Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019 - 8:44 am.
This is it, our last weekend in the UK. I knew this time would come, but I didn't expect that I'd feel at peace with it. I'm quietly devastated about leaving, but also Andrew and I have been preparing for months. Thankfully, also, we have the foundations to start over waiting for us across the Atlantic.
This week was about saying goodbye. We continued getting together with friends, every day we had someone to meet for coffee or a meal. I'd have a hard time trying to look back on each day of this week and say with whom we met and where. Suffice to say, all these people (friends, fellow students, supervisors, admin team) were part of our wonderful life here in the UK.
I also met again with my new friend and crush, V, on Wednesday. The date went as I always wished for one to go: a girl and me at the Showroom cinema and café, turned face to face on a couch, talking endlessly over good food and drinks. The couch was against a floor-to-ceiling window, and it was raining. We could just half-turn our heads and watch the rain as we discussed trans representation in fiction or the joys of owning cats.
She bought me dinner and a drink, a honey-flavored Jack Daniels that was just marvelous. We talked about her life, my life; I told her I was pan rather than bi, something I'd only told Andrew, and it felt good. Overall, like I said, I always hoped for the chance of having a date like this one. Even though it wasn't a date, I suppose.
I walked her to the train station, across the street from the Showroom, although maybe that was a bit awkward on my part. Nevertheless, we got along so well, and after seeing her, I didn't mind waiting 50 minutes in a shady part of the city for my bus home.
The next day, she sent an email about the good time we had, and how sorry she was that I was leaving. I'd been holding it together until then, but after her message, my heart properly broke. I wanted to see her again. I really like her, as in, I have a massive crush on her and I'd go with her as far as she (and Andrew) allowed me.
I'm frustrated that we didn't get to spend more time together, but having this short time is better than not having met her at all. I'm taking following each other on social media as the consolation. Most importantly, though, I get to call her a friend.
After Wednesday, our departure started seeming more real. Yesterday (Friday) at noon, we said goodbye to the PhD students who were in the office. I came up to my crush, A., and hugged her, but I was too overwhelmed to even enjoy it. Leave it to my ego to soften the moment, too: eh, she never felt about me the way I felt about her.
Regardless. It was really hard saying goodbye, but Andrew and I felt very loved (even by A. Despite what my ego tells you, she *is* fond of us). I guess we always felt protective of the PhD students that came after us, all the more so because he and I were effectively around a decade older. We've been through what they're going through, so we always tried to help. I also felt like some of these students looked up to us, which warms my heart.
After leaving the office, Andrew and I met with two of our closest friends here, Stan and I.. We went for Italian food, then we went to a video game museum, and then for coffee. It was a fantastic afternoon. I can't think of a better, more joyous note on which to say farewell to our beloved friends.
This weekend is just packing and meeting with our friend Eric, who's been gone to summer school for two weeks. I'm really sorry he wasn't around these days as we're preparing to leave, but I take it as a reminder that life goes on for everybody and people still have places to be. He's coming back tonight, so I'm guessing we'll have a very gay brunch tomorrow, and he'll come to the airport on Monday to bid us farewell.
I've been doing OK, I've felt like crying a few times, but nothing major. Andrew shed a few tears every time we said goodbye to anybody, such a softie that he is. Of course my heart is breaking, too. It's been four years in the UK, the best four years of my life so far. That is done now, and if I'm not an emotional wreck about it is because above sadness, I feel gratefulness. I'm absolutely grateful for having had the chance to live in the UK, and I'm a better person for it.