Brown Sugar Oatmeal & Pecan Muffins

When you say you love me, know I love you more.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Life can be such a challenge somedays. I barely remember the troubles I had as a teen, much less as a kid, and now problems seem to weigh down on me like the weight of the world.

It will be six months this month since I said I do and agreed to share my life with the most amazing man I know. I’ve always thought I was such a young bride, such a young wife. Even today, I caught myself sulking over something trivial like a spoiled child. In so many ways, I’m still a child at heart. If I had it my way, I never wanted to grow up.

But I’m so thankful and blessed to be married to the person I am with now. We stayed up this past weekend sharing a beer and a cigarette on the balcony of our townhouse. It was almost 3 in the morning and it was so cold but there was something calming about the still of the night.

When the cold was too much to bear, we stepped inside. I sat on the edge of the bed with him across from me. We were troubled and worried but most of all, scared. With no plans or ideas or means even, we stayed awake and stared at the ceiling like it was the sky, both lost in our thoughts. When I did decide to speak, I said it in whispers, afraid to break the quiet, as I laid next to him.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I’ve had times when I was alone, afraid of the future because it was like treading into the unknown. This time, however, I knew I had someone else by my side. I knew those vows would manifest themselves someday and this was it. At least one of it. For better or for worse. I’ve promised this man my heart and my life and I have to honor that. 

I remember hearing his soft breaths as he succumbed to his tiredness. We have a future ahead of us but no idea where we’re headed and that’s ok. Instead of taking adventures on my own, I have Mark to share them with now. I feel like I’ve been beating myself up over the predicament we’re in these past couple of days but there’s always a silver lining to every situation.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Today however, I was feeling blue and a little mopey, so I tried turning to the kitchen and oven for some warmth. Or maybe I was just looking for something to occupy my time with. Either way, these look absolutely comforting and I’m sure Mark wouldn’t have any complaints of how I utilized my time today.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal & Pecan Muffins
Yields 12

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup oatmeal, cooked and at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin pan with 12 muffin or cupcake liners.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, oatmeal, canola oil and vanilla extract together until well-combined. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder together. Mix well.

Fold in wet ingredients into mixing bowl and incorporate everything until evenly mixed. Using two spoons or an ice-cream scoop, scoop batter into each muffin cup, about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for about 20 minutes. You’ll know that muffins are done when you prick one with a toothpick and it comes out clean. Let cool and rest for 10 minutes before taking them out of the pan.

Udon Noodles with Meat Sauce and Green Onions

Sometimes the heart loves hating and sometimes the heart hates loving, but more than anything, the heart just wants to feel. 

The past couple of weeks have involved numerous road trips, which meant long hours in the car, on interstates that seem to go on forever and favorite songs on the car player that eventually became background noise.

Driving always makes me think. For some reason, I get lost in my own thoughts and they wander. My drive home after spending a couple of days in Washington D.C. was exhausting. The bitter cold didn’t help and the fact that I was missing home and Mark made it worse.

But there was always something so comforting about stepping through my front door and into his arms. It’s all I could think about as I drove across state lines and past every exit and some days I still wonder how we wound up here. I caught myself thinking about it out loud as we were waiting on a couple of friends to head out for dinner last night.

At one point, I glanced to look at Mark who was right beside me, took a deep breath and contently accepted that this was my life now.

Sometimes it is so easy for me to cower away and doubt all that we share. Sometimes I beg for honest conversations with him, wanting to hear him tell me me that love can be concrete and not flailing only because I’ve never had the privilege of experiencing something as beautiful as this.

I remember falling asleep on the couch that Friday night while he stayed up watching movies on Netflix. Every so often, I’d awake only to sleepily catch him watching me. It surprised me. I think it still scares me to the core to be in love and to love somebody like this.

Meeting my best friend from home who bravely battled the cold in the Northeast just to spend some time with me was exciting. One, we haven’t seen each other in nearly three years and if anybody knows anything living abroad, you’d agree that trying to keep in touch all the time is sometimes easier said than done.

But getting the chance to see her and catch up was nice. It felt as if no time has passed but we’ve both grown up a little bit more. She was thoughtful enough to bring me some snacks from home and I was elated. We drank wine, exchanged stories and gave each other advice.

