It’s no secret that I am in Europe right now. This trip was planned last year. My late Boyfriend helped me plan this trip. He was supposed to come too but we couldn’t quite figure out the funds or getting the time off. Europe is expensive. As for the time off, we were originally supposed to leave a week earlier. That fell perfectly on his week off from the firehall. But then my brother had a project at work where he had to be home so the trip got pushed back by a week. And pushing it back a week coincided with Boyfriend’s busiest part of his fire schedule. Looking back now, it was the universe moving things around because it knew what was to come.
Since Boyfriend passed away, I haven’t gone home unless it was to get some clothes. It’s too painful going home to a condo full of his stuff and stuff that we had bought together. It’s too painful going back to a home that we had created together. It’s too painful to sleep in a bed that still smells like him. I’ve been staying at my mom’s. Thankfully she lives 10 minutes from us. As for being on vacation, well, there is nothing like being in a different country, a different continent, to help change the scenery and help take my mind off things.
BUT, I can’t avoid going home forever. Once this trip is over, I’m going to have to go back to daily life. Bills need to be paid. Things need to be done. Life moves on. “The carousel never stops turning.” I’m going to have to go home. I’m going to have to take his clothes out of the closet. I’m going to have to take his stuff out of the bathroom. There’s so much that I haven’t even thought about. He is literally all over the condo. I might need a good bottle of wine to do this. Note to self: buy some good French wine before leaving Paris.
Another thing I worry about is work. No, we don’t work together. That was something we actually liked. We met at work and worked together for 8 years before we both got our big boy/big girl jobs. We joked that we could actually come home and talk about our day at work without the other person already knowing what happened.
But our jobs are still linked, we both work for fire departments. I have a paramedic background. Boyfriend was a firefighter. We always talked at work about everything under the sun. It was like any other conversation, but add to it the work stuff. I know, I’m not making sense. But we always had that extra connection because of our work. We asked each other questions. We were always curious and wanted to learn more. And just because we were at work, didn’t mean we didn’t talk. If anything, we texted each other even more while we were at work. It’s like we talked more because we knew we wouldn’t get to do it at home. And it wasn’t limited to just texts or phone calls. We’d video chat too. I remember him saying one of the guys thought I was visiting all the time because he’d hear my voice through doors. Not that I didn’t visit, but no one needs to know how often. I wasn’t kidding when I said we talked ALL. THE. TIME. Just take a look at our whatsapp history. It’s insanely long! Every single text between us since I got this phone 2 years ago. And if I find my old phone, I’ll have those texts too. I guess one plus to the whatsapp history is I can still hear his voice from the voice messages.
The learning didn’t stop at work related things. There are 2 Chinese guys on his crew. He would text me and ask me what something was in Chinese so that he could “out Chinese” them. He did it with any Chinese person at work. And 9 times out of 10 he would “out Chinese” them. The guys would laugh and then he’d tell them about me. He was really good at remembering Chinese words. Even before he met me. I guess that’s what happens when we live in a predomonantly Asian neighbourhood. There was something his highschool friend’s grandma used to say everytime he called. Him and his friends all thought the grandma just didn’t understand English so she’d say something and then hang up. A couple years ago, we were at my mom’s and she said the exact phrase the grandma used. And Stu was like “what did your mom just say?!?!?” I told him and you could see the light bulb go off in his head. He said “OMG… his grandma knew what we were asking the entire time and answered in Chinese!!!” It was really cute. He was always out to learn. He had such a curious mind. I’m going to miss our conversations at work where we can learn from each other, joke with each other, laugh at our patients with each other. (Yes, I realize that last part is mean, but anyone who works in this field gets it. Our jobs aren’t going away. Job security is wonderful.)
This man was my kindred spirit and everyday it is tough accepting that he is no longer here. But really, what am I supposed to do? Well, I know what I have to do because there really is no other choice. The show must go on. The earth never stops spinning. Insert any other cliché/quote about life never stopping. But that’s why clichés exist, because they speak the truth. So I’m just going to hafta put on my big girl panties and get shit done when I get home. I know he wouldn’t want it any other way.