Mat Portraits

I can’t think of a good title.

Two years ago, a few months after he came back from the dead, as we were driving back to the city from our high school reunion he started talking about smoking. I didn’t know that he had stopped. He knew I hated that he smoked so I just figured he was hiding it from me. But he said that he had made a pact with himself that, if he was going to move back to Chicago from LA, he was going to give up all of his bad habits.

I wanted to ask if that meant that I was one of those bad habits too, but I could never bring myself to do it.

It was during the three year stretch that he wasn’t talking to me that I decided I needed to leave, clear my head, get over him. Somehow it came together for me that the only way to do that would be to travel the world.

I’m not sure if it was after year one or two of silence and unanswered phone calls and texts, but sometime in there I knew that the only way to move on was to leave and move about until I found a place or a person or a something that made me forget.

But things happened and I kept putting it off. My dad had a heart attack. My dad got cancer. I moved in with Heather. My friends were getting married. My sister had a baby.

And then, after three years of silence, he was back and wanting to meet for a drink as if no time had passed at all.

Part of me wanted to say, “no,” but I wasn’t strong enough. And I did want to see him.

And I wondered what brought him back, why all of a sudden he cared to have me in his life again. And I knew he had been dating someone. Someone I had once been friends with. And I wondered if they had just broken up. And I didn’t want to tell him that I knew about them because I was hoping he’d tell me on his own. But he never did. And so I never said anything.

And it’s funny how things were so different. And how that three years apart was probably the best thing in the world for us. We’ve now been hanging out again for two years and haven’t fought once when it’s all we used to do. We’re happy and we get along.

But we also avoid talking about anything important.

Like about how much he hurt me.

And so I never forgot about leaving.

We met the other day for what I thought would be the last time we’d see each other before I left. But he had wanted me to take photos of him and still hoped to squeeze it in. So, even though I had too much to do, I said OK.

And we went and we took photos. And he laughed every time I said I’d never see him again or that I’m leaving forever.

But I cry every time I think it.

And I managed to hold off my tears today until I saw him riding away and I stood on the curb waving goodbye in tears.

And here are some of my favorite photos of the day.

and a couple of outtakes.

Learn on Skillshare

Affiliate Link

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Jen
    July 1, 2011at11:39 pm

    I still think you deserve someone who would never disappear on you. Who would drop everything for an adventure with you. Who wouldn’t be afraid of you having something important to say.

  • Adam
    July 1, 2011at11:35 pm

    I know how this feels. I was with this woman for six years. Moved across the country for her. My wanderlust was rampant at the time. She didn’t know the definition of the word. One day, I caught her in bed with another man. Three years later, it still stings, but life would not be the same without the things I learned from that. Carry the lessons with you.

Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.