Watching her cross the doors into the airport at the terminal made me wish I was the one going home for once. Just for a little while.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

So while I am still homesick, I naturally gravitate towards anything that would come close to remind me of home and one of my favorite things from home is the abundance and variety of noodles. Even if you didn’t like noodles, you would end up finding something you like.

I made this super easy meat sauce with green onions and udon noodles a couple of weeks ago. It’s so yummy, I think I could eat it every day. If you have vegetables like zucchini, cucumbers, carrots or anything at all lying around, feel free to add to it for texture and color.

I think I’m about to go make some right now!

Udon Noodles with Meat Sauce and Green Onions 

Ingredients:
Udon noodles
1/2 pound ground beef (any type of ground meat would be fine)
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (adjust to heat preference)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Bring water to boil and cook udon noodles

Brown meat in a pan and drain grease. Add sauces to pan and mix well. Add a little bit of water if you want a saucier consistency.

Pour sauce over cooked noodles and garnish with chopped green onions. Mix noodles with noodles until even coated.

Vegetable Medley Stir Fry

Weekends in this little town can be quite dull.

Mark and I decided to go to the movies after plans to go bowling fell through last night. I was happy with that but I didn’t think it was going to cost just as much (if not more) than bowling! It was probably close to $40 for two tickets and some popcorn. I thought that was quite a splurge but maybe it’s just because I’m used to watching an unlimited amount of movies on Netflix and over the Internet.

We picked American Hustle over all the other good movies in theaters currently and I really enjoyed the film. I thought Amy Adams’ character and acting was brilliant. It ran a little over two hours but I was hooked the entire time. I’d recommend it as a good drama to watch.

I was lucky to have Mark make dinner tonight. I think he likes cooking every now and then and he’s not bad at it at all! He’s the best at making breakfasts, especially eggs! I can always count on him to make a darn good omelette on the weekends. Mmm…

Tonight he came up with a vegetable turkey stir-fry. We had just bought a bunch of veggies so I guess it made sense to put it all together. He also picked up a cajun-rubbed turkey breast at the store. It came pre-cooked but I figured you could always substitute it with chicken or a meat of your choice. I think shrimp would work well too.

I thought it turned out well for how quickly put together it was. He said it was an original recipe and I suppose he’s right. The only oversight on our part was not seeding the jalapenos before adding them to the dish. Boy… it was spicy! Being away from home for so long and away from spicy food in general have substantially lowered my tolerance to heat. I can maybe only do some Tabasco now so the heat from the peppers kicked my butt.

He was constantly making sure that I took enough pictures of our dinner for the blog and stopped to ask if I had snapped a shot every other step of the way. I suppose it’s pretty fun having him in the kitchen with me. He’s not a picky eater and will eat just about anything (except seafood! sigh…) but it’s interesting to see what he comes up with.

He chose to add some sun-dried tomato dressing, which I thought was a little odd but in the turned out wonderfully because it brought out the sweetness of the tomatoes and toned down the heat from the jalapenos a lot. With that being said, I still highly recommend that the jalapenos be seeded, unless you’re the kind who particularly enjoys the burn.

Vegetable medley stir-fry 

Ingredients:
1 red, green or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 yellow or green zucchini, chopped
1 tomato, diced
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 jalapeno, seeded (optional)
8 to 12 oz. of protein of choice (optional)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato salad dressing
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

On medium-high, coat the pan with oil and wait until heated through. Place onions, peppers and jalapenos into pan. Cook until onions are tender and translucent then add zucchinis. If using uncooked meat, add meat first and stir until meat is fully cooked. 

Close pan with lid and wait 1 to 2 minutes for the steam to cook and soften the vegetables. Stir in tomatoes, sun-dried tomato dressing and seasonings. Stir until all the ingredients are evenly coated with the sauce. Let simmer for a couple of minutes before removing pan from heat.

Serve warm with rice or quinoa. Or serve chilled with penne pasta as a pasta salad.

Beef and Broccoli

Mark came home at about 10 a.m. the next day.

