You Live and Learn

In the winter of ’06 I met someone who would change my life. (Let’s call him J. as to avoid future confrontations.) We met on a cold November night and automatically became inseparable.

J. was, to me, what I had been waiting for. A platonic other that I could spend every moment with. He was 24 at the time (I was 19) and had lived through it all. He had stories of his family feuds, his homosexuality and hardships in dealing with acceptance, had moved to Vancouver from Kelowna with $200 dollars and nowhere to sleep. He had stories of when he lived on the street and slept in an abandoned building that he’d have to climb to. I felt like he was someone that I could learn from, and share everything with. He talked me through my stress levels as I was trying to manage paying rent, going to school and working 2 jobs. He showed me that life wasn’t all work and no play.

That winter neither of us could get home for the holidays and we ended up moping around together on Christmas Eve at 5am. The next day we decided to celebrate and went downtown to the only liquor store open on Christmas Day and got drunk walking down Granville St., followed by dinner at some hotel restaurant and lectures from the 84 year old man we met along the way that sang his heart out to Frank Sinatra. New Year’s Eve was pretty much the same story. We always had fun together, no matter what we were doing. And we were always doing something different than the day before.

Sooner than later we had made a decision that we would get along greatly if we were roommates. He was to be looking for a new apartment because his roommate was having a baby, and I wasn’t too keen on my living situation. However, I was still in school, and would have rather waited another month of so until I had graduated. His roommate ended up asking him to leave a little earlier than we would have liked, so he stored half of his stuff at my house, and couch surfed at our friend, Kaity’s. I gave my month’s notice before I wanted to, and was prepared to find an apartment.

Turning point:

J. was always telling me about the problems he had with his mother and would want to be left alone for periods of time. 3 days after I had given my notice to my roommates and landlord, I went online and saw that I had a new comment on Myspace. It was from J., and when I checked it I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was a message saying how clingy and dependent I was and how he needed his space and couldn’t handle having me around all of the time. He told me that I was too young and had no life experience and he wasn’t learning anything from me, and felt that the friendship was too one-sided. He proceeded to write hurtful things and implied that he didn’t want to live with me anymore. I freaked out. This added onto my stress of preparing for my final exam and money situation was not helping. And it was a public comment! I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I responded, apologizing for something that I was unaware of for the first 6 months of our friendship, and suggested that we make it a point to communicate a little better. I told him that I still wanted to live with him, and hoped he felt the same.

His next message included that he didn’t want to live with me and that I should use this experience to grow from. He said that it would be good for me to live with someone I didn’t know and that it would broaden my horizons. I couldn’t believe what I had been hearing. I didn’t feel ready to live with people I didn’t know, and it was definitely not an option budget-wise to move into a 1 bedroom. I barely left my room for the next 2 weeks. I followed through with my responsibilities, came home and sulked. Soon it was April 23rd and I still hadn’t found a place.

By coincidence I found out that one of my former roommates was moving out of the place she was living in, in the same area of town that I was trying to find one! I arranged to meet the person that would be remaining there, and we hit it off! A week later I was moving in, and finished my exams with flying colours. And within another 3 weeks I was back at Open Mic, feeling strong and even hanging out with mine and J.’s mutual friends. I saw him once or twice in the next 3 months and he had minimal to say to me.

Fast forward: It’s now 2 years later and, even though we’re on somewhat of good terms now, I still feel like I don’t know him, and would rather not. Both of us have changed so much that I found myself not believing in anything he drilled into me.

I have learned so much from this experience that it’s hard to start. I have learned to stay focused on myself and my responsibilities before friendships. Don’t take this the wrong way, because I would kill for my friends, but I’m more interested in having warm movie nights on work nights than going on drunken adventures until 3am, then going to work high still drunk the next day. I have stopped relying so much on people, and have learned to do things myself. I am so proud to be saying that right now! I am thankful that I ended up in the place I’m living in now, and the friendships I’ve developed. I would be a completely different person had I done what I’d planned in the beginning. I wouldn’t have met most of the friends I have now, and probably would be in the same mindset.

    J. was definitely a major turning point in my life, and I’m glad it happened. I was so blinded by his personality that I didn’t see the bullshit in between. I feel like a much stronger person and will continue to grow.


    2 responses to “You Live and Learn

    1. I like the idea that we have many soul mates – that that they’re people who shake things up for us, make us really examine ourselves and get to the heart of things, but that they’re too intense to be with for a long time.

      I think you guys were definitely like that, and it sounds like you’re better for him having been in your life. If only briefly.

    2. I arranged to meet the person that would be remaining there, and we hit it off.

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