Monday, November 16, 2009

Moving Forward

"Emma, please don't do this," Michael said softly, watching me from the bed while I continued packing my clothing in heavy black trash bags.  He made no effort to stop me and it seemed as though he was only going through the motions by asking me to stay.

"I have to do this.  Our relationship isn't moving forward and I'm not even sure I want it to anymore," I said, speaking more to myself than to Michael.  He had tears in his eyes as he left our bedroom in silence.

I looked at the clock and made mental note that I had about an hour to finish packing before my best friend Kate arrived to transport me and my belongings to her apartment.  I'd texted her as soon as I had told Michael I was moving out, and despite living in a small one bedroom apartment, she'd agreed to let me move in for a little while until I could find my own place.

Downstairs, I could hear the front door slamming shut as Michael left the house.  I made my way to our bedroom window and watched him drive away.  He hadn't said he was leaving and I could only hope that he wouldn't return before I left.  A tearful goodbye was something I would be happy to avoid.

I finished packing up all of my belongings and was a little surprised at just how few things I owned.  Clothing, makeup and sentimental items were all I really had.  It was then that I realized this had never really been my home at all; I had just been a guest here.  I didn't have a car, either.  Michael and I did everything together with the exception of our jobs, and I'd always carpooled to work with my friend who lived nearby.  

I heard Kate's car pull up and walked outside to meet her, carrying all but two bags I would be bringing with me to start my new life.  We loaded everything into her car in a comfortable silence.

"All set?" Kate asked, closing the trunk.

"Yep, that's everything.  Let's go," I answered, smiling for the first time that day.

 As we were backing out of the driveway, Michael's car pulled up and he jumped out.  He ran towards the car, a dozen roses in his hand and tears streaming down his face.

"Don't stop, Kate, just keep going," I whispered, feeling my own tears threatening to fall.

I took a final look at Michael before I looked ahead towards my new life.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sleepless Night

I stared at the ceiling, listening to the rhythmic sound of his breathing. Sleep hadn't been coming easily to me and I had a lot weighing on my mind and my heart.

I turned on my side to study Michael's profile in the dark.  His features were barely illuminated by our bedroom alarm clock but they were committed perfectly to my memory.  I knew every line and curve of his face, perhaps better than I knew my own.

After four years of dating, two of which spent cohabiting, I felt like we'd fallen into a rut.  He didn't seem to take our relationship quite as seriously as I did.  I didn't want to be the nagging type of girlfriend, pressuring him into putting a ring on my finger.  I just wanted a sign that we were in this for the long run and not just together out of convenience and comfort.

I thought back to three nights ago, when I'd again broached the subject of our future.  I had been in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner and busying myself cleaning non-existent spots on the counter.  Michael was reclining on the couch, sipping a cold beer and flipping through the channels on television.  I knew I had to say something or I would drive myself crazy.

"Michael?  Can I ask you something?" I kept my voice light and cheerful as I sat down next to him.

"Sure, Em.  What's up?"

I sighed inwardly and took a deep breath.  I was stalling but knew I had to take the plunge.

"I know we're still young but I just need to know.  Is this it for us?  I mean, are we ever going to get married, start a family?  I don't mean right away, but...someday?" I hated the pleading tone that had entered my voice and I stared at his face, searching for a hint of what he was thinking.

"Emma, we've been over this.  I just don't know if that's something I'm ready for," he sighed.

I'd had a feeling that would be his answer.  I didn't want him to feel pressured into proposing.  I wasn't sure if I was even ready for that step yet, I just wanted to know where our relationship was heading before either of us put any more time into what we had.

I stared back up at the ceiling, again listening to Michael's breathing as he slept.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I decided to take my future into my own hands.

I was going to leave him.