I am hoping that today is the end of the seven year curse.
Seven years ago last night, I broke up with my last boyfriend. While I think the curse may have been self imposed, I’m hoping today is the end of it.
I met him in 1992 at convocation in college. My Resident Assistant, upon learning that I was from Maine, introduced me to another RA from Maine. He was a grad student at the time. I thought he was cute, but at that point he seemed way too old for me. And I was painfully shy.
Over the next three and a half years, we bumped into each other occasionally. We had a favorite local band, Sirsy, in common. He’d occasionally sing a song with them. We’d chat and knew of each other’s existence, but never hung out together. Senior year, I went to a party at the house he shared with a friend, not knowing he lived there.
I moved to Boston in January of 1996. I had a boyfriend. Life continued. I moved to Connecticut. I moved back to school in upstate NY to be with my boyfriend. I ran into him again at the shows for Sirsy. My boyfriend and I broke up. We got back together. We broke up again. I moved to California. We got back together. We broke up for the final time. I moved back to Connecticut. That is a story for another time. Maybe in another decade or two.
It was April Fools Day of 2005. My grandmother, Nana was dying. The doctors said she had a week to live. I hopped in the car and drove to Boston for the night. Brother K and The President and I would drive up to Portland in the morning to see her during visiting hours. The President’s mom was dying of cancer, so they were spending the evening at her house. With nothing to do for the night, I saw Sirsy was playing at Government Center, so I took the T there.
I stood on the side, drinking my Guinness, trying not to be hit on by the old men at the bar. Across the room I saw two couples. One of the guys looked really familiar. It had been 13 years since we had met at convocation, but there in the bar, things clicked.
I hung out with the four of them for the night. They were all just friends. They gave me a ride home at 2 am. We drove for an hour because the Sumner Tunnel was closed and all the detour signs just sent us in circles.
Finally in East Boston, he dropped me off and gave me his card to call him. I felt like it was fate. I’m a big believer in fate. I know it goes against my other beliefs, but I like to think the universe is connected and conspiring.
Brother K and The President got home a few minutes after me. We were standing around talking in the kitchen when the phone rang. Nana had passed. IDad said she had gone early to open the gates for Pope John Paul II who passed just hours after.
Instead of visiting Nana, we went to her funeral. Grump had died a few years earlier. Aunt K had contacted the church to schedule his funeral for that Friday. We wrote up an obituary and got it in the paper. A day later, the church called back to say they couldn’t have the funeral that day because it was a holy day of obligation. We laughed because The Grump had always known every day of holy obligation and we, along with the church secretary, did not. We had a barbecue and played our first, but not last, game of Funeral Beer Wiffle Ball. We put The Grump’s ashes in his chair and got drunk and talked to him. It’s an Irish family. We told Nana that we’d bury him and her at the same time, but not to rush. The Grump made his rounds on people’s mantles, haunting them along the way.
We had a church funeral for Nana and Grump. The priest said they were going to heaven. We all looked at each other with glances that acknowledged the priest did not know Nana and Grump. We waited for the lightening to strike us down. It never came. I lost my faith a little more that day.
I went back to Connecticut and called him up. We arranged a date. He came to Connecticut from Rhode Island where he was living. My ex’s parents had given me the tickets they weren’t using for the symphony. He and I dressed up and went out for dinner in downtown Waterbury. At the symphony, I learned they were my ex’s parent’s extra tickets, not their tickets. I had to call my ex and explain how I accidentally went on a double date with his parents. Awkward.
But he survived. Our next date was to go to Maine for a funeral. My grandmother, Meme, her sister, Loise, had passed on. She’d been cremated in the winter and we’d waited until spring for the burial. Hard to bury people in Maine when the ground is frozen.
It had been raining fiercely for days. When we got to the cemetery, the hole for Louise’s ashes was filled with water. Meme exclaimed, “Well, she always did like to go swimming!” We all laughed—awkwardly, but with great relief. Meme said that she would come back on a dry day and do it then.
Back at the house, we played Funeral Asshole. This is the Swedish/British side of the family. The is how The President got her name. She is always The President. I was often the Asshole. But on this day, he ended up being Asshole because he was the new guy. And Asshole always gets trashed. Poor guy went off to the bathroom, and not knowing the house, walked into Meme’s room by accident. Luckily, she was awake and watching TV and directed him to the next door.
