The flight back to Washington DC was full of long, pensive hours. It was now or never. I had to have a plan on how I was going to implement the clarity I had received along the banks of Lake Leman. Work, living situation, family, friends – there were so many areas of my life where I felt the desire to improve.
But it would all start with Allen.
Allen, in his typical, considerate fashion had offered to pick me up from the Dulles airport. As the plane touched down and I worked my way through customs, I found that I was dreading seeing him again. I knew that I needed to stay firm to my decision to not date him, and to not let him charm his way into convincing me otherwise. I also knew that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He was too good of a guy and had tired to hard to give me everything I wanted. He didn’t deserve to be hurt.
The problem is, I knew that this was going to hurt. A lot.
On the 30 minute drive back to my house, the conversation stayed in the safe zone. Allen peppered me with questions about Italy, about the wedding, and about my extended stay in Switzerland. I tried to stay upbeat, entertaining him with the tales of my adventures, and pleading tiredness (I had been up for almost 24 hours by that point), whenever my enthusiasm faltered.
When we arrived at my house, Allen chivalrously carried my luggage up to my room. I could tell that he was reluctant to leave, and that he wanted to show me just how much he had missed me in the almost 3 weeks I had been gone. He sat me down on my bed, and with the excuse of “oh, you must be so exhausted,” put his normally comforting arm around me.
I could delay no longer.
As I opened my mouth to tell him that I had done a lot of thinking during the trip and that we desperately needed to talk, Allen leaned in to kiss me.
I knew at that moment, it was really over.
Allen pulled back, a puzzled look on his face. I don’t know what he saw in my expression, but something clicked. There was no denying that something had shifted while I was gone. Hurt flitted across his face, but he quickly masked it, saying he was so happy that I was back, that I just needed a good night sleep, and that we could celebrate my return another day. He quickly excused himself, with a promise to call me the next day.
As I sat on the bed, my body screaming for me to lie down and close my eyes, I knew that the first step towards change had occurred. I didn’t know exactly what path was ahead me, or what I was going to do, but I knew there was no going back. I was ready to be completely happy and no longer would I settle for something just because I “should.”
It was time to move forward with my life.