“There’s nothing holding me here.”
I regretted the words as soon as they came out of my mouth.
It wasn’t true. Plenty could have kept me here. But too much was driving me away – you included.
You took it the way I would expect. I hurt you. Now it was time for you to hurt me. You called me stupid and told me I was going to be “the other woman.” That I was desperate. All because I was leaving for a man who had been married and had two kids.
It was a natural reaction, and one that you maintained through to the end. Our strong relationship diminished, and I was forced to complete my final months stateside without my best friend, who just happened to be my housemate and just happened to be my crush for a time.
Life had been easy before that point. You made your feelings known – that you had none for me, and I gave you the space you required. We spent months not talking but co-living for convenience. Then other months we spent hours sharing the controller on the Xbox or PS2. We were gamers, and we had so much in common. We watched the same movies and played MMOs on our PCs together. You gave me books to read and I to you.
I found someone. Unconventionally. You seemed jealous and angry that the time I spent with you lessened as I spent more time talking to him online. I grew more distant and finally went into a routine. Sleep, get up at 2am, chat, go to work, repeat. You were losing your friend inch by inch.
Then I had the gall to say I was leaving. And not just anywhere, to the other side of the world – to Australia. And I had to say those horrible words.
I broke your heart. I broke my heart.
I wanted to tell you the truth. I wanted you to know that the decision had not come lightly. My life was not on the track I had predicted. I did not finish college. I was working in a dead-end job. I had not had a single relationship in my young adult life. I was in debt to my ears. I felt trapped by parents that would always ask me for money because they never knew how to manage their finances.
I wanted to tell you that you agonized over leaving your friends. I had more than I have ever had before, and all of them had a place in my thoughts. I had planned months of traipsing through town to see all of our favourite places one last time. I imagined you joining me on this. I foolishly believed I could maintain friendships online.
I wanted to tell you of how much I cherished our time together as habitants of the same space. That those long hours of passing the controller during Halo had meant something to me. Or the notes on the refrigerator saying, “Log into Animal Crossing at 6pm.” Or the text messages telling me you’d finished a mission on GTA: San Andreas, and it was my turn to do the next.
But the words escaped me. Instead I said those words and nothing could be the same again.
So I left you and everyone else. Everything that had weighed me down at home would disappear. Life became infinitely better, but not without some heartbreak and distance between us.
I’m so happy. I found the love of my life. You found the love of your life. You’ve even had a baby now. You seem happy too.
We have both said our apologies now years later.
But I still regret those words.
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