Have you ever said to yourself that you hate your life, even though you're marginally successful, make a decent living, and have your bills paid mostly on time? Well, exactly two weeks ago I told myself that, and nothing has happened since to make me change my mind.
I'm luckier than most, I know. In theory, I could quit my job and slap a 'For Sale' sign on my house, but my boyfriend of two years could have a problem or two with that. I'm still in the thinking phase of this, so I decided to feel him out on the subject.
"Do you see yourself living here for the rest of your life?" I asked Daniel one night, over embarrassingly large plates of pasta.
"In this house with you?" He asked. "Or just in this city?"
"I was originally asking about the city, but now I'm curious about your answers to both."
"Are you trying to ask me to marry you, Nicole?" Daniel asked me, flashing a grin that could boost toothpaste sales if it'd been discovered by someone other than me.
"Fuck no. You know my opinion on marriage."
"Like it or not, Nic, we aren't too far away from being considered married."
"And that's my point," I told him. "Why should we complicate a relationship that's already perfect? If you want to buy me something sparkly and expensive, I'll take a new car."
"No you won't," Daniel told me. "You like the car you have now. It took you months to finally decide on that particular one, remember?"
"I was making a point, Daniel."
"Why are you suddenly asking my thoughts on the future?"
"It occurred to me recently that the only thing I like about my life right now is you. Being a financial adviser to people with more money than sense has become draining rather than fulfilling. This house is bigger than we actually need. And this city is impersonal and unforgiving. I can go on, but I'll spare you all the reasons I've come up with when I should've been sleeping."
"Why are you just bringing this up now then?" He asked me.
"I don't know. I guess I wasn't sure if I was serious or just toying with the idea of escaping. Am I having a midlife crisis or something?"
"You're only thirty-one, Nic. Unless you're planning on dying in your sixties, you're nowhere near middle-aged."
"So ... what do you think it is?" I asked him.
"Why does it have to be anything?" Daniel asked. "Why can't you just need a change ... different scenery or maybe a new purpose in life?"
I took a breath and asked Daniel the one question that has really been worrying me.
"If I did want to move, start over somewhere else with a new job, a different house in a smaller city, would you be coming with me?"
Daniel put his fork down on his plate, and pushed both aside as he stared at me. That could be taken as good or very bad. Is it better if Daniel needs time to think about this? Or worse, if he doesn't have an immediate answer for what I asked him?
"Do you want me to come with you, Nicole?" He asked me.
"More than anything, Daniel, but you have a life here. It'd be wrong to ask you to give it up when I don't even have a plan in place."
"What if I offered?"
Now it was my turn for a moment of silence.
"You're saying you would walk away from everything with me?"
"I think your dad is fucking with you again," Daniel told me.
My dad died five years ago, but every time something weird happens in my life, I like to think that he's up there pulling a few strings just to amuse himself.
"What did Dad do now?" I asked Daniel, putting my wine glass down in case Daniel's answer made me spill it.
"I was offered a job two days ago. One with better pay and benefits, and fewer hours to log in. I've been debating when - or if - I should mention it to you."
"It sounds great so far, but what's the catch?" I asked, knowing that all good things come with one.
"It's for the sister company of where I work now. Which means ... I'd have to move if I accepted it."
"And you haven't given your boss a yes or a no yet?"
"You know I wouldn't make a decision that big without discussing it with you first. Yesterday, I would have said I'd be fine staying or going ..."
"And what would you say now, Daniel?"
"Tonight, I'm saying pack your bags, Nic, because we're heading south."