Julia and I have called it quits. That’s what I’ve been telling friends. It’s all for lack of a better term. A deep-seeded part of me refuses the term “break up” because it describes a violent, permanent destruction. I’m trying to come up with something, but perhaps what has happened to Julia and I doesn’t need a name or label.
In typical Julia/James twins fashion, we both separately decided that things had changed and the inevitable had come and had both thought the other didn’t know what was coming. I was in Vancouver now and enjoying this new world I’d thrown myself into. Though I had a rocky patch early August, I’ve been set to make this my new home. I was missing Julia, but found myself making realizations about her and what I have and haven’t been getting from our now long distance relationship – or as friends called it, an LDR. Like the label itself, long distance can be cold.
So, at some point in August, I had emotionally detached and was trying to strategize when to break it to her.
Should I call her now? Too soon. She’s packing, James, come on. That’d be mean, she’s in a fragile state!
Okay, so then I can’t do it early September cuz she’ll be moving in. Correct.
The end of September? She should have her roots down enough. Good idea.
So, it was set, and I obviously hadn’t learned from my last relationship that the only best time to break up is right away and not to drag it out.
I came to Victoria to see her and her play, Atticdwellers, at the Fringe. (If you didn’t see it, you missed a dark and beautiful show.) I kind of winced when I signed a card for her with “Love”, but I do still love her in the way best friends share. Hanging out together was a little stiff, but I just summed that up as me disconnecting and letting the Relationship James walls come down a bit. Perhaps I was getting a little hip hop on her, and she doesn’t like that.
So, we walked her dog to a nearby park. I’ve nicknamed it Bomb Park now because it was the park that she dropped the bomb that she was going to Toronto and wanted to do it alone to claim her due independence. It’s also the park that the seesaw pic in my header graphic up top was shot at. Very ironic.
I sat at the bottom of the slide and she sat on the grass facing me. She was wringing her hands and finally said shakily…
James, things aren’t working for me.
Yeah, things aren’t working for me either.
The most mutual parting ever.
We ended up talking for a couple hours. We talked about how funny it was, and especially how much of a relief it was. She was understandably a mess, thinking for a time that when she dropped the bomb I, totally oblivious, would be hurt so bad that it would affect my bipolar and send me to the hospital. I was relieved she was relieved, since I knew from experience how tormenting it is to be the one who breaks up with someone who doesn’t see it coming.
I have never known such a mature and caring girl. We both agree to remain best of friends and co-editors, sharing our new journey with each other. Pals. And we can do that. I would love for her to get the most out of Toronto on her own, but I also would love to see her find happiness with whomever comes her way, as she feels the same for me.
From the soil, a rose sprouts and blooms. No one can deny its beauty, and it’s rare that a rose can grow to be something that leaves an impression on people so deeply as this one did. When sun, water and the other nourishing elements don’t reach it, the season changes and it dies. But, the rose has roots and the roots spread to the rest of the garden.
Julia and I have had the best last year and seven months of our lives. Our first summer lives in our memories as the best we’ve ever had. She has raised the bar high for whatever next girl graces my life as she told me I have raised the bar for her next suitors.
I don’t really know how to end this. We both feel a glorious feeling of freedom to take this world by its horns, but there is sadness, and with it a feeling that something is gone in me; her smile, her touch. This phase is always the hardest because you cry over the good memories as your mind ignores the reasons you decided to end things in the first place. There are reminders everywhere. I write this with the pen she gave me in Tofino last summer.
For now, I still wear my Irish Claddagh ring that was my first Christmas gift from her, a sign of a love so deep. It now faces out, the traditional sign that I’m looking for my next true love. And when people say, Who gave it to you? I will always say, My great friend.
(Update: The Claddagh ring was replaced by my grandfather’s a few days after writing this. I don’t need to wear a sign that says I’m single. I also don’t need a physical object to remind me that I have a deep and honest friendship with someone. If I wore a piece of jewelry for each of my friends I’d be more valuable than a Faberge Egg, and a thousand times stronger.)