There’s a guy I love and I’m fortunate enough to have his love, too.
Derek has been standing by my side for a really long time, offering me as much support as he could while I made my way through the crucible, offering me his love when I came out the other side. Given my terrible self-image issues, I feel incredibly grateful to have him in my life.
He’s one of the elements of my life that make it something really special most days.
Since he’s self-employed, I get to see him when he’s free. If I don’t get to see him for a few weeks, I find myself missing him terribly.
All of which has left me in something of a quandary.
You see, I’m planning on moving south next summer. Whether I get into graduate school or not, I’m heading south where the gas prices are lower and the winters are less ridiculous. I think I’ll be hearing from the graduate schools very soon, within the next three weeks or so, but whether I get in or not, I am making the move.
Being Derek, naturally he’s going to help me move. The current plan is that he’ll come down with us and help us get moved in and then he’ll spend two or three weeks down there with us, checking the place out. He says that he wants to come down after us, for a variety of reasons — he’ll be able to make more money because people down there are less broke, the climate is friendlier, gas prices are a lot lower, and … well, we’ll be there.
And we will be there. If I’m incredibly speedy, it’ll take me five years to get my Ph.D. It might take as much as six or eight years. During that time, it is possible that he will get himself together to move down to where we are or near where we are. And if that happens, I expect I will be thrilled to see him.
But, once I have my Ph.D., I don’t really expect to stay in Chapel Hill (if I’m there) or Columbia (if I’m there). At that point, I’ll go wherever I get a job. In the best of all possible worlds, I’ll be teaching at the University of New Mexico or the University of Arizona or the University of Washington. I expect by then that my kids will all be gone and I’ll be able to have a nice little house that’s comfortable for me.
And what about Derek?
Well, that’s my quandary. If he decides to follow me down to North or South Carolina, I certainly can’t stop him and I’ll be thrilled to bits to be able to see him regularly again. But I certainly won’t expect him to follow me again if my work takes me to the Southwest or the Pacific Northwest. If he has settled in and created a life for himself down there, I will expect him to stay there.
I’d feel kind of badly about him following me down there in the first place if I’m not going to stay with him, except that I know he’ll be much better off down there than he is where he is right now. But if he’s doing well where he is, I’m just not selfish enough to want to drag him across the country after me again.
So all of this reduces to the probable fact that that we eventually will go our separate ways. At my age, I’m not inclined to consider the world well lost for love. It takes a lot of money and effort to up sticks and move halfway across the country and I try not to be unreasonable. It’s not going to be easy to let him go — he is really good for me and so very, very good to me — but there’s a limit to how many times he should have to uproot his life just to trek around after me while I get settled in somewhere.
Sometimes, I think that maybe I should say goodbye when I get down to North Carolina (or South Carolina). Maybe I should discourage him from following me in the first place. But I feel I should also avoid the whole control freak thing; he will do what he wants to do. He’s a grown-up. He makes his own decisions.
At other times, I think I shouldn’t borrow trouble. We’re talking at least five years in the future. It’s entirely possible that I’ll wind up getting a job offer from one of the zillion colleges or universities right there in the Research Triangle and all this heart-burning will have been pointless.
I’ve told myself that I am going to have to make a decisions about Derek but that’s not really true. All the decisions are out of my hands. I’m just not entirely sure how I feel about that.