I took a miniature family vacation this past weekend. Obviously as an adult I don’t vacation with my family too often, but every so often we’ll link together for a short weekend getaway. This weekend’s venture was to an amusement park, which just so happened to be in the same city blast from the past lives in. I’ve admittedly been a bit “distant” both physically and emotionally in our friendship over the past few months (part of this was due to dealing with heartache), but I figured I’d use the quick weekend trip as a way for us to link over dinner or drinks.
We made plans for dinner Saturday night. The hotel my family and I were staying in was about four blocks from his condo in downtown, so he promised to swing by to pick me up. I opted not to stay with him this trip due the obligations of “family time”. I figured we could always do the hanging out thing another weekend when I visited the city solo, right?
His camaro pulled up about 7 p.m. in front of the hotel, I hoped in (freshly showered and all dolled up) and we were off to dinner. We small talked (as we usually do) on the journey over…about gas prices, the weather, our jobs, etc. Typical chit chat. We arrived at dinner on the other side of the city around 7:30–a classy-ish sports bar decorated with photos of the historic sites of the city. We’d been to this spot a couple of times together, but this time just felt different and I couldn’t put my finger on why.
We immediately dived into conversation shortly after sitting down. He seemed to be a semi chatty mood, which isn’t always the case when we’re together. He updated me on his family: his sister’s pregnancy, his cousin’s (who also lives in town) engagement, his dad’s numerous cross country trips now that he’s retired, etc. All seemed well with them (mostly). Throughout the conversation he kept bringing up Denver and how in visiting his father (who splits his time between Denver/Aspen and Miami), he’s grown to love skiing. Cool story, bro. He must have rambled on about this for nearly fifteen minutes before asking had I ever been to Denver and had I ever been skiing?
We laughed as I painted a picture of me stumbling down a mountain and breaking every bone in my body.
Highly amused, he smiled and said:
You should come to Denver sometime.
His words seemed a bit off putting. I wasn’t sure if he meant visiting in general or going there with him when he visits his father. Once upon a time ago when we dated, he constantly brought up bringing me home to meet his family, but of course over the course a year, those plans never quite came together (I did end up meeting his mother when she came to town to visit on his birthday weekend, though). Why would they now as friends? I learned to stop taking guys seriously when they say shit like that.
I don’t know anyone in Denver…but I guess I could visit at some point. Let me know when you go there next and maybe we can coordinate.
I figured that was the end of the Denver conversation, but he kept going on about it. He talked about the economy, the sales tax (or lack thereof?), the weather, the public transportation, the frequency and cost of flights from here to there. He wouldn’t get off of it.
You’re probably wondering why I keep bringing up Denver, huh?
A bit sauced, I chuckled and told him that no, I really WASN’T wondering why he kept bringing up Denver. Like with everything else, I just assumed he was just rambling…but that’s when shit got real serious.
That’s because I’m moving there.
Surprisingly my first reaction was genuine happiness for him.
That’s great, I’m so happy for you! That’s so exciting 🙂
And truth be told, I was happy for him. This was huge for his career! He went on to explain how he had put his condo up for sale, how he was flying out the following weekend to look for houses, how he had already decided what moving company he was going to use and even how he was transporting his precious camaro instead of driving it the 18 hours cross country. His words kind of trailed off as I started to slowly process everything he was saying. I watched his lips move as I tuned him out. I asked how long he knew and he told me the news was relatively new. About two weeks. He explained how he felt that he “owed it to me” to break the news in person, instead of over the phone. Funny thing is, we’ve been in semi frequent communication over the past few weeks…
I start my new job July 1st. You should visit.
I mentally checked out shortly after the news broke. It was all fairly bittersweet. While happy for him, it dawned on me that he was moving. Across the fucking country. This would drastically change the dynamic of our already strained friendship for sure. Granted, we had already been through this song and dance one other time before. Shortly after we broke up–maybe not even a full month, he accepted a job in the city he lives in now (about 2.5 hrs west of here). At the time, I wanted him gone out of anger. Whatever. Good riddance. I didn’t want to run into him and see his face, He cheated and the last thing I wanted to do was be associated with him. I wanted him out of my life for good and what better way to get closure than for him to move away.
We didn’t talk much between our breakup, his new job announcement and actual move. Those weeks leading up to him leaving were all kind of a blur as I was processing the demise of our relationship and attempting to move on. I did do him the favor of helping him pick up his uhaul for the move, but I left my good deeds at that. He moved, I wrote him out of my life and for the better part of 4-5 months he was the one attempting to initiate any sort of contact or friendship. I made very little effort with him. I eventually let go of my anger and slowly (at a safe distance) decided to welcome him in as a friend again. But only as a friend and on my terms. His relationship with the girl he cheated on me with fizzled out not even 2 months after he moved (which is not surprising since it was long distance). He hasn’t dated or been in a relationship since (at least nothing serious). Fastforward five years, a move, several dates/situationships/boyfriends later and we’ve managed to remain friends and through all of that, he’s now moving across the fucking country.
Our ride back to downtown was quiet. I was still brewing on his move and how those last few moments of silence would probably be the last time we saw one another for a while. Sure, I could visit or he could visit, but plane tickets are not cheap. I don’t have $300 just sitting around waiting to be spent. We already barely see one another 4 times a year and we live about 300 hundred miles away in the same damn state. What would cross country look like? Am I ready to accept that, that could be the end of it?
As he pulled up to my hotel I stressed to him the importance of keeping in touch and being fucking responsive. He’s admittedly really shitty at that (probably THE WORST at it), which makes maintaining any sort of normal friendship with him difficult at times, especially long distance. The crazy thing is, he genuinely (in person) seems to want me in his life. Anyway, he promised he would keep in touch, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not counting on it and I refuse to be the only one making an effort.
He gave me a long hug goodbye and that was that. That was it. As he drove off, I became a bit angry as I realized I was robbed out of a proper goodbye. He essentially knew he was moving and failed to tell me this prior to this weekend. I was blindsided. Had I known he was moving, I would have made more of an effort to rearrange my weekend to spend more time with him.
Instead, we spent our last moments in a sports bar, downing warm beers and making empty promises. What a crock of shit.
This situation (for me) has been emotionally complex. While I no longer feel romantic feelings towards him, we’ve become good friends and I’ve grown used to him being around. It’s taken many years to get to the point where we’ve even been able to be good friends (he’s actually at times referred to me as his “best friend”). I’ve taken it for granted that I could just shoot down the road three hours for the weekend for a temporary “get away” if I needed it and now even that’ll be gone. In the grand scheme of things whether he’s a 3 hour car ride or a 4 hour plane ride away, he’s still away and has been so for almost five years.
I really hate goodbyes, especially rushed ones. I’m going to have to accept the possibility that we’ll probably lose touch eventually. Life (as it always has a way of doing) will get in the way and soon we’ll shoot each other annual “happy birthday” texts and that’ll be it.