The morning’s weather was dreary. Rain dropped steadily outside my bedroom as I rolled over to fill the empty spot beside me. I was so glad he had decided to come home. I woke up, brushed my teeth, tidied the room a little and rolled back under the covers to wait for him. 

He was in the exact same jacket and shirt despite bringing a change of clothes with him when he left.

“I’m sorry…,” he whispered and I couldn’t help but well up with tears again.

Our “first fight” had undeniably left us both exhausted. I had spent hours on Skype with my mom the night before, seeking for advice and solace, and she gave me enough to finally fall asleep for a couple of hours.

Mark crawled in beside me that morning, which felt like routine. Comfortable routine that I’ve sometimes taken for granted, especially in the past couple of months. He gave me the opportunity for some answers and I gave him the chance for apologies while offering some on my part too.

I realized that the road to our lives together had only just begun. Fights are inevitable and the best I can do is to take each one as they come, reconcile and hopefully always remember the love that we have for each other.

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

Winter has decided to kick in here in Eastern North Carolina so Mark and I are always on the couch by each other facing the tv. Yesterday he felt so comfortable being in his uniform that he didn’t change out of it until it was time for bed. He called it being “ultimately lazy”.

We spent the majority of the day cleaning the house after our small holiday stint with my brother, who was visiting for a couple of weeks from Minneapolis. Dishes piled up so quickly and pine needles were all over our living room floor after  tending to our first real Christmas tree. Mark figured out how to work a hand-me-down vacuum while I scrubbed some toilets and wiped a lot of counters down.

Mark is a huge fan of red meat. Me, not so much. I like my white meat. But we recently did some grocery shopping and found a good deal on flank steak, which I thought would be great for stir-frying. Dinner tonight was stir-fried beef and broccoli, which I think is an American favorite when it comes to Chinese food and takeouts. Honestly, Chinese cooking here is almost as foreign to me as American cooking just because ingredients are so different so dinner can be quite an adventure.

I got two thumbs up for making dinner tonight though and couldn’t be happier because it was so easy. Mark was happy that I made white rice instead of brown (I figured I’d indulge) and seized the chance to sprinkle half his serving of rice with white sugar. Apparently, it’s one of his childhood favorites. Either way, we were stuffed, leaving more than enough for leftovers that I or him will be finishing in no time.

Beef and broccoli
Recipe adapted from Kristin, from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
12 oz. flank steak, sliced
1 crown broccoli, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
Pepper to taste

Marinade:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp corn starch

Sauce:
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp corn starch, dissolved in water

Directions

Marinade steak with soy sauce and corn starch in a baggy and let it rest in room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir together sauce ingredients, dissolve corn starch in water separately and set aside.

On medium-high, heat oil in wok or pan. Plan marinated beef in oil in a single layer and wait for side to cook, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir evenly.

Add broccoli and sauce mixture to the pan. Stir all the ingredients until sauce coats most of the broccoli florets. Close the pan with a lid and allow steam to cook the broccoli until tender, about 2 minutes. Add dissolved corn starch and stir until sauce thickens and meat is well-done.

Serve with steamed rice or fried noodles.

What’s your favorite kind of leftover meal?

Soy Ginger Pork Stir-Fry

Rain and clouds never fail to make me extra lazy. I didn’t manage to get anything done until Mark got home at about 4 in the afternoon yesterday because I was tucked snugly under the blanket on my couch.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

It’s my first autumn/winter in North Carolina and I’m mildly surprised at how warm the weather still is in November. We had a short shower yesterday, which brought temperatures down into the mid-60s and me under the blanket, on the couch.

Gloomy days also has this way of making me miss home, so I decided I’d whip up a quick dinner that never fails to remind me of home. I also got Mark to eat an entire serving of choy sum this week; a type of Chinese cabbage found in many popular dishes back home — a staple when I was growing up. 

