Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Valentine's Day Weekend

After many last minute plans and decisions, I packed up the cake I had just decorated at my Wilton class and hit the road at around 10:30 p.m. I made it to Morgan’s in Philadelphia around 12:45 or 1 a.m. I dropped her friends and her off at the movie theater to see the Valentine’s Day movie and then curled up on her couch, read a little, and then went to sleep. In the morning we stopped for coffee, and I dropped Morgan off at her sister’s house in Baltimore. The snow there was terrible!!! The roads were covered in tall, bumpy ice. There was nowhere to put the snow, so people we’re trying in vain to dig their cars out. Some roads were just entirely closed because the plows hadn’t even reached there yet; it was just a 4 foot solid block of snow.

I got to Chris’ apartment around noon with my cake present in tow. I unlock the front door with my key and sitting on the front table is a huge bouquet of flowers! We had said no gifts!

Now is time for a little back story... Chris and I have been dating since November 2008 when we got together at a belated Halloween party. So we call it a little over two years at this point. Not once in that entire time had Chris ever bought me flowers. He would joke about it, say things like, “I almost got you some, but then I didn’t”, things like that. It became this big joke that we’ve been in love for two years and he’d never bought me flowers. During my fall semester and winter break of senior year at RPI, I had a humongous mental breakdown. Crying, hyperventilating, worrying, having panic attacks, just generally freaking out. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it, I seemed to be worrying about everything and nothing all at once and I couldn’t find a way to make it stop.

Chris was beyond perfect. He comforted me, quieted me, held me in his arms until I finally fell asleep, but something still wasn’t right. I began to think that maybe it was him; maybe our relationship is what had me so on edge. It could have been any number of things, senior year class load, LSAT prep, graduation uncertainty, trouble with roommates, a cappella group drama. Yet somehow, I blamed it on our relationship, convincing myself that once we broke it off, I would start to feel better. But he hung on, telling me countless times a day, it’s going to be alright, you don’t have to worry, I love you, and I know you love me, I’m not going anywhere. In a last ditch effort to convince me of his support, he came to my apartment with flowers. They were beautiful, a perfect symbol of his love for me, I put them in a plastic iced tea pitcher, jumped into his arms, and wrapped my legs around his waist. He was perfect.

Later the next day I think, I finally snapped. I couldn’t take what I was doing to him. Constantly pushing him away, doubting our relationship, doubting my love for him. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I let him go. I told him I needed to fix myself, and hopefully after some time, I’d figure things out and find my way back to him. But even that was too selfish. If I really cared enough about him, I had to let him go entirely. So he came back to me saying that it couldn’t be an indefinite period of time. If we were going to be apart, it had to be for real, so he could start to move on. So we were apart for two months.

It was the worst time of my life. Nothing has ever compared to the amount of emotional pain I was in. I was alone, miserable, panicking, depressed, not eating, not drinking anything, not getting out of bed, skipping classes, constantly sick, completely and irrevocably heartbroken. Nothing seemed to get better; parsing out the problems in my life was not as easy as I had hoped. I was hoping that if I removed one piece of my life at a time, I would be able to isolate the problem. I would never know that it wasn’t Chris until I removed him from my life. I walked around like a complete empty shell of my former self. Not laughing, not caring, crying nonstop all the time, I couldn’t breathe anymore, my parents were worried. I was looking for help at the counseling center, but nothing was really doing it for me, drugs they prescribed me didn’t seem to help. My friends told me not to call him, not to break down. I couldn’t stand it, I knew something wasn’t right. I didn’t want to be without him anymore and still my friends said no, don’t call him, move on.

