in my ass crack. 

I sit and look out on the water, and I try very hard to prevent my brain from wandering into the memory banks where the now distant memories of me and Kevin at this particular lake live. I’m failing at this by way, and not even just a little bit. I see people on a gigantic 6 person inflatable party barge, and it reminds me of when Kevin and I lounged on his party barge the first summer we were together. I see boats in the distance, people fishing or skiing, and my brain is back on Kevin’s best friend’s boat, and we are catching fish early in the morning because that’s when fishing here is the best. I see the yacht club and think, “why in the fuck do we have a yacht club here? You live here. You ain’t fancy. These aren’t even yachts, they are boats. Small ones in fact.” And then I remember last summer when Kevin and I took a drive out to the beach, just for something to do on a lazy Sunday and we went for a nice walk. As we walked past the “yacht club” I made a similar joke about how ridiculous it is to try to be fancy in this neck of the woods. It was one of the last days we spent just the two of us, just enjoying each other’s company. 

I’m trying (and failing) to move on in general. Sure, I’ve had the Maxes and Marks, and the Eriks and the Shamuses, and they have all been fun. Snapchatting, Tindering, and Tweeting have filled my time, and given me brief moments of flirty entertainment, but they have all been a distraction from the fact that I am so unbelievably miserable with my life. Sure, on the surface I seem fine. I crack the jokes, I smile a lot, and my selfie game is on point, but I’m fucking miserable. And I have been since October. 

And it’s not just the loneliness. Well, it’s mostly about that, but not all about that. I’ll also spare you the lengthy essay about my depression over being 31, single and childless. To say that that record has been overplayed would be the understatement of the century. 

I’m in a rut. A big one. My life feels just like I’m going through the motions, no ebbs or flows, just steady monotony. I have far too much free time to think and overanalyze every detail of my life, and unfortunately because of this, Kevin continues to live rent free in my brain. We’ve been apart for 9 months (has it really been that long already?!) and yet I still haven’t moved on like I wish I would have by now. I have never had such a hard time getting over someone. Mind you, I’ve never loved anyone like I loved Kevin, so I guess that makes sense. I just want this to be done. I want the fact that he unfriended me on Facebook to not bother me. I want to not constantly wonder if he’s got a new girlfriend (pretty sure he does) and wonder what she’s like, and if he loves her yet; if he can see the future with her that he couldn’t see with me. I know I said a few months ago that I wouldn’t undo all that Kevin and I had for the world, but after 9 months with this soul consuming, gut wrenching pain, I want it gone. All of it. All of the good and every last shred of the bad. 

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? I call bullshit on that. Maybe this is only true when you are old and on your death bed and have spent your entire life madly in love with your soulmate, only to be taken away from them by the fate of death that plagues us all. But if you have your heart smashed into a million pieces by the one you love when you felt like you had your whole life ahead of you with this person, fuck that. It’s better to not have loved at all. Life shouldn’t be about pain. Love shouldn’t be about pain. Love is supposed to make your life better, not indescribably worse. 

I feel sorry for the guy who wants to be my next love. He’s going to have so many walls to climb over or knock down. I’ve put these all up to protect my heart, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let it be that easy to get to it again. Hell, forget getting to my heart, he’s going to have a bitch of time just getting me to go for coffee with him in the first place. As it is, I’ve only met one new guy since I broke up with Mark a month and a half ago. I even deleted my dating profile, although I still have Tinder. I guess a small piece of the pre-Kevin Olivia still lives on, even if post-Kevin Olivia would prefer to go live in a cave somewhere. 

My brain keeps telling me that all this will pass. One day I will wake up and feel like my old self, and I won’t give a single fuck what Kevin is doing. My heart however is like the weather. Some days it’s warm and sunny, but in a moment’s notice it turns dark and cold. 

One day I’ll be better. 

But today is not that day. 

Olivia

In a Blur, In a Day

A lot can happen in a day. In a mere 24 hours, things can go from absolute shit to great, or vice versa. Actually, things can change in the matter of a minute. That’s why I’m baffled by the fact that it seems, somehow, a couple of week ago, in less than 24 hours my seemingly great life went to absolute shit. Because I became single again.

We were exactly 90 days short of our 2 year anniversary (I’ve never celebrated 2 years before. I even had a countdown in my phone for that one). I thought he was the one. I thought we were it. I could picture a wedding, kids, and a life together. Just turns out that he couldn’t picture the same life with me.

Now, none of this is anyone’s fault. As much as I want to hate Kevin, and scream at him for not figuring things out sooner, and throw things, hard things, at him just so I can maybe feel the tiniest bit better, I can’t. Because it happens. It’s life, it’s relationships. It fucking sucks, but it happens.

I knew he was pulling away. I could start to feel it months ago when he took this job so far away that we were drifting apart. And not just in the actual distance of it. It was in how we’d talk (or not talk much at all really) when he was home and sitting three feet away from me. It was how when we would talk, it wasn’t about anything of importance. He would talk about his work and what was going on in his life, and I would rarely have anything to tell him (how many times can your day consist of nothing other than watching Netflix and knitting before what you did that day becomes redundant?) and when I did have something worth saying, he seemed like he was some place else. Distracted. He changed. His body language was different. It was a subtle difference. He didn’t take my hand quite as often, or kiss me hello or goodbye somedays. He never seemed as excited to see me or to be coming home to me after weeks apart. My brain knew that all of these small things meant something, but my heart decided to ignore it.

