By Anne Opatz
Questions to Starting a New Life
Day 8 – 2
I wish I could start this story with the cliché “the moon was beautiful that night,” but I can’t. We couldn’t see the moon at all, there was too much fog. It rolled over the hill like lava over rocks. He told me he loved how it looked and I agreed with him. Then I took a picture. We were both all dressed up to celebrate Valentine’s Day, one day premature since he had to work Valentine’s Day night. We were disgustingly cute actually. He wore his red button up shirt, the one that I always thought looked so sexy on him and I finally got to wear my Marylyn Monroe dress, the one I found at the thrift store for $5.00, except mine had cherries on it and bright red tulle underneath, just to add a touch of drama. My hair was down (like he liked) I had pearls in my ears (fake of course, another thrift store find for a $1.00) and my lips were smeared bright red; every girl has to finish an outfit with a good red lip, a flair for the theatrical of course.
We were going into the city to explore a museum. I absolutely love going to museums. Being an anthropology major, I love looking at the evolution exhibits and watching the Nemo fishees (yes I know they are clown fish but I prefer to call them Nemo fishees). It literally felt like the perfect night. That painfully perfect night you see in every bad romantic comedy, but for once I was staring in this one instead of Reese Witherspoon. Little did I know in less than 24 hours I would be in a complete state of shock as I packed a bag for my parent’s house… on Valentine’s Day. Yes, I am the girl who got dumped on Valentine’s Day.
Hindsight is always a bitch in these situations, because using it now it was obvious the break-up was coming. Small signs that I knew would eventually add up to a break up. Signs I can’t think about now because the memories are just too damn raw. But that bitch hindsight doesn’t make things any less painful. I’m not going to lie… THIS IS SOME OF THE WORST HURT I HAVE EVER FELT. And this is me talking. I have gone through a double lung transplant. Trust me when I say, this hurts like hell.
The whole conversation was like ripping off a Band-Aid. He told me he loved me so much, but that he was not IN love with me and that he needed to work on himself. Two explanations that are in themselves cliché, but two explanations I can accept; in our situation his reasons where 100% true. I don’t care what anyone tells you, there is a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. The first thing I have learned from all of this is it takes more than just love to maintain a happy, healthy relationship. I’m in no way a love expert… obviously I got dumped on Valentine’s Day, so I’m not going to spout out a list of things it takes to maintain a happy, healthy relationship. I do know now it takes more than the perfect night, in a beautifully city, watching the fog roll over the hill like lava and a Marylyn Monroe cherry-covered dress to keep a relationship together.
All of me wants to hate him; pull a Carrie Underwood and “dig my key into the side of his pretty little supped up four wheel drive,” but in his case it would have been his cherry red motorcycle (cherries again… is anyone starting to see an annoying theme here), but I can’t. Even on what is now day number 8 since our split, after my parents and I spent all day getting my stuff out of the house we shared- I don’t hate him, not one bit. I hate the situation, I hate the situation he put me in, but I do not hate him. I love him very much, and even 8 days later I still love the guy who dumped me on Valentine’s Day and I know he will always have a piece of my heart.
I know what many of you are probably thinking: women of the world unite, immediate castration, throw the man who dumps a girl on Valentine’s Day in the volcano, but I don’t want to misrepresent him. He is an absolutely amazing man. Granted he probably should work a little bit on his breakup timing, but we all have our faults. Raised by parents who I can only describe as kindness personified, he is the kind of man that wears his heart on his sleeve, who never eats his veggies and loves with everything he has. He was so incredibly good to me, especially given many difficult circumstances he had to deal with. He never raised his voice, held my hand every time I was sick, popped my first trip to Las Vegas cherry (again with the cherries) and 9 times out of 10 let me have the remote. I’m sure I am romanticizing him right now. I’m sure my next article will be filled with curse words, rants and diatribes of how men suck and how I will join those united women to castrate and throw him in the volcano for what he has done. It’s all a part of this stage in the whole “getting over it” thing. When it comes to him, all I know is the past years have been the best of my life and so much of it was because I was with him.
This break-up hasn’t been ugly, actually quite the opposite. He did what his heart was telling him was right for both of us. If he is not in love with me, he is not in love with me. These things happen. A very dear friend of mine told me tonight that it is better for me to know now then waste my time and my life in relationship that isn’t going to work. While I still love him very much I know I deserve to be with someone who is IN love with me.
So what is currently getting me through this and where do I go from here? I guess the first thing for me to do is to acknowledge my situation… Hello my name is Anne, I’m 27 years old and I am back living at my parent’s house with what feels like absolutely no direction in my life. Now that that is done, what next? Oh yes, how am I getting through all this, two words… Mary Jane.
Mary Jane is my 2-year-old adopted Dauschund/Pug mix. She was given to me by my now former significant other for our 2-year anniversary. She is stubborn. She is noisy. She has what I consider to be Canine Napoleon Complex. She is a fat pork sausage of a dog but right now she is my saving grace. A slightly smelly, four-legged angel sent from heaven (or in her case, the animal shelter) to help piece my life back together. It may sound extremely melodramatic, the entire situation may sound like a “get over it” and move on with your life kind of a thing, but right now Mary Jane is the reason I get up every morning. Who would take care of her if I was not around? She is the ying to my yang, the Daria to my Jane, the Lloyd to my Harry (children of the 90’s please get those last two references or else you will really make me feel old). She loves me unconditionally and she wants nothing from me except for a belly rub or a new Dollar Store toy every now and then (I may have overdone it with the toys, or so I’ve been told). She knows when I am sick, she knows when I am sad and she is always right on time to jump into my lap and give me puppy kisses. Even as I write this she is underneath the covers, lying on my legs. Her warmth makes me smile just a little bit bigger tonight.
Dave Dail Photography
On to question number 2, where do I go from here? The answer… I don’t know. Being 27 and living back with my folks after 10 years isn’t easy. You get used to doing things a certain way and then you are thrown back into a world a little too reminiscent of high school (minus the EMO phase of sophomore year and the school issued copy of Catcher in the Rye on the night stand). But given the situation I am now in I have to find the way to make the best of it.
For now Mary Jane and I are taking it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute… literally. The emotional rollercoaster that this break up has brought upon my life is one I honestly never thought I would be on, nor do I want to be on (seriously, ask any one of my friends, they will tell you I am completely terrified of carnival rides) I have been told over and over again that it will all get better with time. Well if that is the case I wish life would hurry the hell up and build me my time machine. But since there is no time machine in my future, waking up every morning to Mary Jane’s silly antics, her eyes saying “wake up mommy, it’s time to play” is my first step down the long road that will take my life in a new direction. Starting over is not easy but sometimes it is forced on you for a reason. This reason is something I have yet to find out. This happens to so many women, not just me. I guess it’s just my turn to figure out what’s next.