Stephanie and I had lunch today. I don't know when I'll see her again, as she's moving to Colorado. While we'll keep in touch, of course, our next face-to-face contact is uncertain.
We ate at the cafe in the local organic grocery store. It's one of the things we always did, not so much as a routine, but just something that was an "us" thing. We had a lot of things like that, including bookstore visits where we'd look at tattoo magazines, see every movie we had time to see, play video games, etc. We had a lot of good times, that's for sure.
We said goodbye, and like something out of a movie, drove our separate ways out of the parking lot. As I watched "Ol' Blue" (her car) get smaller in my rear view, our entire decade together flashed in front of me, starting with her walking toward me, down the aisle. I couldn't believe how sad it made me.
Even thought the dissolution was final in July, something about our meeting today made it a lot more real for me today. I know our lives are both better than they were, and it's not like I want to get back together with her, but it's so hard to reconcile the whole experience. The feeling of loss is pretty intense. It's not about her, my self-esteem, how I'll be in other relationships, or feeling alone... it's just that feeling of loss.
The ins and outs of why things didn't work out are pretty obvious to us now (hey, therapy works), and there isn't anyone to blame or be angry toward. We'll always feel love for each other, even though we just aren't cut out to be married. After a decade, the friendship you build doesn't just disappear.
So with her masters in nutrition (her second masters degree), she'll take the national exam to be a licensed dietitian, and there is no state exam in Colorado, so she'll finally be set to work professionally after a very long journey to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up. And from the pictures she has shown me, she'll wake up to see mountains every morning. She'll do well in her new life.
As for me, well, if you read this blog you know that I've seen more opportunity than I know what to do with. I feel like I'm in a pretty good place in my life, with a great deal of stability, and at the same time, limitless possibility. It's almost like I get to do my post-college years over again, only this time I have the earning power and life experience to do it my way. I couldn't have started writing this chapter ten years ago.