Back in October, when My Boyfriend and I decided to finally give our relationship a go, there was no doubt we would eventually move back to Our Hometown in California. I don’t think we even discussed it. It just was understood. After all, it was where we met, all those years ago in high school, and we adored the town. We both still had tons of friends there, my mom was there, and the rest of my family was close by.
The only thing was – when we began planning the move, the thought of actually leaving NYC terrified me.
The friends I’d made, they were truly my East Coast Family. I couldn’t imagine being without them, meeting for last minute happy hours or brunches, catching up on the critical details of our lives. My cute little apartment, with it’s exposed brick wall and five points of outdoor light that kept it bright and airy even on the darkest thunderstruck days. My fun neighborhood where I’d wave to the shopkeepers on my way to the subway each morning. My company – a place I loved going to, a place I’d laughed probably more than anywhere else. And there was my new role. I’d only been in it for four months so I really needed more time and experience before I could feasibly look for a new job in a new location.
My lease turned over every year in May but I felt like seven months was too soon to make such a big move. It made my stomach cave in on itself to even think on it.
So we decided on May 2016. Nineteen months. That seemed the right amount of time for me to build my resume, and for both us to say goodbye to our friends and respective cities.
So it was settled. We’d move in May of 2016.
The only problem was that after our Hometown Holiday visit in December, after spending eleven days together, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to wait that long. My Dad put it best when he said, “If you know that’s what you want, if that’s what’s going to make you happy, why are you putting it off?”
After I returned from Christmas, I took an honest look at my life in NYC. Yes, I loved my friends, I loved my job, my company, my apartment. But I began to see that the majority of my life in NYC was spent sitting in my apartment alone, drinking beer, and missing My Boyfriend. Also, it had been the worst Winter I could remember. It was frigidly cold and everyone was just miserable and holed up in their apartments, praying to the Gods of Spring. It was so cold, there were many nights I slept in my sleeping bag jacket. It made me feel exceptionally frustrated and lonely.
In addition, after ten years of hardening myself to NYC’s hardships, I found it becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the pains of the city. I’d find my eyes tearing up when I saw the homeless people left on corners to beg, and those with animals by their sides crushed me. Watching the elderly trying to navigate the stairs down to the subways weighed on my chest. Stepping over the many bags of garbage on the sidewalk would make me shudder with waves of nausea. I’d have to actively think to myself, “Look away. Picture something else.” Rather than time strengthening my immunity, it seemed as Winter plodded on, I became more fragile.
I began to not like living in New York as much. I began to really want to go home.
But I said nothing about this to My Boyfriend.
So I was surprised, when in mid-January he called and said, “I have something to talk to you about.”
This sort of statement always makes my heart race and if it’s after 8pm, open a BudLight.
“What is it?” I said, as I grabbed The Cat for comfort and sunk into the couch.
“I think you should move out here sooner.”
I sat up in alarm, The Cat digging her nails into my arm in protest. “Really?”
“Yes. I have no doubt we can make it until next May but I don’t want to have to do that. I want us to start our life together. Sooner rather than later.”
“I see,” I said. “So when were you thinking?”
“Like at Christmas?”
“Right,” he replied. “You could come home for Christmas and just stay.”
“With The Cat?”
“Of course with The Cat.”
“OH MY GOD HONEY ARE YOU SURE?!” I asked, with the biggest grin ever on my face.
“Yes,” he laughed. “I’m sure.”
“Can I tell my parents?” I was off the couch now, bouncing on my toes, The Cat moving on to a calmer resting space. “If I tell my parents, then it’s real. So you better mean it.”
“I mean it. Go call them.”
And that’s what I did. I got off the phone and immediately called My Dad and had him put me on speakerphone so both he and his wife could hear the news. I told them I would ask for a six-month extension of my lease, which I was pretty sure my landlords would give me, considering I’d been there for five years. They were so, so excited for me. For My Boyfriend. For all of us.
Then I called my mom and she started crying and screaming so loud I held the phone away from my ear, rolled my eyes, and yelled, “MOM! Calm down!! It’s still eleven months away!”
But soon her enthusiasm wore off on me and we were both laughing and sobbing and I was skipping around the apartment.
I WAS GOING HOME! THIS YEAR! It was perfect! I would have time to say goodbye to my friends and experience the city and build my resume AND I was ending up with the love of my life! There was something about the fact that My Boyfriend had pushed the move up, on his own accord, without my prodding, that gave me such a sense of security and relief. He really loved me. He really wanted to do this.
When I hung up with my mom, The Cat and I had a Dance Party to celebrate.
When I look back at that night now, I know I will remember it as one of the happiest moments of my life. I will never forget it.
And then, the axe fell.