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

What reminds me most of home and family often is my mom’s simple home-cooked meals. Her soy ginger pork stir-fry is one that’s incredibly easy yet delicious at the same time. I used some leftover pork chops and marinaded them in soy and oyster sauce and some fresh cracked pepper plus salt to taste.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Ginger is also common in a lot of Chinese cooking. Growing up, my grandma and mom would say that its pungent and slightly bitter heat is good for keeping warmth in the body. Adding some Chinese rice wine, this dish is often served to women after childbirth with the belief that it will help nourish and heal the body after labor.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

I brown the ginger with garlic in a pan to start and the smell in my kitchen is divine. Towards the end of cooking, I like to throw in a handful of chopped scallions just for color and a little bit of crunch. I love scallions, or green or spring onions, as some would call it. I’d put it in everything if I could!

Here’s a cool trick I learned. When using scallions, save the ends where the little roots grow (as pictured above) and submerge them in a glass or jar filled with water. Place them on a sunny window and the onions will start to grow, meaning you get to use them again! And again. Anddd again. Rinse the root out about once or twice a week and replace with fresh water. This should help you save at least 50 cents from the grocery store.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Last night I also wanted a good serving of veggies with my dinner so I stir-fried some broccoli with garlic and oyster sauce and made a cup of brown rice as sides for both Mark and I. Needless to say, I went back for seconds.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

I think mom would be quite proud that I’m finally able to prepare some of her simple dishes and hopefully, she’ll pass more recipes to me as I grow older.

Soy ginger pork stir-fry

Ingredients:
2 pork loin chops, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
A knob of ginger (I used one about the size of my thumb), peeled and julienned
Handful of scallions, chopped

Marinade:
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
A pinch of salt

Directions:

Add ingredients from marinade into a bowl and mix well. Stir in pork slices and mix until evenly coated. Set aside for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Using a medium to high heat, heat pan or work with vegetable oil.

Brown garlic. Be careful to watch as it browns (sometimes burns) quickly. Add ginger and fry until fragrant. Then, stir in the pork marinade and cook for about 10 minutes or until it is almost done. Add water to help scrape the pan and giving the dish its luscious sauce. You can always add more water if you want it saucier. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes, until pork is done and tender.

Toss in scallions and a little bit more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with steamed rice.

What’s your favorite hand-me-down recipe?

Tire

It’s just another warm Tuesday afternoon in my small town of Lumberton.

I am sitting cross-legged on an old couch in a fairly clean laundromat on the north side of town. The 5 o’clock news and the steady hum of the dryer serves as background noise.

The place is empty.

The Mexican lady and her kids who were running around earlier have left. It is almost time for dinner and soon, when autumn comes, it will get darker sooner too.

It’s weird how I find solace in odd places like these. The laundromat. A coffee shop. An airport terminal. I found myself thinking, as I separated the whites from the blacks and colors, about my day. What I’d eaten. Pizza. Yuck. Could’ve done better there.

Jeans. Tank tops. New underwear. My boyfriend’s t-shirts.

Interesting how my life has come to this.

Just about an hour ago I was taking pictures of an intersection in town that may or may not be getting new stop signs installed. Then I find myself washing the shirts he left behind after his weekend excursion with me, which, since then, I have barely heard from him at all.

I seem to transition seamlessly from work to dealing with my precarious emotions. I find myself craving a conversation. I used to wake up to texts from him that were sent at 5 a.m. Now, I’m lucky if I even got one before 5 p.m.

I hate to sound like I’m complaining. The past few months have been blissful. From bouquets of roses to candle light dinners, whispers of sweet phrases to honest confessions, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I felt sad for girls who are alone, amazing women who deserved love more than anything else, but had no one. I finally had him, and we were in love.

When he said he loved me, we were half-drunk of a red wine and a bottle of whiskey. The room was dim and a really cheesy R&B love song played in the background. Yet, I said it back without being sure why, only knowing that it felt like it was the right thing to do and once I had said it, I wanted to say it over and over again to him.

I don’t know what love is but I know I’ve been in love.

I know I was in love with B when I stayed with him for a year and then longed for him even more for another year after that. I know I loved A when I convinced myself that I was still special despite all the other girls he had. They were love, in a mutilated way. It was the only kind of love I knew and inevitably, it hurt.

As I try as hard as possible not to fall into the labyrinth of love this time, I find myself holding back so much of myself to this person who deserves so much more than just part of me. But despite knowing that, I don’t know if I can chip away the walls that I’ve spent so long building.

