Saying goodbye

This photo misleadingly represents what this post is about

This photo misleadingly represents what this post is actually about

I had my first day at work this past week, and I like it a lot so far. I want to write about it, but that’s going to have to happen another day. What I want to talk about now is what I left behind.

I wrote a bit recently about my thoughts on leaving Groupon, but my last couple of days there seemed worth writing about separately.

I celebrated my third “Grouponiversary” Feb. 28. It was the longest time I’ve spent working at one company. Last Monday night, it occurred to me that few people in my department would be in the office on Wednesday, my actual last day, since most of us work from home that day, so Monday night I made some muffins and sliced some fruit for a next-to-last day breakfast. I sent an email to my department Tuesday morning and CC’d a handful of other people I’ve gotten to know over the last three years and invited them to grab something to eat from my desk.

I also solicited audiobook suggestions, since I plan to listen to books on my iPhone during my commute. (Thanks for all the suggestions!)

That morning I brought in a bottle of sparking wine that was leftover from my birthday party and bought some orange juice, but no one opened either Tuesday. On Wednesday, I emailed the three people I could see in my row who were there that day and asked if they wanted a mimosa.

I am terrified of opening sparkling wine — always have been. When my co-workers accepted, I grabbed the bottle out of the fridge at work and saw two sales reps at the break room counter.

“Could one of you open this?” I asked, holding up the bottle. “If you do, you can totally have a mimosa.”

One of the guys did, and I told him it was my last day. He wished me luck. Three of my co-workers and I sat and sipped before my exit interview at 11.

At 2, I had a meeting with my manager scheduled. It had been set for the day before, but she changed the date after I put in my two weeks’ notice. I sat in the usual small meeting room we usually had our bi-weekly check-ins in, and when she got there, she asked if I wanted a coffee.

We went to the cafeteria at work, which has a barista on staff, and she got me an iced coffee. We sat and talked for about a half hour, and she gave me some advice and wished me the best.

It was nice.

I stayed longer than I meant to on my last day, taking my time packing up my belongings into an IKEA bag headed for Schaumburg. I chatted Kevin intermittently throughout, as I have done nearly every day for the last almost three years.

He and I met at orientation on our very first day at Groupon. While we didn’t start dating until three months later, his friendship has been closely tied to how I felt about working there at any given moment. We chatted each other links to interesting articles and funny videos throughout our time there, even after we broke up in January. On the days when one of us was sick and/or out of the office, the other’s absence was noticeable. Some people might think that working with your significant other would be stressful, but it never felt like that for us.

But things are different now.

On my birthday, my two best friends in Chicago held something like an intervention for me. I think they knew that Kevin and I still talked to each other a lot, but neither of them had realized how much — up until this past week, he and I talked nearly every day, even if only for a few minutes on chat.

They suggested I take this first month or so at my new job as a real fresh start, and not just in terms of employment. I knew they were right.

I told him a week or so before I left Groupon that I wouldn’t be talking to him for the next few weeks, after I started my new job. He was sadder about it than I would have expected. But then again, it’s becoming more and more likely that another close friend of his is about to move out-of-state, so between that and my emotional distancing, he’s heading into a rough few weeks. I feel terrible about that, but I also know I can’t fix it.

If I could fix the things that don’t work with us, I would have by now. I have to remind myself of that a lot.

We’ve been apart for almost three months, but every day I think, even if only for a second out of the day, that this was all a terrible mistake and we never should have ended it. I think it without meaning to, without really understanding the weight that glint of a belief carries. And then, I have to remember why we’re not together, and how we may never want the same things or be on the same page.

It hurts a lot. I’m trying to make it hurt less.

I know this sounds stupid, and maybe this has just been coming to me in waves, but today it feels like we’re broken up.

First, I slowly accepted that I was single. Eventually I started to kind of like it.

Now I finally feel like he really isn’t my boyfriend anymore. This apartment is not where he lives, and he is not privy to the everyday details of my life anymore, nor am I to his. We are no longer people who talk every day and share both our serious and our mundane thoughts. We are people who, at one point, knew each other better than anyone in the world did, and now we are people who might someday manage to still be friends.

Our great, arrogant plan failed. You can’t be friends with your ex in the way you tell yourself you can be.

I chatted him minutes before I walked out of Groupon for the last time on Wednesday.

“I am glad I met you here,” I said. “No matter what.”

I said I’d talk to him in a few weeks.

“Bye Kevin,” I said, and I left.

That was three days ago and this is the longest I’ve gone without talking to him since we got together. It’s hard not to text him whenever I think of something he’d find funny, or to send him pictures of the cat looking insane/cute/insanely cute. My friends have offered to be the ones I send stuff like that to, and I’ve been doing my best to take them up on that offer.

2014 has been a year of change so far. I am hoping to get my feet completely back on the ground soon so I can start enjoying the new life I’ve been building for myself.