My boyfriend John and I had been together just shy of a year and a half when we graduated college. We had always talked about someday moving to New York City, initially bonding over it as a shared dream, but these conversations usually took place under the influence of red wine and in the safety of our beds. It wasn’t until days before graduation that we were forced to have “the talk” about what would happen next. You the know the one: you two sit outside the house in the car, tear-stained cheeks hidden by nightfall, illuminated only for brief seconds at a time by passing cars.
It was that night when he told me he could plausibly move to New York City. He had a place to live, a part-time job and the support of his mother to go pursue his dreams. This was the first time that New York felt real, not just some glistening mirage hanging out on the horizon. The opportunities that had arisen seemed impossible to say no to. I couldn’t have been happier for him despite my own nonexistent plans for the future, so the next day, he booked his one-way fight.
The following month saw me trying to set the record for most cereal eaten in one sitting and sneaking cigarettes on the back deck of my parent’s house in Colorado. I was lonely and heartbroken, and I was certain that I was suppose to be with my boyfriend, wherever he was. As the distance between us became increasingly difficult to deal with, New York City started to become a mere backdrop to being united with him. The more I missed him, the less and less important the place became. And when I finally found myself on my way to New York, I was honestly more excited to be in the arms of the boy I loved than I was for anything else. When people asked me why I was moving I was quick to say, “Love! And you know peruse my dreams and blah, blah, blah.” And as a self proclaimed romantic with a capital R who believes in love about all, I couldn’t have been more proud.
Upon moving to New York I quickly found a job and a place to live, though neither were close to ideal. The job wasn’t in writing and I was living in a cramped apartment with two perfect strangers. As magical as the city was, with each sky-high rent check it grew exceedingly more difficult to stay optimistic about making it in the Empire State. The combination of unanswered emails, overpriced groceries, shady laundromats and the absence of my ride-or-die-best-friends began to tip the scale in favor of leaving New York.
Of course, I couldn’t stop myself from blaming it on the man that I attributed to bringing me here. In the most desperate and trying moments, like that time I was locked out of my apartment in the rain with a trash bag full of laundry, that I couldn’t help but think while starring at my unanswered texts to my boyfriend, I came here for you and now look at me, with my white shirt soaked through and more mascara on the cheeks then my eyelashes. And hadn’t I?