Ready or Not

“What’s up?” I asked R, perched on the sofa that August evening.  I had just returned from my annual trip to the beach with my father’s family, ten days of fun and surf and family time for me and Zach.  We’d rented a new place in a more family friendly area this year, and everything had been perfect.   I loved nothing more than than the huge, sloppy room I shared with my cousin, my grandmother and all of our boys.  My dad and aunt stayed down the hall in quieter space.  We cooked meals in the tiny kitchen, ate them out on the quiet back porch, and slung a hammock between the trees in the back of our condo.  We spent hours at the beach while the kids played in the pounding surf.   I was tan, I was content, and I was happy to be back home, seeing R again.

R had sounded serious when he’d called and asked to come over this evening, but then it was easy to mistake his moods on the phone, I discovered.  He was one of those with whom body language and facial expression counted for much; sometimes his words didn’t exactly match his intent.  He could have just been wanting to see me after me having been away for so long.

“Well, I have some news,” he said, his face exactly matching the vibe I’d caught earlier in the day.  “It looks like my job is being transferred to Texas.”   He stopped there, waiting to see my reaction.

We’d been dating three months.  I’d quickly stopped seeing the other man I’d’ been dating at the start of our relationship, which had been exclusive ever since.  I was now completely comfortable with him spending time with me and Zach, and our weekends were often filled with activities that centered around the three of us.

“Oh,” I responded quietly.  “Wow.  I didn’t see that one coming.”  My head was swimming.  Were we going to go for a long distance relationship here, or was he trying to tell me it was over?  “What exactly does that mean, for us?”

“Okay, okay, I can’t do that to you.  I’m joking.  My job isn’t getting transferred.”  A smile played around his lips as I reached behind me for a sofa cushion to bat him with.

“That wasn’t funny!  Why would you do that to me?” I didn’t care for that kind of sarcastic joking, the kind that made the recipient the fool for believing what was purported to be the truth.

“Well, it’s not 100 % false either.  My job isn’t being transferred…but my roommate’s is.”

I waited for the punchline that didn’t come a second time.  His roommate had received a job offer with a big raise and better position in San Antonio.  R hadn’t told me about the possibility because his roommate wasn’t sure he would even be considered for the position; the company was smaller than the one he was currently at, and he wasn’t sure that he wasn’t going to get the “overqualified” stamp and sent on his way.  But he wasn’t.  And here was R telling me that he couldn’t possibly afford the rent of their riverside apartment with the lovely balcony on the water without his roommate.

“I’m not sure what you’re getting at,” I said blankly.  He wasn’t actually asking me to move in with him, was he?  There was no way I could move into the city.  Whatever I saved on commuting costs would be more than offset by the private school tuition I’d have to pay for Zachary.   Plus, I didn’t love the city.  There were wonderful things about visiting R there of course; always having parking to sporting events, the great restaurants that were a short ride away.  But still.  I’d lived in my condo for fifteen years now; I couldn’t imagine packing up all of that to move into a smaller place in the city.

“Well, I’m just trying to sort out my options.   I could rent another apartment somewhere, of course.  Or…” he paused.

“Or you could move in here,” I suggested, filling in what I thought were his blanks.  He was already spending a few nights a week here anyway, I reasoned.  “Wouldn’t it make sense to save on the rent?”

“Do you think we’re ready for that?”  he asked.  “I mean, I love the idea, I do.  But it does seem kind of early.”

“It does,” I answered.  “If your roommate wasn’t leaving, probably neither of us would suggest moving in together just yet.  We’re still kind of figuring everything out.  But you need a place to go, and we’re already together anyway.   If it doesn’t work out, you can always get a place.  But doesn’t it make some sense to at least…try?”

And just like that, I’d gone from having a relationship to having a live in boyfriend.


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