And I’m sure I changed too. I’m not for a second going to sit here and say that it was all him, because I know (as does everyone else) that I am so far from perfect. He told me that he felt a shift too, that he felt like maybe I didn’t love him any more. But I did.  I loved him with all my heart.  I have never loved anyone like I loved him.  Ever.  Maybe I didn’t say it out loud as often as I should have, but when I said it, I meant it.  Every single time.  I tried to let my actions speak for me.  I cooked meals for him and made sure that the house was clean, and I got all dolled up to go pick him up from the airport.  I wore camo (which is his favourite, and my not so favourite) when we celebrated his birthday, because I thought he might like that. Now, don’t give me any anti-feminist crap about being like that for him.  I wanted to do all those things for him, he didn’t expect them from me.  I tried showing him that I loved him.  But I didn’t speak up when I really should have, and for that alone I am fully willing to take 50% of the blame as to why the relationship failed. I felt the shift months ago, but didn’t speak up, at least not like I should have. I kept telling myself things were okay, and that it was just a rough patch, or the long distance, but I should have spoken up. I should have said something. Anything. Maybe we could have worked through it. But instead I did what I always do. I ignored how I was feeling, I pushed it away, and built another wall, as if that was going to soften the blow if this day ever came. That’s probably why he felt me pulling away too. What a fucking idiot I am.

During his last 2 weeks away at work, I saw and felt things that I couldn’t ignore any more. I started hearing from him even less than I already did, which wasn’t much to begin with, and when I did finally hear from him, I got the bum’s rush where he would only talk to me for a couple minutes at a time so he could go to the gym for an hour and a half every night. Going to the gym in itself is not the issue here, to be clear, it’s the amount of time in which it happened every single day because it felt like he was prioritizing every thing over me and us, as if our relationship was more of a burden than a pleasure to him. And the biggest tip off that something was wrong was that he stopped saying I love you first.

That in itself may not seem like much, men are like that. But Kevin was never like that. In fact, it took several months for me to be comfortable saying it first, whether it was out loud or even in text. Hell, just saying those words out loud at all were hard enough for me. I had never been in love before. I had never said those words out loud to anyone other than family before, and even that was new, because I don’t think I heard “Love you” being thrown around the house much if at all the entire time I was a kid. I was never used to saying it, which was why showing it through my actions always came more naturally to me. It was actually a joke between the two of us, and Kevin used to tease me about it throughout the first months of our relationship. So when I started to notice that I had to almost coax him into saying it, even via text, I knew something was up.

So I asked him about it while we were laying in bed two Wednesday’s ago. I was expecting (and hoping) for a response like “oh, I just like to see you do it first.” Or him tell me it was just to bug me. Instead, he came clean about how he’s been confused lately, he’s not sure what he wants out of his life and future any more. He doesn’t know if he wants to ever be married, or have kids, or if he’s even in love with me any more and just doesn’t want those things with me.

I felt like I got punched in the stomach. Actually no, I felt like this. Simpsons Heart Rip  (I’m Bart here by the way) All of a sudden, in less than 3 minutes, it was gone. All of it. My idea of our one day wedding and our someday kids, and wondering when and where he might pop the question or what cute way I might find to tell him I was pregnant one day. Gone was what I imagined the house to look like when it was done being renovated, or what our house would look like if we decided to buy one together. The Christmas plans, Valentine’s plans, anniversary plans, gone, gone, gone.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s allowed to not want those things, and even to not want those things with me. As much as it breaks my heart into pieces that he may not see a future with me, I am glad he figured this out now and not a year or two down the road. He has every right to find whatever life he wants to live. I want him to be happy with his life, even if that life doesn’t have me in it. But I deserve to be blissfully happy too. I’ve known what I want for so long and while I’m more than willing to make compromises with marriage and kids for the right person, I’m not willing to give up on either of those things completely for anyone. At least not yet. I want the husband and the kids and the white picket fence idyllic idea of family.  So, if he doesn’t want that life, or at least not with me, then there is absolutely no other choice than for us to not be together.

Who knows, maybe this break up won’t be permanent. Neither one of us is closing the door on the potential to get back together down the road, if that’s how things play out, but for now this is just what needs to happens. He needs to get some clarity and perspective to figure out what he wants for his life, and I need space and distance to keep searching for what I want if Kevin isn’t the one to create the life I want with. I don’t mind waiting a little while for him to figure things out, but he already knows that I won’t wait forever.
Two weeks ago, my life changed.  So much has happened since then, that it’s almost impossible to comprehend it all.  I moved out (exactly 1 year to the day that I officially moved in) and I’m starting to try to put my life back together.  I hated being single before I met Kevin, and it’s good to see that some things never change, because I hate it with a passion even more now.  I am in no mood to start dating any time soon, and if it were up to me, I would hibernate till March, so that I don’t have to suffer through Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day and what would have been our 2 year anniversary.  But, life goes on, and somehow I have to get through it without being in a coma. Fucking bullshit, if you ask me.

In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy my cute new apartment, my Netflix and knitting (which is just like Netflix and chilling, except the only sex I’ll be having is with myself), and maybe even do some long overdue writing, while I mourn the loss of this relationship, and look forward to finding all the things (and the man) that I’m looking for.

See ya later blueberries.