My clothes are sitting in the dryer and I’m holding back tears in an empty laundromat as dusk approaches.

I cry when I think about the day he no longer wakes up and looks forward to talking to me. Or when our conversations turn into routine. When he already knows every inch and nook and cranny of my imperfect body and is tired with me.

I mostly cry when I think about the day when he realizes how mediocre I am, will always be.

Present

They say timing is everything.

Maybe in another time, place or space, we would be perfect. If only I was the girl you met in that bar two years ago. Or the girl you meet in coffee shop five years from now. Maybe we wouldn’t be faced with this.

I sit alone again tonight with words as my company, thinking of the last time I held your hand, wondering of the next time I will feel them again. Afraid of the possibility that I will never be in the same room with you again.

Life is unfair like that and God hurls tests like these towards us.

I don’t know why I said hello, or agreed to have dinner by the river with you that Friday night, but I never did regret it.

I never regretted the time I drove six hours just to hear your voice. Or the time I stayed up with you driving across state lines to get to your house. I never regretted that one more shot of tequila with you. Or the time I had to tuck you into bed — I would do it all over again.

I don’t know how it’s going to be when I have to say goodbye permanently. I already hate it when we say goodbye on Sundays, but if it’s inevitable then I would say it, even if it kills me.

Odds are you will meet somebody else someday and it will break my heart when you do, but if you were standing in pictures and at the altar with her, feeling fully happy, then I will find it in me to share that with you.

I promise I will always remember you.

Empathy

It is the most bizarre feeling in the world.

The clock reads 3:56 a.m. precisely and I’m sitting in a tiny black dress on my bed, half covered by my sheets. I still have socks on and I’m a little chilly but am too lazy to actually put more clothes on.

Across from me, is a wall separating my roommate and I. Her name is A. For the past six months, I’ve gotten to know A as a bright source of sunshine. A comes from the U.S. Virgin Islands, or let’s be real, the Caribbean. Her backyard is the ocean, which to me is paradise. She smiles all the time, she let’s her hair down on the weekends, and is passionate about what she does and what she believes in. Just to top it off for you boys, she’s absolutely gorgeous. Oh you know, island girl, sun-kissed skin with specks of freckles dusting the top of her shoulders. I’m constantly envious.

A became my roommate, senior year of college. We were bonded quickly, over pancakes, flavored rum and of course, boys. We’d watch TV shows together, manage the kitchen together and then gossip, just like any other girl would. It didn’t take long for me to start to love her and when she had to always leave for break, I knew I would miss her. A was like a sister I never had. Finally. 

Tonight, in between the thin walls, I can hear A cry. It wasn’t the kind of sniffle you get when you watch a particularly romantic scene in a chick flick. It was a sob after endless scenes of Les Mis. It was the kind of cry that resulted from a deep hurt. A’s hurt was something that came from the core of a person and manifested in endless tears, that forced a body to shake violently.

She’d told me her story one evening, over a greasy dinner at Denny’s on a Friday. We’d decided to ditch the scene and instead splurge on cheeseburgers and milkshakes. What I saw that night was a girl that had gone through a lot and survived, despite carrying scars that would never disappear. I admired her so much for that. She was a strong girl.

Coming out of what was an easily traumatic experience for all of us tonight, I couldn’t help but break down into tears when I saw A hurt like that again. I could never say I was able to fully understand what she had gone through because I’d never had that myself.

But somehow, along the way, I could empathize with her.

I found myself sobbing beside A while we were both curled up under blankets after the awful incidents of the night. While I couldn’t understand it fully, I could however know that beside me was a wonderful and lovely human being who’s hurting and who’s angry. And I couldn’t help but feel that hurt too because I’ve gotten to know and love her that much.

There are some things in this world that happens that I will never understand. Like why good people die. Or how some parents treat their children the way they do. Growing up is a challenge that I face daily and it’s funny to say that everyday is a learning experience, but it is. I may never understand the pain that some girls go through from abuse or the consequences that people suffer from loss, but if there’s one thing I can do, is that I can show a lot of empathy for them.

