I don’t get homesick very often. Not even the times I spent Christmas away from family and friends, staying at a hostel alone, did I have moments when felt sad or lonely. But this past weekend, it hit me full force for the first time in a long time.
I went out with my ex Friday night to a Smiths cover band show at Whelan’s. Despite the fact we broke up in March, we’ve gone back and forth since. I didn’t want to cut ties with him and he believed we could be friends. But it was clear from the start of this friendship phase that the feelings that remained were very much one-sided. So the story goes, everyone close to me told me I needed to ditch him for good. I continued to be hurt by things he would do and say but thought that the pain of not seeing him again would be worse than the sting of hearing about dates with other girls.
About a month ago, I decided I was finally cutting the cord. I felt he was, as the cliche goes, having his cake and eating it too, while I was left feeling depressed. I explained to him why I needed to end our communication and then went for a month without speaking to him. Then of course, on a night out after work on a Friday, several beers in, I decided to text him. He had a friend in town and they came shortly after my olive branch message to join my co-worker and me at the bar. He jumped at the chance to “be friends” again.
I convinced myself, yet again, that I could enjoy his company without wanting to be with him. At the beginning of September, he went away on a trip to Asia before starting a new job. Upon his return, he asked me to dinner and a movie on a Saturday night. After the movie ended, we went to a pub and had tea and talked. It was such a nice night; I thought maybe, just maybe, things could move back toward a relationship.
Leading up until this past Friday, we texted every day. That never happened, not even when we were properly together. I canceled a date I had made with another guy to go to the show with him. We met up for a drink before and I told him about my latest paid, published article. He told me about his new job. When we went to the venue, he went to get us drinks. He came back up to the booth shortly thereafter and was with a guy he used to work with and his wife; they had run into each other downstairs at the bar. Naturally, his old friend asked how we knew each other. We were both silent for a moment before he explained that we used to date. The follow-up bombshell was this: “Well, why aren’t you dating now?” I sat there uncomfortably, fighting the urge to say something like, “I don’t know, that’s a good question.” Instead, he threw out a comparison to Jerry and Elaine from Seinfeld. All I could muster when his friend looked over my way was, “yea, it’s something like that…”
The show was great. I sang along and danced. Live music truly heals the soul. But afterwards, when the band had ceased and we found ourselves off in the corner of the bar having another round, the conversation took a turn. He brought up a girl he dated after he broke it off with me and mentioned they had gone to dinner earlier that week. He was down about it and said it put him in a “dark place.” With the combination of the alcohol and my own prolonged dark place that existed since our break-up, I completely lost it. I started crying, telling him I was done and couldn’t see him anymore. He looked genuinely upset; he told me I had become his best friend and he didn’t want to lose that. But of course, that’s all very clear cut when his feelings stop at friendship.
He asked me if I wanted to leave the bar but again, leaving seemed more painful than staying. A friend who was crashing with him for the weekend came to meet us and the three of us left to the late night bar Izakaya. I told him it was our last hurrah so we should enjoy it. Once we got there, though, he disappeared. We found him at one point, chatting up a random woman and once more I lost it. I showered him with a barrage of texts telling him I hated him, that he had ruined my year and I had wasted so much time on him. I was heartbroken and lashing out. I ended up leaving, not saying goodbye or resolving anything.
The next morning, I found he had deleted me as a friend on Facebook and removed me (or blocked me, it’s unclear) as a contact on WhatsApp. I spent practically the whole day crying, feeling incredibly lonely and crushed. This final break is no doubt for the best but it’s not the way I wanted things to go. I said things in anger I didn’t mean and I don’t want that to be the last memory of our time together.
I talked to my mom in the afternoon. Through my tears I asked, hypothetically, what I was doing here when all the people who really love and care about me are back in the U.S. It has been a hard year in many ways. But it hasn’t been until now that I felt truly confused about my future. My mom though, reminded me of all my successes in the recent weeks. I got a great new job and have gotten two pieces of writing published, something I have been dreaming of for some time. I shouldn’t let this kill my joy.
All things get better with time and I’ll be back on my feet soon enough. I still hope to say my final words to him at some point. Even though I’ve been told countless times to just let it go, it’s still important to me to apologize for the hurtful things I said. Regardless of all that has happened, I still care about him and wish the best for him.
While I believe I’ve had it emotionally very easy on my moves abroad, there are still times when I just miss familiar surroundings and the people who truly know me. When things get particularly rough though, I take comfort in the knowledge that when I come back, those loved ones will be there with open arms, waiting to welcome me home.