I was walking Dolce this evening when he saw this dog he simply had to sniff. I struck up a conversation with the lady walking that dog and she asked if I live in the same building.
“Yes, I do,” I replied. I was glad to find that our dogs were getting along so well and I was thinking maybe Dolce could have playdates.
“Well, I’m moving out soon,” she said.
“Oh…” I wasn’t sure if it would be proper for me to ask her why.
“I’m getting unengaged,” she said.
“I’m so sorry!” It was the only thing I could say to a lady who was kind of a stranger to me.
“Better unengaged than divorced. Trust me, I’m a lawyer; I know.”
And for some reason this struck dread in my heart. Here were two people who had probably fallen in love and loved each other to the extent of wanting to get married. Granted I don’t know them, but that’s a reasonable assumption given that they were engaged, isn’t it? And now it’s over. They’re getting “unengaged”. I can only imagine the heartache. They lived together and now they have to learn to live without each other. That’s never easy. Then again it’s always painful when a relationship of love ends.
But that’s the risk you take, right? You trust this other person so completely. You trust this person to value your happiness. You give this person your heart and trust them to not break it. You have faith in them, faith that they will do the right thing by you. Always, always, always. And if you don’t trust them with your heart what do you really have there?
But these two people who’re breaking their engagement probably trusted each other like that at some point too. Was either of them wrong? We don’t know. Maybe not. Maybe when the trust was created they both deserved it and maybe somewhere along the way something changed. I know stuff like this happens all the time. It just hit me really hard when I heard this today.
This comes on the heels of something I read earlier in the day, a quote that goes:
I’ve been in love before, it’s like a narcotic. At first it brings the euphoria of complete surrender. The next day you want more. You’re not addicted yet, but you like the sensation, and you think you can still control things.You think about the person you love for two minutes then forget them for three hours. But then you get used to that person, and you begin to be completely dependent on them. Now you think about him for three hours and forget him for two minutes. If he’s not there, you feel like an addict who can’t get a fix. And just as addicts steal and humiliate themselves to get what they need, you’re willing to do anything for love.
– Paulo Coelho, ‘By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept’
I’m absolutely sure many of us have been there, have felt this, have ached and longed. When I read this it reminded me of every single time I’d been to that place, and I said, “Never again.” I know we take these risks just because the payoff could be worth it all. But what about when it goes wrong and you lose it all? Is the risk still worth it then? I hope, I really hope I don’t go there ever again. I don’t want to feel that hollow core of despair again. And if the price that must be paid is never again falling in love, then so be it.
It hasn’t sunk in yet.
If you’ve kept up with my recent writing (and you have, haven’t you?) then you know that the second leg of the move involves being in New Jersey, at my parents’ home, for a week, before my lease begins. That’s where I am right now. I got in last night and have been at work all day, spent time with my parents in the evening, hung out with my brother…And I think this is why it hasn’t sunk in yet. I do this all the time. I visit my parents and brother here quite often. And, yes, often with 5 bags in tow. So this isn’t new. Nothing about this is actually any different from any other time that I’ve visited. Except that this time I don’t have a set of keys tucked into an inside pocket of a bag, to be taken out during the cab ride home from Pearson airport, and that there is no home to go back to.
Maybe it’ll hit me when I actually move into my apartment. When I have all those moving boxes I packed in 10 days around me and when I set up the new furniture and when I unpack. It’ll become real when I wake up in the morning to a room I’m still not used to and I take Dolce down 14 floors and see a new sight outside the building’s doors. Even the thought of this seems foreign. I cannot actually imagine living anywhere else but in Toronto.
I keep reminding myself that I’m not going back there anymore. Every time I do this, I feel a little sad, but in a the-thought-of-this-makes-me-sad kinda way. Do you know what I mean? This move just hasn’t become completely real yet.
But soon, very soon, I will be tête-à-tête (I’m so going to miss the bilingualism of Canada!) with the reality of a new city to make my home, of learning the ins and outs of it, of learning the little rules and idiosyncrasies that are peculiar to this city, of learning which restaurants (and brunch spots) are worth every penny and which are simply overrated, of learning the city’s lingo (each city has its own, you know), of dealing with money that’s only green and not all the colours of the rainbow (and no loonies and toonies), of making new friends, of feeling like an outsider, of starting a life from scratch…except for all the shoes that have seen me through thick and thin.
But, hey, you know what? Starting from scratch means that this is a fresh start. I get to leave all the baggage behind. I get a chance to not repeat some mistakes. I get to leave behind the places that had memories associated with them. I get to leave behind all the people who didn’t make my world a better place. The people who matter will remain in my life irrespective of what my address is.
My stay in Toronto helped me discover myself. I learned much about who I am, what makes me tick, what I stand for. Perhaps New York will help me discover completely different facets of myself. Maybe it’ll even help toughen me up. Besides, it’s New York; enough said?
I’m feeling some combination of sadness and excitement and anxiety. Six more days to go. Deep breaths are key.