Continuing on from my last post.
It was December at this point. Keith and I were still talking on the phone daily at this point. I made him sweat it a little bit and I didn't tell him I had received the letter. The letter was beautifully written. I knew he'd want an immediate response, but I felt that he made me wait a week to get his letter, and I also had a lot of questions, so I would write him a letter back in response. I wanted to make sure that he saw "us" as something he wanted for more than just right now, but as something he wanted for a long time down the road. I'm not going to pick myself up and move across the country just to find out he only wanted to date me for about six more months. I loved him very much and definitely saw a long future ahead of us, but I needed to know he was on the same page.
He received the letter about a week later and we said we would talk more about it and our future when he came back home for Christmas. He came home for a longer amount of time. He came down to Delaware the night before my last day of school before Christmas break. It was weird and exciting because I wasn't sure how to behave. I wanted to touch him, just hold his hand and smother him with affection, but I wasn't sure if that was acceptable yet since we hadn't talked about what either of us wanted. We went on a wild goose chase looking for Home Alone (because I was going to be showing it to my students the next day at the Christmas party), and as we were walking into KMart, he grabbed my hand. With that one small gesture, I knew he felt all the same things I did and that it was going to be okay.
The next day at school was unbearable. I knew Keith was waiting for me back at my apartment, and the entire school day was planned for a liturgy and then a Christmas party in the homerooms. Later that evening, there was a staff Christmas party at school. The weather had called for copious amounts of snow to fall, and during the day, it had started to snow. Many of the parents picked their sons up early, so then we were just left with a few stragglers whose parents couldn't come to get them earlier. Thankfully, we were all allowed to leave as soon as the students were gone, and I zipped home at 2:30, where Keith happily greeted me at the door with one of my cookbooks in hand. I had specifically purchased that cookbook earlier in the year for us to cook out of, but when we broke up, I just put it aside and didn't look through it. I had mentioned it at one point, and he told me, "You were right; this book has excellent recipes for us to try together." I couldn't understand how I could possibly love someone so much, but I did.
We went to the staff Christmas party that night, but it had started to snow harder. The weatherman was calling for 10-12 inches of snow. After the party, we left Delaware for his father's place in south Jersey because he was worried we would get snowed in. So, instead, we were snowed in in his house for four days, which was fine by me. We cooked and baked and cuddled the entire time. Keith and I spent practically that entire break together with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas.
From that point on, it was decided. I was going to leave my beloved East Coast and move out to California. At that point, I didn't have many ties holding me back east. Most of my friends that mattered the most were spread out (my best friend in Oklahoma, another planning for Maryland after graduation, etc). I hated my job. During January, I was so stressed out and upset from work, I could hardly eat and had a constant feeling of nausea. It got so bad, there was about a week and a half where I couldn't eat anything and I had to force myself to eat a cup of apple sauce since that was the most I could hold down. My brother moved out to LA for his job in January. I'm young and I've always wanted to live somewhere else besides Jersey (Delaware didn't count), and I always fantasized about living in a city at some point. I had always thought that city would be NYC, but I could still represent my beloved Yankees across the country in LA. Now the trickiest parts would be telling my job and my parents that I wanted to leave.
My parents were mostly receptive. My mother was incredibly positive and understanding, although upset two of her children would be across the country from her. She knew how upset I was in Delaware and told me she'd rather see me happy and across the country than miserable and close to home. My father was more apprehensive. He worried about money issues. He especially worried about my job. How could I leave a job that I had for uncertainty? I was willing to take that risk. I don't believe in fate, but I do believe that everything works out, and throughout my life, it has. He also worried that I was doing this all for a boy. He likes Keith very much, but he didn't want me to shape my life around someone else and have it be for the wrong reasons. I explained to him that although Keith is a large pull, he wasn't the only reason. I was incredibly lonely. I wanted a change. I wanted to explore new places and different faces. He has since come to grips with it and is supportive.
I was worried about how to tell my job, "Hey, thanks for the job, but I gotta go," and still get a good recommendation out of them. In mid-January, we had a staff meeting where they mentioned we would be having a budget cut and some people may lose their jobs and we would find out before spring break. Since I was the last one hired, I figured I'd be the first one to go. I was pulling for this to happen because then it took off the responsibility from me. The Monday prior to spring break, I was called in for a meeting with the headmaster and principal. They explained to me that due to the budget, my position was cut form the school and they couldn't fit me in anywhere else. They also discussed how grateful they were since I came a month late into the school year to replace another teacher, and how I've had such a tough year with students and parents, but I came out with grace and dignity and handled things with wisdom beyond my years. They also articulated that they wanted to keep me there, and if they had the money, they would, but it just couldn't happen. It was such a weird experience; I wanted them to let me go, and not only were they doing so, but they offered such kind words and also offered to help me with references and building my resume, but it was still a little upsetting to be let go from my job. But, as I said, things have a way of panning out, and they did. Now I did not have to tell them I wouldn't be returning by choice and I could go on planning to move to California.
Plenty of work related things happened during this time, which I'm sure I will reflect back on at a later point, but for now, this is all that's necessary. I also would hate to bore any of you reading this to tears, since I've already posted two novels. But now you know what has happened to this Jersey girl, born and raised, that has lead her to decide to pick up her life and move across the country with no prospects and little money.
I guess you and I will just have to see how this pans out.