And even though it clears my head—believe me, I’ve done a lot of thinking ever since Alan and I broke up—it just never seems to get easier. I’m waiting for that moment where it’s painless, easy, and fun, and that just hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it never will. Maybe that’s why people run. They’re chasing something they’ll never get, the dangling carrot of promises that all hard things eventually get easy.
Today’s run isn’t easy, but at least it’s beautiful. It’s early March, and chartreuse buds are just starting to make their appearance on the tips of barren limbs. The ocean, slate grey and churning, foams against the rocky shoreline. In the far distance, Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is hidden, shrouded by low, dense clouds that like to sit in Haro Strait between the two countries like some sort of tribunal council. It’s still cold and damp, and the sun can barely penetrate the cloud cover, but I know in a few months, hell even a few weeks, our daylight hours will be long, the air will turn warm, and my usual jogging path along Oak Bay will start to swarm with the elderly out for their daily walk or happy couples making out on park benches. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to handle couples, or just happy people in general.
After I turned down Alan’s proposal, puked on him, and made a general mess of things, we both decided we couldn’t work it out. Alan was beyond humiliated, changing from the easygoing boy I loved to a stranger who hated the sight of my face. I hadn’t been quite prepared for the split in his personality, especially as I only saw the nice guy over the last four years. I guess he’d been hoarding a whole lot of negative emotion toward me, and it all started coming out. Like vomit. But meaner and less gross.
(I promise I’ll stop talking about puke, it’s just so fitting right now.)
I can’t blame him for being angry with me, because I was angry with myself. If only I’d confronted those feelings, the whole thing could have been avoided. But he was my first real relationship, my first love, the guy I lost my virginity to, all those big things, and I thought the feeling of boredom and complacency was normal. What I didn’t think was that we would be in a pressure cooker. Even though we’d been together for so long, I was still in university for two more years, and we were young. I mean, Alan still had four years of dental school left. I really didn’t think marriage was on his radar.
Of course there were all the clues. Asking about ring sizes and where we’d go on our honeymoon and how many children I wanted. Okay, so they weren’t even clues, more like obvious signs that he was going to ask me. But I skirted around those questions and laughed them off, and well, no one is laughing now.
Naturally, after I publicly rejected him, I had to move out of the apartment we were sharing. But instead of moving back home like my parents wanted me to, I decided to find a roommate and get the hell out of Dodge.
It was the right choice. Not only is my current place super close to the University of Victoria, it has put some much needed distance between me and my parents (you can only hear about what a horrible choice you’ve made so many times). And I have a pretty awesome roommate.
Okay, maybe awesome isn’t the right word. But she provides me with distraction and entertainment, and half the shit she says is slowly ending up in my novel in the guise of a hilarious sidekick.
When I first saw the ad for a female roommate on Craigslist, I somehow assumed that it would be another U-Vic student. The location was in Oak Bay, it was a two-bedroom basement suite…I assumed it was another twenty-something needing a roommate to save a buck. But Ana Vainola ended up being a forty-four-year-old Estonian woman who was as tall as an Amazonian with fake boobs that could poke your eyes out, Juvéderm-filled lips, a tan that looked like she was doused in Orange Crush even under the best light, and the loudest, rapid-fire laugh I’d ever heard. She was also a recent divorcée, and even though we’re two decades apart and were raised in two totally different worlds, our transition from “taken” to the single life made us bond like nothing else. I’ve only been with her a few months, and even though she uses me as a guinea pig every night while she practices makeup for her beauty schooling, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.