This is something I posted to Facebook July 2. This is a more fitting place for it to live.
Friends, loved ones, I broke up with Aimee — whom I had been together with for almost a decade — a few weeks ago. I’m not going to go into specifics, but I will say that I needed to do this for myself and that I’m doing well.
For those of you who have been our friends, I’m sorry, I know this must come as a shock. If you no longer feel comfortable being Facebook friends with me, I understand. All I ask is that you don’t remain friends simply to relay what I post to Aimee. She and I both need to work on moving forward with our lives.
Below is something I wrote a week and a half ago while at Disneyland while trying to find some semblance of balance again.
The Market House on Main Street USA is a mashup of turn-of-the-century Americana and Starbucks. I’m sitting at a richly stained pine table flanked by bookshelves filled with weathered leather-bound books while baristas call out frappuccinos for a seemingly interminable number of Christinas. I’m surrounded by families whose children are running through their final winds for the night as their parents get the caffeine needed to make the drive home. They look accomplished — they survived a day of waiting in lines and walking all day to find magical moments with princesses, ghosts, pirates and a mouse or two.
I came alone to Disneyland tonight, one of no more than a dozen solo trips I’ve made in my 33 years, at least 20 of which I spent as an annual passholder. In the past decade, I rarely had occasion to come alone. On my third date with Aimee, I bought her an annual pass. You’re probably thinking that was a grand gesture, but at a little less than $300, we only had to come three times for it to pay itself off. It was a calculated risk that was sure to impress.
A decade later, I’m here alone. Aimee is in Arizona visiting her best friend, no doubt trying to find some solace after we broke up two weeks ago. We were a month away from our 10-year anniversary but still only engaged to be married, as we had been for the three years prior. I waited a long time for our life together as equal partners to begin, and I reached the point where I could wait no longer.
The Market House wasn’t always a Starbucks. I remember it best from when it looked like a general store that sold home goods and served coffee before anyone had ever heard of a frappuccino. We’d stop here when I was a kid — my dad has always been a coffee drinker, so most mornings in Disneyland started here. I liked it because I’ve always loved the smell of coffee, and the seating area included a barrel with a checkers set on top of it. If it wasn’t taken, my kid sister and I would play for the few minutes we had.
I grew up in Disneyland. While other kids spent more time playing in parks or at each other’s houses, my family and I spent a lot of time together in the Happiest Place on Earth. My friends hardly spent time with their parents and siblings of different ages, and it surprised me because family time has always been part of my life. We were used to spending all day together, from breakfast at River Belle Terrace to lunch at the Village Haus to dinner at Plaza Inn to dessert at Gibson Girl. It would be impossible to spend so much time together surrounded by love and support there for it to not carry over into the real world.
I was reminded of all the time we spent as a family unit when I broke the hard news to them that my relationship with Aimee was over. They listened and supported my move into an apartment. They didn’t offer advice — they trusted I would find what I was looking for in this new chapter of my life.
I’m not sure if I’m looking for anything at the Market House. I’m comforted by just being here, sipping iced tea as blenders whir not far away. The lights on Main Street are as warm and inviting as ever, and I’m contemplating stepping out into the cool early summer evening to see what life has in store for me.