Soundtrack Song - Kill, Jimmy Eat World
I wish I could say that Sidney and I got our happily ever after, but I can't tell you that. Not because we didn't get our happily ever after, but because I just don't know.
Sure, things were going great. They always did, even when we hit the bumps and dips along the way. As long as we stuck together, talked to each other, and kept our heads on straight, we could make it through anything. We'd already made it through so much. Giving up now would have been a total waste.
After I moved in, we didn't have the chance to really fall into a routine. For the first week of my new job, Sidney was back for two home games before he left for a long road trip, including some western Canadian cities. This time, he was gone for over a week. I knew it came with his job, and it came with the territory of being his girlfriend, but I felt a little abandoned. Lonely.
If I were still at my home, I'd have my parents to keep me company, if I were that desperate. My friends were a phone call away from meeting me at the bar for drinks or the Coffee Bean Café for a caramel macchiato. However, the spring semester was beginning for them, and any time we could have spent getting together quickly would have been wasted in traffic.
I tried calling Véro, Kelsey, and Heather, but they, too, were busy with their own lives to do more than talk on the phone for a few minutes. Mostly, I became angry with myself. What the hell was I thinking? Worse, what was I expecting? It seemed like I had dropped everything on a whim and started relying on Sidney for everything. I had changed so much of myself for his sake, to be nearer to him, to be with him, and I didn't earn any of it. The new job, the new car, the new home, even him.
Now that I was his, just another possession of his forced to wait for him until he returns, I thought about how I went from sharing my life with him to sharing his life. Like I was proscribed to sit and wait for him obediently, wagging my tail like an expectant pup waiting for its master. Hearing the car pull up in the driveway and the keys jingle in the lock, knowing that when he got home, I'd get a treat and pat on the head for being good while he was away.
And even if those weren't his intentions, it didn't counteract the way I felt. He said he liked knowing I was in his home, our home, knowing that I'd be there when he got back to the city from a road trip. That was easy for him, because he was the one who was away and distracted by travel and games. It was torture waiting for him, knowing he wouldn't return for days yet surrounded by the constant memory of him.
I tried to talk to Véro about it, thinking that she would understand. Instead, she made me feel like I was the crazy one. "Do you love him?"
"Of course, V. You know that."
"Then you have to let that be enough. Because even though he may be gone five days out of the week, you know he's coming home, coming back home to you. And those two days that he's here make up for the time he's got to spend away."
"The time we spend together is great. It's everything we need it to be and more to make up for the stretches of time he's gone. But I'm still miserable when he's not here. Maybe the time he's here makes up for his absence, but that's not a consolation when he's gone."
"I don't know what to tell you, Noelle. I could say he's worth it, but you already know that."
"I'm miserable, no matter what I tell myself to try and make this better," I whispered, mostly to myself rather than her. We hung up, and I wasn't any closer to an answer or a solution. Instead, I was still avoiding the ultimate question roaming around my head: is this what I want? Sure, I loved Sid and I wanted to be with him, but this wasn't what I had imagined for myself. The waiting, the time apart, the loneliness. Even if I tried to tell him about how I was feeling, he'd just tell me that this wouldn't last forever. He wouldn't be a hockey player forever. But I knew that he was going to play for as long as his body would let him, and even after that he wasn't going to completely retire from hockey. He'd be a coach or something. Maybe this wouldn't last forever, but it would last for a long, long time.
I knew I needed to talk to Sid about this. The phone calls just weren't cutting it, so I waited for when he'd return.
I stayed up, dismissing the fact that I had to work in the morning and had sessions with Geno for English lessons and with Brooks for media prep, waiting for Sidney to come home. Something had to give; I don't know what or how, but this could not continue. I planted my ass on the couch, tired, but well aware that I could wait the few hours to confront him with this as soon as he walked through the door.
A feeling of warmth pulled me out of my deep sleep, and I realized I was in Sidney's arms. He was carrying me away from the couch in the living room and up to our bed. I squirmed, and I felt his lips brush my cheek as he whispered, "It's okay. Go back to sleep."