He survived the first two dates, so we kept dating. Before we’d started dating, I’d already gotten a job back in California and was moving. He started talking about moving out with me. He flew out with me. He even took one of the cats on the plane with him. At the airport, the TSA made us take the cats out of the bag to go through the metal detectors. I didn’t know which one to give him. I showed him how to hold them by their belly and the scruff of their neck. Do not let them get a foothold or they may run! Hold their spine against your chest, feet out. And hold on for dear life.
Luckily, both cats played possum and ran back into their airline carriers as soon as they had the chance. Neither said a peep the whole flight. We had a few hours to ourselves in California in my temporary housing before Meine Schwester, who’d been driving cross country to move to San Diego, decided that San Diego was too hilly and moved in with me. Two people, two cats, two dogs, in a one bedroom apartment for a month. He left two days later. I was amazed he was able to put up with the crazy that is my life.
He really is an amazing guy. One of those guys who would never forget a birthday or an anniversary. He’d be a fabulous husband and father. Stable and secure and all around amazing. He started talking about his grandmother’s wedding ring.
That is when the phantom ring started happening. I’d be walking the dog and suddenly freak out because I’d lost the ring. I’d be at work and freak out about it missing. It was my own Tell Tale Heart. It was weighing me down. I was freaking out and he hadn’t even proposed yet.
I tried to help him find a job in California. Turns out, women’s hockey is not popular out here, and he is a women’s hockey coach. I started feeling guilty because it would be the end of his career if he followed me out here.
Then a job was offered to one of his coworker’s but she didn’t want it. I told him to take it. How often does the opportunity to be the head coach of a national women’s hockey team come around? So he went off to China for nine months. Harbin, China. Known for their winter ice festival. They are the Bangor, Maine of China, except there are nine million people and they are located just below Russia and north of North Korea.
I helped him set up a blog because I wanted to hear about life in China, things he learned, experiences he had. To help play tech support, I started this blog. His blog petered off, mine continued to today.
He was miserable. Life there was terrible. But I was jealous. It was nine months to learn a language, explore a culture, see a part of the world and have stories to tell. He didn’t see it the same way. We had a different view on life experiences.
The team spent the month of November in Finland so that they could play women’s teams. In China, they only had men’s teams to play. I spent the week of Thanksgiving in Vierumäki with them. I learned more Chinese than Finnish. We got in trouble by the Chinese Government Spies for going into Helsinki alone. He reminded them we are Americans and they can’t tell us where we can or can’t go. The sun didn’t even come over the treeline at noon. I am miserable without sun. And I was freaking out about the relationship. I wanted to convince myself otherwise. I wanted to make it work. He is fabulous and I wanted desperately to love him.
We saw each other again for Christmas. We spent the week with his family and mine. I was sick as a dog and miserable. I was still trying to convince myself that he was the one, but I couldn’t and I hated that and I made myself sick over it. I tried all week to convince myself otherwise. I couldn’t.
It was New Years Eve. We went to the fireworks in Boston. It should have been perfect, but I was barely holding it together. We got back to East Boston and I couldn’t take it any longer. I told him it was over. I couldn’t wait a few more months until he was back in the states and I needed to do it in person. I felt miserable about it, but I knew he would feel a hundred times worse. And I felt horrible about that.
To him, it was out of left field. But I just couldn’t do it any longer. He wasn’t the one and I just had to rip the bandaid off. I flew back to California and he went back to China. I tortured myself for a few years because I deserved it. I had ruined the holiday for him. I’d broken his heart. I didn’t deserve love. I was a monster.
Now it is seven years later. I’ve had no relationships I can speak of. I’ve met a handful of guys that I wanted to date but it was never the right time for them. I’ll admit I’ve had a few one night stands that just made me feel lonely, so I stopped. I’ve had lots of first dates, but rarely any second dates, and just about no one gets to a third. I jokingly considered joining my friend in the convent in NYC.
But this is it. No more excuses. I’m releasing myself of the curse I self-imposed. This is my year.
Bring it, 2013! I’m ready!