I know you've read that title and are thinking to yourself Finally! I don't blame you. I never planned on going that in-depth with this story, but I'm actually glad I did it. Another avid journal keeper friend of mine once said of our voracious writing habit, If we didn't document it, it didn't happen. And this most definitely happened, so it's good I wrote about it. Of course it took seven years, but better late than never. Something I keep forgetting to mention is what I wrote in my paper journal days before the shit hit the fan: I have a feeling things are about to turn around and start getting good again. Ha! Hahaha! Even during the Bad Time, I had to appreciate the irony in that.
So, we'd moved all our stuff to two different locations in Tampa. Jen and I shared a cute house in a decent neighborhood and she went about crafting and decorating, her therapy for dealing with her break-up. The first night Brian helped me move my stuff in, he spent the night there. None of us knew at the time this would be the beginning of a trend, that he'd spend almost every night there during the short time I ended up staying there. This tells you what a generous friend I had in Jen - she thought she was going to have some quality girls-getting-over-men time with me, not witness the slow repare of my marriage. That we're still good friends to this day with no hard feelings on her part still amazes me sometimes.
Spring had turned to Summer and I had a big trip coming up. My New York cousin was getting married July 4th and I decided to ride up with his parents and brother (or in other words, my aunt, uncle and cousin) to attend the wedding. Nine days of family togetherness with my family is a somewhat frightening prospect, but there was no way I was missing this. He's the cousin I'm closest to; he helped make my wedding the success it was. I was also looking forward to getting away from all the drama for a change and New York is my Happy Place, so it was with a very good frame of mind I left Florida.
The trip was, as I suspected it would be, loud, annoying, fun, and exhausting. It is good to have family and even better to return to your roots; being around your people in the place you come from can give you a much-needed perspective. It didn't hurt that when I got up there, my cousin told me if I was tired of all the bullshit, I could always stay up there. He was in a position to offer me both a place to stay and a job (a very good job) to get on my feet and literally start a whole new life. I'd always said someday I'd live in New York again and here was my chance.
We'd discussed this a few times and one morning I was pondering it while riding a four-wheeler around my aunt and uncle's fifty-seven acre horse farm, some of the most beautiful property you will ever see. The Catskill mountains loomed peaceful and purple in the background. My mountains. The place where I'm never in a bad mood. Surrounded by people who loved me; closer than ever to the memory of my dad. I was happier than I'd been in ten months; Florida with all its stupid problems seemed every bit the thousand miles away it was.
I came back from riding around to see that Brian had called. Hmm. That was strange, considering I figured he'd be busy moving his new family into the big new apartment. I called him back and we talked for an hour. Nothing big, just mostly small talk about how my trip had been so far and what he'd been doing. He told me he'd met a nice guy who also worked on the golf course and that he'd mostly been hanging out with him, including staying at his house at night. I wanted to ask how things were going with his girlfriend, but honestly I didn't care too much at that point. Instead of getting into any heavy talk about the future, we just had a pleasant conversation, kind of like how we used to have all the time. Most of our conversations lately had been exhausting and draining; it was nice to just talk.
The rest of the time in New York passed quickly and before I knew it, it was time to head back south. My cousin had told me not to worry about making any decisions right away; besides he'd just left for a three-week honeymoon to Italy, where I'm sure the state of my affairs were not uppermost on his mind. I was glad to have the option, but at the same time I was also looking forward to getting home and seeing Brian again. It's a very inconvenient pain in the ass to love your husband sometimes.
After driving the hellaciously long way back down the eastern coast, we landed in Inverness around 8:00 p.m. and I decided to spend the night at Grace's instead of driving the last eighty miles to Tampa. Until I got another phone call from Brian. He was crying. I asked him what was wrong and he said, You're thinking about moving to New York, aren't you. How the...I said, Why do you say that?He told me he got the feeling from when we'd talked on the phone that day and the feeling just kept getting stronger the longer I was up there. Abruptly he asked me to please come back the rest of the way; he knew I was tired but he didn't want to wait until the next day to talk. I kind of had the feeling it was going to be a pivotal conversation. I was road-weary as all hell but I grabbed a Diet Coke and got back into the car, leaving Grace astounded. Again - loving your husband = ass pain.
He was at Jen's waiting for me and we spent the rest of the night talking, crying, pacing and smoking and finally it was decided. He told me it was over with Her Bitchiness. When push came to shove, she wanted him, but she wanted to continue to enjoy the Lake City Lowlife. It didn't matter he'd put money down on the apartment and had just started the best job he'd ever had; she wanted him to move back there. He foresaw a bleak future with me being out of his life forever and spending it with an asshole in some shithole of an interstate town. As for me, tt wasn't too hard of a decision and I've never regretted it. There are times I wonder what my life would be like now had I moved to New York seven years ago...but I think everybody wonders things like that sometimes. It's that whole Robert Frost two roads diverging in the woods thing. I picked one and I sometimes ponder about the other one. Mostly when I'm craving good bagels or pizza.
So as you can see, all signs point to a happy ending. However, just because we'd decided to stay married that night didn't mean there weren't still several obstacles we had to get through in order to have our happily ever after. When you spend that long living in chaos, it takes time and effort to get things back to normal. We were separated for ten months, but for a nice dramatic wrap-up, I'll end the story one year to the day where I started. Next time.
Finale coming soon to a blog near you.