It’s Only Love … and that is all, why should I feel the way I do?
It’s only love, and that is all,
But it’s so hard, loving you… (Lennon & McCartney)
No doubt this refrain applied to both of us, though perhaps for different reasons. I was finding her mysterious gaps enervating. But Emily must have been struggling to know what she wanted in a relationship with me. Changes were being wrought. Were these really what she wanted?
As the months rolled by, the parallel universe of my life was merging.
I only felt alive when I was with her. But even then, I knew this was more fantasy than real. I knew I had to get my life in order, and my finances in order, and start over.
The confusing part was when the fantasy and the reality merged.
I had told her soon after Marlene had died that I intended to sell my house and consolidate everything in a new, smaller place. I had told her that in the three years of Marlene’s disease, I had racked up 200,000 dollars in debt on my line of credit on the house. Now it was time to resurrect those downsizing plans, sell my house, consolidate my debts and convert my equity to cash flow.
‘Where do you want to move to?’ Emily asked me. ‘Not far away I hope.’
She was surprised and a bit dismayed at my answer.
‘I would like to move to Perth.’
‘Where’s Perth?’ she exclaimed.
I looked at her and winked at her lack of knowledge of Canadian geography.
‘I’m foreign,’ she said, laughing. ‘I don’t know everything about this country like you do.’
‘Perth,’ I explained, ‘is a beautiful picturesque colonial town only about an hour’s drive west of Ottawa. I could pick you up at your apartment and bring you to Perth for the weekend.
‘Yes, but I couldn’t just drop in anymore,’ she said with dripping irony, and consternation. ‘Why Perth?’
‘I need to get away from this house with so many memories. I see myself adopting the writer’s life, sort of Hemingway in Key West. I won’t give up my consultancy practice even though I won’t have a downtown office. I want to spend more time writing. I have at least three books in my head and I want to get them out of my head and into people’s hands. I might even become rich and famous.’
‘Yes really. Well maybe not the rich and famous part, but I see myself continuing the pattern I’ve already established the last three years during Marlene’s illness. I’d write in the morning, and then around 11:30 I’d walk into town to one of the local pubs and have lunch. I’d visit with the locals, take my notebook with me, and spend the afternoon at the pub, or even the evening. I know I will dread going home to an empty house. Good thing I still have the dogs to come home to.’
I knew I was baiting her. I wanted her to move with me to my new home, wherever that might be.
Emily was downcast. It didn’t sound like a good plan from her point of view.
‘Emily, it’s not decided yet. I just want you to be with me.’
Emily was very quiet.
By January I had spent a considerable amount of time looking for the perfect place in Perth, but it being a small town, there wasn’t a lot of choice, especially since I wanted to rent, not buy. Apartments I saw were small and I needed quite a lot of space. After having a fairly large house with ten rooms, a two-car garage and a full basement, and a lifetime of accumulated stuff, I knew that downsizing by two thirds was going to be difficult, if not impossible. I knew I had to shed a lot of that stuff, but this looked to be too big an undertaking in just one tranche.
And I had the dogs.
And truth be told, if I wanted Emily to be with me, I had to accept that her family and my fantasy did not fit. I began to look for larger townhouses closer to Ottawa.
‘Where’s Bridlewood?’ Emily asked, when I said I had found something in this Kanata suburb. Kanata seemed merely a slight improvement to Emily.
‘You may as well move to Perth,’ she muttered.
‘Don’t worry about it Emily; it’s only a twenty-minute drive from your place. I can pick you up and drop you off easily.’
‘Yes, she said, but it’s almost two hours by bus!’
‘If you move in with me I could take you to see your family anytime you liked. Or maybe you stay with me Thursday to Sunday and with your family Monday to Thursday.’
I knew she wouldn’t move in with me full time but thought this might make a nice compromise. Emily seemed less enthusiastic. Maybe I was rushing things. Maybe I was dreaming. But I put down a deposit on a lovely rental townhouse in that sleepy suburb. I would be moving to Bridlewood May 15.
As winter gradually transitioned to spring I could only imagine a future with Emily. Our daily pattern of familiar banter never addressed the pending problem of what will happen when I finally moved. Would she move with me, as I hoped? I may have been willfully blind about the boyfriend but I knew knew she had tremendous attachments to her family. I knew that my competition was not Rick, it was Rix, her nephew.
I was flying. But a grounded Emily grew quieter and quieter, perhaps thinking of the changes that were coming.