city being like a boyfriend, I suppose these recent days have been the break-up phase. Our break-up is not acrimonious. There is nothing wrong really. We are just parting ways, needing to go in separate directions for now. That thought is dangerous though; you tell yourself, "Maybe we'll be back together someday... Maybe this isn't really a good bye." But you know deep down that it is. Because even if you find yourself back together, you have changed and the city has changed, and it may not be the fit it was before. That is the trick in life: being grateful for the times you have that are a perfect fit and moving on when it is no longer... hoping that eventually you find a person, city or job that will be dynamic enough to change with you, to carry that "fit" through life.
Of course, the early phase of a break-up, you remember only the good times: the morning light in the apartment, the pink cotton-ball cherry blossoms not in the tourist areas but in people's lawns, the smell of empanadas from Julia's, the black squirrels scampering in the park in front of the White House. And before even leaving, nostalgia sets in and plays mind games: "Do I really need to leave?", "Things aren't really that bad, are they?", "What if we just stayed together a couple months longer?" ... thoughts that threaten to unravel the months of weaving that you underwent to make your decision into a tight, rational, cohesive ball of action.
These prevalent thoughts at the start of a break-up do not get you anywhere. You know that they aren't productive and will not change anything, but there is no way to stop them. So you let them scamper through your mind like mice, letting them free and hoping that they don't start nibbling away at your real reasons for ending things.
It's true that we had gotten into a groove and ironed out many of our issues: I no longer take the metro on weekends. We addressed the jealousy of traveling to other cities. I got accustomed to the constant security checks by voluntarily getting cleared. That's what happens with any relationship: you learn each other and it smooths the path.
But then life presents itself in a way that reminds you of the underlying reasons for doubting the relationship to begin with, the differences that will not go away no matter how much you work on them: "We don't really want the same things out of life." And there comes a time when you have to face that statement.
So despite the sweet memories, the beckoning Spring time, the smiles of friendly faces and hugs of new friends, for now, I need to venture on a new path. And like any break up, I am not sure that my new city will be any better. I am not sure that I won't regret my decision. I am not sure that I won't want a second chance, but I have to risk it anyhow.
Thank you D.C. I'll remember you fondly and hope that we can remain friends.