Just One Breath

An American girl in Scotland, figuring things out one step at a time

Run away thesis


So at the end of yet another failed relationship, this one being the worst of all, I ran to the computer to talk to my best friend. This one tried to literally tear Jamie from my life. He completely invaded my privacy by reading every letter and email Jamie had ever written to me, freaked out on me and forbid me to talk to him… and that was it! I was done. It was not easy to get out of that mess but I did. It is hard to believe that Jamie was the one I always went to with a broken heart after being crapped on by my partner. It wasn’t a girlfriend, no, it was my best male friend who I happened to know was in love with me and I knew that hearing me so sad hurt him. But see, if you haven’t gathered it already… he was my bright light… my peace… my center. Even when he was just listening to me, letting me cry it out, I knew he was with me. He would always reassure me that it would be ok.

This breakup was not going away. I was trying to finish my Master’s Thesis and I was getting nowhere but stalked and frustrated. I wanted to just get away from it all. I had been talking to Jamie everyday, several times a day and he kept encouraging me and giving me hope that I would get done. I was so stressed out and was being pulled in so many directions that one day I just blurted out that I wanted to go over to stay with him. He didn’t even think before he said he would have some drawers cleaned out and ready for me. That was it… decision made… I was going to Scotland to stay with Jamie for an indefinite amount of time.

We discussed how we would live, when we could get my dog and if I could get a job when I was done with my degree. We hadn’t really discussed being a couple but our conversations were all about building a life, a new life for both of us. I got my ticket and I was ready for to finish this chapter of my life and start a new one with Jamie whatever that meant.

I arrived at the end of October 2006 and was greeted by that amazing smile and a huge hug. I felt better already. We got back to his apartment and he showed me the drawers he had prepared for me to put my things. He was too good to me. I set up a nightstand on the one side of the bed but I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of sharing a bed…even though it was a nice big one. I had decided that I would sleep on the couch for a while. As it turned out, the couch was the best place for me. When Jamie went to sleep at night I would take the silent time and work on my thesis. I began to clear my head and his Mac was the most amazing computer I had ever used. I could have all the things I needed open on the screen at one time. It made life so much easier and so did knowing Jamie was in the next room.

The routine began… Jamie to sleep, me to work on my thesis until usually 6 or 7 AM. He would get up, get ready and go to work. If I had been asleep on the couch I would stay there if I was awake I would go crawl into Jamie’s side of the bed and cuddle his pillow and sleep there for a few hours. Then up, food, and more thesis. I also began to think long and hard about what it was that I wanted and what was I doing. I was with Jamie, my best friend and the best man I had ever known but I was still unhappy. I was being treated terribly by my thesis advisor who was pulling power trips left and right. My real advisor had died suddenly and I had fallen through the cracks when dividing up her students. When I approached the department with the problem this woman was a terror and denied ever receiving any of the 7 emails I sent or the 3 voicemails. Needless to say it was a really painful time in my academic career. I was not alone while going through it, the dean of education was cc’d in on all of my correspondance and she began to help me through the finishing touches and gave approval for things that the witch was ignoring or being critical about. I also had Jamie, quietly sitting by me with loving reassurance.

Our routine became more solid as the days passed, we began to make dinner together every night and I was keeping busy with my thesis and keeping the apartment nice but we were not connecting. We sat on separate couches while watching movies or TV. I can remember exactly how I felt with him so close but still too far away. I wanted to sit next to him, to hold his hand or rest my head on his shoulder but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was a mess and felt like hell, how could I go over there? Why would he want me to? I thought, if he wanted to be with me he would come over and sit with me. I was stupid but I was also depressed and a depressed brain never can think rationally about anything. I was in the worst shape physically and mentally that I had ever been in my life and he was still right there, still loving me from a distance. He was patient and helpful, always there when I needed to bounce an idea off of him or needed a book from the library. He was a Godsend and I was so lucky to have him.

We did some different things though. I think Jamie was trying to get me out of my funk. We picked out new glasses for him, his were like 20 years old. This was fun and he looked so different in the new glasses. He instantly went from being a boy to a man. Jamie also took me to a concert in Glasgow to see a guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. They were amazing. It was one of the first nights I really felt alive again. We also spent a day in Edinburgh. We went to Mary King’s Close to get scared and we wandered around the Christmas Market. I had a great day even though I was still sad I managed a few great smiles that he caught with his camera. This is the one truly amazing thing about Jamie, he always could make me smile. I loved that about him. Even when I was in the darkness of my brain he could pull me out.

As my thesis was finally completed I had more time to think about what I needed to do, I had run out of money and I missed my family. There were many nights when I was on the couch crying and I wished Jamie would come hold me and tell me it would be ok but he kept his distance. I learned from talking to him recently, that he didn’t want to upset me or push me away and he simply didn’t know how to comfort me in my state. I didn’t have any time where I felt relief from being done with my thesis I felt like I needed to fix things at home. I had run away from not just my ex but I had run away from reality. I needed to love myself for a little while so I made the decision to go back home just before Christmas.

The rest of the trip is hazy to me. I think that a lot of that part of my life is. I blocked it out. I do know that I did begin to feel better, I had lost about 15 lbs and I was ready to take on life back at home. I know now that my decision hurt Jamie but he never told me that December. He cared for me so much he always put me first. God what I would have given for him to shake me and tell me “Don’t Go!” But he didn’t. All of the nights he wanted to take me by the hand and lead me to the big comfy bed to sleep, he didn’t. It is not his fault we didn’t stay together it was a joint lack of communication… again. I went home… we fell back into our routine of emailing daily and IMing. I missed him but I needed my parents and I needed a job so home was best for me then. When I was having a bad day I would look at the picture of Jamie smiling and it would lift me up. Even though he was sad I was leaving, he was smiling for me.

The smile I held on to.

Recently we had occasion to be back near that flat in Stirling. We walked to it in the dark and began to really talk about things that happened and didn’t happen there. I began to cry at the horrible missed opportunity and for all of the things that he did for me. I felt all of the sadness I had felt back in 2006 but then Jamie, with the strength that he now possesses in spades, said what has become his routine line for me when I am sad about the past… “We are here now.” We strongly agree that we would not be the people we are and we would not be where we are had our entire history not have gone as it had. The pain, the joy, the longing… it made us strong it made us who we are. We are here now, together the way it was meant to be. x heather

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