There is no rock, no hard place. I am between a buffet and a comfortable bed. Everything but my clothes is packed up and waiting by Ben's door. I spent Tuesday night sleeping on my new bed. Spent last night in the familiar position slightly to the right of Ben. I want these two worlds to converge. I want the ability to spend all night talking with Ben, while still having my own space. I want my apartment with Celeste and Trick to be in Allston, so I can be closer to the places I have grown accustomed to being.
In the year that I lived in Mission Hill, I never had a regular place I went to. Likewise when I lived in Cambridge for nine months, and the almost year I lived in Slummerville. I've only been here for three months, and there's a breakfast place where the only waitress worth tipping knows my order as soon as I go in; and there's a comic book store where they know, in advance, what I'm going to buy, and they ask me vague questions in an attempt to figure out whether or not I'm schtupping Ben.
I have to stop writing his name. It's been almost two weeks since I've had a night where he hasn't had a significant role in a dream I've had. I can barely make it through a conversation at work without his name coming up, either by me mentioning him, or a coworker asking about him.
I hereby pledge to go one week without speaking his name to anyone. There will be no "Ben" in my world. Nothing will be beneficial or benevolent or bent. Cincinnati's football team will be The Tigers. I won't say I've been thinking about something, I will say I was thinking about something. I will not be "on a bender", I will be drunk. When I give advice to Celeste as to how she can feel better, I will not suggest Benadryl, but, rather, an anti-histamine tablet. I'll even refrain from mentioning benign harmless things that sound like they might have Ben in them. I'll pass up bananas for plantains, bandannas for doo rags, banter for rambling. No more conversations about Bangladesh. I swear, I'll quit talking about him cold turkey. And that's a promise you can take to the place where money transactions take place.
“You’re moving?” Ben asks when we get back to his apartment.
I’ve been thinking about it since he got back from New York. And the phone call I made at work was to Celeste. Her roommate is moving to North Carolina on December first. He’s leaving behind his old computer, his bed, a few shelves, and most importantly, a room of my own. No van seat perpendicular to Ben’s bed.
“Is that why you’ve been so happy? Because you’re leaving me?”
“Leaving you? Since when are we together?”
He fluffs his hair. “You know what I mean. Good for you, though. You do need to get your own place. But now where will I get my crab cakes and coconut shrimp from?”
And I reassure him that I’m not disappearing out of his life. Celeste’s house is a half-hour walk or ten minute bus ride away.
“Oh, good.” He says. And we don’t discuss it again until December first, when I throw all my stuff into my backpack, and one of his suitcases, and tell him I’ll be back in an hour.
“And the next time you see me, I won’t be your roommate, I’ll be a guest, so you’ll have to start treating me better." Though I know he doesn’t treat his guests any differently than he's treated me for the last three months.
“So, what now? Am I supposed to hug you goodbye or something?”
I wrap my arms around him. There is a split second where I debate kissing him, notbecause I’m still in love with him (I’m not sure I am), but because I know it will infuriate him.
Instead, I smile, pick up my bags, and walk to the elevator. Fucker didn’t even offer to help carry my bags.