I hear you’re moving to Florida. Good for you. You’ve only been saying it for four years. I think it’s high time you pack it up and move it out. You have better things waiting for you in the humid air of the Sunshine State: You have the ocean, freedom from all ties. You’ll probably rent a place, or maybe buy a fixer-upper that you can flip for profit. I'm sure the south is ripe with people wanting to sell their homes right now. Your timing is perfect.
If you do go, I hope you and Puck feel at home down there. I really do; I know how long you’ve wanted to do this. And I think it’s really wonderful that you’re finally getting around to it, instead of just threatening me with it whenever you felt like I was getting out of line. Stop brining up marriage, Laurie, or I’m moving to Florida. God, how I feared your departure. I guess now that the threats would fall on deaf ears, you’ve nothing left to do but actually go.
And, please, if it’s not too much trouble could you take all of this baggage that you gave me? I’m sure you’ll have room for it in the U-Haul you’re going to rent (You are going to sell that house furnished, right?). Because, really, I’m ready to give it all back to you. Truthfully, I’m upset with myself for having claimed it as my own to begin with.
Baggage like this fear I have of being let down, deserted, left alone. Because that fear was my one constant for the last four years. Every fight we had, every time I pushed what you considered to be too hard for something, you threatened me with leaving. You pulled the breakup card more times than I can count. I should’ve let you play it a long time ago. You always let me know that you weren’t around to stay. But, if I could just be a little bit better, a little bit more independent, a little bit more of the woman you wanted, maybe – just maybe – you’d consider staying. And I’ve noticed that I carry that little satchel of insecurity with me now, every where I go.
And it’s no wonder that I’m terrified of abandonment: You always promised me you would leave, even without using the exact words. You let me believe that I was not enough to stay around for; That there was nothing remarkable, beautiful or worthwhile about me. You loved to tell me that you liked blonde, waif-like women, knowing that I was far from blonde and not nearly a waif. I used to lament that I never caught you checking me out. You said you were just covert, but I never had a problem catching you staring at other women when I was right by your side. You always made me feel like you were liable to slip from my clutches at any given moment: That my gaining a few pounds, or the appearance of a woman more to your liking, you would spur you into leaving. “I’m only staying in Milford because I can’t sell my house yet; Capitial Gains,” you told me. I always loathed your constant reminders that your being here had nothing to do with me, that my lovelife was contingent upon real estate.
Hey, and while you’re at it, why don’t you go ahead and take this feeling I have that I don’t deserve to be treated well. Although, it does work out well for my boyfriend: He gets extra credit for everything because you did so little. You probably think I’m being harsh, though, huh? Yeah, you’re right. I’m being harsh when I remember that time in Atlantic City when you didn’t want to spend the money on a room. And when your plan to “just stay up all night and gamble” didn’t work out because we were exhausted from spending the night drinking and dancing with Alex and Nancy, your solution was to sleep in my car. And so we did. We reclined the seats in my 4Runner and I sipped nervous drags of shuteye because I was terrified that something horrible would happen, out there in that parking garage in the wee hours of the morning. And you probably think it hurt me because I wanted you to spend money on me. But what you didn’t – don’t – know was that it hurt me because you made me believe I wasn’t worth the money. That’s the difference. And I know your argument: That you gave me so much, that I was so ungrateful. Remember the cruise, Laurie? Remember the dinners I bought? Remember our trip to Canada? Remember the fur-lined suede coat? Remember the sweater I bought you? Remember? Remember? Remember? Oh yeah, I remember. I remember you giving me the gift of the cruise, with an addendum that I had to pay for my flight to Florida to catch the boat. I remember the dinners you bought, just like I remember the times you looked at the check placed before us and told me it was my turn to pay; just like I remember fighting with you on the trip to Canada – which was not only your gift to me for our year anniversary, but also a business trip for you (which I knew because you said “as long as we talk about work every time we eat, I can write this off.”) – because you told me I had to take you out to dinner since you were being so generous. I remember the coat – you bought it because you had lost me. I thought at first that it was the only thing you ever bought purely to make me happy. But then I realized that you bought it to accomplish the greater goal of getting me back. Because even if you didn’t want to marry me, you didn’t want anyone else to have me. And I remember that my time with you was the only time in my life that I wanted material things; I wanted tokens of your affection, just to be able to have something tangible to hold, to look at, to convince myself that you cared.
But, more importantly, do you know what I don’t remember? I don’t remember feeling beautiful around you. I don’t remember ever feeling secure. I don’t remember you ever giving me a compliment that wasn’t saddled with some proviso; and I don’t remember you ever giving me one without my somehow asking for it first. I can’t recall a single word of praise without a “but…” attached. You never got it: It was never about how much or how little money you spent on me; it was about how much or how little attention, security, thought you gave me. You always accused me of wanting too much, but what you didn’t understand is that all I wanted was to feel good around you. And when that failed to happen, I sought something concrete. And of course, no fancy dinners or elaborate gifts could take the place of the kind words you somehow always forgot to say. But at least I’d have something to show for all the tears I’d cried.
When my boyfriend asked me the other night why I am so guarded, I was shocked. I never thought myself capable of building walls. But here I am, chipping away slowly at bricks you made me fashion out of self-doubt, insecurity and terror.
So please, when you leave, take all of this luggage. I’m tired of dragging it around. I’m tired of it slowing me down, standing in the way of the woman I could be if I wasn’t so fucking worried all the time about not being good enough. I know you’re not a bad person, I know you didn’t mean to treat me badly. But I’m really no longer interested in caving beneath the weight of what you think I should be. I'm done worrying that I could upset you by choosing the wrong subject matter. I don’t want to wonder if I’ve done or said something wrong. You trained me to watch my words, be wary of your reaction, to bite my tongue and to be happy with whatever scraps of yourself you chose to give me. But I’m breaking those habits your presence helped me create. I just want to be happy - and although I feel myself hurdling toward bliss, I can’t truly enjoy myself when I’m buried in baggage.
So take it.