Today, I assembled a table – including usage of screw driver and box cutter. I know that you had asked to do it for me before you left, but I find an odd satisfaction in doing these things by myself. They make this apartment feel more like my home, and less like a graveyard of memories.
This has year has brought more learning and growth for me than all 25 years before it.
I’ve experienced the absolute heights of happiness and sadness. I have travelled into the depths of who I am as a person, and grieved loss in a way that I hadn’t conceived of before.
And 6 months ago, I doubted that I would ever truly recover.
But I have also been more vulnerable and courageous this year than ever before, and whatever criticisms there are leveled against me (there are many, most of them probably fair), there can be no claim that I didn’t give it everything I had.
It’s this quality of mine that I hold onto during days and nights when the anxious terror seems endless; that I have always been resilient, always able to continue moving forward and do what has to be done. At heart I suppose, I have always been overly idealistic, perhaps a little too romantic, and all at once enamoured with the idea that my life could be exactly all the things I want it to be.
It is this quality, I think, that has given me the courage to move forward with you.
Nothing about my life is the same as it was a year ago. Literally, not a thing.
I have a completely different job. A year ago, my job was a fire in my soul, surging through any stability and peace I had; part of me thrived in the flames but most of me suffocated. I made the decision to leave that behind not without many nights of restless, racing thoughts. To be entirely defined by my work was the only life that I knew, who would I be without it?
Also this year, I made the decision to get a dog – Wilson. I had twirled the idea around for months, I apartment hunted with the dream in mind. I asked myself all kinds of questions, big and small. The biggest was looking into the future, what would my life look like ten or fifteen years from now? Because if there was even the slightest chance that that picture wouldn’t be able to accommodate a dog, then I knew I shouldn’t go ahead with it. But I realised, like everything else in life, that there would never be a right moment for it. And the only way was to dive right in and figure it out along the way. If the picture didn’t work with Wilson included, then I would change the picture.
This conviction steadied me through some of my worst moments this year. When nothing else remained, and the picture changed so rapidly I could barely keep up, I could rely on this one thing being the same.
And then, of course, there was the apartment. The beloved apartment with its parkade floors and ceiling-to-floor windows and glorious afternoon sunshine and kitchen just big enough for home cooking and dancing while you wait for the kettle to boil.
This apartment has felt more like home than any other place I have ever lived in.
But in the aftermath of this year, I didn’t know if it would ever be anything more than a place that reminded me of how everything fell apart. I say fell apart, though in reality my old relationship was never really put together if I was being honest.
There were certainly weeks when I trembled at the thought of going into the study, and the empty cupboard in my bedroom made my heart race. But night by night, I rewrote every inch of this flat into my own.
I let myself spill out into every room, and one day, a few weeks later, I stopped saying “our apartment”. He was gone: unceremonious, piece by piece and then one morning, nothing.
And then, there came you.
Unexpected. Overwhelming. Thrilling. Terrifying.
Meeting you was like inhaling fresh air after years of suffocating.
I close this year lighter, happier, and more in love with myself, and my life than ever before. And you too. In love with you too.
You laugh and share with me as if we have done this all our lives.
You’re my best friend.
Sometimes I wish I had met you years ago, but I think that I had lessons to learn and growing to do, and I think that we met at exactly the right time for both of us (though inconvenient for you …).
Being with you looks good on me. I think it’s because when people see us together, we glow and beam and shine and our goodness sort of spills over onto them. At least that’s what I feel like.
I love watching you with Wilson. Seeing how much you love him.
I love that the what-ifs of life don’t scare you.
I love that you’re sincere and reliable in a way that is so exclusively you.
And if I thought that I was crazy, I love that everyone loves you.
Now when I look back at the relationship I was in for so long, I know why it never worked the way I wanted it to. We weren’t right. And I’m grateful that I let go of it in time to meet you and not miss out on this.
Anyway, I’m nearing novel length, so I’m signing off here.
I miss you as always. I hope you’re happy and safe out there. I hope you’re smiling and thinking of us.
Love love love you!