48 hours home

This is going to be the longest post ever, I can tell already.

I went home for a few days; I saw a lot of people and got asked a lot of questions. The first was inevitably, “Why aren’t you blogging?” The answer is, I’m too tired and too boring to blog during this stage. The Chicago Adventure is not yet the wild ride it was meant to be, but for now that’s okay. My world is pretty small right now, because I can count the people in Chicago whose names I know on two hands and it’s too cold and dark to go out and meet some new ones. Fortunately, I like my roommates a lot and the folks at the department store are easy to get along with. For now, I can deal with this, but it also makes for lame writing material. Unless you would like to read about the crucial differences between various brands of coffee makers I am learning more about each day?

The second question was then, “Who is this boy you mentioned that one time on your blog?” And the answer to that would be, him? He’s the reason I’m home. And now that it’s all over I’m a little sorry I mentioned him here because it means admitting failure, but that doesn’t mean I’m sorry what took place happened.

A few days after I wrote about him, and about how we weren’t sure if we had a future or not but we were okay with the uncertainty, I began, in true Meryl form, to feel uneasy about said uncertainty. Personally, I blame the Christmas music at the department store. There’s only so many times you can listen to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” before you start thinking how nice it is to be with someone during the holidays instead of without. Then you start thinking, does it bother me that I’m not really with someone? And eventually you decide the answer is yes, because you’ve been talking for a few weeks and he’s so funny and cute and intelligent and suddenly you really like this guy and where did that come from? It’s all downhill from there.

And so, NOT true to Meryl form, I actually told said boy what I was thinking. I said I’d changed my mind, and wanted to know if we had a future. Ask a tough question, get a tough answer. I decided that day that we’d have to figure some stuff out during his visit the following week, and if he still felt the same way, I was going to have to try to forget about him. It was an unhappy prospect.

This year, I admitted to myself I’d fallen out of love with the person I thought I was going to marry and left him. Six months later, he proposed to someone else. The boy’s business is not mine to tell the internet about, but believe me when I tell you his baggage is even heavier than mine. Even if you like me a lot, don’t hold it against him or chalk it up to just another guy being noncommittal.

The boy was supposed to come to Chicago this past week, but called last Thursday to cancel because his great grandmother’s health had taken a turn for the worse. He wanted to be there for his mom should the worst happen, which it did, early Sunday morning. It was a good thing he didn’t come up Saturday because he would have missed the funeral and his mom was grateful he stayed. I was crushed when he told me he wasn’t coming, even though we’d been trying to cut back on our time talking to each other since our honest conversation. By this time we both knew it was probably for the best he wasn’t coming to stay with me for five days. Seeing him for two and leaving was hard enough.

Since I had all this time off from work for when he was supposed to visit, I decided Friday night to go to Caldwell. I would have left Saturday but I had an event to cover for one of the papers. I left Sunday morning and about two hours into the drive, the boy texted me to let me know his great grandmother had passed hours earlier.

It was weird coming home. In a good way, but also in a surreal one. I have like three “home” cities now. I didn’t tell anyone I was coming until I was already there, except for B.C. and Christina, who called me around the time I first started thinking about coming. Everyone was surprised, and it was fun to surprise Brittany when she was walking with her daughter outside her apartment by just driving up and waving. I got to see her, Leah, Adam, Randy and my dad in Caldwell. On my way through Columbus I stopped by BC and C’s for a bit and then headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s in time to see my niece before she went to sleep. On my way out, I saw my aunt and uncle and cousins and stayed at their house for the night. For only being in Ohio for a little less than three days, I had a pretty productive visit.

The boy and I went out for breakfast Monday morning. I could tell things were different and I knew I didn’t have to ask again. I told him that night I couldn’t talk to him anymore. He didn’t question this decision. I liked him too much, and I’d rather be alone than only halfway with someone. There would have been a lot of pain down the road if I just tried to forget how I felt and I’m glad I had the sense to call this off now instead of then. In a way it would have been smarter to call it off the moment I left the state in October, but at the same time, I’m really glad for the time we spent together over the last couple months. He really helped me make this weird transition into my new life and it meant a lot to me to have someone to talk to. I’d think he feels the same way.

We had a friendship and a pseudo-relationship that was based on humor, which I think is a pretty good foundation. We never had a fight and we cracked each other up, so that’s not such a bad place to leave things. We knew each other our whole lives practically, but as I was explaining to Christina*, we didn’t really become friends until junior year of high school.

“We ran in different circles,” I told her.

“Just how many circles were there in your high school?” she joked.

“Three,” I replied.

We became friends under unusual circumstances, and while this may not make sense to you, I’m kind of glad no one signed up for Mr. Rowe’s current events class the one year it existed. We’ve been good friends ever since, even if it’s been kind of a windy road. If you’d told me senior year that at 24 I was going to be at least a little bit crazy about someone from high school, I would have laughed in your face. But then again, if it was going to be anyone, it would have been him.

He is one of the best guys I’ve ever known and even though I’m depressed today and I’ll probably be sad all this weekend, I’m glad this happened. I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a really long time, and in a way it gives me hope that what I want for myself exists. The timing just isn’t right, and of course it isn’t; I just moved to a new city and started my life over. Now isn’t the time to be worried about whether or not I’ll meet “the one,” or whatever, before I’m 30. Now’s the time to be worried about finding an effing job and maintaining my lifestyle, shambles that it may currently be in. I’m kind of holding on for dear life, so dating should probably be a pretty low priority.

Chicago, I’m 100 percent yours now. Do with that what you will.


*That is to say, the “original” Christina, or Christina of Columbus.