The idea of slipping back into sweet unconsciousness—and avoiding the inevitable fight for just a few more hours—was comforting. But since when did I ever take the easy way out of anything? No more putting it off. "Sid...."
Although it was dark, I knew he was rolling his eyes. "You're using your serious voice."
"I don't think this is working, Sidney."
He dropped me on the bed gently, trying to look like he was playing around instead of being serious. "What isn't?" I let out a sigh, opening my mouth to explain, but he cut me off before I could say a thing. "Don't say this. Don't you dare say us. I just got back, and I really want to enjoy your company right now. I could tell something was wrong on the phone, but I just figured you missed me."
I reached out and undid his tie, doing so in a caring manner rather than trying to get him out of his clothes. If I let this slide now, I'd be loathe to bring it up again. I'd forget about the misery I'd been in for the past so-many days while he was away and I was feeling useless without him. "I do miss you. Terribly. This arrangement isn't working. I moved in to be closer to you, and instead I feel ten times worse when you're gone. It's not fair. I've given up a lot to be here with you."
Sidney snorted. I wasn't expecting that reaction from him. "What? What have you given up? Living with your parents? The job you hate? The car that was about to break down on you? Don't you think that what you have here with me more than compensates for whatever second thoughts you're having?"
"Okay, first of all, don't be an ass. You said the Jeep was a gift, so don't you dare hold that over my head like this. You can't buy something for me and then make me feel guilty for taking it, especially when I didn't ask for it or want it in the first place."
"Second, I'm not having second thoughts. I love you. You know that. But being here without you sucks."
"But you know damn well that things between us are good right now. No more fighting. Remember Christmas, and how much fun that was? Why are you looking for trouble?"
"I'm not looking for trouble. But I gave up myself to be with you. I gave up who I was. And now I don't know who I am, because all I feel like right now is Sidney Crosby's girlfriend, and not at all like Noelle Lambert."
"You're still who you are. You're still the girl I met over the summer. We've spent a lot of time apart before. So what suddenly caused this? You're springing this on me, and I didn't even know you remotely felt this way."
"It's the fact that I'm in your house, and you're not! It's not like I want to feel this way. I want things to be good between us. When I got back from work this past week, coming back here to an empty house was so lonely. I miss you when you're not here," I admitted against my better judgment.
"You think I don't miss you when I'm gone? It sucks, Nelly. But I don't know what you want me to do. It's my life."
"I know," I sighed. "I know that there's no magic cure. It's not like I want you to give up playing hockey or anything like that. I just... want to stop missing you so much."
He laughed. "Are you trying to be obstinate?" His hands wrapped around my waist, pulling me to him while his hot mouth attacked my neck.
I pushed against him, and it took several shoves to prove to him that I was serious. "Don't laugh at me. This isn't funny."
"What do you want me to do?" he asked, exasperated.
"I don't know. But can you just at least listen to me? I know you think I'm crazy, but I want you to validate my feelings and not make me feel like I'm going crazy and making shit up!" I crossed my arms and stared at him. This wasn't easy, and he was just making this harder on me. Sid needed to be serious now, because I needed him to be serious now.
Sidney shrugged and cocked his head to the side. I knew he did that because he was afraid of saying the wrong thing and pushing me farther over the edge, but his silence was worse than his misspeaking. So I groaned and pushed him away, heading for the doorway because I felt disgusted with him.
As I reached the threshold, I realized something: I didn't have anywhere to go. Every time I got pissed or frustrated at Sid, I left him to go clear my head. But now I was literally surrounded by him, enveloped by him. I lived in his home, I drove his car. I couldn't escape him. If I truly wanted to leave and get away from him for a while, I'd have to abandon all of him—and that meant leaving him, completely. After all, it's not like I could just hide away in one of the spare bedrooms. Or worse, lock myself in the bathroom. Again.
I hesitated, and I turned and looked back at him. He was returning my stare with raised eyebrows, reading my mind. There was a choice at my feet, a fork in the road. I could either stay and figure this out, or I could leave, really leave, knowing there would be no turning back again.
My Favorite Five (2015)
1 year ago