I packed a lunch for a picnic after our hike at the coast. He likes mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches, unless the sandwich has cheese. His particular tastes are a matter of fact between us now; the way he leaves the seat all the way back when he drives; how he lays out his brush, comb, toothpaste and toothbrush in a tidy row every morning when he gets ready for work; his ketchup on mac&cheese devotion. These are who he is.
As I spread lunch meat on nine grain, he was writing a response to a job offer in Albany, NY. “Yes,” he said, “I will work for you.”
It’s a temporary position, one that affords the chance to earn good money and spend off hours training in the next system he’ll need for career advancement. This is also who he is: dedicated, hardworking, persistent. Conscientious.
But he’ll go to Albany, NY.
And I will stay here.
Because our goal is to retire here, and I am up for a job I will hear about later this week, and this is where we want to spend our lives, I will stay.
We’ve lived apart before. We can do it. Circumstances here are different; I’m not raising kids or packing up our lives.
But we’ve had three years together here, three years of relearning each other and becoming a single unit, a couple. Moving together in a direction we choose together. We choose together. We are in new territory. We are in very happy new territory.
In a week and a half or so, he’s leaving. My partner, my best friend, my steadying hand in rough seas–he’s leaving. He’ll be back. But he’s leaving.
Right now, all I can think is “he likes mustard on sandwiches unless there’s cheese.”