2008 sounds like a long time ago.
I suppose it wasn't, in the grand scheme of things. But to me, right now-- it feels like worlds away.
I was still pretty fresh out of college, reeling from a breakup with a dude whom I'd thought, at least for a few moments, could have been "the one."
(Spoiler alert: I was way wrong.)
I had just landed a "real" job, working for a mobile startup, that I thought could be the dream gig. (Spoilers again. I was so right.)
And then I found myself in an apartment in Medford, California scheming with one of my roommates and best friends.
We'd head out west for a week.
Or ten days, actually, because when you're twenty three, somewhat reckless, and armed with paid vacation time-- why the fuck not?
So we did. We hopped a 5AM flight from Logan to LAX-- our cab driver on the way to the airport gawking at the length of our trip.
"You gonna come back and the birds a be chirpin," he remarked.
We laughed. And hoped it was true.
Seven hours and one Atlanta layover later, we found ourselves in paradise, crashing with two of our buddies from Chicago, who'd lived in Boston for a bit before this stint in Los Angeles.
And then it happened. Around 4AM Pacific standard time, the day after we arrived, with gin on my breath and my heart in my chest, I leaned in and planted a kiss on Matty.
We'd always been friends.
I'd always had a crush.
But I never thought it would happen like this.
The next nine days went by in this blur of absolute infatuation.
Stolen kisses, hands held.
Promises, optimism, overwhelming adoration.
...And even more California dreaming on my end.
The day I left to go back to Boston, I told him to wait for me.
Between sobs and hugs; I murmured into his chest over again, "Just... wait," I begged.
"...I will make you mine."
Then I left LA, with every intention of returning, as soon as possible.
But it didn't work out that way.
While we'd planned to continue our lives, maybe see other people, and proceed with the utmost caution-- it immediately became clear that wouldn't be the case.
It couldn't be.
He called me drunk one night that May, home in Chicago for his brother's bachelor party. Some girl he'd known in high school saw him out at a bar and was hitting on him. Hard.
"I don't knowwhaddado," he slurred.
And then, "no one else. Jus wan you."
That moment, I booked a flight to LA for Memorial Day, and didn't tell him.
The year played out in similar fashion, with me constantly "swapping coasts" to visit him, scraping together any PTO hours and dollars that I could. And while it was really, really miserable to be a few thousand miles away from the person I loved-- it was also kind of nice.
It was a little before the smartphone dawn, and while Skype existed, sitting in front of a computer for a chat wasn't really conducive to our late night, drunken conversations.
So, we talked on the phone.
Matt would wait up most nights until 3:30 or 4AM his time, knowing I'd be getting up for work around then, and would call.
A lot of the time, he'd be a touch drunk. Armed with anecdotes and jokes from his night out at the bar not too long ago. I'd be sleepy, but so happy to hear from him-- and so glad to awaken to a designated ringtone (California by Phantom Planet, because obviously) and not an alarm.
Every morning when he called, when it was pitch dark in North Hollywood and the sun was rising in Medford, he'd ask me a question.
"Hey, you. How's the future?"
And, like clockwork, I'd peer out my basement bedroom window to see a pink sky brightening over Middlesex Ave before I replied.
"The future is bright."
Many know that this story "ends," or at least leads us to the present, with Matty moving to Boston to be with me in 2009. We've since lived in Medford, and Dorchester, and gotten drunk in every neighborhood of my fair city.
I love Boston.
Words cannot do it justice, I really do.
But California has always had this place--
in the pit of gut, and the middle of my heart--
that I need to be.
The fact that we fell in love there holds significance, obviously. But the west coast, in general, has always lured me in.
And while we've made quite the comfortable life here in Boston, I really cannot wait to move.
Massachusetts is all I have known.
But it's time to branch out. See something new. Go on an adventure.
Dive headfirst, recklessly, into the future.
Something tells me,
The future is bright.