So we sat there, in between words of frustration and tears, and when fatigue had finally taken over, we said goodnight to each other.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all carry our demons, and we’ve all been hurt, some more than others, some less. But it hurts, regardless. And maybe, sometimes, it wouldn’t hurt if we could just put ourselves in the other person’s shoe and think for a second. Relate as human beings with emotions–– compassion. We could easily be A right now. We could all potentially go through that same hurt.

I’m just asking for maybe a chance to show some form of empathy. 

And A, if you ever read this, know that I love you. I may never understand fully the depth of what you’ve gone through, but I will share your pain with you. And obviously be willing to eat so much ice-cream and bacon until I physically am incapable of doing it anymore. We may be hundreds of miles away soon but I hope our friendship will be able to weather the distance. I’ll always be there for you when you need me.

Homeless

In between crunching the leaves under my feet and trading my shorts in for jeans, I came to the sad realization that this is another winter I’m spending alone.

I can’t help but choke back a tear.

I’m usually just fine. I’ve learned how to be fine. How to fill my schedules to the brim and I like it that way. It doesn’t give me time to think. That much time anyway since my brain never sleeps.

But break is here and the atmosphere is changing. My friends are talking about home and parents, and I cannot relate. I don’t have a home. Not here at least. Not yet.

I keep looking for a person that can try to be a meager substitute to my loneliness. The last time I had that, I had the ex-boyfriend and he was the closest thing to comfort that I had. But I don’t have him anymore. At least, not in that way.

He decided he wanted to see me today after weeks of silence. I am not phased by the process anymore. He comes and goes as he wishes and who can stop him? There was a way he looked at me today in the dim lighting of my room. It reminded me of the time we were finally together after spending the summer apart.

It reminded me of an afternoon in July and my bright yellow sundress. The sharp U-turn he took when he decided we would spend the day at a small amusement park on our way up to the mountains. It reminded me of dusk and the lake behind his house. Of oars and a wooden swing overlooking the water. It was the perfect summer night. 

But I’ve spent every summer since reminiscing and reliving the memories in my head. They were comforting and for once it felt like I had a home. Like I had a place with him. And now, I feel like a speck of dust floating in the ocean. I feel lost.

I know that opening up old wounds is always a bad idea and I can’t afford to tear down what I’ve spent the last year building. I guess I’m just a little bit scared of doing everything on my own. I like the idea of having someone else’s hand to hold, just in the event I slip a little bit.

But there’s the harsh reality that greets me every day–– that as surely as I go to bed alone every night, that is how I’ll wake up in the morning too.

Closure

I know that every time I’m upset over my ex boyfriend, I listen to Taylor Swift.

Tonight, it’s on repeat.

I know I’ve said it over and over again that I don’t love him. At least not like that, and not in the same way that I used to anymore. But I’ve seen him this year and it breaks my heart to see him that way. Why do I feel like he’s lost the sparkle in his eye and the glow in his smile?

He looks exactly the same and different at the same time.

I’ve been debating the decision to see him today. At first, it wasn’t a direct answer. Vague and indecisive, I gave him a maybe. Giving him enough to hold on to and not to write me off just yet because while I had my reservations on seeing him, I also felt like I had a strong responsibility to be there for him. What if no one loved him anymore? 

It took every ounce of courage in me to say no to him today. I kept him hanging on but I knew that the outcome would only hurt me more than it would him. I know that he’s looking for temporary fix and I’ve always been there for him, rain or shine, I was the girl he could count on. The girl that would drop the entire world on a whim, just for him.

But I’m not her anymore.

I cared so much about him and I still do but he doesn’t deserve my priority. He isn’t my priority. I miss him every day but the person I knew back then isn’t there anymore. All I want to do is bicker with him about politics and watch South Park late into the night or watch him write his papers and struggle through Spanish.

I guess I was still holding on to the notion that my guy, the person I knew, would come back. I was afraid of losing him all over again without realizing that I’d already lost him a long time ago. I mulled over the idea of meeting up with him for hours on end and thought of how I would feel after. Would it change anything between us? No. Would it help our relationship, whatever it was, in any way? Probably not.

So I decided to take the step of securing myself, and while I felt awful for turning him down, I know that I’d only feel worse if I had complied.

And so, at 10:06 p.m. tonight, for the first time in my life–– I felt closure.