So I went on spring break without him, not having spoken one word to Chris in over a month. I cruised around the Caribbean, unable to get him off of my mind. No matter how many sunsets I saw, or margaritas I drank, it was still terrible without him. Then one day as I was walking to the astronomy class that I often skipped, determined to actually make it there for the first time in weeks, I saw him. I was un-showered, undone, wearing dirty sweatpants, greasy hair, and a stained sweatshirt. This is what my life had come to. And there he was, tall, handsome, and perfect. Slightly unshaven, blue tee shirt, jeans, new leather jacket, sunglasses, carrying the bag I had given him for Christmas. My heart stopped. I had been searching campus for his face for weeks, hoping to catch a glimpse. Remembering his class schedule, and hoping to cross him on his usual path. And there he was. Finally standing in front of me.

We both said hi, unsure of what was going to happen. I don’t remember much of what else was said, but I hugged him and began to cry. It must have gone on for quite a while, because after some time it began to rain again and we moved the embrace into the hallway of the building I was supposed to be in class in. I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t know if we should get back together, if it would be good for either of us. I didn’t know if he had moved on, maybe he didn’t want me anymore. Eventually we decided that it was senior year, our last few months of college, it would be a huge waste if we didn’t have fun together while we still could. So we did.

And slowly the pieces of my life fell back into place. I saw him for a night here, a night there, he invited me to a BBQ, his roommates were shocked to see me there. I could smile at him, have a nice time, and breathe deeply. And soon after that we were back together again. Me remorseful, him hurt, but both of us happy and thankful. After realizing what I had given up, and how it felt to have lost it, I know now that a love like Chris’ is very hard to come by. When I was literally pushing him, and yelling, telling him to please just let me break up with him, he stood his ground. He said this isn’t you, and I know it, and I know you love me, and that we belong together. It is something I will never give up or take for granted again as long as I live. I will marry this man, and I will become his wife in exactly 676 days, and I could not be happier.

So back to the point...the giving of flowers became a teasing and somewhat pained joke in our relationship. Chris would never buy me flowers again, because the one time he did, I broke up with him. They were like this bad omen of heartbreak for us. We also have a pretty bad track record for Valentine’s Day. The first one we spent together we had only been dating a few months, and decided to keep it small. I got him an alarm clock and a framed picture of us, probably a grand total of $25. He bought me this sexy, badass leather jacket. Not exactly an equal situation. The next Valentine’s Day we were in the midst of breaking up, and he didn’t get me anything because he saw it coming. Even though I had picked out the perfect cologne for him, I ended up choosing another one, which upon further inspection was terrible, and he hated it. Which made it better for him, because Chris said if he had liked it; it would have hurt way more. Thankfully when we were back together, for Chris’ birthday in April I got Macy’s to exchange this horrible smelling one small bottle of cologne that they didn’t even carry anymore and for which I didn’t have the receipt, for an entire gift set of the one I actually wanted him to have, with cologne, after shave, some lotion or something, and a really cute duffel bag. I win!
So it was for all of these reasons, and the fact that I told him not to spend any money (after all we are paying for a wedding and a new home this year), that I would never ever expect flowers. We aren’t even using them for our wedding really, he’s allergic, and they have this terrible connotation of, if I give you flowers you’re going to break up with me. So when I walked into the apartment and saw these on the table:

I almost cried. They were beautiful, a huge arrangement, the biggest amount of flowers I’d ever gotten from anyone. I could have done without the funny pink bear, but I knew that it just came with the flowers, and he wouldn’t have picked it out otherwise. I only have one stuffed animal I really love, and that is Quatchi! We spent the rest of the day relaxing together. We went to a belated birthday dinner with his parents and grandparents (MomMom’s birthday), had Becky, Andy, and Andrew over for dinner and a movie (I fell asleep on the couch as we watched the Hangover), and hit a few of the local bars with Amy and Cynthia. All in all a very enjoyable weekend!

I had Monday off from school as well for President’s Day so I left Chris’ early, picked up Morgan again in Baltimore, and drove back to Philly. While Morgan was in class I got to catch up with my good friend Jim. We had coffee and talked for hours. I love those times with Jim. It is so easy to talk with him about everything and anything; he is definitely one of my best friends from college, like a second brother to me. We met up with Morgan again for dinner, saw my godfather for an hour or so, and then I got back on the road.

Until next time,

Julibean <3


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