My quest brought me to Kalamazoo last night where I was well fed and entertained before calling it an early night. I have to admit, I am grateful for the chance to catch up on sleep (and the opportunity to surf my first couch! Haha)! I went out there to visit a girlfriend and her boyfriend at his new house. It’s strange, seeing their lives come together and watching how they share their space. He was out cutting the lawn when we arrived and she quickly began cooking dinner. They’re not assigned chores. They alternate. And although they’ve just moved in together, they are already aware and respectful of some of each other’s quirks.
Admittedly, I’m coming away from my visit feeling a little envious. I’m glad that I am seizing this opportunity to make my own path (and so happy for my friends!), but I imagined it differently. Perhaps to blame, this weekend’s good conversation has shuffled up feelings of a gnawing void. It’s a double-edged sword, sharing good conversation with someone you care for after they’ve redefined your relationship. My girlfriend asked me today on our ride back to Grand Rapids if I was waiting. Waiting for what? I had better not be! I tell myself that it would be a sad and lonely wait with no relief…but it’s difficult to grasp when face to face with that person (the tribulations of maintaining friendships – and yet I cannot imagine creating a gulf between me and someone I care for, no matter the circumstance). …I don’t think that I’m actively waiting but that doesn’t mean it’s not a chore to remind myself that I’m not.
This whole ordeal has led me to reflect on my relationship with my “first love.” I put it in parentheses because it sounds so cliché, though the description is accurate. We were together just shy of six years (I know!) – from my freshman year of high school until the end of fall semester 2007 (my junior year of college). We have a unique relationship because we grew up together; we were best friends through a lot of difficult times and periods of growth. My parents and his are still close and have no hesitation to call one another for a coffee date or golf outing. Even he and I feel free to call each other to catch up from time to time. I didn’t realize how lucky I am to have this type of relationship with him until recently, having learned from my current experience and also from lending a listening ear to others who have cut off communication from their past. I had thought that the transition from love to friendship would always be so easy. Funny thing is, I had blocked out the pains that we went through to get here. There were times when blame and anger ran rampant in our broken relationship. But we cared for each other enough to push through. It took time, as all things do.
And so too will this, I suppose. Although this time around, I imagine you will find us living different lives in a few years with no knowledge of what the other is up to. My first love and I always kept in contact – one of us always pushed to talk when the other wouldn’t. Perhaps that came from the mutual nature of our decision. This time around, I feel as though I’ve put myself back a century; I speak when spoken to and try to keep it at that. Swallow my pride.
I am lucky in that the girlfriend I was just with grounds me in a lot of ways. She tells it like it is but is aware of the pain that goes along with it. She’s been there not too long ago. I’ve been fortunate; I have friends who are aware of the freshness of this all – despite the 3+ months that have passed (that seems like an awfully long time typed out like this). But if you get a week for every month, I have 24 weeks or just short of 6 months to figure my life out. Someone gave me that statistic the other day – one week for every month of a relationship to “mourn” its passing. I feel like that sounds excessive but I suppose if it is the “ebb and flow” type of mourning, that could be valid. By that calculation, I’m half way there – and most days it doesn’t bother me. Just some. Like today, when I find myself running through our weekend conversations – trying to block out my friends’ stories of the “Is she coming?/Have you talked to her?/Is she here yet?” questions they faced prior to my arrival. Confusing at best…
In other news – ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! I’m looking forward to lunch and margaritas at the local Mexican restaurant with girlfriends today before my drive home. Don’t worry – I will wait until this evening before driving – NEVER worth the risk to drink and drive! Trust that.